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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Pubs and Restaurants / Mushroom Stroganoff again! The vegetarian lament!
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Mushroom Stroganoff again! The vegetarian lament!

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AdnamsGirl
Jun-21-2011 @ 2:40 PM                           Permalink
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Calling all pubs!!

Ok ... that's it ..... I have had enough!! I have moaned on here in the past (several times!) about the complete lack of imagination shown by pubs and restaurants in catering for vegetarians, but enough is enough! I am really beginning to think that perhaps I should just be living on mushroom bl**dy stroganoff and pasta rather than having quite a varied and interesting diet.

Why the rant now? Well .... I was checking out the menus available online for all of the northern rivers pubs which have websites to see whether I would find anything suitable to eat if we are able to think about a weeks boating holiday later in the year. And on virtually every menu the veggie options are mushroom stroganoff and a pasta dish ... often lasagne or a tomato sauced based pasta dish which is always served with salad and garlic bread.

My conclusions ..... well it looks like I'll be cooking on the boat again most evenings! I am sick to death of walking into a pub, looking at the menu, seeing mushrom stroganoff yet again and having to walk out after a pint without eating there. PLEASE have a little more imagination .... there are endless sources of vegetarian recipes online these days which don't require much effort. You may think you make the best mushroom stroganoff on the planet, but out of principal now I will never order it!!

And whilst we are at it ..... put some flavour into those token pasta, stroganoff and curry dishes that you do serve to veggies. You need to think about replacing the flavours that you would normally get from the meat juices in a dish. It's as simple as making sure you use herbs, spices and some vegetable stock! I cannot believe that amount of bland food that I have been served over the years. And why oh why does everything have to come with salad .... we like a nice plate of veggies to accompany a meal as much as meat eaters!

Some suggestions:

PULSES
Very few places seem to use pulses in veggie food .... they are readily available pre-cooked in tins these days and can be used to make so many things other than 5 bean chilli! They can add so much flavour to a dish on their own. I make a lovely veggie shepherds pie using whole green/brown lentils and finely chopped seasonal veg in a rich tomato sauce, topped off with mash and grated cheese. It freezes beautifully so can be made up in batches. Surlingham Ferry (who incidently have one of the best and most flavoursome selection of veggie food on the Broads) make a shepherds pie with either quorn or soya mince which is very good. I also use a variety of pulses to make a spicy bean hotpot, topped off with sliced potatoes which, again, freezes well and is great served with a nice selection of steamed seasonal veg.

QUORN
This miracle fungus was a godsend to many vegetarians and is so readily available that it surprises me that virtually no pub and restaurant chefs attempt to use it. It's not that expensive in comparison to meat, is available in chunks, mince and many other variations these days and is a staple in most veggies' freezers/ fridges. Again, it needs to have flavours added to make proper use of it but by adding herbs spices and stock you can do so much with it! As mentioned - veggie shepherds pie, or perhaps a spaghetti bolognese which would make a welcome change to the usual bland pasta dishes, or add it to your veggie lasagne. The chunks can be used to make anything that you would normally make with cubes of chicken or other meat .... stews, casseroles etc. It can be used to make very quick, freshly cooked dishes too ... I make a quorn dish with the chunks, mushrooms, red onions and garlic in a cider and mustard cream sauce which I can knock up in about 10-15 minutes. Fry off the main ingredients, pour over some cider and double cream, add some whole grain mustard, lots of fresh herbs and some stock (could even be a vegetable oxo cube), black pepper and then simmer away to reduce for a few minutes and hey presto! Lovely served with mash and some steamed green vegetables.

It's good to see a few places now offer quorn sausages and mash on their menus. It did amaze me that such a simple veggie alternative to a classic bit of British comfort food wasn't found on more pub menus. Many of the commercially bought onion gravy's are suitable for veggies these days .... even bog standard bisto granules are!!

When I'm having a batch baking session for the freezer I also make Quorn, leek and mushroom pies which are in a creamy, cheese sauce and topped with mashed potato - could equally be topped with pastry (see below).


PIES & PASTRIES

Occasionally I might find a pastry dish on a pub menu which is always a bit of a bonus. Most of the time it seems to be the new current pub favourite of a goats cheese and either onion or cherry tomato tart .... but at least it makes a change from pasta and stroganoff. Again, it always seems strange to me that pubs don't make some sort of deep filled veggie pie like they do with steak & ale etc. Many pubs seem to use the ready bought puff pastry pie tops which, if suitable for vegetarians, can be used to go on a pie made using some quorn chunks or just a selection of seasonal vegetables in a tomato or perhaps cheese sauce. You can get quite adventurous with fillings, but this is just a simple suggestion to at least have a more varied vegetarian menu to offer.

