Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Veggie Might

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Veggie Might

Article excerpt

Shunned on the dinner party circuit as an added inconvenience or eyed with suspicion when turning down a slice of Sunday roast, vegetarians were long marginalised.

Their "dull" diet of tasteless tofu, lacklustre lentils and nondescript nut cutlets once made them an object of pity for non-comprehending carnivores.

But times are changing and, as Britain prepares to celebrate the 11th annual National Vegetarian Week from May 19 to 25, research shows seven per cent of the population now say no to meat.

In her book, New Vegetarian Eating, top chef Jane Noraika hopes to put paid to hackneyed preconceptions that have dogged vegetarianism.

"People see it as healthy but boring, using a few staple ingredients. In reality, it can be great food that just happens to be meat-free," she explains.

She has selected a wide variety of recipes, from formal dinners like Moroccan Tagine with Couscous Fritters to finger food dishes such as Baby Tomatoes filled with Pesto Risotto, or Garlic Croutons with Camembert and Caramelised Onions.

Barbecue options such as aubergine and smoked cheese rolls ensure a spot of good weather isn't spoiled by the sight of a dreary veggie burger alongside a dripping steak.

As a nod to classic combinations, a recipe for Toad in the Hole makes a surprise appearance, with pork sausages replaced by the vegetarian variety.

"I wanted to include some traditional lunchtime ideas, just in a vegetarian way," says Noraika. "People don't like to feel they are missing out on certain dishes they love.

"I have tried to make all the dishes quick and easy to make, so I didn't want people hunting down ingredients in specialist shops. Everything I used was available from my local supermarket."

As the majority of the vegetarian savoury dishes can be filed under healthy eating, the desserts listed are unashamedly lavish.

Strawberry and Mascarpone Trifle, Polish Cheesecake, and Mango and Lime Tart Brulee each make for a fitting sweet course, while Exotic Fruit Scrunch and Char-grilled Pineapple are handy nibbles to have around.

Noraika has also taken typical vegetarian ingredients like tofu and chickpeas, and combined them with more sophisticated spices such as saffron and chilli to create imaginative dishes. …

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