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Thread: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

  1. #1
    Registered User Clive Long's Avatar
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    Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    I am trying, I really am. To eat less red meat that is.

    I'm having nightmares about residues of red meat forming horrible bacteria factories in unexplored regions of my colon.

    I made Carrot and Courgette Risotto from the Sarah Brown ("Britain's best known and trusted vegetarian cook" ) "No-fuss" veggie book.

    It is just so farking bland. The recipe even has celery in it to give it some life - nope, nothing.

    I was so depressed I went out to Waitrose and bought a shoulder of lamb to chew on.

    CRL

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    Registered User Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    What about adding some flavours - garlic, chilli, peppers etc. (although I realise this is a bad idea when going dancing ). Alternatively, are you giving up all meat or just red meat?
    You can make some fabulous fish recipes for the nights that you go dancing!! .

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    Registered User Wendy's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    My wee boeuf bourgignon is cooking away nicely in the oven .. smells fab !!!!

    Isn't it a moderation thing ??? I'm trying to drink more water, eat more veggies, eat less sugar and do more exercise but I have no desire to give up red meat.

    I bought the "You Are what you eat" book and I think the recipes are pretty awful (having said that thanks to it I have discovered fennel which I now add to potatoes). Everything seems to have beans and onions and carrots and take forever to make. If someone like Jamie brought out a veggie cookbook I expect that would be better.

    Wxxx

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    Cheeky by nature Little Monkey's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    It is just so farking bland. The recipe even has celery in it to give it some life - nope, nothing.
    Ah. You ever heard of those lovely, excotic things called spices? Or herbs? For a risotto you can also add some yummy cheese....

    I do a lot of veggie cooking - stir-frys, pasta dishes (I actually prefer veggie lasagne to meaty, more texture and crunch), risottos, stuffed mushrooms or peppers, roasted veggies of various kinds with grated parmesan, freshly ground pepper and couscous..... Oh, getting hungry now!

    I also like adding a splash (or two, or perhaps three) of wine to various dishes, and love cooking with fresh ingredients like ginger and chillies. Oh, and garlic... But not on a dance night!

    Go get those spices and herbs, and you might find your cooking isn't quite so bland!

    Good luck,

    A Veggie-Loving Little Monkey

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    Registered User Msfab's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    I am trying, I really am. To eat less red meat that is.

    I'm having nightmares about residues of red meat forming horrible bacteria factories in unexplored regions of my colon.

    I made Carrot and Courgette Risotto from the Sarah Brown ("Britain's best known and trusted vegetarian cook" ) "No-fuss" veggie book.

    It is just so farking bland. The recipe even has celery in it to give it some life - nope, nothing.

    I was so depressed I went out to Waitrose and bought a shoulder of lamb to chew on.

    CRL
    Any foodstuff can be boring and bland, but I find the trick is to try different combinations of ingredients and Im sure that goes for meat and veggie dishes. Try out different spices and herbs and go for the unusual. As Im cooking, im always tasting the food and I keep adding things until I feel I can eat a whole plate of it.
    But most of all, don’t be afraid of experimenting, just because its not in a cook book doesn’t make it wrong!

  6. #6
    TiggsTours
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Herbs & spices, as has already been mentioned, and cheese, again already mentioned. Cook with tomatoes, peppers, for lots of flavour, if you want to avoid all the calories of cream in creamy dishes, try fromage frais, creme fraische, or quark (found in the cheese counter).

    Also, when cooking veg, don't overcook it, keep it nice and crisp, as that retains the flavour.

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    The Gobby one! WittyBird's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Pesto as well is
    Also you can buy special coverings for roasting vegetables that are to die for

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    Registered User Rhythm King's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Homo sapiens are omnivores. Deal with it.

  9. #9
    TiggsTours
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythm King
    Homo sapiens are omnivores. Deal with it.
    Completely agree with that, but we're not carnivores, they only eat meat.

    I'm not veggie at all, I really enjoy my meat, but I don't eat it every day. When the caveman used to go hunting, he didn't make a catch every day, so we used to survive primarily on vegetation, with the occasional bit of meat to supplement our diet, that's what I do.

    If you want to be completely veggie, then you have to supplement your diet in other ways, in order to be sure you get enough protein etc. into your diet. Dairy produce, plenty of beans & pulses, its all about balance.

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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy
    What about adding some flavours - garlic, chilli, peppers etc. (although I realise this is a bad idea when going dancing
    Yeah, that. And spring onion, lime juice, fresh coriander, parsley, salt, olives, capers, chipotle, soy sauce, fish sauce, (Oh, sorry, that's because I'm not a proper veggie) butter, good olive oil. All of those, except the onion and maybe the fish sauce can be eaten before dancing without seeing off the vampires.

    Realistically, if you eat a lot of meat, bean dishes are going to seem bland in comparison as they won't have the roundness of flavour that you get from the animal greases. You have to give yourself time to adapt to them. I find cheese helps a lot, but you can't add it to everything.

    I think Sarah Brown's books are very worthy but extremely dull. I would ditch them in favour of something like Madhur Jaffrey's Eastern Vegetarian Cooking which has recipes from the whole of the Far East.

