Category: Catering


Hey everyone,

On the 22nd of October, in Kensington Olympia, London Vegfest took place. I was lucky enough to have amazing friend Tomi telling me to contact the organiser regarding doing a cookery demo there. So I did, and there I was, many months later!

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Overall it was quite a nice day, all the more better to get to catch up with Tomi and see my colleagues and friends supporting me doing this kind of presentation for the first time. For some reason though the atmosphere was very much different, and strange I would even say, compared with the vegfests I have been to before. There was a lot more space than usual which was good, given that  you did not have to fight your way through the little corridors between stalls, but it also made it feel much more emptier. And despite there being many, many stalls, there still seemed to be nothing around. In the sense that there surely was all aspects of veganism represented in the form of food, drink, clothing, publications, charities, animal rights groups, alternative healthcare providers and more, yet when we were in search of food, all the stalls that would have been quite inviting had a queue worth 30 min of your time. Either the 7200 people that passed through the doors yesterday were too little for the amount of space that they this time had booked, or there were not enough stalls for it, but it just felt empty, and we ended up in a restaurant nearby for actual dinner, which is quite odd.
Luckily there is the Animal Aid Christmas fayre coming at the beginning of December, which I think will bring along quite a different atmosphere. Only time will tell!

I think everyone knows about my fascination and love with buckwheat by now, and that is what I wanted to showcase – the diversity of this pseudo cereal.
A little information about buckwheat – it is naturally gluten free, related to rhubarb, that is quite high in protein with 13.25 g in 100 g of dry produce, with 343 kcal of total energy. The  study that I wrote my undergrad thesis on also demonstrated buckwheat as the most satiating of the alternative plant based protein sources it compared (hemp, lupin, fava, green pea and buckwheat vs meat), which is why I always recommend it to people who claim that vegan foods make them full and empty again in very short periods of time; or for sportsmen who need more protein (or so they think). A great source.
There are also different types of buckwheat – raw, sprouted, and roasted. I grew up consuming the latter one, as porridge – we would call it – which essentially meant instead of rice in the context. It is boiled similarly to rice, and it does expand a lot once boiled. As a kid I would always eat it with ketchup. Letcho made a good sauce also. As I grew older I had it with cheese mixed in so it would melt – it works magic with melting vegan cheeses too! My brother would mix the two I think, but I always had a problem with mixing dairy with ketchup. And that has carried over to veganism as well, I find it mentally challenging to eat ketchup with vegan cheese.
Anyway, after being vegan for a year or more, I had quite a look into the raw food world and started using sprouted buckwheat for breakfast – mix it with dried fruit and seeds/nuts for muesli for example, or blend soaked raw buckwheat with flavouring such as cinnamon, and spread it out to dehydrate instead of cereal. However when I tried cooking raw buckwheat into porridge I was put off for quite a while trying to do any kind of porridge from raw buckwheat. For so long in fact that I was eagerly waiting for Rawligion to open given that they were supposed to serve raw buckwheat porridge and I wanted to see proof that it can be done tasting good. Well, Rawligion did open but there was no buckwheat porridge. So one day I decided to pick up the matter again and looked up 10 different recipes and thought I realised what I needed to do. And so I tried. And it came out amazing.  🙂
And the different states of buckwheat is something I also wanted to demonstrate, which I am quite happy worked out even without realising! I came up with three different recipes that I showcased at vegfest, and here they are also for everyone’s convenience.

Buckwheat krispie cakes

Makes six about 60 g bars (with about 14 g protein per bar), or many many smaller pieces

Base:

1 cup (160 g) activated buckwheat (soaked for 2-4 hours, dehydrated)
1/3 cup (70 g) almond butter
1/4 cup (50 g) manna (coconut butter)
1 heaped tbsp (20 g) maple syrup/coconut nectar/other sweetener
pinch salt

Chocolate:

1/4 cup (50 g) manna
1 tsp (5 g) cacao powder
1 tbsp (10 g) xylitol, pulverised, or any other sweetener you fancy
1 tbsp (15 g) coconut oil

Method:

Melt the manna in hot water bath. Mix all the base ingredients together and press into a container about 10 x 20 cm size, dependent on how thick you like it choose larger/smaller surface area.
Mix together the chocolate ingredients, melt again in hot water bath if needed to get it more liquid, and pour over the base. If you like, add cacao nibs, coconut, or whatever else you fancy for decoration on top now so it would set together with the chocolate.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until it sets. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

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Raw buckwheat porridge

Makes two about 150 g servings (plenty for breakfast!)

