My Favourite Recipes to Make on Meat Free Monday! | #ThisGirlEats

With more focus than ever before on the negative impact of animal agriculture on our planet, as well as the ongoing fight from vegetarians and vegans against animal cruelty and the recent obesity crisis, eating meat is a real hot topic right now.

Should we? Shouldn’t we? We’ve all got our own ideas. I haven’t made the jump to full-time veggie (yet!) but my consumption of animal products has DRASTICALLY reduced in the past year or so. I’d say my diet is easily 80% vegetarian.

The benefits of eating fewer animal products are obvious; even if you don’t feel able to give up meat altogether, experts say just cutting down and limiting our consumption of meat or dairy would make a huge difference, hence the soaring popularity of ‘Meat Free Monday’. If all of us whose diets are based primarily around meat gave it up for just one day a week, we could do wonders for the environment.

Not eating meat for one day? That’s SO EASY!” Well, not for everyone. It can be a dramatic lifestyle change and quite daunting to start with. I post a lot of veggie recipes on here, so I’ve collected up five of my personal favourites to share with you and hopefully give you some inspiration for your next ‘Meat Free Monday’!

Philly Cheese “Steaks” & Sweet Potato Fries

I’ll be honest, when I came up with this recipe I didn’t expect it to be all that. I mean, aubergine instead of steak? Not quite the same, is it? But I’m really not kidding when I say this dish blew me away. The cheese sauce is rich, sticky and gooey (but very quick and basic to make) and the aubergine slices are loaded with mushroom, onion and peppers until the roll is fit to burst. Chuck some sweet potato fries on the side and you’ve got a veggie version of a true American classic.

Vegan Chilli Dogs

I could eat these every single day; even thinking about them has me salivating! 🤤 Linda McCartney’s vegan sausages are my favourites to use for this one because they’re so tasty (the first time I ate them I genuinely couldn’t taste the difference!) but any’ll do. It’s messy, fun family food bursting with flavours of paprika, cumin, cinnamon, chilli and chock-full of veggies, beans and all kinds of goodness. Who says not eating meat means missing out?!



Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

The ultimate cosy comfort food, pasta bakes are like hugs in an ovenproof dish. This one is oozing with layers of stringy, melty cheese and loaded with chunks of vegetables. Using seasonal veg is a brilliant way to create fresh, versatile vegetarian meals, and seeing what your local grocery store has to offer can be beneficial to your budget too. Ready meals might be two-minute microwave wonders (which we all need sometimes!) but if you’ve got the time, nothing compares to big bowl of homemade pasta straight from the oven. Mmm…

Red Lentil Spaghetti “Bolognese”

This recipe is one of my favourite foods to snuggle up with on a cold winter evening or a lazy Sunday afternoon, coupled with a few slices of garlic bread and followed up with a nice cup of tea. Lentils are a great, low-cost way to bulk up veggie meals and, along with tinned tomatoes, a couple of mushrooms, a handful of frozen sweetcorn and a stock cube, you can fix up a delicious, hearty pasta dish.

Five Bean Chilli

There was a time when I thought I could never live without my favourite dinner, chilli con carne. Turns out, I don’t have to! Substituting the meat with a heap of beans (as well as the usual ingredients like peppers and onions) tastes just as good and still creates that warm underbelly of gentle, pleasant spice with a robust, full-bodied meal. Also, beans are perfect when watching the pennies as they’re cheap, easily available and keep in the cupboard for ages.



I Gave My Boyfriend a New Recipe to Make By Himself, This is What Happened! | #ThisGirlEats

We like a challenge. Last week, I decided to challenge both myself and my boyfriend. I always cook but, since we started scheduling our entire lives around the World Cup, Andy got home before me and offered to make dinner so no-one was cooking by time the England game started. Which is great, but his idea of cooking generally involves transferring food from the freezer to the oven. You know, fine, but a bit uninspiring.

That’s when I came up with the GENIUS idea – to test run one of my recipes! This was brand new, something totally made up and never tried before. Philly cheese “steaks” made with aubergine and sweet potato fries on the side (find the recipe here) is tricky, I won’t lie. I really did throw him in at the deep end!

evil laugh gif

I left the ingredients and a very detailed recipe, but didn’t want to make things too easy with hints of “Maybe you should do it this way…” I just sat on the sofa quietly and waited. That was my challenge!

