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vegetarian guests


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I will start by being honest and saying that cooking is not my thing, really not that good at it, hate it actually.   Normally I avoid having people around for food, or do something really informal.

However, when we first came here we were invited to dinner by some people who are real foodies, and I can no longer avoid asking them back.   to make matters worse they are vegetarian (well worse for me, as my small repetoire of recipes contains nothing vegetarian).

Anyway, this is what I was thinking of:

Mixed starters, olives, taramasalata, homous, bits and bobs.

Tuna in lemon and corriander.   Served with mixed vegetables from the garden (green beans, peas and carrots) and baby potatoes.  Question - is tuna freely available in all supermarkets, because I have never looked before, if not fresh, can you buy frozen?

Pudding - no idea


By the way is it cheese before pudding or after, as I never remember.     And do you serve salad with your main course or separately?    And how many different types of cheese is it ok to put out?

Does above sound sort of ok, as a reasonable meal please, could anyone help - got to go shopping either tomorrow or thursday, so any replies by then would be good !!

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Ummm.......what part of a tuna is vegetarian?

You might want to check what they will/wont eat.  Some veggies, whilst not actually vegan, also won't eat eggs/milk/cheese etc.  And don't forget that a lot of processed foods contain animal products. eg Worcester sauce has anchovies in it

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Ah I see, I questioned it as I have 2 friends that I regularly have lunch with and they will eat eggs and cheese and we agree to differ over soya milk. Me, I'll eat anything but I don't believe a meal must contain meat to be tasty and satisfying.  You could have a look on the BBC website HERE for inspiration.  What you propose above sounds good. Yes tuna is available everywhere, and frozen is almost as good as fresh.  Actually, even if your friends eat fish, they may draw the line at tuna because of the way it's caught unless you can source 'Dolphin Friendly' tuna.  How about salmon instead? Simply fried in good olive oil with a squeeze of lemon (do the skin side first then turn over when nearly cooked through, serve skin side up for dramatic effect) then deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, add a little butter and pour over the fish. I would serve the salad with this even if it possibly isn't 'correct'. Don't forget some nice fresh bread too.  For dessert, what about summer pudding? or a sorbet? Then cheese at the end with a chilled sweet wine. 

I'm feeling hungry now [:(]

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[quote user="londoneye"]By the way is it cheese before pudding or after, as I never remember.     And do you serve salad with your main course or separately?    And how many different types of cheese is it ok to put out?[/quote]

When served, salad is usually offered after the main course and before the cheese.

If your guests are French, they will expect cheese to be served before pudding.

A good cheese selection would offer a blue cheese (for instance Roquefort, bleu d'Auvergne or other regional bleu), a soft-rind cheese (brie, camembert, pont-l'évêque),  a goat cheese (Cabecou or crottin) and a pressed cheese (gryuère, Cantal or Beaufort).

Get them out of the fridge an hour before you intend to serve them and I would also cut a small bunch of grapes into mini-bunches and place those on the cheese tray as well.

Offer a choice of breads if you can (walnut and rye would be good).
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[quote user="londoneye"]Might go for salmon instead though, as might have more chance with that !![/quote]

This is a very easy and (almost) foolproof recipe for 2. Simply double or treble as required:

herby salmon and couscous parcels

  • Paper is nicer to serve with, but if using foil instead, brush the foil squares with oil before putting th parcels together.
  • When sealing the parcels, fold over 2 or three times and press the fold really well to ensure a good seal.
  • Serve the sealed parcel to the guest on the plate and leave him or her to open the top at the table.

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looks good - problem, which i forgot to mention (!!!) is that I don't have an oven.    Well I do, but its a wood burning stove, so at this time of year i rely on a health grill type thingie, and two electric rings - oh and the micro-wave of course.   Still, if it doesn't warm up a bit, the old wood burning stove may yet go back on.
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[quote user="londoneye"]

Pudding - no idea


Hi ,we went to dinner recently with French friends and the lady of the house is an excellent cook, the meal was superb but she served a bought 'tarte tatin' and a raspberry pud both from Picard - the frozen food shop - and no, we didn't ask, she told us that the puds were from there. Ditto, at the house of other French friends, splendid meal then a pud bought from the local patissier, delicious it was too and no hesitation in saying that the pud was bought. So, there you go; if you can't/wont or don't cook, then buy things in.

I am very nervous of cooking, especially for such accomplished cooks/friends, but we 'owe' them a meal so some assiduous buying in will be going on in this house too in the very near future.


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YOU PROBABLY HAVE CHECKED WITH YOUR GUESTS....but if they are vegetarian they do not eat Fish.In which case you could still use the couscous....I could suggest a good ratatoulle, cous-cous with pinnuts, a few raisons, touch of corriander leaf.....stuffed  falafel musrooms and brocolli spears.Begin the meal a toasted buttered corn on the cob or melon garnished with some fresh mint or basil leaves.For dessert a trifle made with sponge, liquer[or whatever]chocolate ganache, summer berries, custard and cream.I once had a vegie restaurant.

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You can cook salmon in a pan on the hotplate or gas burner. Either make a fish stock - you can buy a powder preparation - and poach the salmon briefly. Or fry gently in a little oil. Serve with a home made dressing of eggyolks, melted butter, mustard  lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs.

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OK - finally decided on the spring salmon with minty veg recipe which came from the BBC good food site, as recommended by Clair (I think).   Looks easy, and I have everything (except the salmon of course!) growing in the garden, so I can be cheap as well as easy !!!

Thanks all.   Might get an extra bit of salmon and try it out a couple of days before as well (I always do this (on the rare occasion I am persuaded to cook for people) shows my lack of confidence ; trouble is it is normally perfect on the trial, and rubbish on the night !!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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[quote user="Pierre ZFP"]I really didn't know that te cheese is offered before pud!  I was in a nice restaurant on Sat eve and we had pud before cheese.[/quote]

Just a note to Clair:  I am going completely barmy!  I checked and my dinner companions all said it was cheese then pud, no idea what I was on that night! I can only claim that convivial company and a super dinner turned my head, I was convinced we had the cheese last to 'fill up the corners' [:P]

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Hi Londoneye.

My vegetarian guests have just left.  Beforehand I was panicking because my cooking skills are pretty grim at the best of times but what to do for them.  Good job they are old friends and good natured and didn't mind pitching in.

Keith did a wonderful Vegetable and Cashew Nut Curry which lasted us 2 days.  An ideal meal for the cold and crappy weather we've been having.

Anyway - here's the recipe (serves 4 - 6)

1 large

onion, chopped

1 plump

clove garlic, crushed


tablespoons butter, margarine or vegetable oil


tablespoons good quality korma or medium-strength curry paste


carrots, sliced

1 cup

coarsely chopped pumpkin


potatoes, coarsely chopped


fluid oz/300g can coconut milk


oz/450g can tomatoes

1 cup

green beans or sugar snap peas


oz/310g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


tablespoons toasted cashew nuts



fry onion and garlic in butter in a large, heavy-based pan until soft and

golden.  Add curry paste and stir over

heat for 1 minute.  Add carrots,

pumpkin, potatoes, coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring




and boil slowly for 20 - 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.



and trim green beans and steam or microwave until tender-crisp.  Stir green beans, kidney beans and nuts into

the curry and heat through gently.



accompanied by boiled rice, mango chutney, banana and shredded coconut with natural

yogurt, tomato and cucumber with safflower dressing and pappadams.

We couldn't find any pumpkin or squash so he used sweet potato instead.

Hope this helps if I'm not too late.


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