100 g raw buckwheat groats
1 g (pinch) cinnamon
100 ml almond milk (or any other plant milk)
60 g dates (more if you want it sweeter)
50 g berries + more for topping if you like

Method:

Soak the buckwheat in water for 2-4 hours (can be overnight if you prefer), rinse well until the water runs clear
Add all the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. If you want it thicker, feel free to add some chia seeds to it and blend again, or reduce the amount of milk.
I have done this with blueberries, bilberries and strawberries, and it has worked magic with all of them. I have no reason to think it would not work with raspberries, grapes, or even kiwis, but only experience will tell.
I quite like layering food and having a layer of desiccated coconut for example adds some texture and visuals when serving from a glass. A strip of cinnamon could also do, or more berries is also very nice. Voila!

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Buckwheat risotto

Serves two with a side, or one very hungry

100 g kasha (roasted buckwheat)
300 g water (more/less depends if cooked with or without a lid)
1 stock cube
1 small swede
1 carrot
1 small / 1/2 large courgette
small handful of fresh parsley
125 ml oat cream (or any alternative)
Pinch of onion, garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste

Method:

Boil the kasha for 10-15 min with the stock cube, until soft, drain excess water.
Grate the vegetables, chop the parsley, and mix in the kasha together with the cream and all the spices/herbs.
You can either cook it for a few more minutes or let the heat of the kasha soften and heat up the rest of the ingredients.
Taste and add as much of salt/pepper to make it appealing to your palate. I added a decent 1/3 tsp I think of freshly ground black pepper to the portion I made, but always taste and season to taste.
Serve with a side salad, veggie sausages or anything else you desire. Decorate with fresh parsley or microherbs.

Hope you will enjoy these as much as I did and do. Will all be available at Rawligion very soon! Stay tuned!

More photos and videos on my presentation coming soon thanks to the ever amazing Tomi 🙂

Eli x

First of all – all credit to the name goes to Samuel Lee, my comi at bhuti.

It has again been a massively long and tiring week, and once cancelled pop up dinner was rescheduled for the last day of June, Thursday the 30th. My initial plans to go with a specific cuisine did not happen as I decided to go with something simple for me to prep, but good, and thus thought that as raw lasagna had been a winner at my last pop up dinner, people should have the chance to also try the raw pizza. As I had another event to do canapes for the same evening, it was non-stop indeed until it was 7.30pm – the estimated time for commencing the dinner service.

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There were very few people present, but most had booked days in advance, and only an addition of two came on the day making my life easier. Also everyone was able to have a chat with all the people present. Welcoming nibbles included battered vegetables, raw courgette hummus, and a beetroot-carrot-orange-lemon-ginger juice.

The first course was courgette rolls, two kinds, both filled with pesto, one with a cherry tomato, the other with carrot, pepper and sprouts. Pesto really works so well with courgette, it is a match made in heaven. And a little canape of candy and purple beetroot layered with cranberry cheese sauce and topped with sprouts. And SUMAC! I love sumac.

The second course was the raw pizza. I made a tomato-oregano raw base with base ingredients such as carrots, red onion, sunflower seeds and flax. The toppings included hand-pitted olives, sweetcorn, red peppers, walnut mince (tamari, agave, smoked paprika flavoured), crispy aubergine (marinated in tamari, EVO, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, chilli -> dehydrated), layered on top of sundried tomato marinara sauce, and topped with basic cashew cheese sauce and some oregano and sprouts. This is way more filling than one might perceive from its looks.

