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Eating Fresh and Alive Foods not 'Fake Meat'

You don't have to eat meat to enjoy soothing aromas and flavour-enriched meals.  I have decided not to use 'fake' processed food that is supposed to replace meat.  I am eating fresh, alive foods with herbs and spices and loving it.  There are enough delicious whole vegetarian foods without having to resort to meat substitutions. Some meat substitutes contain processed ingredients, additives and preservatives Most meat substitutes are highly processed and full of artificial fillers, preservatives and additives. Many are made from soy protein isolate, wheat gluten and other textured vegetable proteins, but also questionable ingredients that help gel and mold them into meat-like shapes.

Rachel Berman, R.D., author of Boosting Your Metabolism for Dummies and health editor at About.com, says to read the box before buying. “Be wary of a long ingredient list,” she says. “The more it has, the more likely there are additives and preservatives in there to stabilize the food, add flavour, or change its consistency.”

I love going to the Albany's Farmers Markets every Saturday morning where local producers sell their fresh and seasonal produce.  The quality and range is amazing with every kind of imaginable type of fruit and vegetables in season.

This week I made a lentil, mushroom and spinach strudel.  It was so good, I was glad there were leftovers.  

4 Tbsp olive oil

6 large mushrooms, chopped into small pieces Use a variety of mushrooms for richer flavour.

1 400g brown lentils, washed and drained (buy fresh and cook your own or use canned)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Small onion finely chopped

4 or 5 cups fresh roughly chopped English or baby spinach

6 to 8 sundried tomato halves

1 tsp hot curry powder

¼ tsp coriander seeds

salt to taste (don’t omit)

the zest of a small lemon or lime

2 to 3 Tbsp home made tomato paste

1/8 cup water

Puff pastry sheets

Grated cheese

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

METHOD

Fry the mushrooms, onions and garlic in a large frying pan, mixing all the time.  Then, after a few minutes of letting them sweat, add the tomato paste, the curry powder, and the onion powder, and mix. A minute later, add the cooked lentils, and stir.

Add the spinach, and the remaining ingredients.  Cover, and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes – the mixture should be thick, rich and very aromatic.  Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.

Next, place your thawed pastry sheets on a clean, floured surface

Spoon thick spinach and lentil mix onto the pastry sheet, top with cheese then roll up and brush with milk and beaten egg.

Cook in hot oven until pastry is golden brown.  Serve with fresh rosemary on a bed of spinach and rocket mix.