One of my favourite things about going out with a veggie is how it has expanded my horizons. When I started seeing Jon when I was just 13 I hadn’t tried vegetable curries, mousakas, pasta dishes, vegetables such as Aubergines and Okra or ingredients such as chick peas and lentil! Food in my house was very much meat and two veg, but as Jon came round for more dinners both my parents and I had to think a little bit more about what food we ate.
His vegetarianism has made me infinitely more creative in the kitchen and has opened up a whole new range of foods to choose from in restaurants. I doubt I will ever become a vegetarian – partly because I love my fish too much – but because I feel so long as you buy well reared, local meat you’re not damaging the economy or environment too much! Nonetheless, I will continue to eat roughly 80% of my meals meat free.
When I offered to cook Jon a romantic meal last weekend I knew I had to go down the Indian route – it’s by far our favourite type of cuisine and we’ve even joked that our wedding breakfast will be contemporary Indian cuisine (don’t panic folks, there’s no ring on my finger yet!) So, I decided to branch out and try a new ingredient I hadn’t cooked with before – paneer. Paneer is an authentic Indian cheese that is often found in vegetarian curries. It’s got a soft sometime spongey texture and is very mild in flavour which makes it the perfect addition to a whole variety of curries.
We are on a bit of a health kick at the minute so rather than popping the paneer into a creamy masala sauce I decided to place the paneer and other vegetable onto kebab skewers dressed with a yogurt based tikka marinade served with salad and rice. We also had poppadoms with mango chutney and a home-made fat-free raita!
It makes for a really exciting, fresh new recipe that is perfect for anyone watching their waist but who can’t give up that “Indian takeaway” flavour.