Now one of my favourite recipes is Crispy Peking Duck. Chewy duck, slathered with hoisin sauce; what’s not to like? Well if you’re a vegetarian, basically – the duck. However, as an avid reader of the BBC’s Good Food Magazine, I discovered a vegetarian option.
I mean it’s not crispy, it’s not duck, but its got hoisin sauce in it so it can’t be too far off. What’s the magic ingredient? Mushrooms.
Of course the problem with preparing great big lumps of tender meat dripping with rich wine-based sauces is that no one else wants to eat them. So in the interests of maintaining a healthy marriage I do like to delve into the depths of vegetarian cuisine.
But chickpeas, lentils….spelt!? Come on. I’d end up growing a tail and start nibbling raw carrot. So I’m always looking out for UVCs (Unusual Vegetable Creations). And here we focus on the Aubergine. ‘Aubergine’? Alright the Eggplant. But I can’t call it that because it neither has the shape of an egg, nor the colour (Why is it called an eggplant? Come to think of it, why is it called an aubergine? I’m renaming it – ‘Purple Shiny Potato’).
Oooh! Very fancy. But its just deep fried rice with tomato and cheese.
Although I am drawn towards eating meat I think sometimes vegetarian dishes can look nicer – I mean they just try harder (perhaps to make up for the lack of chewy flesh or something).
One revelation since meeting my wife is halloumi cheese. In my world if you cook cheese it melts. And you certainly can’t fry cheese – it just turns into a brown crisp. But halloumi has strange, maybe even mystical, properties. You can nuke that stuff and it keeps itself together. You can treat it like a lump of tenderloin pork and it will come out singing.
Seeing how it’s blasting down outside I thought we’d do something seasonal. Actually just pausing on that a second, how come the weather was so reluctant to accept the arrival of Summer a few months back but has been more than happy to slip straight into Autumn?
It’s because England is stuck on the edge of the Atlantic and there’s lots of water around. Also we tend to get the back-end of America’s hurricanes – typical, even our weather is just the left-overs from somewhere else!
Anyway this soup comes with lots of certificates of healthiness so I decided to ruin that by serving it with olive oil-drenched toast filled with cheese and creamy mushrooms.