Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Challenges of this year's Lenten Diet

There are some unexpected challenges when following the Lent Diet I have devised for this year! All I can say is that it is just as well that I have not decided to become Vegan for the rest of Lent!!

Last Sunday, when we pottering around in the Waitrose in Salisbury, I ran across some Shetland Black potatoes. I had never seen this type of potato before, so bought a packet just out of curiosity. The packet said they were best roasted or baked, so I baked some on Monday. They were, it must be said, absolutely wonderful. Black and crispy on the outside, creamy and fluffy on the inside and a great pleasure to eat. No real need to add any sort of fat or sauce to them.

On Monday we had them as an accompaniment to some grilled fresh tuna with a seafood, tomato and leek sauce, accompanied by sprouting broccoli and carrots. (As an aside, it must also be said that the tuna and seafood sauce was also something of a triumph!)

Last night I decided to make them the centrepiece of the dinner plate and have them with garlic mushrooms. We have lots of mushrooms lying about at home. Just to pep them up, I thought I might get some mushroom ketchup to add to the cook pot. The supermarket had no mushroom ketchup. No worries. I’ll buy one of the many mushroom cooking sauces that are available. Nope. They have cream cheese or cream in them. They have chardonnay or brandy in them. They have venison or beef in them. There were no ready made sauces which covered a no cheese, no red meat, no alcohol diet!

I made a sauce of my own with olive oil (a bit), leeks, garlic (obviously, for a mushroom and garlic dish), soya sauce and tomato paste, which I reduced down with the chestnut mushrooms in it. It was surprisingly lovely.

I also hunted for some veggie pates or spreads for our lunches over the next couple of weeks. They too all have cream cheese or cream in them. Except for the ones with nut paste instead. Most of the obvious ready-prepared things I have looked at for lunches fail on at least one of the Lent Restrictions. I’ve gone back to humus and tzatziki! Although I have bought some mushroom burgers and carrot patties to have with our salads. And I have found some lovely low fat fruit yoghurts.

I was extremely happy to notice, when I was checking to see what seed potatoes I had for this coming season, that amongst the heritage collection there are ten Shetland Black tubers :-)

Today I am trying to slow cook a whole chicken while we are out and about earning pennies to keep a roof over our head and potatoes on the table. I shall report back tomorrow!
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