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A Nutty Vegetarian Holiday Feast

If you or a loved one is eating vegetarian this holiday season, you will enjoy this traditional alternative to turkey for vegetarians. Nut roasts are increasingly available, ready-made, in supermarkets and health food stores. But this classic recipe, accompanied by roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots and all the trimmings, will create a classic vegetarian Christmas feast that will be a sure-fire hit year after year.

Rose Elliot’s Pine Nut & Carrot Roast

pinenut loaf25g/1oz butter
1 onion, finely chopped
225g/8oz carrots, finely grated
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
225g/8oz pine nuts, grated
2 tbsp chopped parsley
squeeze of lemon juice
2 free range eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4

2. Grease and line a 500g/1lb loaf tin

3. Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the onion, without browning, for five minutes, then add the carrot and celery and cook uncovered for ten minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add the pine nuts, parsley, lemon juice and eggs.

5. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

6. Pour into the tin and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and firm in the centre.

7. Turn the roast out onto a plate, slice thickly and drizzle with the mushroom sauce (below). Serves 6

Sauce:

7g/1/4 oz dried mushrooms, rinsed
600ml/1 pint water
25g/1oz butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp Madeira or fortified wine
2 tbsp shoyu sauce

1. Put the mushrooms and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil then remove from heat and leave to soak for 40 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushrooms.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and fry for ten minutes until lightly browned.

3. Add the mushrooms and gently cook for 30 minutes until tender.

4. Mix the corn flour with the reserved liquid, Madeira and shoyu, then add to the mushroom mixture. Bring to the boil, stirring until slightly thickened. Season to taste.

Courtesy the Vegetarian Society. Visit their website at www.vegsoc.org/christmas for more recipes and ideas.

* * * *

Taking Care of a Veggie Guest

Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to consider your veggie guests!
Speak to your guests well ahead of time to check whether they are vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians don’t eat any meat – whether it comes from animals, birds, fish or sea creatures. This also includes ingredients from slaughtered animals such as gelatine and suet. Most vegetarians choose free-range eggs, but vegans don’t eat eggs at all, or dairy products or honey.

Read the labels.
If you’re not used to shopping for vegetarians, the main things to watch out for are lard or animal fat, suet, gelatine (which turns up in some desserts) and animal rennet (which can be used in cheese). Many supermarket cheeses now use vegetarian rennet, so just choose one with a label indicating that it is suitable for vegetarians. To avoid gelatine, check the ingredients (there are plenty of veggie sweets, jellies and setting agents available these days.)

Make plenty.
Whatever you decide to prepare for your veggie guest, allow for a couple of extra portions because the meat-eaters almost always want to try “just a little.”

Finding unfamiliar ingredients.
Most big supermarkets these days stock virtually everything – so if you don’t spot the veggie-friendly ingredient you’re after on your usual route round the store don’t be afraid to ask! Your local health food shop is also an excellent source of unusual products and helpful advice.

Don’t cook your vegetables with the meat.
It’s surprising how often vegetarians are offered roast potatoes and stuffing that has been cooked around a cut of meat. Cook potatoes, parsnips and stuffing separately in vegetable oil so that everyone can share.

Cheat.
If you haven’t got time to prepare a vegetarian main course, shop-bought is a straightforward option. The selection of vegetarian festive options in supermarkets and health food shops has never been better – from nut roasts and veggie sausages to pies and other seasonal savories, you’re sure to find something that works for your menu.

 

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