Saturday, 28 April 2012

Festival Cake-eggless, can be vegan

Festival cake: I used cherry jam here, but raspberry is equally good!
Here is a never-fail cake recipe that is cheap'n'cheerful, quick to make and uses ingredients you can find anywhere (if they're not already in your storecupboard). There is absolutely no compromise on taste, however! This cake is therefore ideal for family gatherings, parties, festivals and other events. Last Saturday for the Way of Love Festival  I made double the quantities given here in two medium- large deep roasting tins and it made no less than 70 portions just a bit bigger than the size of an average piece of burfi. It was perfect to put on the plates at dinner time instead of a sweet. Today I made the cake again to say thank you to a friend who has helped out so much with the festival and other events recently.

400g self-raising flour
200g demerara sugar
2 heaped tabs desiccated coconut plus a little more for sprinkling
4 tsps baking powder
400ml soya milk/ dairy milk
150ml sunflower oil/ melted butter
2 tsps natural almond essence
just under half a 420g (normal size) jar of jam for topping

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C (mine is a fan oven, so adjust if necessary) and oil and flour/ dampen your cake mould or tin.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar, coconut and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • In a separate jug, combine the milk, oil and almond essence.
  • Add the wet to the dry ingredients and best well for about a minute. You should see some small air pockets forming as the baking powder gets to work.
  • As soon as it is thoroughly mixed, put into the cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking with a thin skewer to see if it is cooked through. The top will brown slightly.
  • When cold, turn out of the tin and spread with jam. finish by sprinkling some desiccated coconut on top. Instant party!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Way of Love Festival 2012: cooking for nearly 100 people!

Large plastic tubs used for serving

I'm back! And desperately trying to catch up with all the lovely blog posts from my friends I have missed in the last week. Where was I?-Well, I was assisting my husband in catering for the guests at our Way of Love Hare Krishna Festival last weekend (as well as running around like crazy trying to look after everyone and get other jobs done...!) I thought it might be interesting to post a few pictures of that experience.
Servers laid out plates and cups in rows on the floor as everyone sat down
As the arati lamp is carried through to the kitchen, the kids get to tuck in early!

My husband surrenders to the challenges of a kitchen with only two large burners, no oven and  a tiny fridge!

We made the entire catering vegan, and so everyone was satisfied with that. We served three meals a day, at 8:00am- 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 8:00pm. The whole process began with deciding what to cook for all of the days. Dry goods we got by wholesale order. Breakfast was pumpernickel with jam and organic sugar-free peanut butter, cornflakes or muesli with soya milk and fruit. We also had a large tea-urn on the go all day so that guests could help themselves to Barleycup and herbal teas. (Keeping that area clean and tidy was a full-time occupation in itself!) For lunches we served things like hummus, salad and pitta bread, soup or pasta with soya chunks in tomato sauce. My husband either made fruit salad with cashew cream or I made sweets from dried fruit, nut butter and/ or carob and coconut in various combinations. Without our Magimix, we would have been stuck! Dinners were more traditional; usually sabji rice and dal and a sweet or cake.
You may think I'm taking a well-earned rest now after all that, but no! I have bravely (Or foolishly!) agreed to take part in a concert of Indian-jazz fusion music in 2 weeks' time, playing the tampura. I never played it before, so I have to learn quick! And a cookbook, "Kitchen of Love", including some of our recipes will be published very soon, (I'll post about this once it's published), so I'm busy with deadlines for that.... I will, however, try to keep up with posting here during that time, though maybe not as often, so please bear with me.