Day 127: TACO!

Hello darlings.

Today, I made dinner without the use of a microwave!  Things are looking up for The Silly Asparagus.  I made Quorn tacos and they were delicious.  The best part of the meal was when Papa Asparagus told me that I had cooked the chicken well.  Ha!  “IT’S QUORN”, I shouted with delight.  Victory for Asparagus everywhere.

Here is the recipe, which serves 2 (wow, I’m spoiling you this week):

You will need:                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon olive oil                                                                                                                  1 small onion, chopped                                                                                                      175g (6oz) Quorn chicken style pieces                                                                                    1 garlic clove, chopped                                                                                                      230g can of chopped tomatoes                                                                                    Sprinkle of dried chilli flakes (add more depending on how hot you fancy it)                        4 taco shells                                                                                                                          15g (1/2 oz) reduced fat grated cheddar

Serve with green salad and 2tbsp tzatziki

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and Quorn pieces and cook for 5 minutes (until beginning to brown).
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and chilli.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, until pulpy and fairly thick.
  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200 /fan 180°C.
  • Heat the taco shells for around 1 minute in the oven.
  • Spoon the Quorn mixture into the taco shells and sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Return to the oven for around 3 minutes.
  • Serve 2 tacos each, with salad and tzatziki.

This recipe was taken from a Weight Watchers magazine.  For those counting points, there are just 8 ProPoints in what you see above.  I will certainly cook this again.  For the recipe I have given you, I have lowered the amount of time the taco shells are put in the oven.  This is because mine went quite soft and split.

For dessert, I combined frozen yoghurt, meringue nests and strawberries.  Again, this is a Weight Watchers recipe and there are 2 ProPoints per serving.

I love strawberries, and I am now mature enough not to cover them in sugar.  I continuously praise Marks and Spencer, and it is easy to see why when it comes to strawberries…

Left = Standard Strawberry. Right = M&S Strawberry.

That’s all from me today.

With Love, The Silly Asparagus.

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Day 113: Super Soya

Hello darling.

My ‘Site Stats’ for this blog have shown that people have found The Silly Asparagus through Google by asking the question, ‘Do Marks and Spencer sell Quorn?’.  I haven’t discussed this before.  In the last year or so, Marks and Spencer have started selling food from brands other than themselves.  You can now go into M&S and find Cadbury’s chocolate, Kellogg’s cereal, etc.  However, as far as I am aware, they do not sell anything by Quorn.

If you have been following The Silly Asparagus from the beginning, you will already know that I love Marks and Spencer.  I might be a student, but places like Asda just aren’t my scene.  Whilst Marks and Spencer do not stock Quorn, they do have their own range called ‘Super Soya’.  Today, I bought the ‘Super Soya Sausages With Onion Gravy & Mash’.  Okay, I’m still not exactly cooking, but this was very yummy!

As well as the ‘Super Soya’ range, M&S also have a great vegetarian range.  I have briefly mentioned the range before (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/day-67-catch-up/).

I am clearly hoping that those in charge at M&S will see my enthusiasm and passion for their company and hire me as their vegetarian spokesperson.  I can see the posters now: ‘This is not just any silly asparagus…’.  Unfortunately, whilst the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whitely are around, I have no chance.

Well, that is quite enough free advertising for one day.

Bye bye.

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 69 (immature giggles).

So, it snowed last night.  I do not like the snow.  I especially dislike the snow when there is no blue sky… I do not wish to photograph a dreary scene.  I would like the snow more if it meant that fluffy baby penguins fell from the sky and came to play. But, they don’t.  Asparagus like to be fresh, not frozen.  That is the last time I will moan about things I have no control over. I need to be positive.

Today I am giving you my article about vegetarianism that was published in the University of Reading newspaper, Spark*, a few weeks ago. Some of it is repeat material from the blog, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.  Apologies for such a ‘texty’ post today.

This is exactly how it was printed (I am obviously on day 69 now, not 47):

Vegetarianism 

At the time of writing this article, I have been a vegetarian for 47 days.  Not that I’m counting or anything.  Turning ‘veggie’ was a very spontaneous decision.  I literally woke up one morning and decided that I would no longer eat meat.  My lifestyle change has received both positive and negative response.  There are so many stereotypes about being vegetarian.  People around me started warning me about becoming a tired and pale hippie.  For a girl whose nicknames already include ‘Casper’ and ‘Snowy’, I don’t think I need to worry about becoming any pastier.  Plus, there is nothing wrong with pale hippies anyway.  I am sure they are just as happy as tanned hippies.  I also faced a lot of skepticism.  As I did not become a vegetarian for specific reasons, my friends and family have assumed that this is simply a phase that I am going through.  Well my friends, I survived Christmas without scoffing pigs-in-blankets, so I am pretty certain that being a veggie will be a permanent change for me.

