Bad Boots, fruity pulses and lunch by the sea.

August 4, 2012

Last weekend I had a bit of a mare. I was on a training course from Wednesday to Saturday and common to universities everywhere, the catering that was laid on was so over the top I couldn’t bear to see so much food go to waste. So, in short, I ate a lot of veggie food rather than see it go in the bin. This isn’t bad in itself but it did leave me on Sunday with an expanded waistline and thoroughly fed up with sandwiches. Any other week I’d be almost crying inside as one of my favourite weekend traditions is to create culinary wonder encased within two layers of hunked bread (well it’s wonderful to me anyway). But this weekend was different, I was fed up with bread and butter and needed to seriously increase my fruit and veg intake.

Breakfast was exactly what I needed, lots of strong black coffee and Weetabix (well actually the supermarket’s version) with oodles of rice milk with half a grapefruit and some ruby breakfast juice to top things off. This was unfortunately around 7:30 a.m. (a kickback from my early starts over the last few days I reckon).

Well, the morning dwindled by, I had considerably more coffee and tried to catch up on the work I’d missed during the course. As midday came and went I was beginning to get to the point where I couldn’t avoid the pangs of hunger (a strange expression if ever I heard one) and suggested we head out for some lunch. It was a super day (a bit of a rarity of late) and so we decided to make good on our promise of heading to the beach with a picnic in toe. No worries I thought, the famous Boots Meal Deal will surely have a vegan option. As they say up North “will it ‘eck” (translation: No, it won’t). I couldn’t believe it. I realise I’m probably sounding naive to established vegans out there but I had real trouble getting my head around the fact that out of the entire range that was available (and there may be other options that tick the vegan mark which weren’t on offer) I could not find one vegan option. The weirdest one for me was the phantom milk in the ‘be good to yourself or whatever the tagline is’ houmous and falafel wrap. Despite no milk or milk derivatives obviously occurring in the ingredients list (I didn’t have the heart to check the E numbers) the cardboard sleeve informed me that the cow’s discharge was there somewhere.

Bugger that. And bugger them. Even the sushi had cream cheese in! Well, not to be beaten, it was off to the old stalwart Henderson’s and what a delight I ended up with: lentil and apricot soup. I know it sounds weird, well it was weird. But, it was weird in a vegan way, the sort of ‘weird to everyone looking at you’ but not weird and strangely reassuring to be the person looking back thinking ‘I know my food tastes better than yours’. So yes, that was good especially with the dark bread I got with it.

The only down side of the whole day was that I couldn’t have an ice cream on the beach, but on the plus side it just means I’ve got a reason to go back when the weather is good again and I’m not on V day.
Remnants of bean-based pie. Should have taken a photo beforehand but just couldn’t wait for it

Running around on the beach really built an appetite and the shopping en route home gave me the time to think of something wholesome and healthy to make for dinner. Having felt a little low on protein over the last few days I plumped for a bean version of a Shephard’s/ Cottage pie. I’ve been thinking about what it would be called but have no point of reference for the beans that’s similar – does anyone know?

Mixed-bean shephards/cottage pie thingy

Remnants of bean-based pie. Should have taken a photo beforehand but just couldn’t wait for it

Anyway, I cheated a lot. Kidney, borlotti and butter beans were bought in cans pre-cooked. For the sauce I added a couple of onions, lots of garlic and four cheap and nasty bell peppers (needed using) to a bought (yes I’m hanging head in shame) spicy tomato pasta sauce. I topped it all with mashed potato with a bit of garlic ‘butter’ and topped it with crumbs of tortilla crisps (great alternative to cheese). I wasn’t alone in the kitchen and was fortunate to also get some awesome guacamole with tortilla and corn on the cob.

I would say I then had dessert but to tell the truth I didn’t move for about 3 hours and the rest of the night blended into a bloated haze. Blissful though!

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