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Third course was a selection of desserts. I did a coconut-carob-chocolate tarts, essentially coconut butter with some coconut milk (from the canned coconut) and some coconut sugar for the base, a slice of banana, and topped with carob chocolate – coconut oil, maple syrup, and carob powder. I got this pack of carob at work which was of such a superior quality I digged the flavour so much I could not stop myself from making the carob chocolate. And also carob truffles. They are also the ‘bhuti balls’ at the time, truffles the tea room sells at all times with changing the recipe with each batch, this time containing sunflower seeds, coconut, cashews, carob, hemp seeds, hemp protein, and dates. I think this is the exhaustive list of ingredients… And the last pieces were fruit roll-ups. The rolls were something in between fruit leather and raw wraps, basically a fruit smoothie with very little of flax blended in, as it looked too liquidy for my liking, and then dehydrated. For the filling I did coconut cream (tinned coconut milk with agave and vanilla) and sliced strawberries. After it had stayed in the fridge for an hour, the ‘leather’ soaked in some of the moisture and yum with the intertwined and infused flavours! And then topped it with a chocolate swirl and edible flowers.

Fourth course, and may I add – respect for the guests to have made it so far – was cultured cream cheese – basic cashew cheese recipe with added probiotics, left to culture for a day in a warm place. I separated the yield in half and chopped a heck of a lot of chives and parsley in one. It was served with raw bread, which was a mixture of carrots, courgette, spinach, onion, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax, and herbs/spices. All this accompanied by a handful of grapes and pineapple.

Similar to last time, I decided to serve a hot drink to top it off, this time our Golden Elixir from the menu, which is essentially a spiced turmeric drink including cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg and cardamom. Together with that I had a spur-of-the-moment idea and did some chocolate covered strawberries to put the cherry on top of the evening.

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From the feedback received, everyone seemed to enjoy all parts of the dinner, and it quite likely beat the option of fish and chips. I think the only part I still need to master is the amounts, for four courses, be as small as the nibbles are, is still rather filling. Me and Andrea, the newest chef addition at bhuti helping me out that evening, had a pizza for our dinner, and only that filled us up to the brim. Thank god for take-away options!

All in all, my ride at bhuti has been an educative one. I do not think I would have had the chance to start as a head chef so soon had it not been for a new startup such as this. And thanks to the steep learning curve I now can value my time and area of expertise much more, and am content with moving on from there to new challenges, and new chance to help up another start-up, this time just around the corner from where I am currently based. I would not have survived as long as I did without my dearest kitchen crew, and all the other colleagues who have lent me a shoulder to cry on and reasons to laugh until my eyes water.

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Kitchen’s angels. My kitchen team of Andrea, Sam, myself, and Junko there in our minds.

Thank you bhuti for offering me all the chances I had to improve myself and the business; and welcome to Rawligion, my new head chef challenge in the raw vegan world.

PS, last chance to catch me at bhuti next week Mon-Fri! After that you will find me on 3 Tottenham Street!

Gracefully yours,

Eli xx

Pop-up dinner @bhuti

The Thursday was a beautiful day, like most of the other days that week. Many extra hours had gone into the preparation for the first pop up dinner event at bhuti whilst running the tea room as usual, mostly alone. The number of bookings increased on the day from four to 10, which was exactly as many as I had thought to prepare for, just in case, earlier in the day. I had my fingers, toes, legs and arms, and guts crossed that it would not increase, as I had ran out of the appropriate coconut milk needed for the dessert, of which I had already prepared exactly ten of anyway. As the day went by, luckily not over-the-top busy, the gut twisted further from just being crossed for good luck. Lunch time rush dealt with, it was time to make sure I have in stock everything I needed. Some more topping up, last minute prep, and time to close the tea room. It is weird to close the kitchen, only to leave it open and ready for dinner. As the time rolled to 5pm, together with my comi I realised there really was not much left to do. Followed by a priceless image of the two of us sitting behind one of the tables, folding the napkins into French pleats, as people walk by to and from yoga classes.

