Share your ideas for a vegetarian Christmas dinner.
Leek And Damson Jewelled Star
My Christmas dinner is cooking and so I thought I would share with you my recipe for this year which I designed to cater not just for most of my family who are vegetarian, but also for my daughter who is a vegan. My son is not a fan of nuts so the traditional nut roast is not an option, but I wanted something that was quick to prepare but also something that really looked festive, and so I came up with my recipe for Christmas Day lunch- Leek and Damson Jewelled Stars!
It is so simple to make but it looks amazing so here is the recipe.
Leek and Damson Jewelled Star (serves 4 but you can increase the quantities to serve many more)
Several leeks - for 4 people choose 4 or 5
Olive oil for frying
A large handful of mixed fruit- I use Nature's Best "Berries, Cherries and Raisins." ( from the supplement and whole food company online at Nature's Best. These are a gorgeous festive mix of cranberries morello cherries golden lexia raisins and blueberries, (www.naturesbest.co.uk)
1 large tin of organic butter beans drained
A large handful of frozen cranberries
4 tablespoons of Damson chutney (Hawkshead sell this on Amazon or you can buy it at M&S)
Some fresh puff pastry. (I buy this fresh from the supermarket)
All you do is fry the leeks in olive oil for a few minutes and then add the other ingredients and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes while you make pastry stars from the puff pastry sheets. These are so easy to do as you just make a template from cardboard, and use as a guide to cut out the pastry. I like to make small ones to fit each serving of the dish as also this allows my daughter not to have the star as she doesn't eat pastry.
I like to serve this meal with boiled new potatoes that I have grown myself and just harvested on Christmas morning, and some mulled wine that I make in my slow cooker. You can add sprouts if you like and any other vegetables of your choice on the side.
This recipe has been on the menu a lot recently in our house as it is just so simple to make and it looks so festive with all the dried fruit in jewelled colours. It is also so quick to prepare that it doesn't take all day working in the kitchen but yet it still looks like you have made something festive.
The damson chutney adds such a lovely spicy rich flavour and imparts just enough moisture to the dish to make it perfect to sit under the pastry canopy. The beans add the protein element and the frozen cranberries can be added straight from the freezer as they cook beautifully in the mix in the 20 minute period.
This is a lovely winter dish for dark cold evenings and a perfect vegetarian festive lunch for Christmas day. It is a really easy recipe for anyone to make and so easy too if you have just one vegetarian in the family- you might even find it popular with turkey lovers too!
Cooking a vegetarian Christmas dinner does not need to be difficult. It is really just like your meat Christmas dinner but with one or two substitutes.
The vegetables that you would cook for the meat eaters need not change if you are boiling or steaming, if you plan on roasting vegetables along with your potatoes eg parsnips then make sure you use vegetable oil. The gravy can be vegetable granuals or now bisto gravy powder is vegetarian, but obviously granules are easier as you just add hot water and this gravy is tasty. You can buy a turkey style roast from health shops particularly Holland & Barratt but lots of supermarkets do vegetarian roasts of some sort. Nut roasts always seem to be sold that you can make yourself by just adding water. But the turkey style roasts make a nice change and make the meal more like a Christmas dinner.
If you plan on making soup for starters then make a vegetable soup or vegetable and lentil, and tomato soup always goes down well. If you prefer something like chicken and vegetable soup then just adapt some slightly and cook in another pan. But if you use quorn and vegetables, some tomato peseta and vegetarian gravy granules. You can blend it as long as you have used tasty vegetables or added some onion and pepper it will taste lovely. A tip - if it is too thick once it has been blended then add some milk. This kind of soup can be served to both meat eaters and non meat eaters so you don't have to do two lots of starters and it cuts down on the stress of doing two lots.
If you want to serve the traditional Christmas pudding and want a shop bought one then check the ingredients to make sure it is suitable for vegetarians and the same goes for mince pies.
