The New Flexitarianism brought to you by ‘Three Veg and Meat’

Flip the balance on your plate.

Three Veg and Meat

At the launch of Olivia Andrew’s latest cookbook – Three Veg and Meat – held at Marley Spoon Australia’s headquarters in Sydney last week, we were introduced to the ‘3VM’ concept, taking the traditional phrase of “meat and three veg” and turning it around to provide a modern interpretation which “flips the balance on your plate” – making vegetables the hero without excluding meat entirely from your diet. 

Olivia’s role as Culinary Director for Marley Spoon has not only given her the opportunity to create nutritionally balanced recipes for Australians to enjoy every day but has also provided her with valuable insights into the flavours we enjoy and what we “really want to eat”.

The recipes certainly make vegetables the star and when meat is included Olivia encourages quality over quantity, as she does when she incorporates dairy, using “just enough of the real thing to retain the character of a dish”.  Sugar is also minimised by “drawing on the natural sweetness of fruit and vegetables”.  On the night we were treated to; The New Sausage Roll filled with veggies and only 300gm of minced pork per dozen rolls and each providing 1 serve of veg, low in saturated fat and carbs and dairy free; Cheesy Cauli-Popcorn which won over this usually devout opponent to cauliflower thanks to the light cheese crumb coating with turmeric, garlic and sesame; and a tasty Roasted Tomato Risotto – pictured below in a Brilliant White Chasseur Round French Oven and a version of which is currently available from Marley Spoon, which delivers fresh ingredients and easy recipes to cities on the eastern seaboard.  The recipe can be found under the week of 6th May. Oh, and the Better Chocolate Brownies were deliciously moist thanks to beetroot and zucchini balancing with dark chocolate, walnuts and maple syrup beautifully.

Roasted Tomato Risotto. Image: Three Veg and Meat

We are particularly keen to make some of the cleverly named (thanks to Olivia’s husband, Alistair) retakes on traditional dishes, including;

Bye-nana Bread – which incorporates parsnip and carrot with banana to reduce the carbs and increase the fibre and protein of regular banana bread.

Image: Three Veg and Meat

Butter-nut Chicken – made with pumpkin, but we’ll try it vegetarian style, excluding the chicken entirely.

Image: Three Veg and Meat

Pecan Pumpkin Pie – with vegan shortcrust pastry made with chickpeas and coconut oil.

Image: Three Veg and Meat

Olivia’s introduction in Three Veg and Meat details how food choices made for her as a child have shaped her eating habits throughout her life, as they no doubt have for all of us, and explains how, at a visit to a Swedish primary school four years ago, she witnessed children eating “normal healthy food that adults would eat, and not separate dumbed down menus full of processed unidentifiable things” which led one year later to her wanting to give her first child “the best possible start in life”

Motherhood has had a strong influence on Three Veg and Meat with her daughter Harriet being her “true inspiration (and kick-arse food critic)”!  Back at the event Olivia questioned “Why we dumb down our kid’s meals” and though it can be “difficult to keep junk food out of our lives including our homes” she was most surprised when she discovered a child care facility forbade all fruit and vegetables as afternoon snacks, “but Jatz crackers were ok”.  Now Olivia wants to “give kids the best possible renditions of our favourite meals” and Three Veg and Meat delivers – along with the healthier versions of popcorn and sausage rolls mentioned above, The Corn Dogs to be Proud Of are a cool kids party snack made with baby carrots instead of hot dogs!

The veggie garden scene at the 3VM launch featuring a wall of Kilner® Jars. Image: Scott Gallagher

A lot of creativity has come out of “one small room in the family home” with the ‘Flexitarian’ recipes offered in Three Veg and Meat offering plenty of adaptations meaning 50% can be vegan, 70% dairy free and 65% gluten free.  Olivia also makes it easy to substitute store bought items such as Creamed Corn and Passata with her easy homemade alternatives, listed under “Some Clever Odds and Ends” in chapter five.

At the launch of Three Veg and Meat. Image: Scott Gallagher

Olivia’s other cookbook titles “Whole Food Slow Cooked” and “Healthy Thermo Cooking For Busy Families” also showcase her food philosophy of making healthy eating accessible to everyday cooks.

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