Monday, March 18, 2013

Meat Free Week + Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #18

Today kicks off the beginning of the inaugural Meat Free Week challenge.  Starting today I'll be cutting meat completely out of my diet for a week (which is really not long at all)...and after that I'll be cutting WAY back on the amount of meat I eat.

I've signed up to Meat Free Week in order to do my bit to help raise money for the animal advocacy group Voiceless who (among other things) aim to raise awareness of the terrible, horrible, cruel and inhumane plight of animals raised in factory farms . I also hope to raise peoples awareness to the fact that we don't need to eat sooo much meat (really we don't) and about the cruel realities of factory farming!  I wrote about why I'm doing Meat Free Week a few weeks ago - check it out - and if you're so inclined you can head over here to sponsor my efforts (please and thanks).

Image from the Meat Free Week website

Back on the balcony garden and my two little tomato bushes continue to do their thing and produce lovely red, flavoursome tomatoes - albeit a little smaller than the packet says they are supposed to be.  No matter how small they're being put to good use in helping me try out some a new vegetarian recipes that might get a look in during Meat Free Week.

Did this tomato commit suicide, or do you think he was pushed? I think a Currawong threw him to his death.

As an aside I recently learned that there are two types of tomatoes, indeterminate which grow VERY tall and fruit over a long period and determinate which are more shrub like and produce all their fruit pretty much all at once.

By a stroke of sheet luck I've been growing the later, which is great as I don't think a 10ft tall tomato plant would fit on my balcony.  The downside is that most of my tomatoes have "happened" in the space of a few weeks. At one stage I had a bowl full of little tomatoes that I had no idea what to do with other than they'd be a good base for something vegetarian...but what?

My fellow food blogging friend Muppy suggested I try making Shakshuka Eggs - a middle eastern dish that uses tomatoes as the core ingredient. This coupled with the fact that I was promised it was a super easy dish to make won me over.

A quick fling with Mr Google revealed more recipes for Shakshuka Eggs than you can poke a spatula at. One thing was clear - nearly every recipe was slightly different highlighting that this is a highly personal and regional dish. I just picked the two easiest looking ones (surprise surprise) with the least ingredients and kind of made a blend of the two. The most important thing of course is to use FREE RANGE EGGS as the lives lived by chickens raised in caged-egg (and even barn raised) systems is just horrible and beyond cruel.

The dish turned out...alright but I couldn't help but compare it to the baked eggs that my favourite cafe, Circa Espresso make. Their eggs have a much more rich + spicy flavour which I think is partially due to the addition of Sujak (spicy lamb sausage). I can easily overcome this next time by adding more smoked paprika + chilli. I also spent so long photographing my finished dish that the egg yolks went hard...noooo! I also got in a bit of strife with The Boy as I used his favourite non-stick pan that I then proceeded to eat out of with a metal fork. Oops - sorry!

Nevermind, a good handful of homegrown parsley covered up the overcooked eggs and any scratches The Boy thinks I may have made in the pan.

You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog. Visit the Meat Free Website to find out more about the campaign (and for some good reasons why we should ALL considering reducing our meat intake).

Please sponsor me for Meat Free Week here...thanks peeps.


  1. Good luck this week Mel, I'm sure you'll find it a breeze! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the kitchen this week

  2. Your tomatoes look fantastic! And mm, baked eggs are so delicious... Haha the things we have to suffer for photographs as food bloggers - it would've been awesome if the egg was gooey :D

  3. they look great! maybe circa should take on ur advice and do a vegetarian version!

  4. Look at all those lovely tomatoes! I have four little ones awaiting to ripen at the moment, a rather sorrowful tomatoey harvest from my pots. Chillies however...oodles! A little fiery bite happening in every meal at the moment.

  5. This looks lovely! Though, yes, more smoked paprika is never a bad thing.

  6. Thanks for posting this recipe. I'm pinning them now!

  7. Delicious! You've reminded me to make baked eggs again this weekend. Love them!

    Those currawongs *tsk*! When we lived in a house our tomatoes were stolen by the possums.


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