A Christmas dinner doesn't have to be difficult if you are cooking for vegetarians as long as you use easy substitutes like shop bought vegetarian roasts. They must be cooked on a shelf where no meat products will drip any juices on to them, but they can be cooked at the same time. So to cook a Christmas dinner for a vegetarian there is very little difference and only minor adjustments to be made.
first time id made a nut roast...a bit dubious but was totally delicious! :)I had to use a rolling pin to crush the nuts and some of them were still quite bit, but i think it added to the flavour :)
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a decent roast dinner. I'm sure everyone would agree!! So, why at the college dinner were we offered mushroom risotto, why at the work do was I given stuffed peppers? Not a roast potato in sight! My home Christmas dinner will be different. 3 years ago a friend passed on the recipie for a nut roast to die for, I've used it every year since... Ingredients: 1 Large Onion 1oz wholemeal flour 1/4 pint veggie stock 1 teaspoon of yeast extract (eg marmite) Dash of soy sauce 2 chopped tomatoes 6oz Brazil nuts 2oz seasame seeds (or 8oz of chopped mixed nuts) 3oz wholemeal breadcrumbs 1oz rolled oats Level teaspoon dried mixed herbs 2 tbsp chopped parsley )optional) Method: 1. Gently fry onions for 5 minutes 2. Stir in wholemeal flour 3. Add veggie stock, yeast extract and soy sauce. Stir until thickens. 4. Put into bowl with tomatoes, oats, breadcrumbs, nuts, herbs, and parsley. Mix well. 5. Spoon into well oiled (or lined) 1lb loaf tin. 6. Cook for 35-40 minutes at 190C or Gas mark 5. 7. Turn out and leave for a few minutes before slicing. Serve with roast potatoes (maybe cooked with lemon and rosemary), veggies (of your own selection) and gravy or mushroom sauce. It is yummy. It has great texture, great taste and is THE best alternative to meat at Christmas. It's also very nutritious and very healthy! The only problem is that it's crumbly. Make sure you let it stand after it's taken out of the oven. Meat eaters try this too!!!!!
I have been a vegetarian for five years and I managed to tame the meat-eaters in my family. At first they started moping when I said I would cook a vegetarian Christmas Dinner. But my mum couldn't be bothered to cook the traditional goose (Germany) and so she gave in. I made a nut roast in puff pastry with vegetarian gravy, sprouts, carrots, cranberry sauce etc. They were all quite happy with that and this year they even asked me to make a nut roast. It's funny that people always seem to think vegetarians do nothing but nibble on carrots and have quorn and tofu day in day out. Actually there are many interesting meat-free recipes (check out some of the vegetarian sites on the internet for example). I'll probably have to add that I'm ovo-lacto (that is I eat dairy products and eggs), I would find it very hard to go vegan. Because it's rather tiresome to be a veggie over here I sometimes even eat fish and on rare occasions chicken (like if you're in a restaurant and don't want to be the spoilsport of the day complaining that they don't have ANYTHING vegetarian and don't want a salad either). It must be even worse in France, my friend tells me... Anyhow, here goes my recipe for a veggie xmas dinner: Veggie Christmas Dinner Menu: Starter Mangetout Salad with Walnuts Main Course Nutroast in Puff Pastry, Lemony Sprouts, Glazed Carrots, Vegetarian Gravy, Cranberry Sauce Dessert Christmas Pudding, Brandy Butter Mangetout Salad with Walnuts preparation: 20 mins, serves 8 2 Oranges 2 Grapefruit 125 g mangetouts 75g rucola salad some lettuce 1 cucumber 40 g chopped walnuts dressing: 2 tblsp walnut
oil 2 tblsp salad oil 2 tblsp vinegar 2 tblsp sweet bavarian mustard (or ordinary mustard) 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce 1 Peel oranges and grapefruit and remove white skins. Filet fruit and remove seeds. Pour boiling water over mangetouts and leave for 2 minutes, take them out and dip them in ice water. Dry them off with a kitchen towel. Mix fruit, mangetout, rucola, lettuce, cucumber and nuts in a bowl. 2 Dressing: Mix all ingredients with a whisk. 3 Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Nutroast in Puff Pastry serves: 8 450g frozen puff pastry 1 egg, beaten for the nutroast: 2 big onions 50g butter 500g Brasil nuts, finely ground 250g fresh bread crumbs 1/2 teasp. dried thyme 3 tblsp lemon juice 2 eggs some nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to taste salt and black pepper for the filling: 250g fresh bread crumbs 25g parsley, chopped some lemon peel 1 tblsp lemon juice 1 teasp of each dried thyme and marjoran 1 tblsp grated onion 75g butter 1 Preheat oven to 200 celsius. 2 For the nutroast, cook onions in the butter for 10 minutes until soft (not brown!) 3 Take off the cooker and add the remaining nutroast ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. 4 Prepare the filling by mixing all ingredients
