Claire asked for some vegetarian recipies in the next newsletter -we'll do that if we can get some 'favourites' from our members.
To my mind the most important change to make when getting ready to eat less meat is to get used to using some new and unfamiliar ingredients or even familiar ingredients in a new way!
Here are some of my tips for fantastic tasting meat free meals
1.Use plenty of seasoning:salt,fresh black peeper,garlic,herbs,lemon juice,wine and tomatoe puree are all essential in vegetarian cooking.
2.Buy the best quality veg stock you can -I use the tubs of swiss boullion you can buy in Waitrose.
3.Use more nuts! Nut like cashews are brilliant in replacing chicken in stirfrys and Paella which I love to make. Walnuts go really well with cheese and can make a good pie filing with leeks too.Add a few tblsps of ground almonds to curry to make a sweeter korma and add protien.
4.Try tofu!Cauldron Tofu is easy to use and a big £2.50 block is enough for 4 people in most dishes.Dip slices in cornflour and fry in a light oil to make a crispy alternative to meat with stir fried veg or rice.Don't forget to add plenty of soy sauce at the end of cooking.Whizzed up in the mixer with nuts,herbs,softened onions etc tofu makes lovely light fritters.No need for eggs as they will hold together without them.
5.Dried funghi are great when soaked to add to rissotto and bean casseroles to give a depth and flavour.Porcini are best.Use the soaking water too.
6.Good thick greek yogourt is brilliant to stir into cooked chick peas and roasted pepper,squash,red onions etc just before you serve up.Add it to a curry too to make a healthy korma.Add only a few mins before you serve or it can curdle.
7.Don't eat too many beans at first as you may not be able to digest them in huge quantities - use lentils(brown or green are more tasty)and softer beans like butter beans rather than red kidney beans.People worry about replacing protien and rely on beans which may not suit everyone-try tofu,nuts and quorn as well.
hope this is helpful?If not I'm sure that you'll let me know!