And you know what? He only went and bloody did it! It went really well, too. I’m actually incredibly proud of how he pulled it off, he made everything as it should be and it tasted amazing!

It just goes to show that a-n-y-o-n-e can cook. As long as you’ve got ingredients and a recipe to follow it doesn’t matter about the bumps along the way, something messy and delicious and wonderful can still come out of it. If my boyfriend can do it, so can you!

But just to prove that it doesn’t always go perfectly, here are just a few of the more stressful moments from Andy’s time in the kitchen…

“Does aubergine go bad if you cut it and then leave it out? Like avocado?” – good question! No idea tbh.
“What consistency am I looking for here?” – it’s sauce, babe. It’s meant to be the consistency of.. sauce.
“Mate, it’s REALLY hot in here.” – I say this all the time, it’s now fully appreciated just how bloody hot our kitchen gets.
“This is crazy, I’m trying to get ready and cook everything at the same time!” – literally every. day. of. my. life. Get used to it hun.

Recipe:  Veggie Philly Cheese “Steaks” with Sweet Potato Fries


Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival | #ThisGirlEats

I’m so happy summer is finally here ☀️ We’re still getting the odd thunderstorm but, c’mon, this is England, what do you expect?! The fact that the weather is staying warm and the sun is showing its face is enough for me!

This time of year makes us want to get out there (especially when, like me, you haven’t got a garden!). Sitting indoors watching telly seems a waste, but “doing stuff” often costs money and the summer can leave you really strapped for cash. When something free pops up on your doorstep you should make the most of it, and that’s what we did with this local food festival!


The Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival, held on the waterfront, welcomed visitors across the May bank holiday weekend. From fairground rides to old-timey bands, there really was something for everyone, but the real heart of the festival was, of course, the food. For a free – yes, free – festival, it definitely didn’t disappoint! It was, for a foodie like myself, a haven of unique stalls, “try before you buy” tasters and plenty of places to stop for lunch. We tried a few different stands that I’d love to give a little shout-out to (but I really could’ve tried a little bit of everything!).

The Cosy Eskimo
We liked this one so much we visited twice! Our first pitstop was a milkshake which my partner’s son had his eye on, and when we asked what he wanted for lunch an hour later, he wanted more of The Cosy Eskimo – this time, for their mouth-watering bubble waffles stuffed with Nutella and fresh banana. The women working the stand were so friendly and chatty, despite the hot weather, and I’d definitely recommend visiting The Cosy Eskimo if you’ve got a sweet tooth – but get there quick, because this was one of the busiest stalls of the day!


The Larder
Don’t get me wrong, everything smelt and looked divine, but I wanted something different, something I wouldn’t usually choose. I don’t eat steak, like literally never, ever, but there was just something about the Philly cheesesteaks on offer from The Larder that tempted me. Perhaps it was the ginormous gherkin on top, who knows?! Tender steak, gooey cheese and sharp pickle, with loads of extra toppings on the menu – although I got messy enough with what I had! Totally delicious, a real hands-on affair.


Spanish Homemade Paella
My boyfriend was torn between Greek souvlaki and Spanish paella for AGES, both reminding him of holidays far, far away from Chatham! Eventually, after some pain-staking decision-making, he opted for the Spanish Homemade Paella – and what a choice! Affordable for a festival, they served up a huge dish of paella with succulent chicken, a crazy variety of seafood stirred through smooth rice. Not only was it really, truly yummy, but filling too – a brilliant choice as something that tastes authentic and won’t break the bank.


The Kent Cider Company
Let’s be honest, you had me at cider. The Kent Cider Company was, for me, the stand-out bar of the festival. It was vibrant, friendly and energetic, and had a huge list of ciders to choose from with some weird, wacky, wonderful flavours. We tried a few between us, including pear, mango and rhubarb (the mango was my favourite, zingy and sweet like fruit juice!). They accepted card too – which turned out to be a little dangerous, actually!


We had a really lovely afternoon checking out these stalls and chatting to local businesses about what they do; their passion for food and drink was wonderful. Please, go support small, local businesses if you can – your community always has something to offer!