Sunday, 3 August 2014

ethical dilemma

i've been thinking a lot about my food choices's nothing new though because i've been ruminating for see there's a part of me that would really prefer to be vegetarian or vegan..actually i was vegetarian for about four years but i reverted to limited meat eating when i became increasingly unwell..

one of the issues that concerns me is the way we have commodified animals for human doesn't rest easy with me at hunter gatherer times animals had a bit of a chance but with animal domestication their destiny is now predetermined..treating them well is all fine and good but it does seem a bit weird to go all 'oh i'm so nice to these animals..aren't i such a good person'..and then turn around and kill them, cook them and gobble them's very hansel and gretel..

i've no answer to this dilemma though so i only eat small amounts of meat occasionally that i incorporate and balance with other ingredients..i'm not one to crave a big juicy steak or hop into slabs of meat from spit roasted animals..easter was not a good time for me when i was living in greece..yeah..i loved the ritual of easter sunday's lamb on the spit and all the palaver associated with preparing it and cooking it but i just couldn't eat any of it..

one thing that i've been doing lately is cooking more beans..i used to cook them children grew up on beans and lentils and while i still cook lentils often i've neglected beans in the last few years..i've found that a big batch of home cooked baked beans is a great thing to have in the fridge..for instance, my girl kat came over to do patchwork with me on sunday and instead of me having to make something from scratch and take time away from our precious sewing time together i was able to reheat some beans that i then served on some homemade apple sourdough*** toast and topped with grated cheese and a couple of thin slices of crispy skara bacon..she loved it..i've also been having them for breakfast..and they're great to have on hand for days when i've been too busy to prepare and cook a meal..

versatile baked beans*
tea with hazel


500 gms australian great northern beans**
3-4 medium onions cut fine
2-3 celery stalks cut fine (i used home grown)
2 largish carrots cut fine
1 green or red chilli (i used home grown)
4 or more garlic cloves cut fine
2-3 bay leaves (i used leaves that i stole from a tree in my neighbourhood that's hanging over a fence)
3-4 tablespoons (tbs) organic salt free tomato paste
2 teaspoons (tsp) powdered english mustard
1 tbs treacle
3-4 tbs cider vinegar
1 organic hot chorizo sausage sliced
olive oil
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
salt and pepper


day 1

~ cover beans with water and leave to soak overnight

day 2

~ drain the beans and add fresh water to cover, add bicarbonate of soda, and cook until just softened
~ in another saucepan saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic until semi translucent
~ add chorizo and cook until the slices are starting to brown on the edges
~ add tomato paste, some of the bean cooking water to loosen the tomato paste, mustard, vinegar  and treacle and mix well
~ add the beans and the bean cooking water and season with salt and pepper
~ tip into a baking dish, drizzle with oil and bake at 180 deg c for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the top is slightly browned


*     yesterday's version
**  they cost me $5.50/kilo..the baking dish of beans makes about 5-6 servings so it's a really cheap but nutritious meal
*** sourdough with grated fresh unpeeled organic apples, organic rye, biodynamic wholemeal and a bit of organic white flour and amaranth seeds

suggested alternative ingredients

~ replace the cooking water with unsalted stock
~ add vegetables and herbs such as capsicum, fennel and/or parsley
~ use brown sugar or molasses instead of treacle or omit altogether
~ use dijon mustard or add mustard seeds at the vegetable saute stage
~ replace the tomato paste with passata or fresh tomatoes
~ omit the chorizo or replace with chunks of bacon or proscuitto
~ use other beans such as lima or haricot beans
~ use good quality left over fat such as bacon or pork fat to saute
~ before baking dust the top with paprika

serving suggestions

~ top with a poached egg
~ serve with sausages
~ add grated cheese and crispy bacon (omit chorizo)
~ serve with a salad
~ sprinkle with fresh parsley
~ use in a jaffle or a toasted sandwich if like me you threw your jaffle iron away

there is great discomfort that comes from the realisation that there is no answer to my problem and that the issue will never go away..i have a tendency to want answers and solutions but sometimes there just isn't one and that's just how it is..


  1. There isn't an easy answer but I think the best way to deal with it is to find a place where you can be comfortable. I am with you on the ethics of meat production and cried like a baby when Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall took his pigs to the butchers. He had just spent weeks showing us how delightful pigs are and how much character they have and then BAM sausages. How on EARTH he could eat them is beyond me. It smacks of eating the family dog :(.

  2. the problem for me fran is that i'll never be comfortable with eating meat but i continue to eat it and that's my dilemma..x