Survival guide for vegetarians this Christmas
With over three per cent of the UK population vegetarian and a further five per cent regularly eating meat-free meals, family and social dining can become problematic.
Most of us know someone who choses to steer clear of meat and so at Christmas time, when it can be difficult to please everybody, The Vegetarian Society got some great tips on how to please everyone during the festive season and to prevent any culinary misunderstandings.
Vegetarian Christmas Survival Guide:
Communicate - Not everyone knows what a vegetarian is or what to cook for them, so speak to your host in advance.
Help - Christmas day is a big event as is, so instead of adding to your host's list of dishes to make, why not offer to bring a dish and/or some vegetarian snacks.
Roasty heaven - Roast potatoes should be cooked separately from the meat and in vegetable fat or oil.
Stuff your gravy - Vegetarian gravy granules and mixes are readily available in supermarkets. The majority of commercially available stuffing mixes are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Olives - An acquired taste, granted, but the stuffed varieties filled with garlic or sun dried tomatoes can be favourites. Check you haven't got anchovies in them though, veggies don't eat fish.
Crunchtastic - Crisps often use whey as a flavour carrier so ready salted are the only flavour that is always vegetarian. Check the ingredients.
Delicious Dips - Hummus or babbaganoush are tasty dips, but avoid taramasalata though as it has fish roe in it.
Mince pie magic - Christmas puddings and mince pies are no longer a problem for vegetarians since many brands now use vegetable suet and this doesn't affect the taste, so meat-eaters will enjoy them too. Some brands will be suitable for vegans too - look out for The Vegan Society symbol on packs.
For more information and recipes, visit www.vegsoc.org/christmas and watch the video below about how to make the perfect Christmas pie.