With Christmas almost here, many of us will have already got the ingredients together for that big festive feast.

So what was on your list?

Turkey, goose, sausage stuffing?

For the many vegans in Colchester, their shopping baskets would have been filled with very different foods altogether.

But according to Annette White from North-East Essex Vegans, cutting out all animal produce doesn't have to lead to just a boring nut roast on Christmas Day.

“There is so much available now,” said Annette, who is press officer and treasurer for the Colchester-based group.

“It's very different to when I became a vegan 20 years ago, when you had to make your own soya milk and tofu.

“You can get ready-made roasts that mimic meat, like turkey and beef.

“And if you're cooking from scratch, it can be a lot cheaper.

“I couldn't believe it when I heard how much a turkey cost!”

Annette recommends websites like vegansociety.com and vegsoc.org to give you some recipe ideas for the Christmas period.

“There are two-tiers on the Vegetarian Society site – one for people who just want something easy, and the other if you are being a bit more adventurous,” she said.

“Luckily all the recipes are vegan, which is really helpful.”

Novice suggestions include a meat-free turkey fillet with orange and pomegranate sauce – which takes just 25 minutes - while the more advanced cook can have a go at a carrot and cashew fan on a bed of lentils and dill salad.

Annette does admit that Christmas as a vegan can be difficult if you're invited to someone else's house for dinner, where everyone else will be getting stuck into a turkey.

“It's best to let your host know as soon as you can that you're a vegan so they'll have plenty of time to prepare,” she said.

“And as a last resort, you can always bring your own food with you.”

For more information about the group and for more Christmas tips, visit nesxvegans.makessense.co.uk