RICE

Many pubs offer a 5 bean chilli or vegetable curry and rice. There are only so many times that I'd want to eat rice in a week, but I very rarely order a veggie chilli or curry as they are generally very bland .... see notes above on adding flavour to veggie food. Risotto's are quite easy to make too using a variety of ingredients (not just mushrooms!).

Cous cous and cracked bulgur wheat make an interesting alternative and can be used to make a variet of dishes other than stuffed peppers!


And Finally.....
How about something like a selection of veg, pulse or quorn, or all three! in either a cheese or tomato sauce (or something more adventurous) topped with a savoury crumble mix. Again, this is something which can freeze well. I had quite a nice vegetable crumble at Reedham Ship last year.

I have often been served dishes based on the "roasted vegetables" theme ...... please, please, please use fresh vegetables and not just a packet of frozen roasted veg as they are disgustingly chewy and horrible!


My apologies for the rant, but I just want to find a vaiety of dishes available for me so that I can actually eat out when we go on holiday and not have to spend every evening slaving away in the galley .... it would be a real bonus to come away and say that I have actually had a flavoursome veggie meal too! There are so many possibilites of what you can cook to please us non meat, non fish eaters - the above are just a few easy suggestions to attempt to steer pubs away from mushroom bl**dy stroganoff!!   Smile




Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads

littlesprite
Jun-21-2011 @ 3:55 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Carol,
Are you against all animal products?  it might sound like a silly question but some people are against meat yet eat other animal products.
Some "vegetarians" don't eat meat yet eat fish, eggs, cheese, milk, pastry made from animal fats.

Is there some standard for vegetarian food that requires no animal/fish related products?

sorry if the above seems a little strange to you, but for myself and a lot of other meat eaters we probably know a lot less about the subject than we care to admit.

martin

how can such a sleepy paradise create such passion.

AdnamsGirl
Jun-21-2011 @ 4:24 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Martin

A vegetarian eats no animal products that result from killing the animal (meat, fish,fats etc) but will eat eggs and dairy products (including cheese which is made using an alternative to rennet).The correct term is a "Lacto Ovo Vegetarian" but vegetarian will do!

Those who claim to be vegetarian but eat fish and other seafood are in fact Piscatarians and not vegetarians. My husband gets soooo annoyed when I get asked in pubs if I eat fish when I tell them I'm a vegetarian, but it's a commonly held belief so it's probably not their fault!

A Vegan is someone who refrains from eating any animal products, eggs and dairy products included. Kev says that he has yet to meet a healthy looking vegan!  Playful Wink


I am a vegetarian because I don't like meat or fish. I went off it from a very early age (5) because all red meat just tatsed of intense, horrible fat to me. I ate chicken and turkey up until the age of about 10, but then went off that too. Over the years I have tried a taste of meat to see if things have changed .... but they haven't! It just tastes awful to me. I have never eaten fish - just the smell is enough to having me reaching for the sick bucket (no exageration!). I tend to avoid pubs and restaurants that have very fish heavy menus because of that, and have to sit upwind of anyone eating it.
My mum had a real battle with me, initially trying to hide meat under vegetables which has led to a life long habit of always picking through my food before I eat it!   Blush
Finally she gave up, went down to the local health food shop and bought a vegetarian cookery book!

As the years have gone on I must admit that I do have real issues with the way most meat is farmed - hundreds of the poor creatures packed into barns and never seeing the light of day. I don't have issues with anyone eating meat - Kev has a largely veggie diet simply because he doesn't want me cooking two separate meals all the time but he eats meat when we go out. And I will cook him a turkey at Christmas!
I also have issues with the over fishing of the seas and the number of tons of dead fish which are thrown back into the sea because it is deemed to small for the plate. But again, if you want to eat it fine, everybody is free to make their own choices.

I would class myself as a largely strict vegetarian ... the unstrict bit comes from my love of real ale which often uses fish guts in the clearing process!




Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads

katieb
Jun-21-2011 @ 5:45 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Having returned from two weeks in the Broads can totally share your laments over veggie options in the Broads. Mushroom stroganoff does seem to be the dish of choice to offer to veggies in the broads and if you don't do dairy (not vegan but it can give me migraines) heaven help you.  You might get a salad an omlette or a jacket potato if you are lucky.

