Meat-free Monday

Paul McCartney recently gave meat-free days a boost, using his fame to encourage people to forfeit the flesh for one day per week, as part of his Meat Free Monday campaign. Taking the concept a step further, March 23 sees the arrival of Meat Free Week – originally an Australian initiative – here in the UK.

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I’m a fan of the McCartney dynasty. I adore Linda and subsequently Mary’s photography, The Beatles are one of my all time favourite bands (Wings – not so much) and Stella does lovely clothing for kids (there’s no way in hell I would pay £4895.00 for a dress for myself, love – no matter how great it looks). So I was intrigued by this campaign and further investigation reveals that there is merit in it too.

Chatham House published a report in late 2014 drawing attention to how little public awareness there is regarding the links between livestock production and climate change. Currently, 14.5% of all harmful gases produced comes from livestock production alone. Diary and Meat consumption in the UK is rising constantly and by 2050 it is expected that there will be a 76% rise in consumption based in the increasing patterns emerging now. Meat Free Mondays seeks to lessen our consumption of meat and therefore, lessen our impact on the environment.

Start with making a commitment to reduce your meat consumption. If you’re currently eating a lot of meat, why not begin by taking meat out of your diet at least one day a week. Meat Free Monday’s is the perfect place to start, with lots of great ideas on how to make the leap.

Compassion in World Farming has produced a 24-page Compassionate Food Guide to help make higher-welfare shopping easier. The guide covers Beef, Pork (sausages, bacon etc), Poultry, Salmon and dairy. It really will assist with helping you make better and more informed choices.

When buying meat think about where you’re really buying it from. Whenever possible, shop at local farmers markets or free-range and organic butchers. Always ask questions. Getting answers about how an animal has lived before it was slaughtered will go a long way to helping you make the most informed, ethical decisions. It’s easy to make better decisions when armed with a few simple facts.

One day meat free a week could save you money, improve your health and of course, help lessen emissions.

Now I decided to write this post while the kids played wrestling (that should read wrestled until one of them started crying) so my Meat Free Monday recipe is rather dull. Nevertheless its real comfort food dish in this house and one that we don’t even think about as missing meat.

Broccoli, Chilli and Sundried Tomato Pasta

Serves: 4-6
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Ingredients
  • 1 lbs any short pasta
  • salt
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (I always add extra fresh chilli, do so if you have it, otherwise just use dried from your store cupboard)
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Set a large pot of water on high heat and bring it to a boil, add salt, pasta, and broccoli separated into florets.
  2. Cook according to package directions, don’t overcook, your pasta should be al dente and broccoli tender but still firm. It should take between 7-9 mins.
  3. While pasta and broccoli are cooking slice garlic and cook it gently over low heat in a large pan coated with olive oil with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chilli flakes for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Set aside.
  4. Drain pasta and broccoli, reserving ½ cup of water from the pasta.
  5. Add both pasta and broccoli to the pan with sun-dried tomatoes and gently toss together with freshly grated parmesan, add ½ reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  6. Serve with additional parmesan cheese.

An open letter to my father on his 60th birthday.

Dear Dad,

Today on your birthday, I’m taking this opportunity to write a letter to you to express how much I truly love you although I may not be able to put all of my emotions into words.

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Being a father is no easy task. A father makes a huge impact on his daughter’s life. He is the first man she says “I love you” to, and the first man to really show her what love is which you have demonstrated through your relationship and marriage to Mum.

As a young child I was very inquisitive and the majority of my memories of us together consists of me asking you questions constantly. To me as a child you knew everything. On our movie nights, a privilege afforded to the eldest child and the one with the latest bedtime, I would constantly harangue you to reveal plot details even though you’d probably never seen the film before, “what’s going to happen next Dad? Why is that man shooting that man, Dad?” On our adventure days around various museums and monuments I would ask what everything was and you would supply an answer. I say an answer because later in life I would realise that you made most of it up or guessed the answer, a tactic that I would then go on to use with both of my children and their relentless questioning. Thank you for always answering my questions and fostering my inquisitive nature.

You were always talking about music, your favourite artists, your memories associated with music. At family events we’d dance and you would execute your signature moves in the style of Mick Jagger and would sing your heart out to every Stones tune as if you were the embodiment of Jagger. I know it’s your birthday and I’m only supposed to say nice things but we both know that with moves and a voice like yours the Stones wouldn’t still be touring! You were and are always fun and our kids now know this too.

I know we’ve never been the touchy-feely types but I need you to know that you have deeply and significantly impacted my life. Most people in your life only get to call you friend, but my sister and I get the incredible privilege of having your genes and calling you ‘Dad’ and the grand kids, ‘Papa’. You are always there for us in your own unique way whether it was popping in on your way home from work when my son was little when we all knew you had to make a massive detour from your work in West Calder to ‘pop in’ or taking my son out for dinner to make sure he gets home from his drama class in Leith each week.

Happy birthday Dad!

I love you x