Is there a vegetarian in the house?

I can´t keep up, last week there was a doctor in the house and last night we had two vegatarians in the house.I,myself was a vegetarian once but alas I loved my meat and fish too much to run the course.I would describe myself as a lapsed vegetarian,rather like one who has abandoned the Catholic church (for which I also stand accused). I not only understand, but also enjoy cooking and eating vegetarian food, and therefore fully understand how difficult it is for travellers especially here in Portugal and Spain to find restaurants that even make a token gesture to the vegetarian diet.When I was vegetarian in the early seventies it was all the rage with worthy health food shops on every street corner.Times have changed and if one is lucky enough to find an establishment that caters for this group, what is served is usually of a pretty uninspired and of an unappetising nature.This was endorsed by our guests last night.I always stretch myself when it comes to cooking a vegetarian dinner as so often even if the meal has some flavour it can look grey and unappealing on the plate.It is not that difficult with a bit of imagination to put on a colourful and delicious spread.For starters its not rocket salad to understand that meat or fish can be taken out of a normal equation and replaced by a sympathetic alternative.Last night I served  one of my signature dishes, a bruschetta of white bean butter with lime and horseradish broad beans and rocket, almost in its entirety but substituted the crispy Iberican ham for beetroot crisps.
A chèvre cheese and roasted hazelnut tart served with another of my signature dishes a Moroccan roasted carrot and beetroot salad and fondant potatoes continued the wow factor and complimented the guests wine selection of a Barranco Longo Colheita seleccionada.The meal was finished off with a honey and almond parfait served with pan fried apricots,vanilla sugar and thyme.Needless to say our guest went to bed refreshed and replete to get a good nights sleep before their long drive north to Porto.


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