One of the discussions (arguments) that my husband and I tend to, er, enjoy? is whether the little things like turning the lights off, recycling food waste etc, really count. To my mind it’s a no brainer. But he’s of the opinion that really to make any significant difference it has to be Governments and Corporations leading the pack. I can understand his point of view, and the sad thing is that to some extent he is probably right. Clearly turning my reading lamp off as soon as I’ve finished with it isn’t going to make the world a better place all by itself. But if the whole street, village, town, city… thought about the little things every day then I believe it is in our power to make positive change happen. Even if we start small.
Obviously I’m churning out a well versed argument here. But personally I need to keep reminding myself this to make sure that I am making the right decisions at least some of the time, if not all.
Not so long ago I went through a stage of finding shopping for food really unappealing. Fish is just a minefield – who knows what I’m supposed to be buying as far as that’s concerned?! The advice seems to change weekly. And recently I’ve discovered (from The Archers, that hotbed of essential farming information!) that even buying free range eggs doesn’t ensure that the welfare of the chickens is as good as we would hope. It’s best not to even start on meat eating as the arguments against it in terms of environmental impact do not make easy reading. So it’s easy to become disillusioned with making the right choices as your shopping list gets smaller and smaller and somehow at the same time a lot more expensive!
So here I come back to the little things. For me, becoming an organic only vegan fruitarian perhaps?! really isn’t an option. For a start I do almost all of the cooking and I think my husband, who is a devoted carnivore, would have a mental breakdown if I announced any such intention. But also I do enjoy a roast and I’m rearing my own little livestock (in the form of a small child) whose growing needs are best fulfilled by a good and varied diet.
That is why I really like movements like the meat free Monday hashtag on social media. It’s a simple idea that promotes good decision making and provokes discussion and thoughtfulness around food, but doesn’t force those of us who are teetering on the edge into an all or nothing scenario. For those of you who haven’t seen it, #meatfreeMonday is simply a method of sharing your meat free recipes and dishes with other social media users… on a Monday. So here we are!
For those of you with eagle eyes, yes I am using tomatoes which are not in season, thus probably undoing all of my good work. But it’s still MEAT FREE. In fact it’s vegan! And I bought the tomatoes in my local grocers (#supportlocal) and I used breadcrumbs that I made instead of throwing an old loaf away (#zerowaste) so there.
Some other ideas for this recipe would be to use bell peppers or even onions instead of tomatoes. If you’re not into chilli you could try a herby stuffing instead, woody herbs like thyme and rosemary would work well with lemon zest and garlic.
4 of the tastiest tomatoes you can find
3 tbsps good olive oil
1 medium sized green chilli – finely chopped
3 tbsp capers – chopped
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
zest of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Put most of the olive oil in a frying pan on a gentle heat. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan for a couple of minutes but don’t let it get too hot. Then add the breadcrumbs and stir everything together until the breadcrumbs are well coated with oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Keep the breadcrumbs on a gentle heat for about 5/7 minutes.
Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop all of the insides out. (I keep the insides to make pasta sauce for my daughter). Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet or similar.
Once the breadcrumbs are golden but not burning, fill the tomatoes and press down to make sure each tomato is well filled. Drizzle the last of the olive oil on the tomatoes and bake for about 15 minutes.