Setting up the tables was a peaceful and beautiful process. From years of working in catering including events such as dinners and weddings, I have grown more than accustomed with the appropriate way of laying out the table. However seeing the casual tea room transform into a cosy and warm with a hint of romantic atmosphere was very endearing, to me. Despite us serving no alcohol at bhuti, which I am quite happy about, it was a BYOW, and from the local social norms, having the wine glasses on the tables added a level of sophistication to it all. Cutlery polished, tables set and candles lit, the first guests arrived well in time.

Sam got started on the arrival drinks of carrot-orange-ginger juice, and the mingling began, accompanied by snacking on some kale crisps and macaroons.

With half an hour to spare before scheduled beginning of the service, there was enough time to start plating up the first course, and explain people what we were doing, and just casual chat to make it more interactive than just a sit-down for a four course raw vegan meal. Out of the 10 booked, by 7.30pm nine people had arrived, all getting acquainted with each other, and the dinner began, as the last person never showed up.

First course

Marinated and dehydrated sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot, and a couple of kohlrhabi chips, served with avocado chilli cream, paprika pine seed mayo, and yellow pepper hummus.

Second course

Dehydrated spinach and vegetable ‘bread’ tart, with spinach cream cheese filling.

Third course

Raw courgette and spinach lasagna with broccoli pesto, sundried tomato marinara, and cashew cheese sauce, and mung bean sprouts.

Fourth course

Mulberry and walnut crumble layered with kiwi, strawberries, and coconut cream.

Post-meal

Raw chocolate and coconut truffle, and a cup of chicory coffee with hemp milk.

People really seemed to enjoy themselves, and so did I, for I had the chance to choose the playlist for the evening. The biggest winner of the evening was the lasagna, which as far as I my experience goes with it, has always been a winner, no doubt about it. Be it a raw vegan, or a meat-eater, I know of no-one who has yet turned away from a slice of the raw lasagna. I reckon the crumble did not fall far behind, for the texture of the coconut cream, together with the freshness of the fruit, and the sweetness of the crumble parts just melted together. And by the time it got to the truffle, many people were too full to even finish that piece of confectionary. The feedback was positive and it seemed there was a demand for a new event.

Well, the requests have been met and the next one will take place in the very near future. The date is yet to be carved in stone, but the menu is pretty much set. Behold… the raw vegan pizza is on the way..

Eli x

Hello everyone,

It has been more than three months now that I have been working in a beautiful neighbourhood of London, in Richmond, in Bhuti. The newly opened spa features so many amazing aspects, like fully organic treatments, massages, yoga classes, pilates, workshops, events, a beautiful members’ lounge, and, my baby, the vegan tea room. We call it the tea room for consciously deciding not to serve coffee there, for health reasons. The whole tea room is very health oriented, as we put the menu together with our nutritionist Cicely Brown, therefore nutritious and delicious food is what we aim to do there day to day.

Now, the service will be upgraded. As the tea room often gets busy closer to the end of the day when we close at 5pm, I have decided make a start with restaurant dinner service. Together with Samantha Trinder, the owner of Bhuti, we decided to call it the Supper Club. It will entail at least a 3-course meal service, with some extra touches to make it special.

For the first Supper Club, I decided to do a fully raw menu, and hopefully include foods one would not normally have, not even in a raw vegan restaurant. The full description of the event can be found here. I have purposefully kept the level of detail of the menu quite short, to keep a little suspense. The full details will be revealed on the night after the reception.

The date is set to Thursday, 19th of May, and there is space for 20 people to sign up for that. If you do not manage this time, there will be the next time. Keep your eye out and I will give a shout when the new one is on the go. Should it be very successful, it may become a fortnightly event. If this is of interest to you, do sign up and I look forward to seeing you at the first Supper Club in Bhuti!

Excitedly yours,

Eli x

Hello, my dear readers,

It has been an awfully long time since I last posted anything here. And I’ve been meaning to post here more often, but never find anything worthy of a separate post. Well, here’s one! Before Christmas I was doing catering for two different events – one being an event for the Sustainable Future’s office from AUSA, and the other for Family, fun and politics day.

The menus were reasonably different, but both took an enjoyable full day of preparation.

