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Meat Free Week – Corn Cakes with Tomato and Avocado Salsa

By Debbie Kertesz - 24th March 2014

This week is the 2nd annual Meat Free Week and my lovely husband – a staunch carnivore – has volunteered to take the challenge and forgo flesh for a full seven days. While I’m doubtful that he’ll decide to become a full-time vegetarian after a week without meat, I do hope he will come to realize that you can eat well and still enjoy delicious, satisfying food when consuming a plant-based diet.

Meat Free Week aims to raise awareness about how much meat Australians eat and the impact eating too much has on our health, the environment and animal welfare. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australians eat meat at three times the world average  and double the amount recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The goal is to encourage us to eat less animal products and make better choices, that is, choose quality over quantity.

Health
While eating meat in itself is not unhealthy, eating too much meat is a risk factor for diseases, such as certain cancers, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The type of meat you consume also makes a difference. Meat from animals raised on pasture (including organic and true free range meat) is lower in total fat and kilojoules, higher in healthy fats and certain beneficial vitamins, and doesn’t contain synthetic hormones or antibiotics.

Environment
Livestock production accounts for a large portion of our ecological footprint. It is an incredibly resource-intensive industry, requiring large amounts of water, land and fossil fuels. It is also responsible for around 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. Large-scale factory farming is particularly bad for our environment due to the pollution it causes to surrounding air and waterways.

Animal Welfare
Many millions of animals are raised for food each year in Australia and unfortunately most of these, especially chickens and pigs, are in factory farms, where they live their short lives in cramped conditions, subjected to painful mutilations and unable to exhibit their normal behaviours.

Organic and Free Range Choices
The good news is that there are alternatives choices in favour of health, environment and animal welfare. By choosing organic and true free range meat and animal products, you can make a huge difference to the lives of animals raised for our food. Animals raised according to organic and free range principles are not confined in cages, must have access to the outdoors, are not subject to painful procedures (and if they are, analgesia and pain relief must be used) and are able to behave as nature intended.

A Recipe for Meat Free Week 24-30 March2014
To make my husband’s experience of Meat Free Week as pleasant and as positive as possible, I’ve been busy planning our menu of meat-free meals. While I’m not expecting my three kids to go the entire week without meat, I am planning on going meat-free for the entire family on at least a few days to avoid spending the entire day in the kitchen. Here is one of my recipes for the week:

A Recipe for Meat Free Week 24-30 March2014
To make my husband’s experience of Meat Free Week as pleasant and as positive as possible, I’ve been busy planning our menu of meat-free meals. While I’m not expecting my three kids to go the entire week without meat, I am planning on going meat-free for the entire family on at least a few days to avoid spending the entire day in the kitchen. Here is one of my recipes for the week:

Corn Cakes served with Tomato and Avocado Salsa, Sweet Chilli Sauce and Yoghurt (Serves 4)

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Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 organic/free range eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups corn kernels cut from the cob
¼ cup spring onions (white part only), sliced
oil for frying (I use grapeseed)

For the salsa
4 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
½ red onion, chopped finely
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet chilli sauce and Greek style yoghurt to serve

Method
For the corn cakes: Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs and milk and whisk until combined. Then add corn and spring onions and mix again.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add two tablespoons of mixture for each fritter. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

For the salsa: Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

Serve the corn cakes with some salsa and a dollop each of the sweet chilli sauce and yoghurt.

So, are you up for the Meat Free Week challenge? I’ll be sharing my husband’s experiences over on the Consume with Care website, so please check it out if you’re interested and as always, I encourage you to please consume with care!

Image by Gavin Tapp under Creative Commons Attribution Licence

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