The Yuletide is rushing in, leaving us up to our necks in to-do lists, flu remedies and seasonal cheer. Whilst we all look forward to gorging ourselves on festive fare, before the feasting can commence we do need to see to the rather inconvenient process of actually preparing said food.
Despite the potential for calamity that comes with doing a turkey (will it cook through? Will it even defrost? Will I even remember to get down to the butchers and order one before they’re all accounted for) most of us are at least familiar with the challenges that the bird presents and, thanks to our hard won experience can take on the task with only a mild level of trepidation to contend with.
Battling with the unknown can be much more frightening. If you’ve never prepared a vegetarian option as part of your Christmas dinner before and it suddenly becomes a necessity you may feel a bit panicked. The last thing you want to do is give this person (who presumably, seeing as they’re spending Christmas at yours, is fairly important to you) a sub-standard dinner. On the other hand, you don’t want to make a song and dance of the whole affair and leave them feeling as if they’ve put you out. That would just be awkward (and if you’re doing a family gathering right awkwardness should be plentiful anyway…”Yes, son, you do need to wear the sweater granny gave you. Yes, all day. Yes, I can see it has baubles on it!”)
What you want it something, simple, homely, delicious and in keeping with rest of the meal. After all, just because they aren’t having turkey, there’s no reason they can’t enjoy the rest of the trimmings. (As a side note, do remember to inform vegetarians if you’ve roasted your potatoes in goose fat…preferably before they tuck in.)
The answer is the humble nut roast. The even better answer is a very good nut roast. They key to this is mixing it up a little. Think about the carbs you’ll use to thin out the protein of the nuts. Maybe breadcrumbs, perhaps rice. Be adventurous with the vegetables. Look at what wrapping you might use, and don’t be afraid to ‘go nuclear’ and get some cheese involved. With a bit of research and planning a nut roast can simultaneously be easy, original and spectacular.