until you get a soft doughlike mass. season. 5 With a rolling pin roll out the pastry to make a 30 x 35 cm rectangle. 6 Shape the filling into a 25cm long roll and place in the middle of the pastry. Put the nutroast mass on top of that until the filling is covered. 7 Now take the edges of the pastry and fold them up so that the nutroast mixture is covered, press edges together, then turn nutroast around and place on a damp baking tray ("seam" down). Make some crosswise cuts on top of the pastry. 8 Make one or two steamholes into the roast and decorate with rests of pastry or brush some egg on top. Bake for 30 mins until crisp. Lemony Sprouts cooked sprouts some almonds, peeled and very thinly sliced juice and grated peel of 1 lemon 1 Heat frying pan and roast almonds in a bit of butter, add lemon juice and peel and then add cooked sprouts. Glazed Carrots 1 kg carrots, peeled and sliced or cut into julienne 25g butter salt and black pepper 2 tablesp. sugar or light brown cane sugar some chopped parsley to garnish 1 Put carrots in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. 2 Put a lid on the pan but leave a gap. Simmer for 8-15 minutes until just soft. 3 Strain carrots and put them back into pan and add butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now cook at low heat until
the butter has melted, shake the pan so that the butter gets everywhere. 4 Add sugar and stir carefully until sugar is melted and the carrots become shiny. Garnish wih parsley and serve. Vegetarian Gravy 1 chopped onion 2 tablespoons cooking oil 2 tablespoons flour 1 garlic clove, crushed 1/2 l dark vegetable stock 1 teasp. marmite (yeast extract) 1-2 tablespoons dark soy sauce salt and black pepper 1 Fry onion in a medium sized saucepan for five minutes, add 2 Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. 3 Strain into a clean saucepan, add yeast extract, soy sauce, salt and pepper and mix well. Christmas Pudding with brandy butter 250g soft butter or margarine 175g light brown cane sugar 2 eggs, beaten 100g whole wheat flour 1/2 teasp. each salt, nutmeg, ginger 1 1/2 teasp. mixed spice 50g ground almonds 75g grated carrots 100g each dried currants, sultanas, raisins and chopped candied peel 50g blanched almonds, chopped 100g fresh bread crumbs peel and juice of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon treacle or molasses approx. 4 tablesp. water or water with rum butter to grease mould 4 tablesp. brandy to flambé some holly leaves (or twigs) to decorate serve with brandy butter (see below) 1 Grease a pud
ding mould (approx. 2 - 2 1/2 pints) and prepare a saucepan the mould fits into. 2 Cream butter and sugar using an electric whisk, add eggs one by one. 3 Sift flour and spices on top of the mixture. 4 Add remaining ingredients and add enough water (or water-rum-mixture) to make a soft batter. 5 Pour into pudding mould and cover with folded, greased baking paper and al foil and tie some yarn around. 6 Set mould into saucepan with just enough water that it reaches halfway to the rim of the mould. 7 Bring water to a boil, put a lid on the saucepan and steam pudding for 4 hrs at medium heat. Check the water level in the pan from time to time and add boiling water if necessary. 8 Take pudding out of the saucepan and let it cool, then store in a coll, dry place. Steam again for 3 hrs before serving, then remove foil, turn pudding out onto a serving plate, decorate with holly, flambé with brandy and serve with brandy butter. Brandy Butter 100g butter 100g light brown cane sugar 2 tablespoons brandy 1 Cream Butter and sugar and slowly add brandy. 2 Put mixture on a serving plate (or in a small bowl) and refrigerate. Guten Appetit! (as we germs say...) ;-)
I have been a vegetarian for almost 14 years now, so the problem of what to cook on Christmas Day no longer really exists. Our Christmas dinner is now just as traditional a part of our festive season as a turkey dinner used to be in my childhood. We don't tend to have a starter, as we enjoy a nice big main meal. For this, we have some kind of a nut roast. I do cheat here and buy a powdered one - sometimes a mushroom bake or lentil bake, but usually just a nut roast will do. These are available in most food shops nowadays, but we usually buy ours from Asda or Holland and Barrett. Then we cook fresh vegetables, such as brussel sprouts, carrots and so on, not forgetting roast potatoes and baked onion. We buy a packet of stuffing, something like sage and onion, again from Asda. Then we buy vegetarian gravy granules from Asda (You can tell where we shop, can't you !) and the meal is lovely, believe me ! We tend to have a Christmas pudding for dessert, then go off to the in-laws' house for more food later, where hubby can get his meat fix - being the only one in our house that isn't a vegetarian ! He still enjoys his veggie Christmas dinner though, which is a compliment.
