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You do not have to be a strict Vegetarian to be able to enjoy meat free meals, although I eat meat and fish I am always looking for meat free recipes to try. Vegetarian food can be cheaper ,healthier, tastier and more diverse than eating meat products all the time.By eating vegetarian meals you are also helping yourself and your family to get the recommended five a day fruit and veg. I enjoy reading Cook Vegetarian because it contains some great recipe ideas, interesting features, product reviews and adverts for new and existing products and offers.The magazine is not just about vegetable based meals but includes puddings ,cakes,wines and other drinks, sweets and treats, economy recipes and nutritional information. It is a big glossy magazine with lots of lovely pictures ,that will make you feel hungry, and easy to follow recipes. Whenever I read a magazine I always make a point of visiting the magazine website if there is one.Cook Vegetarian magazine have their own website http://www.cookveg.co.uk/ and it is well worth looking at for the recipes, subscription offers and competitions. Cook Vegetarian can be brought as a single copy (if you do not wish to take out a subscription) from supermarkets and newsagents.But I think the subscription deals are often better value than buying single issues
Cook Vegetarian is the UK's leading vegetarian monthly. It is priced at £3.50 per issue and is available from larger newsagents and supermarkets. Like most magazines it can be purchased a bit cheaper if you take advantage of one the subscriptions on offer. The current subscription offers are: £15.75 every 6 issues, payment by direct debit a saving of 25% £35.00 for 12 issues, payment by cheque or credit/debit card a saving of 15% £65.00 for 6 issues, payment by cheque or credit/debit card a saving of 20% Each issue of the magazine has the same layout with articles and recipes falling into one of the following 4 categories Family Fare This section focuses on articles and recipes that are suitable for the whole family. For example September's issue includes among other things an article on animal free sweets, 22 nutritious sweet and savoury breakfast recipes to get your day off to a good start and 4 recipes taken from the book 'Just take four' by KM McCosker and Rachel Bermingham which is a book in which all recipes contain 4 or fewer ingredients. The Main Event This section is jam packed with a good selection of both sweet and savoury recipe ideas. Each issue features recipes from celebrity chefs. September issue featuring both James Martin Tana Ramsey and Rose Elliot. Also included is an 'In Season' section in which the recipes and articles are focused on whatever fruit and vegetables are currently in season. Light Bites This section includes health advise, an 'Eat Well' page which is dedicated to answering readers food related questions. Plus articles on organic vegetarian food and drink. Nibbles This section contains an 'Over To You' page which gives readers a chance to have their say, an eco section which gives advice and tips on eco products. Yet more recipes and reviews of veggie products available. Each issue follows the same format but contain new recipes and ideas in each issue. If your are stuck in a rut with your meal planning or just looking for a bit of inspiration to add a bit more variety to your cooking I would definitely recommend giving this magazine a try.
I first came across the magazine in Autumn 2009, when I bought the October issue. I have since bought it two more times as I can only find it in larger newsagents. It sells for £3.25 for 106 colour pages and bills itself as the UK's only Veggie Monthly. I've now read three issues, so do I keep hunting it down every month or shall I subscribe? Or forget it completely? Each month the magazine feature prominent chefs such a Gary Rhodes, Rachel Allen and James Martin as well as approx 100 recipe ideas. The magazine is divided into four sections, the Main Event, Family Fare, Nibbles and Light Bites. The Main Event includes Rose Elliot's 'Veggie bites'. Here the vegetarian cook gives hints and tips on store cupboard basics, things to do with cheese or tips for losing weight. She doesn't actually offer up any recipes of her own. Guest contributors and celeb chefs offer seasonal recipes, some are more complicated than others. There seems to be a lot of desserts which I don't really make (or eat) and some overly simple inclusions. For example the latest issue has TV and published chef Rachel Allen offering up her recipe for Boiled Egg and Soldiers (Serves 2). It even tells you how much butter you may need for your toast. I kid you not. I'm sure even the most inept person in the kitchen can manage to make toast and butter it, and probably boil an egg to boot. A previous edition of the magazine included 20 Brilliant Breakfasts, again a meal I don't really 'cook' other than porridge or a veggie fry up. To be honest I can't really be bothered to faff about making crepes or my own muesli in the mornings. I have things to do, like waking up. Not to mention working out how much butter I may need for my toast... Recently Heather Mills has started a column about her vegan life with a recipe. The Family Fare section usually includes a recipe from children's cook Annabel Karmel, plus ideas for kiddie and veggie friendly snacks, tips for cooking with your child or encouraging a fussy eater to eat vegetables. Anthony Worral-Thompson has a Veg files column that sometimes appears under this section or under Nibbles/Light Bites. It includes his recipe of the month, seasonal suggestions and a competition amongst other hints and tips. There are usually two or three other family friendly sections covering things like Chinese Feasts or cupcakes. I find this section a bit hit and miss as I don't have children, although sometimes I'd make some some of the recipes. The Nibbles section includes Reader's Letters, 'Solutions' - different suggestions such as budget buys, 'cheat meats' and refreshing your cooking skills. There are other small (one page) features covering various topics such as growing your own veg, indulgences, a cookery school (again this changes section) and an occasional eating out section. Light Bites features healthy eating and low fat foods, offering tips (sometimes very obvious), recipes and healthy alternatives for those looking to lose weight or eat better. There are also sections on veggie products that don't really come under any specific section and veggie friendly beauty buys. I have to say I find these last two sections a bit inconsistent, but tend dip in and out of them depending on the appeal of any given feature. Articles I have liked have included things like the 'Veggie Awards' and shopping features which have helped my discover new products and veggie friendly cheeses and snacks. I have found a variety of recipes in the magazine but quite a lot are things that I just wouldn't make as I mentioned above. After all, most dessert/baking recipes are veggie anyway, so I can get these recipes from anywhere - it is new meal inspiration I am mainly looking for. I also buy BBC Good Food's Vegetarian magazine which comes out every six months and I would say that I make (and go back to) more of their recipes than I do of Cook Vegetarian. Some of the features, such as 'veggie restaurant of the month' (not a regular feature) or veggie catering establishments read as editorial promos - they talk about the restaurant and what they serve but there is no balanced opinion like you would get on a review site like this, it is just general info. They don't say if they like the food/flavours or not - I wonder if they even visited them, especially as there is usually an ad for the restaurant or venue elsewhere in the issue. Speaking of ads, they are all aimed at a veggie/vegan and healthy eating market or general cookery and there are normally about 30 pages of ads per 106 page magazine. However when the producers advertising are also featured in the magazine as a 'profile' then I feel a magazine loses its credibility a bit. Overall I think the magazine tries to do too much an ends up doing some of it not particularly well and occassionally get the feeling that the editors have run out of ideas of what to put in the magazine and try and pad it out a bit with these 'producer profiles' and what not. The answer to my initial question is that I will not be subscribing (although there usually are subscription offers and promotions in the magazine) as I find the magazine too inconsistent, both in the quality and range of features as well as the recipes. That is not to say that I won't buy it again as it does have some good features and recipes, but I think I'll pick it up on a more ad hoc basis. I have only been able to find it in larger branches of WH Smiths so if you are interested in trying it for yourself then this is the place to look. If you are a veggie, then I recommend buying it once or twice to try it, as you may find it suits you or your family more than me. Alternatively stick with the BBC's Vegetarian magazine - there will be another out in the summer.