Regarding food, life as a vegetarian does not have to be boring.  I admit that it has been slightly boring for me, but that is because I am fussy. I prefer the simple things in life, such as pineapple, poached eggs and crumpets (not together though!).  Becoming a vegetarian is helping me to become less fussy.  I have discovered all sorts of wonderful foods.  Except for Popeye, who knew that spinach was such a delight?  I eat a lot of Quorn.  There is the standard response that Quorn tastes like cardboard.  It doesn’t.  The new vegetarian range at Marks and Spencer’s is divine.  As well as veggie kievs and lasagna, they even sell vegetarian Percy Pigs!  Madness!

I have not become a vegetarian to lecture people about health or animal rights.  Although, I must point out that there are many benefits to being a vegetarian.  On average, vegetarians eat 25 per cent less fat than meat-eaters; this tends to mean that vegetarians have a lower Body Mass Index.  Vegetarians have a slightly longer life expectancy than meat-eaters.  Vegetarianism can equal lower cholesterol levels and a decrease in the risk of suffering from a heart attack.  The media is currently focused on recent studies that suggest that bacon and red-meat are linked to cancer, especially bowel-related cancers.

Save the animals!  850 million animals are killed every year, in the UK alone.  That number does not include the hundreds of millions of fish that are also killed.  A majority of these animals are subjected to cruel conditions in factory farms.  The meat industry brings suffering to so many creatures.  Becoming a vegetarian means that you are no longer contributing to their misery.  As well as saving animals, vegetarianism could also solve world hunger.  That is a big claim to make, but one-third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals.  According to Viva! The amount of veg protein fed to the US beef herd would feed almost the entire populations of India and China.  That would make a difference to two billion people.  35 per cent of the world’s population can be fed on a meat-based diet.  However, a plant diet could feed everyone.

I understand that some of you will never consider becoming a vegetarian.  However, why not try meat-free Mondays?  Famous Beatle and vegetarian, Paul McCartney has been leading a campaign that asks people to give up meat for one day a week.  If everybody gave up meat for just one day a week, it could make a huge impact on the planet.  As well as improving one’s own well-being, world hunger and animals; vegetarianism would also greatly reduce pollution.  Visit www.meatfreemondays.com for more information and recipes related to the campaign.

Being a vegetarian has had a very positive impact on my life.  I have become less stressed and a lot more energetic since turning veggie.  It has changed my attitude to many things and at this moment in time, I do not think I will be eating meat again.  I really would recommend this change to you all.  I have only touched the surface, there is so much more to being a vegetarian.  If you are interested in following my journey as a vegetarian, please take a look at my blog: http://www.sillyasparagus.wordpress.com

Day 9: Progress

Good moro!

I hope this post finds you well.  As I have a long day of work ahead of me, I thought that I would be a bore and give you a progress report.

Well, I have been a vegetarian for over a week now.  I can honestly say that I have not craved meat or gelatin(e) products at all.  The day I walked past the chicken and bacon sandwiches in M&S, un-tempted, was the moment I realised that I was a changed asparagus.

Due to essays, work and somehow trying to squeeze in a social life, you won’t be seeing any recipes from me until Autumn term has finished.  My diet over the past week has not been varied — unless you count Quorn in three different forms as varied.  Breakfast didn’t change upon becoming a veggie: two Weetabix set me up perfectly for the day.  I have eaten a lot of vegetables, mainly carrots and green beans.  My beloved pineapple has made a daily appearance (I shall tell you more about my love for the magnificent pineapple soon).  Aside from breakfast, I generally avoid carbs — I do not wish to be a veggie who survives solely on pasta or toast.  This uninspiring diet would be a problem for any ‘foodies’ out there.  I, on the other hand, am quite content.  As you may have noticed from day three’s post (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/day-3-the-response/), food is not my best friend.  For the sake of my wellbeing, and before the food police start their onslaught, I will start to vary what I eat.  But, I did try an avocado this week, how much more adventurous can an asparagus get?! 

Unfortunately, giving up meat has not made me resemble veggie Alexa Chung in any way.  Although, there has been an improvement to my skin.  Blemishes and spots on my face have been causing me confidence issues for months.  However, since eradicating meat from my diet and cutting down on dairy products (mainly cheese), my skin has started to clear up — don’t get me wrong, it is still by no means perfect.  I think I should get in touch with Channel 4’s ‘Food Hospital’ to report my findings. 

Generally, I am feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I do not feel that I am depriving myself of anything.  I am not feeling weak or tired (like I was told I would feel).  Instead, I am energised and positive. 

“Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind.” — Albert Einstein

Best wishes,

the silly asparagus.