Lots of vegetarians are good cooks and like to try new recipes. Well, this is a luscious mincemeat recipe using vegetable suet which is widely available. Once you've made it, you will realise that homemade mincemeat is so easy (albeit time consuming!). Your visitors will be wowed by this - I promise! Cherry and Apricot Mincemeat Ingredients: 1lb Bramley apples washed, cored and quartered but no need to peel 8oz vegetable suet 12oz sultanas 8oz glace cherries quartered 12oz apricots snipped into small pieces with scissors 4oz mixed peel Rind and juice of two oranges 12oz soft light brown sugar 2oz flaked almonds 2tsp cinnamon 1tsp allspice 3tbsp alcohol (cherry brandy, apricot brandy, whisky, ordinary brandy) Method: Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl, stirring them together and mixing them very thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or clingfilm and leave overnight in a cool place, to absorb the alcohol and blend the flavours. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees centigrade (225 degrees Fahrenheit), scrape the mincemeat and all its lovely alcoholic juices into a large, fairly shallow heatproof container (I use the large enamelled roasting tin that came with our oven - it's about 16" x 12"and 3" deep) - enamelled, stainless steel or glass, for example. Loosely cover with foil and place in the oven for three hours. Don't forget to stir occasionally. The suet will melt and the mincemeat will appear to be swimming in liquid. After three hours, the ingredients will be softened and glossy. Remove the container from the oven and allow to cool slowly. Again remember to stir from time to time as it cools. The fat will coat the other ingredients which should prevent fermentation and mould. When it is quite cold, you can add two or three extra tablespoons of alcohol of your choice for extra 'kick' and mix well into the
mincemeat. Then it should be packed into clean dry jars, covered with waxed jam jar circles and sealed lids. I do a few jars for presents and make them pretty with coloured paper 'hats' and silver or gold string. If you make vegetarian mincemeat using vegetarian suet, you will find it is a real treat for the vegetarians and vegans in your life :) (But you can just as easily make 'ordinary' mincemeat using standard suet if you are not vegetarian). The rest just goes straight into a large plastic container and lives in the fridge, so I can dip into it as I make batches of mince pies over the Christmas and New Year holiday. Tip when making mince pies: I feel that a pastry bottom AND a pastry top is often too much for the amount of mincemeat inside. I prefer to make open mince pies and top each with a little pastry shape - tiny metal aspic cutters are great for this purpose. (My set came in a round metal tin and comprises various hearts, stars, diamonds etc which are perfect for sitting on top of an open mince pie). Besides, cherry and apricot mincemeat is so pretty with its red and orange colours that it seems a shame to hide it under a pastry lid. This way the mince pie isn't so stodgy and looks really attractive. You can also use a different shape to denote a different sort of mincemeat - I usually have cherry & apricot, lemon & ginger, and traditional mincemeat in the tin at the same time and this way you can always be sure of choosing your favourite :) It will, apparently keep in a cool dark cupboard indefinitely (one jar might make it through to the summer, if you're lucky, for an unexpected treat!) but it is best eaten within a year of making. Enjoy!
