Not eating any fruit, and especially veg, every day is unfathomable to me. I know I have my parents to thank for that. It might have been simple ‘meat and three veg’ most days, but when I was growing up, we ate healthy, balanced meals every day. And I’m sure you heard this one too: if you’re hungry, have an apple; if you didn’t want an apple, you weren’t hungry enough. Apart from a temporary face-pulling phase at cauliflowers, I ate my veg; and for this I’m very thankful because now it’s just normal for me. The thought that only 6% of the population agrees with me is too freaky and sad for words.
Let’s fast forward to me putting dinner on the table. Choosing the veg is where the pleasure begins – if I’m buying my veg, I’m often wildly seduced by the shiny colours and textures of a beautiful display, be it at a farmers market or a good F&V shop. Sometimes I have a specific recipe I want to try, but usually I buy bags full of the stuff then work out what to do with it (and where to put it) when I get it home.
Lately I’ve had the baked risotto on repeat for my work-day lunches, varying what vegies I top it with. I’m also having a bit of a crush on pumpkins, of any variety. This love has manifested itself in gratins or bakes, topped with crunchy panko crumbs, walnut pieces, and lots of parsley and lemon zest, oh and black pepper, too. Sometimes I add ricotta or sour cream, but if you get a good pumpkin they have built-in creaminess. Just look at it : perfection.
After abandoning them for years, I’ve returned to stir fries: usually with lots of broccoli, cauliflower and red capsicum (another current crush). I’m not the best stir fryer (probably why I gave up on them) and sometimes things stay a bit crunchy (it gives my jaw a work out, I suppose) or sometimes they go a tad too soft. But it’s all good.
Sometimes I haven't got the time of energy to be creative, so I'm happy to steam the veg and plonk it on a bed of rice, or quinoa, or some pasta. A generous spoonful of rich home-made pasta sauce (more veg) or simply a zippy squeeze of lemon and some parsley and I'm done - because when the veg are this gorgeous, simplicity is all you need, don't you agree?
That’s why I can’t understand those scary stats. Fresh produce, especially when it’s in season, is not expensive. Frozen peas aren’t expensive. But even if they are, a bag of broccoli and hand of bananas is cheaper than a visit to the doctors, as mum says. And honestly, I am flummoxed when I read people say vegies are hard to prepare. A bombe Alaska is hard to make. Stir fried broccoli is not.