Remember the miracle when Jesus turned some fish & bread into a picnic big enough to feed 5000? Well, imagine the hassle there’d been any veggies in the crowd. Imagine them all throwing up their skinny, anaemic arms and whining about whether or not it was OK to eat the fish. It wouldn’t have been a miracle, it would have been a good Old Testament-style punch up.
Almost 2000 years later, the best thing to do with vegetarians is simply NOT to insult them in any way whatsoever.
It’s even a good idea to steer clear of shellfish (whose status kinda changes between “meat” and “fish” depending on the position of the tide).
A good idea is to feed your veggie mates VEGETARIAN MIRACLE, so called because of the miracle which occurs when you pour boiling water onto the main ingredient, which is called “Textured Vegetable Protein” or “TVP” for short. When you add water to a small quantity of this stuff, it’ll expand from a pissy little amount, to enough to feed almost every veggie that you’ve ever met in your entire life. It’s a true miracle and cheap to boot.
The only problem with TVP is that it tastes like a soggy cardboard box ... but we have a fiendish plan!
INGREDIENTS FOR AT LEAST 4 PEOPLE
TVP.(Get the smallest packet you can buy. You can usually get this stuff from health food shops. Get the unflavoured chunky sort. Grow a beard and wear sandals before you enter any health food shop so that your friends don’t recognise you and laugh at you when you come out). Never ever buy the remaining ingredients from the same shop as where you got the TVP otherwise you will end up buying organic guff and getting overcharged by a patronising hippy who thinks that there is some virtue in eating food that was grown in goat’s poo (instead of the healthy, clean chemicals to which our intestines are naturally acclimatised).
One large onion
Two peppers - any colour ... red, green or yellow
One tin of tomatoes
One tin of red kidney beans
Mild chilli powder
Salt & pepper.
Make this stuff in the biggest pot you’ve got.
Firstly, take about 150 grams of the TVP and put it in a big bowl (not the cooking pot). Pour on boiling water and leave it to stand. It’s gonna expand and get much much bigger, so don’t use a small bowl.
Next, skin and chop up the onion and a few cloves of garlic. Put a little cooking oil into the biggest pot you’ve got and put this pot on a low heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and stir from time to time so that it lightly fries and doesn’t burn.
Meanwhile, chop the peppers in half and scoop out all the seedy stuff that’s in the middle.then chop the peppers into smaller bits. You need to have pepper bits that are small enough to go into your gob without any hassle. When you’ve chopped up both the peppers, bung them into the pan where the onion is already frying.
Open the tin of kidney beans and drain away the watery stuff that they are swimming in and give ‘em a good rinse under running water. Use a sieve, if you’ve got one.
Nor to feed them any meat or fish.
And open the tin of tomatoes.
After the onions and peppers have been frying for about 10 minutes, the oniony bits should be looking quite soft. Now’s the time to bung in: the drained kidney beans and the tin of tomatoes (including all the juice).
Because this stuff is cold, the onions will immediately stop cooking, so turn up the heat and stir so that nothing burns on the bottom of the pan.
While the pot is reheating, drain the water from the TVP. You’ll be gob smacked at the way that it has increased its volume. Add the drained TVP to the big pot where everything else is getting hot.
Keep stirin’ dat big pot or it’s gonna burn. Have sad fun by smashing the tomatoes into totally squashed tomatoes.
You will remember my warning about TVP having a really bland taste. So now’s the time to take the taste away. Add 2 level teaspoons of the mild chilli powder and stir it all around.Add a couple of big pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.
Soon the mixture will start to boil. Turn down the heat so that it is just bubbling and add enough boiling water to keep everything in the pot looking like something that is a bit too watery to eat. Don’t worry that it’s too watery at this stage coz you can turn up the heat and evaporate off the excess liquid when it’s almost ready.
This gook needs to simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste it from time to time and, if it’s still too bland, add a bit more of the mild chilli powder. Don’t add too much chilli powder or you’ll have a real bumburner.
It’s no big hassle if it cooks for more than 30 minutes ... it won’t ruin and, for this reason, this is a good dish to make for all your mates who DON’T yet realise that “Dinner at Eight” really means that they’ve all gotta be sitting at the table with their bibs tucked into their collars the instant the clock makes its eighth chime.
While it’s cooking, just make sure that it doesn’t burn by adding some more boiling water if it’s looking too thick.
Serve this dish on hot plates with baked potatoes that have been cut in half. Baked pots are easiest cooked in a microwave but you’ll probably have to check out your instruction book for the correct timing. As well as potatoes, serve VEGGIE MIRACLE with a dollop of one of those self-serve salady things that you can choose for yourself at the deli counter of any biggish supermarket.
You’ll probably have masses of this stuff left over. Don’t panic, just let it cool and shovel single serving quantities into freezer bags and bung in the freezer. It’ll keep for a couple of weeks. Re-heat by putting a frozen lump of the stuff in a small saucepan and adding a dash of water. It should take about 10 minutes until it’s piping hot, (i.e. about as long as it takes to bake a potato in the microwave).