Except for a slight accident at Iceland when I bought (and ate part of) a meat lasagne instead of the veggie one I was after, I've not eaten meat (or animal products) for three years, and it's not difficult finding and creating lots of veggie meals, but meat eaters seems to have a very big hang-up about what to cook people who are vegetarian, and my parents have got to be worse than most. They are always completely baffled about whay they can cook for me instead of the obligatory turkey. They usually end up doing a quorn casserole for me, bizarrely enough Coleman's Chicken Casserole mix is vegetarian so it's easy for them to cook. As it happens it tastes very nice and the only time I eat Qourn casserole is at my parents, so I son't mind, but cooking veggie is not a big deal, it just needs a little bit of thought. Like some of the other people who have written opinions, I too have suffered from the old lack of stuffing and roast potatoes as they've been cooked with the turkey juices, but I've jut about got my family trained now and usually get a full meal, including veggie gravy and even a veggie proof trifle (my mum makes a wonderful trifle, so I provide her with some gelatine free jelly prior to Christmas so I don't miss out!) But back to the point, cooking for veggies is not difficult, you just need to think a little bit. As mentioned, cook some or all of the roast potatoes in vegetable fat in a separate tin, cook some stuffing separately, get some veggie gravy in, instant is usually fine. And check with the vegetarian what they want to eat. Personaly I'm happy with a great big plate of vegetables, contrary to popular belief the meal doesn't have to have some meat or a substitute on the plate to make it nice! I'm one of those veggies that quite like the meat substitutes, like quorn grills or chicken style roasts, some veggies don't like them but there are loads of things ou can do instead. I'm not going to go into recipes, usually cos'
I make it up as I go along, but just check out a cook book for loads of ideas such as stuffed peppers, quiches etc. etc. Puddings are another fall-down in some meals, a lot of them have gelatine or meat suet in them. Check the label for the vegetarian sign, and if you're making it yourself just be careful with the ingredients. Personally I don't like to make a fuss and I'm quite happy to bring something myself to make sure my host doesn't have any extra work, or I'll do without, with my family I've got used to it (that's a bit harsh they do try!) So just think a little, it's easy if you try!
Every year since i turned veggie 13 years ago, my parents have made an effort to make pretty much all side dishes with christmas dinner be vegetarian, and so the only thing I miss out on is the turkey itself(which I was never all that keen on - I never understood why anyone would want turkey when chicken was cheaper and tasted better, but that is another story) - this was basically limited to not cooking the roast potatoes in with the turkey fat, and making sure that the stuffing didn't contain suet or animal fat and some of it was cooked away from the bird. To fill the obvious hole in my plate we've tried various things. My personal favourite was always the Sainsburys quorn and vegetable chicken-style or steak-style pie. Obviously this won't suit veggies who are doing it because they don't like the taste of meat! But last year, horror of horror, my mum _forgot_ to buy me anything!And worse, it wasn't just me this time, my little brother has also joined me on the veggie-wagon. And if matters could be made anyworse, we didn't realise until only an hour or two before lunch was due. So ... grabbed some left over puff pastry (ready-made obv - not that much of a masocist yet) from making mince pies the previous night and line some mince-pie tins, then chopped some mushrooms and veggie sausages that weren't used at breakfast into a pan with a litle melted butter ... saute with an onion and a handful of random veg taken from the cooker ... crumble in some fake-bacon ... add a little water and leave to simmer. After a few minutes, thicken with vegetable gravy powder (I like the Sainsburys one, but green-bisto works, too), spoon into the pies, add a lid, then bake above the turkey (not where it will be dripped on!).After that little emergency, my brother said it was the best Christmas lunch he's had :-)
Last year was my first christmas as a veggie and I was paranoid about making life harder for mum. Part of this is because even before becoming veggie in my second year at uni I was quite a fussy person. I never liked fish and am not too keen on raisons and stuff. This means in christmas past I have never eaten our family starters (salmon or gravalax or something), prefering a simple blue cheese salad or something instead. I also don't eat christmas pudding, cake or mince pies. Again I'm more than happy with a bowl of brandy sauce and to go without the others. I could tell though that not eating three courses out of three was going to be somewhat unpopular. Christmas is stressful enough, cooking for us 5 and several grandparents etc. Oven space is at a premium and I really wanted to eat turkey just to be easier for my mum. In the end, mum picked me up some mushroom/filo pastry thing from Marks and Spencer. The excuse to shop for some food there cheered her up no end, and little oven space was ultimately dedicated to me. We have veggie gravy for me in the cupboard already and I used all my culinary know-how to pur the boiling water on this myself and stir. The whole thing was lovely and went with all the trimmings beautifully. I only got the odd wierd look from Grandma, who thinks you should eat anything and should perhaps not express an opinion on food anyway, eat what given or nothing. The only slightly gutting thing was mum got some posh stuffing in Marks. She claims not to have thought about it, but both our stuffings had meat in last year. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, sure this was not petty revenge. Anyway this years dinner has not been mentioned so I assume it was all easy enough and she is perfectly willing to cook me a little something different and hopefully I'll get some stuffing this year. I shall of course be ever helpful and make my own gravy again, I may even make helpfull additions of extra brandy t
o the christmas pudding brandy sauce this year too.
