When I first ventured into the catering industry, things were a little different than they are today. Classic cookery ruled, nouvelle cuisine had not been invented, and vegetarians were gentlemen with long hair and sandals.
They were looked upon by the restaurant trade with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief. After all, to only eat vegetables was not normal!
If they were lucky, an omelette might be offered and, in extreme circumstances, perhaps a nut cutlet would be conjured up.
However, as previously stated, things have moved on.
Not only is vegetarian cookery widely accepted, but many chefs
have grasped the nettle and come up with new and interesting ideas for those who prefer not to eat meat.
At Friends, there are often those who are not veggies, but will choose that option from time to time, either because it looks appetising, or simply because they want to balance their diet by not consuming too much meat.
Now we also have to contend with 'vegetarians' who eat fish, or even those that will eat white meat. I will never forget being asked once by a diner why the salmon dish didn't have a (v) after it on the menu!
Here is a recipe from my second book which should fit the bill.
I created this dish for a lady attending a Burn's Night Supper, who phoned me the night before to tell me she was a vegetarian!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 large potato boiled in its skin
1 parsnip, peeled and boiled
1 small swede, peeled and boiled
1 carrot, peeled and boiled
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp cooked pearl barley
pinch each of nutmeg, ginger and cayenne
salt and pepper
2 egg yolks
Method 1) Coarsely grate the vegetables
(excluding the shallot).
2) Sweat the shallot in a little olive oil without colour.
3) Add to the vegetables and mix in the breadcrumbs, barley and spices, and season to taste.
4) Bind the mixture together with the egg yolks, then roll into a haggis shape, and seal tightly with clingfilm.
5) Poach gently in simmering water for about 25 minutes, then allow to stand for about 15 minutes, before unwrapping and serving.
6) Serve with the traditional accompaniments 'neeps and tatties' - mashed swede and potatoes, for those of you who don't speak the language!