Vegetables for sustainability: making a plant-based diet work

Over the past week there has been a lot of media attention on the issue of the US drought, rising food prices, and the necessity for the general population to adopt a more vegetable-centric diet. Currently humans derive 20% of their protein from animal sources on average, but by 2050, this may need to drop to a maximum of 5%. Our planet simply will not be able to sustain the world population if meat is still consumed at such a high rate. It takes between five and ten times as much water to sustain the animals farmed for food as it would to grow crops enough to feed the same number of people. Similar figures apply to grains and vegetables grown to feed animals. Basically, if we eat the grains and vegetables directly, we require a lot less of them to sustain ourselves than if we were to feed them to animals and then eat the animals. And with an ever-increasing population, scientists are saying that this will be the only option. On one hand it makes me happy to know that factory farming will have to decrease, but on the other hand, I wonder if, for the many consumers staunchly determined to consume meat, a plant-based diet will ever become a reality.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A simple mushroom soup

One of the lovely things about serving a salad with every meal, is that it leaves freedom to simplify the ‘main’. Although personally I’m starting to think the salad is the main dish. The other night I did just that, simmering a mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a simple broth of stock and garlic, punctuated with ginger and chilli. Continue reading

Japanese dinner bowls with otsu sauce

I’ve been wanting to make this Otsu recipe from 101cookbooks for ages, but something about the recipe has never quite felt right to me as I’m choosing what to make for dinner. I think that’s because it’s a bit heavy on the soba noodles and tofu, and light on the veggies. While the sauce sounds incredible, soba noodles are delicious, and I quite enjoy the occasional tofu, it’s not the sort of thing I’d feel nourished and energised after eating a good serving. And it’s nice to feel nourished and energised, just as it’s nice to enjoy a hearty meal without guilt.

Somehow it took me this long to figure out the solution – take those delicious otsu flavours and use them to make my own recipe, something I know I will love.

Here we have it. A small serving of soba noodles, a stack of lightly steamed greens and shallots, finely sliced tomato and a few slices of soft ripe avocado, drenched in that sweet and salty otsu sauce. Continue reading