In my house it would probably be Oh Gawd what do we feed the Meatie? Having been a veggie for some time as is my partner and little treasure, I'm often asked the question but what do you actually eat? This question is normally followed by but you eat chicken and fish don't you? Then you get the pitying look, as if to say you'll grow out of it! So what can you feed the Veggie at Christmas, you could do like a relative of mine did, a plate of vegetables with a generous serving of Chicken stock gravy poured over it! Prehaps not! If the veggie likes the taste and texture of the meat alternatives, then you could always serve one of those. Quorn do a number of items, such as breaded fillets, alternative Chicken roasts and my all time favourite the quorn banger! Should you want to be a little bit more adventurous, don't think Veggie lasange! As a Veggie of long standing before resturants took on the idea of doing veggie menu's all I ever ate was good old veggie lasagne! I scream at the thought of it!! These are just a few idea's that could go down well: Mushroom loaf: A simple and tasty dish. It's a spiced up nut loaf dish, which is very easy to make. Basically you need Mushroom (1lb), 1 onion, Grated nuts( 4oz), eg brazil nuts or cashew, breadcrumbs (8oz), 1 egg, 1 tsp of mixed herbs, 1 tblesp olive oil, 1 tsp of yeast extract ( eg marmite), 2 tblesp skimmed milk powder, salt and pepper to taste. To make it peel and chop the onions and mushrooms, fry till tender in the olive oil, about 5 mins should do it. Liquidse onions and mushrooms then add remaining ingredients, season to taste and put in a bread tin. Bake at gas mark 4 for about and hour. Stuffed peppers: these are very simple to make and again very tasty! Basically you'll need a large pepper ( per veggie), slice peppers in half longways, then de-seed. The filling can be practically anything! Ideas inclu
de a soya mince stuffing with tomatoe topped with cheese, or a cooked rice filling with mushrooms, onions etc in. They take about 20 minutes to bake in the oven. Lentil and mushroom burgers: simple to make and very filling! you'll need Mushroom's (1lb), lentils (4oz) - this is there dry weight you'll need to soak and cook them. 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, 2 tspn of parsley, 1/2oz of butter, 1 tblsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to season. To make it you need to peel and chop the onions and mushrooms. Fry onions in oil till tender add mushrooms and garlic, cook for about 20 minutes till all liquid is gone and the mushroms are basically very mushy continue stirring at all times! Take of heat and chuck in the other ingredients, season to taste then roll out mixture into burger shapes, pop in oven for 30 minutes and enjoy! Cheese and onion pie You'll need a packet of puff pastry, one onion, butter to fry with, and loads of mature cheddar chesse ( ok I know this is vague but its my own recipe), pepper to season. To make it roll out pastry on a floored surface, cut to fit a pie dish, put pastry in dish, make sure you have enough to make a pie lid. Fry onions till tender in a knob of butter. take of heat, grate cheese, into onions and mix add to pie dish if it looks abit thin on the ground filling wise keep grating! Add a little ground black pepper and put pastry lid on. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes ( or till pastry is golden) at gas mark 6 Other idea's are to have a range of side dishes which everyone can sample. My Mum does a wonderful chestnut stuffing which can even be eaten by the token meatie around our table! Other side dishes we've had include char grilled vegetables, eg Peppers and courgettes marinaded over night in lemon juice and broccoli and tomatoe bake, You could also try expanding the range of vegetable you actually serve. Winter vegetables like mashed
swede, roasted parsnips and roasted onions all add flavour to any meal. The gravy, please dont serve up a meat based gravy! I love gravy, but not with dead bits in it! There are a wide range of veggie stock powders on the market, oxo even do their own make of veggie cubes. My favourite is by Boursin - you'll find it next to the "normal" stock and gravey products in most supermarkets! Simple to use just like any other gravy powder! But how about spicing it up a bit? My partner does a wonderful mushroom gravy, just by adding a few cooked mushrooms! Puddings and sweet things you'll find nowadays most crimbo pud's are veggie as are mince pies just look for the little veggie logo on the packet! Useful Recipe books Linda McCartney's vegetarian cook book is awash with tips and yummy recipes! Rose Elliot's Complete Vegetarian Cook book contains over a 1000 recipes from starters to puddings and some! The Vegetarian Society's The New Vegetarian cookbook. Again an excellent book with simple and easy recipes. Now all I need are a few recipes and tips to work out what on earth I'm gonna give the meatie for Christmas dinner!
