Saturday, 15 October 2016

Mint chocolate cupcakes anyone?

We're starting to rough dig and prepare the ground for winter and enlisted the help of the little P's but I want to blow my own trumpet and write about a vegan tea party I organised for my friend the other day.

We were originally booked into a tea room but 1 week before the day I received an email from the owner stating that her 'lease does not allow me to serve vegan food at this time!' To be fair I think we had a lucky escape. The owner had a distinct lack of understanding what it means to be vegan, ie, 'you can have fresh butter right?' and 'I can do egg sandwiches!' (she was told about the egg allergy)

So not wanting my friend to be disappointed I suggested that I prepare a tea party for us. Feeling deflated the 6 became 2 but I was determined to not let my friend down and set to planning.

Inspired by the Great British Bake Off, I started by choosing which cupcakes to serve.

I found the recipe in the most fantastic vegan recipe book. The book was bought as a birthday present for my friend but naturally I had to ensure that I was giving her something that I knew would turn out well. We regularly swap recipes so it was the perfect gift IF the cakes were good.

The book is by Mellissa Morgan and called 

Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town.

The recipes are very easy to follow, even the little P's were able to follow them and Bob has adapted one to make her birthday cake this weekend.

The cakes turned out perfectly first time and no sign of a soggy bottom!

The issue I had was making the icing. The instructions said to use an electric handwhisk to mix the ingredients. Whilst my right arm is starting to return to life, I am still not able to grip the side of the bowl and as soon as I added the icing sugar to the creamed dairy free butter mixture, I found a snow storm hit the entire kitchen coating the cupboards, cooker, chairs and dining table. I even found a thin layer on the door handle at the opposite side of the kitchen with 2 hours to clean up. Oops!

You would think with years of experience of making cakes (I started helping my mum and Grannie at the age of 2) that I would have realised the second I added the sugar a sticky explosion would happen? Nope not today I was stood in the middle of a big mess trying to work out what had just happened. I was clearly having a 'Mummy Moment', you know the one when you are desperately trying to do too much in too little time and for a split second your brain switches off!

Any way I gave up on the electric whisk and started folding the icing sugar in and then once more used the whisk to cream it. It occurred to me I always iced cakes by folding first then whisking the cream icing. Numpty! 

So how were the cakes in the end? Absolutely moreish! I can not recommend this book enough! The mint was refreshing and the cakes turned out moist and spongy, not the usual heavy, soggy bottomed concoction that normally passes as a vegan cake. So definitely worth the purchase and I was reluctantly happy to give the book to my friend for her birthday. I think I will have to buy my own copy.

After the half hour I spent trying to clean up the remnants of the snow storm. It was time to get on with the savoury part of our tea party.

I made vegan batches. (roll, cob, barncake depending on your region)  I was able to prove the point that I could very cheaply make the humous and salad option I had suggested to the caterer! I also opted for that well known brand of sausages we like to call McFartney in our house (no explanation needed here!)

Finish off with a bowl of nachos, the remaining humous , vegetable pakoras and popcorn to finish off. Very filling but really tasted amazing.

If anyone ever comes back to me again and says they can't cater for vegans I can show them this picture and explain how easy it is if you know the ingredients of the products you are working with.

All caterers have a legal obligation to provide information regarding allergens. A good caterer knows everything that is going into their food and can tell you straight away what you can and can't eat.

Next time I promise to write about allotments and the fabulous scalloped squash soup I made entirely with the ingredients grown at the allotment I helped set up at work.

Thanks for reading and keep digging :)