Striving to experience a diverse range of dishes means I'm constantly on the look out for different recipes. Coupled with a desire to introduce more vegetarian and vegan meals at dinner time, my attention was well and truly captured by the "can't believe it's a vegan burger" recipe in the May issue of BBC Good Food Magazine.
Bursting with colour on the page, the food photography spoke to me, and the recipe name had all the hallmarks of a good marketeer. Of course I was going to include the "can't believe it's a vegan burger" in May's meal plan.
For starters, a tantalising list of ingredients, offered much promise. While I rarely cook with tofu, I was pleased to give it a try alongside some of my favourite store cupboard and fridge staples - brown rice, pecans, flaxseeds, garlic, mushrooms, black beans and beetroot. The inclusion of my new found hero ingredient, miso, also appealed.
Sadly, though, the Mathieson family had no trouble believing it was a vegan burger.
Twelve years or so ago, I was chatting to another mother of small children and she explained to me how she had ingrained in her brood the importance of appreciating her efforts in the kitchen. Post meal her offspring were taught to politely say "thank you for that lovely meal, please may I get down". I thought this idea had legs, more so for when my children dined outside the home with friends and family. So I set about making this part of our dinner routine. Twelve years on my children still say it (albeit parrot fashion) every mealtime. Or at least they did until this evening. "Err, I'm leaving the table now" said my daughter, followed by "Dad, please can you put a pizza in the oven?"
I'm now on the hunt for an alternative vegan burger recipe, although I will have to package it as something else or there will be no shows at the dinner table.
There was a saving grace and it came in the form of Tom Kerridge's allotment salad, (see photograph). Delivering an explosion of colour, it was big on taste, felt super healthy and came with the added bonus of leftovers for lunchtimes.
NB. Years later I reminded the aforementioned lady of her gift to me in the form of a dinner time acknowledgement and thanks. Much to my embarrassment she simply stared at me as if I were completely mad. I guess her family gave it up before it was established as a custom.