For the Christmas Rendez-vouz I prepared a variety of sandwiches, fillings included caramelized onions, roast veg with hummous, cheese & ham, BLT, ‘egg salad’, veg and tofu, various combinations with veg like asparagus, peppers, courgette, spinach, and sprouts, and spreads of red kidney beans, chickpeas, cream cheese and guacamole. Besides that also polenta bites with caramelized onions, and crostinis with cream cheese and sundried tomatoes, and guacamole. For the sweets – rice krispie traybake, nougat truffles (raw), cinnamon fingers and brownies. I’ve taken some photos from the event, all done by their own photographer so claim no rights here for them. Just happy she’s made them look cool 🙂

 

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As for the second event, I made only bakery stuff. I’ve got no fancy photos of the stuff because as soon as I’d set up the table, I had to run to work. But the food was plenty and good. Here’s a list of what I made – gingerbread muffins, banana muffins, raspberry-marzipan muffins, carrotcake muffins, fruit scones, banana-pecan scones, flapjacks, peanut butter traybake, beetroot brownies, chocolate and almond brownies and lemon drizzle traybake. My favourite was the peanut butter traybake because – I kid you not – it tasted like snickers! Lemon drizzle cake I heard was a success as well and very lemony it was indeed.
There are two reasons why I particularly liked this catering job – firstly, I was required to do some gluten-free stuff, which made me realise it really is super easy and would not be a problem making all my cakes and stuff GF. Secondly – these are even more healthy than my usual cakes – the flour was exclusively wholegrain, except for the rice flour in GF stuff, and nearly all the sugar I used was muscovado – less processed, more nutrients 😉 Here’s a couple of photos of the layout.

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So that’s it folk for this time, hopefully you got something out of this post.
I promise I will soon enough post some great raw vegan recipes again.

Until then!

Eli x

 

Dinner for 50

Howdy-ho people,

I was thinking that I should possibly show you some awesomeness I have cooked for when I’ve been asked to do some catering. Here’s a couple of photos (taken from Sustainable Future’s photos, not mine) from a Dine in the Dark dinner that I did for about 45 people. I’ll post some more stuff of the events soon 🙂

First course – Selection of bread (rye, Mediterranean, olive) with dips (two different cashew cheeses, red pepper hummus)

Second course – Lentil-stuffed peppers with side salad

Third course – Cheese platter with celery, olives and grapes

Fourth course – Selection of fruit

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The three main courses

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As the people were eating in the dark, some explanation of what they were eating was in order 😛
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Even had a vegan cheese platter for the couple of vegans!

Catering

My dearest people,

Food is my life, good food, that is, and I enjoy very much sharing my knowledge and practice with other interested ones. However I know that many of you do not have the time or the equipment to follow my recipes to treat yourself with this deliciousness. Therefore I decided to start doing catering. As I currently am based in Aberdeen, UK, that’s the area where I’m working. As I don’t drive I cannot offer delivery service, pick-up only.

What can you order from me?

Well, pretty much anything you want. I imagine most would be interested in cakes or other kinds of sweeties. Cakes I can nearly do in any flavours, from the range of fruits to toffee to chocolate mint or whatever you fancy. The food is over 90% raw, I dare claim. I often use cashews which technically do not categorize under raw due to being heated to get out of the shell, and some other ingredients with similar story.

Easily can accommodate nut-free needs or any other dietary requirements.

I use mostly only organic ingredients in my creations, just to be sure it’s as healthy, clean and pure as it can get. And what I love the most about my food is that you don’t have to feel guilty for eating it! It’s only good ingredients, even the coconut oil I use has good nutrients in it, even though only in moderation, but that’s what I always do. 🙂

Regarding savoury food salads of any kind I can do. Some as side salads or more like main salads. Pizzas, lasagnes, sandwiches, ‘pasta’, also pretty much anything one can think of. So just go ahead and ask. I do as best as I can to reach perfectionism in my food, the level of deliciousness that impresses experienced chefs 🙂

With any queries, just ask ahead, I won’t bite, and neither will my food.

Love,

Eli