Being somebody who doesn't eat meat, I know it can be a problem to know what to serve as the main course for someone like me at Christmas. Apart from the usual Linda McCartney style meals and things like vegetarian sausages, you can now get a Chicken style vegetarian roast. They stock it in Tesco's but I think you can get it in several supermarkets. As the name suggests this is a roast that is about four inches long and three inches wide. Around the edge of the roast is a protective covering which you keep on while it cooks for about 45 minutes. When it is cooked you can cut away the outside which then leaves a roast that can be sliced in the same way as Turkey or Chicken. The "meat" tastes a bit like thickly sliced Turkey breast ( I used to eat meat) and if you add vegetarian gravy to it, is an ideal thing to serve for a family that contains one or more vegetarian members. If there is only one person eating it, you will probably find there will be some left the next day as it goes quite a long way. If this is so, this roast is particularly good in sandwiches and I thought I might give it the ultimate test this year and see if it cooks well in a vegetarian curry. Now can somebody please start working on a vegetarian version of Spare Ribs please! Update: Just seen this Quorn roast in Asdas at £2.48 (40p cheaper than I've seen it before)
Being a veggie at Christmas is the perfect excuse to treat yourself! Compare the costs and time involved in going for the full turkey and trimmings, to the fantastic range of specialist vegetables, luxury ingredients and, of course, tasty liquers or wines... and enjoy the difference! Being a veggie can mean looking beyond the turkey as the centrepiece, and preparing a feast to last for days.. here are some of MY favourite things... Nibbles: Instead of crisps, what about bowls of fresh olives from the supermarket or the deli? Pick the most colourful range - red, black, green, with yummy flavourings like garlic or Greek herb... and top the bowls with fresh herbs. Nuts: ok, they're quite fatty but it is Christmas, and they're a great source of protein if you don't eat meat (any excuse). Try macadamias from Australia, which are a lovely golden colour and have the most amazing buttery texture and taste... Italian antipasti: these don't need much preparation but look very special. Slices of aubergine, gorgeous red and orange peppers glistening with olive oil, plus porcini mushrooms... if you're feeling creative, roast the peppers yourself under a hot grill (cut them in half, remove the seeds, brush with as much or as little olive oil as you like, and add quartered red onions - put under a hot grill and turn occasionally - don't be scared of the skins burning because you can then just peel them off, or leave them. Once done, add a dash of balsamic vinegar if you like it, and garnish with herbs or toasted pine nuts). Or cheat and buy from a deli. Breads: I love making bread, and if you're nervous, you can buy the kits which are fun and much better than they used to be - I love the Soda bread ones. If not, buy the half-baked sort, and offer a whole range with all the lovely fillings. Exotic fruits and cheeses: nothing looks more colourful than a big platter with all the fruits you've w
anted to try but never have - even if you don't like them, someone will and they make a pretty garnish (with the exception of Starfruit which I find tasteless!!!!). Combine fresh figs, honey-like medjool dates (worth the extra money), halved passion-fruit, and any others you like, with slabs of cheeses: don't stick to traditional blue Stilton, but try goat's cheeses or the ones with cranberry or nuts mixed in... Chocolate! I remember reading somewhere that chocolate was a fantastic source of iron. That might be rubbish but it's a great excuse to avoid accusations of looking like an anaemic vegetarian! I'm sure the stuff with the highest proportion of cocoa solids must therefore be the healthiest!!! And try coating strawberries or halves of citrus segments in chocolate melted in the microwave - leave the the chocolate to dry on greaseproof paper, then refridgerate till needed. Healthy (well, sort of) and tasty. What about Christmas dinner itself? Just choose your favourite ingredient, and base the meal around that. If it's mushrooms, what about a risotto with fresh parmesan and wine mixed in (Delia does a good recipe for an oven-baked version which avoids stirring for hours). One of my favourites is baked stuffed avocado, which feels festive even though avocados are very cheap. Have a practise first as you can overcook them, but basically cut in half, remove the stone and fill the cavity with cream cheese (Boursin is my favourite) maybe mixed with nuts or something else you like (mushrooms, peppers) and top the whole half pear with grated cheese. Either bake in the oven - they only need 10 minutes or so - or use the microwave... The flesh goes a lovely bright green colour (though if you overcook it goes brown so keep checking it) and the slight blandness really sets off the taste of the filling. Yes, avocados are quite fatty, but the fat they contain is among the healthiest you can get according to nutritioists. And
it is Christmas!!!! To finish off, do as the Italians do, and buy amaretti or other hard biscuits (if you can't find them in a deli, then posh coffee shops like Costa or Seattle Coffee Company do a good range of the nutty ones)and serve them with dessert wine which will make them lovely and soft when dipped... Merry christmas - and all without eating anything that has a face!
