Veggie Tales

30 years as a vegetarian and I never knew I was practicing Ahimsa! There is no single English word which conveys the truest meaning but rather two that go part of the way to explain…..’non violence’.
I stopped eating meat after I watched a program on industrial factory farming as a child. My family were mostly vegetarian at the time and wanted me to understand where my food was coming from and make my own choice.
Unlike many Asian countries, it was unusual to be a vegetarian in England in the 1980’s & 90’s and I felt I was always having to justify myself to people who would ask me ‘You’re a VegeWhat? Why on earth would you give up meat? Are you sick?’
I just wish I had known the word Ahimsa at the age of 11, can you imagine how baffled people would look?
My vegetarian journey has been a healthy and happy one. Like my parents did for me, I also give my children the choice. They’re still at an age where they ask a lot of questions about their food and where it comes from. I can hear their little brains ticking, but ultimately it’s their personal choice.
As a vegetarian I don’t like to feel I am missing out on tasting anything good, so often find healthy adaptations of recipes.
Here’s a great Jamie Oliver recipe for a breakfast muffin (or anytime really) which could easily replace those that can be bought from a well known US coffee shop chain….. Always enjoy after your morning Yoga!
olive oil
600g sweet potatoes or ½ a butternut squash
4 spring onions
1-2 fresh red chillies
6 large free-range eggs
3 tablespoons cottage cheese
250g wholemeal self-raising flour
50g Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or 15cm folded squares of greaseproof paper, then lightly wipe each one with oiled kitchen paper.
Peel the sweet potatoes or squash and coarsely grate into a large bowl.
Trim the spring onions, then finely slice with the chilli and add to the bowl, reserving half the chilli to one side.
Crack in the eggs, add the cottage cheese and flour, then finely grate in most of the Parmesan and season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix until nicely combined.
Evenly divide the muffin mixture between the cases. Sprinkle over the sunflower and poppy seeds, then dot over the reserved slices of chilli.
Use the remaining Parmesan to give a light dusting of cheese over each one, then bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes (if using squash, it’ll be a bit quicker – check after 35 minutes), or until golden and set.
These are amazing served warm 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, and good kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

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