There are a few exceptions to the rules though as follows:

The Lion at Thurne had nut roast.  Not on the Sunday menu but they offered me the ordinary menu as well as Sunday options to give more choice.
Oasis Indian Restaurant in Stalham (not a mushroom stroganoff in sight)  Also did a chicken and chips for the non curry eater in the group.
At the Shed Brewery Tap in Wroxham (easy to get to from Faircraft Loynes Boatyard-next to peninsular holiday lets) allow you to order a take away and eat it on premisese (a kind of cheap going out with good beer). Choices locally are Chinese or Indian ( Ali Spice do a good Tuesday night deal which includes a vegie deal for about £6.50 each)

The Wroxham Hotel offered a stuffed pepper (with mushrooms I'm afraid) but had run out when I tried to order (got the choice of mushroom stroganoff or lasagne or pasta in a spciy tomato sauce!!)
Wayford Bridge Hotel helpful over allergies (one in party had coeliacs disease) and adapted menu for them.  I had a pasta dish but risotto is also on menu and they probably could offer other dishes if you ask.

Hope this helps.

littlesprite
Jun-21-2011 @ 5:47 PM                           Permalink
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Thanks Carol that was very informative, Just one more question though is the cheese you mention common?

sorry to be a pain yet again.

martin

how can such a sleepy paradise create such passion.

AdnamsGirl
Jun-21-2011 @ 6:31 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Martin

I am not sure of the amount of cheese which is made using the non animal rennet now, but it is increasingly more common. Most supermarket deli counters usually have labels saying which are suitable for vegetarians now.

Hi Katie - yes, the Thurne Lion do have a good veggie menu. I have been in there a few times to eat and the nut roast was very good indeed! My only complaint was the tiny amount of veg I got to go with it. But it's definately one to visit if you're a non meat eater.

If you are on the Southern Rivers then the Happy Buddah chinese takeaway in Loddon does a superb range of more unusual veggie dishes including some tofu ones. I don't think they use MSG either which means you're not left gasping for water after eating it.

I had a bad experience at the Hotel Wroxham on carvery day and haven't been back. All I was offered was an omelette which was pretty rank, and the vegetables on the carvery were just awful!

Sutton Staithe Hotel usually has a few veggie choices - they do the quorn sausages with mash or in a large yorkshire pud with veg. I was in there a few weeks ago and had a peppered mushroom and stilton pie which was quite nice ... but a little overly peppery! I'm sure they had some dishes which were suitable for non dairy eaters too.

As for gluten free .... the Greyhound at Hickling used to state which of their dishes were Gluten free, although it has been a few years since I was last in there. I believe that the Dog Inn at Ludham will also sort out gluten free alternatives but the veggie options when I last went in were just pasta or curry.




Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads

This message was edited by AdnamsGirl on Jun-21-11 @ 6:32 PM

Jillywix
Jun-21-2011 @ 6:35 PM                           Permalink
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Poor you Frown   but thank you for giving me some good ideas
for when my veggie step daughter comes to stay!

The Greyhound at Hickling did gluten free when I was last
there - that is my nightmare, trying to find gluten free
meals.  That and the nut allergy....

16E
Jun-21-2011 @ 7:05 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Carol (and others)

We have veggie friends who we go out for meals with.  They are usually happy at The Wayford Bridge but we have not been for about six months so are not aware of any changes since the new owners came.

We went to The Mermaids Slipper on Stalham Staithe last year.  We did warn them in advance and because of the limited main menu they offered their standard veggie main(s?)or any veggie starter bulked up as a main meal.

Not by the water but in the area The Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead does both a veggie and vegan menu.  Last time I was there it amounted to 17 main menu items.



Mal
16E

..Get on and do it!!  Adventure before Dementia.

petential
Jun-21-2011 @ 7:17 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Carol
Oh well ranted; I so agree.  My personal (non) favourite is seeing vegetarian options available as if you don't care what it might be.  In fact I fantasize about opening a vege. restaurant with a "meat option".
Have you tried the Thai restaurant in Hoveton?  Not a pub but very good.  Found the pub at Strumpshaw has some good choices too.
If, like us, you are a vegetarian who won't eat out of a microwave you are royally screwed!

SteveO
Jun-21-2011 @ 7:41 PM                           Permalink
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Carol, I fear that you might be talking to the wrong people. A letter to Brakes Frozen Foods of Ashford might be more influential. I
suspect that Brakes supply most of the pubs on the Northern Broads with their meals.

Regards

Steve

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
  Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
  A map they could all understand.

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