I’ve been a vegetarian for well over 3 years now, if your going to cater for a vegetarian this Christmas or any other time in fact, it’s important to understand a little bit about them. Firstly it’s important to make it clear that contrary to some people’s beliefs, proper vegetarians as defined by the official Vegetarian Society DON’T EAT FISH. In a supermarket, no product that contains fish, or any other part of an animal will be marked suitable for vegetarians. Most vegetarians will eat dairy products, although there is a small handful that won’t eat anything that has had any contact with an animal, they are called Vegans. Normally vegetarians will eat eggs, but like me, I will use free range where possible. Before preparing a meal for a vegetarian, it’s best to chat about their requirements. If I’m someone’s guest and I’m offered food, unless I am sure it’s vegetarian, I will politely say “No thanks”, because it’s rude to ask to check the ingredients. You may be surprised what MIGHT contain animal products. Here are just a few examples: chocolates, biscuits, sweets, cheese (can contain animal rennet), crisps (E.g. Walkers cheese and onion flavour), trifle (gelatine is often used in Jelly) Etc. Unless you’re an expert in reading ingredients it’s recommended that you only offer products that have a vegetarian symbol on. As a vegetarian, it’s great to assured of this before getting offered. When I go for a Christmas meal, it’s brilliant if I get offered a complete alternative to everyone else, but it’s perfectly okay to get the vegetables along with an alternative to turkey. When cooking the meal, it’s important that the vegetarian meal comes in no contact what-so-ever with any meat. Ensure utensils are not mixed between the 2 meals, even when serving. Don’t bake potatoes on a surface that was used to cook meat, un
less it’s been thoroughly cleaned. It’s nice to be reassured of this standard by the host. I personally don’t need meat. That means I don’t need to have anything that is even anything like meat. I will eat Quorn or similar, but I prefer something different like a Nut Roast. This is obviously just my taste. Remember normal gravy isn’t vegetarian, but you can purchase vegetarian gravy granules, this will need to be kept separate to everyone else’s gravy. Finally I must mention the desert. It’s makes a refreshing change if the host has thought carefully about the desert, NOT ALL DESERTS ARE SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS! Even in a restaurant, a confused face usually confronts me when I ask if a certain desert is vegetarian. It’s very annoying! Again check for vegetarian symbols on products you buy, or maybe just have a fresh fruit salad.
Regardless of your eating habits etc., Christmas should be on of (if not the most) enjoyable days of the year, Christmas dinner, plays a large role in making the day special. When all your family are tucking into there Turkey and roast potatoes, why should you be sitting there watching them, and wondering why exactly it was that you decided to become a vegetarian! This does not have to be the case!! There are so many other things that you can make that vegetarians and meat eaters will enjoy! Lets take Roast spuds, There Quick and easy and taste great! - no meat there! What about the turkey itself?? you make think that there is no way of getting a substitute that tastes or looks as good, what about Quorn? its made from some sort of bean sprout I think, and believe me you really cant taste the difference, it is available from all good supermarkets! All the vegetables, stuffing, gravy can stay the same! So if your a vegetarian, then there is absolutely know reason why Christmas dinner should be any less enjoyable!