Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Staying vegan over a Christian holiday in the land of lamb and Guinness

It’s serious post-holiday blues this week, after an awesomely indulgent and educational five days in Dublin. In between all the sleeping in and movie watching, we totally ticked off all the big ticket attractions: pints, potatoes, pagan ruins, and pony markets.

Our utterly hospitable hosts are Dublin locals which, let’s face it, is a privilege to have when you’re visiting a new city. The combination of a bloody expensive hospitality scene and a well-stocked booze collection at home meant we enjoyed lots of lazy lunches and dinners at home. Our friends went to so much trouble to accommodate vegan BF’s pesky diet… I’m pretty sure there’s a government-sanctioned drive to promote the consumption of meat and diary… especially when a litre of soy milk costs nearly FOUR EURO. Don’t covert it, it’s too painful.
I’ve got more posts to come on the sight seeing, pint drinking and dairy-free easter eggs, but for the time being, check out the vegan spread for the Easter Sunday roast.

The rack of lamb we three omnivores shared was cooked pink to perfection, but honestly, with roast veggies like that – who needs meat?! (Did I just write that…?)

In TV cooking show developments, watching approximately 58 hours of Come Dine With Me over the weekend made me realise how long it’s been since I’ve cooked to impress guests with meat. (The show confirmed that if faced with hosting these typically arrogant, ungrateful and uncouth contestants I’d spend all night boozing on in the kitchen while they no doubt mentally deduced points for my old-fashioned crockery, but that’s material for another post.) Yes, I’m a tighter$e but no, I’m not going to fork out £30 on a fillet of beef when the line between medium and overcooked is a glass of wine and a cheeky ciggie on the balcony. And the reality is the precious leftovers will never make rustic sangas with Dijon mustard and watercress for the next two days – the meat will be hacked and scoffed with cold gravy and spuds at the end of the night once the guests have left and the dishes are done. I just don't see the value for money (or taste).

Give me a big heavy-based casserole pot, a bagful of cheap meat and fresh veggies, pulses soaked overnight, and a cupboard full of individual spices. My justification is that if you’ve spent a whole day slow cooking the bloody thing, the last thing you feel like is seconds after the meal and therefore you’re more likely to actually have leftovers for the days after. Practicality over piggery!

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