Cooking with attitude: The first cut is the deepest

Mick and Nick Nosh are renowned for their robust approach to cooking on TV and radio. In their first weekly column, they "celebrate" 150 years of The Vegetarian Society
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It's official. According to a recent newspaper report, nearly half of all so-called vegetarians are secret carnivores (now it's more "hedggie" than "veggie").

Veggies have apparently never found eating anything with "a face" acceptable - not surprising really, as all the time they've had two faces themselves. The dictionary definition of vegetarian nestles perilously close to the definition of vegetable... "a person leading a dull or uneventful life"... could there be some connection?

It's not that we're against the noble sprout, we just can't stomach pop singers' wives or margarine-tub thumping by the appalling chemists who masquerade as part of our "food" industry, and try and brainwash us into eating meat "lookalikes".

With the approaching 150th anniversary of The Vegetarian Society upon us, it is high time that veggies got their act together. Honesty is more digestible that the "hedggies" secret penchant for porky pies.

So if you are what you eat,

take our advice and don't become a vegetable.

Just to prove life without steak can exist, here's a seasonal dish with loads of flavour that you can eat with a clear conscience. Try cooking this - it's more fun than the confessional box!

Capellini, wild mushrooms

& truffle oil

(serves 8)

10oz (280g) dry cappellini pasta.

11/2 lb (700g) fresh wild fungi (ceps, morelles, chanterelles etc) - sliced

1pt (400ml) fresh single cream.

6oz (175g) finely chopped shallots

4 cloves peeled garlic, whole

4tbs olive oil

1 glass white wine (about 8fl oz)

1 handful finely chopped parsley

1oz unsalted butter

Sea salt, 1/4 tsp gd white pepper

4 tbsp shaved Reggiano Parmesan/white Alba truffle oil

Clean the mushrooms with a dry pastry brush to remove chaff.

Heat oil in a large saucepan (medium heat) with the garlic and shallots. Stir briskly.

Add mushrooms, cook for 4 to 5 mins until juices are released. Add wine, reduce heat and simmer for 2 mins, allowing alcohol to evaporate. Now discard garlic cloves. Add cream, simmer for 2 mins on very low and season. Add parsley, keep sauce warm while the pasta is cooking and check seasoning.

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain well, add the knob of butter and fold the pasta into the sauce - it should coat the pasta without being runny. Serve with Parmesan, black pepper and a dash of truffle oil.

Recipe published in Entertaining (Macmillan '97). The Nosh Brothers are currently working on Winter Nosh which will be transmitted on Carlton Food Network in the New Year. (The book of Winter Nosh will be published by Harper Collins in December)

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