    I would also look at world recipes which have always been meat-free, rather than recipes which are an insipid pretence of being a meat dish. Things that come to mind are guacamole, ceviche, rice and beans, refried beans etc (Americas) hommous, stewed broad beans, felafel, stuffed aubergine etc (Middle East) dal, chick pea dishes (India) and soy-based dipping sauces from the Far East which can be eaten with grilled fish or vegetables.

    I'm still mildly envious of Wendy's boeuf bourguignonne though. (No I can't really spell it, I just looked it up on Google. )

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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    Carrot and Courgette Risotto
    CRL
    Oh honestly, how much flavour does a courgette have anyway? Absolutely zero after being risottoed.
    I'd have done glazed carrots with a bit of black pepper, butter and sugar, sauted the courgettes with garlic, parsley and lemon and eaten the lot with a nice piece of seared salmon.

    Is it nearly suppertime yet?

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    Forum Bombshell - Our Queen! Lory's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Why not try altering flavourings and the way you present the food.. how can any of these taste bland?

    Vegetable kebabs, served on a bed of herb flavoured cous cous, with a tomato based salsa

    Spicy Fajita's, made with cubed soya and a minty yoghurt dressing

    Hollow out a small loaf of bread, mix the bread crumbs with pinenuts, celery, onions, grated cheese, sweetcorn and tomatoes and stuff back in the oven, until cooked though, slice and serve with a crispy green salad

    Spanish omlette and chips did I really say chips, wash my mouth out!

    Pasta with pesto, olives and parmesan shavings

    Stir fried, chinese vegetables... Pak choi, water chesnuts, baby bamboo, shitaki mushrooms, brocolli, bamboo shoots, crushed garlic and lemon grass and add a ready made sauce eg, sweet & sour or oyster and mix all these in with some thread noodles!
    Last edited by Lory; 17th-January-2006 at 07:27 PM.
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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quorn

    Fantastic stuff - most supermarkets sell it.


    --ooOoo--
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    Registered User Lynn's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lory
    Pasta with pesto, olives and parmesan shavings
    I'm making that for tea tonight - minus the olives, but adding red pepper.

    I usually have a fish at least once a week, and chicken - but very often have meals with no meat, there are lots of other lovely flavours in food, its just a case of getting used to them.

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by TiggsTours
    When the caveman used to go hunting, he didn't make a catch every day, so we used to survive primarily on vegetation, with the occasional bit of meat to supplement our diet, that's what I do.
    They used to live in caves too, and die at 25. As a lifestyle, it has little to commend it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    I'm having nightmares about residues of red meat forming horrible bacteria factories in unexplored regions of my colon.
    May I suggest the answer lies in making sure that no regions of your colon are unexplored. I shall leave it to people's imaginations how best to achieve that.

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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    May I suggest the answer lies in making sure that no regions of your colon are unexplored. I shall leave it to people's imaginations how best to achieve that.

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    Registered User LMC's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    I'll see that and raise by

    And what R-K said - everything in moderation

    If you prefer herbs to spices, try lemongrass, bay, rosemary (although not, I would suggest, all in the same dish).

    Parsley with potatoes
    Mint with peas
    Lemon juice adds a bit of "bite" to any sauce where tomato is a key ingredient
    Black pepper
    Soy sauce
    Ginger

    are also all good

    If all else fails, MSG might help?

  18. #18
    Registered User Clive Long's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Thanks for all the suggestions to liven up this worthy fare. I will put them all in a list and paste them in the front of the veggie book.

    Herbs - so that's what those things with the "Best Before End Date Aug 1997" are for !


    Clive

    EDIT: Fish. Love it. Eat it often. Probably depleting some irreplaceable planetry resource by getting my Cod and Chips fix once per week. Oh god, oh god ...
    Last edited by Clive Long; 17th-January-2006 at 09:39 PM.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    Thanks for all the suggestions to liven up this worthy fare. I will put them all in a list and paste them in the front of the veggie book.
    Maybe add any good ones to the Recipes thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Long
    EDIT: Fish. Love it. Eat it often. Probably depleting some irreplaceable planetry resource by getting my Cod and Chips fix once per week. Oh god, oh god ...
    Continuing the North Finchley Food Guide theme (what, you thought this forum was about dancing? In Scotland? ), the food at my local new fish restaurant (Fish Harbour) is absolutely gorgeous - you'd love it. "Two Brothers" standard, I reckon.

  20. #20
    Registered User Clive Long's Avatar
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    Re: Why does (my) vegetarian cooking always produce bland meals?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames
    Continuing the North Finchley Food Guide theme (what, you thought this forum was about dancing? In Scotland? ), the food at my local new fish restaurant (Fish Harbour) is absolutely gorgeous - you'd love it. "Two Brothers" standard, I reckon.
    Yep, looks good - thanks for the tip.

    I like "The Inn Plaice" near the Arts Depot. Did lunch there with Witty one day - fantastic value and good nosh. Mother has already been taken there too - and my sister turned up. Well, I was generous.

    Weginald

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