Vegetarian steak and chips, vegan with a tweak, and it’s not made with soy meat substitute. Roasted slices of celeriac root with oven roasted sweet potato chips beat those meatless meat alternatives by a mile.
Let’s make things clear: I’m not a vegetarian, let alone vegan. I wholly approve of refusals to eat meat on ethical grounds if you so choose, and I try to eat only organic and free range animals as much as I can.
I do not approve of veganism which I consider extreme, overblown and irate. Milking or laying eggs doesn’t harm animals if, again, they live in humane conditions. I’m ready to protest against battery farms, but not at all keen on letting all the pigs perish at large.
It's not meat if it's a substitute
I don’t think much of the various meat substitutes. Any food substitute is only ever that: ersatz, fake, mock, pretend. I’d rather not eat cake at all than cake with no sugar. I’d rather not eat cheese than tell myself the LactoFree concoction of soy, agar, cashews and tapioca tastes just like ripe Parmegiano Reggiano.
Tofu is all right but you can season it fantastically yourself when adding to stir fries and such; looking for tofu sausages and burgers is admitting you’re bored of your meatless diet. Plus the fact that those products are processed to oblivion makes them highly questionable healthwise; think salt, think sugar.
Just go without if it's your choice
I have a good friend, veggie of more years than she’d care for me to admit, who simply chooses to omit meat-related dishes from her fare. She eats tonnes of vegetables, more pasta that you’d think possible, bread and omelettes and rice.
She never resorts to Quorns or Tofurky (WTW?); she just does what she chose to do all those years ago: go without. I respect her boundlessly.
Plant based, little processed
So what’s the thing with celeriac steak, you may ask? Simply, I wanted to take a plant based ingredient, little processed, free from animal protein and cook it into a nice dish.
Celeriac came to my mind on the wave of the current trend – naturally – for the vegetable baked whole or salt baked served in fancy restaurants. I thought it would play well sliced, and it does; and I thought roasting it would be better than frying (plants = healthy; fried plants = not healthy).
Without question, it’s delicious, my ‘steak’ with ‘chips’. Mushrooms add texture and protein and anyway you can’t possibly have steak, or even ‘steak’ without mushrooms. I enjoyed it hugely. Now get me some pork scratchings.