Monday 7 May 2012

A fun weekend...

I spent Friday afternoon baking cupcakes for the Brighton Pro-Choice fundraiser at The Cowley Club.

I made Bourbon Biscuit & Raspberry Sweetie cupcakes. The Raspberry Sweetie cakes are topped with chopped Strawberry Pencils and pink sugar. I love how sparkly they are! Operation Icing has recently been baking for various local feminist events but I am still selling not-for-profit cupcakes through the website. This summer I'm going to start selling cakes in boxes of 6 rather than just 12, hopefully this'll make them more affordable for people as I know buying a batch of 12 cupcakes isn't something people can do very often.

This weekends Brighton Pro-Choice fundraiser was called Riot For Choice and we served food & showed films from 7-9, had spoken word performances & bands from 9-12 (Check out Caitlin's performance poetry on You Tube, she blows my mind with her awesomeness!) and then there was a DJ 'till 2am.

We made a meal of tapas which I was too busy serving to take a picture of! The kitchen crew made six dishes including Dal, Beetroot Soup, a rice & aubergine dish, Patatas Bravas, and a 'threesome' of roasted vegetables. Each plate cost £4 and came with free bread, you could choose from Paratha, Pitta, Rye Sunflower, Khobez or Chapati. Everyone seemed really into the food even though we ended up serving it a little late!

It was a super long but super fun day (how could an event with free candy floss be bad?!) which ended with my friends Nick, Caitlin & I washing up at 2am after the boiler had broken! Thankfully those guys are so awesome that it was somehow kinda fun & not a craptastic end to a great night!

I spend Saturday night with my BFF's Sal, Kip & Holley at Holley's house for her turn at fake Come Dine With Me! 

To start she made a wonderful Leek & Potato Soup with Homemade Bread.

This was delicious & even came with a fancy swirl of cream, very impressive Holley!

Her main course sounded incredibly fancy... 

...somehow Holley managed to make Smash (packet potato flakes), a Fry's chicken burger, gravy and spring greens sound, look and taste fancy! I don't know how she did it! Smash* is kinda a running joke between us and we were all amused and excited that someone finally served it!
*Smash has always been vegan but looking at their site it seems that they are in the process of changing the ingredients & adding milk. Check the ingredients of your Smash or buy Sainsburys own brand Potato Flakes to recreate this tasty meal at home in minutes!

Dessert was a huge chocolate brownie, vanilla Swedish Glace ice cream sprinkled with cinder toffee and chocolate dipped strawberries.

This was another excellent plate of food. Chocolate dipped strawberries, brownies and cinder toffee are three of my favourite dessert items and a trio of desserts is a winning way to end any meal.

The whole night was made extra awesome by the fabulous company, Holley's amazing slideshow of pictures of us having 'all of the fun', hula hooping on the roof (a skill I didn't know I had!) and Kieran's awesome vegan White Russians. 10 out of 10 lady! 

Today has been spent writing, dying my hair, baking banana bread & sorting through my pictures from Barcelona...hopefully I'll manage to get a blog post or three about that trip up soon.

Groezrock Festival.

Last weekend Nick & I borrowed his dad's camper van & headed for Belgium. After last years disappointing experience at Groezrock we weren't sure whether to go back this year or not. The line up looked awesome as ever (Rancid, Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, Good Riddance, Hot Water Music, The Copyrights, Alkaline Trio, Lagwagon, Reel Big Fish, Motherfucking Refused!!) but remembering how annoyed we were at having to miss bands to trek to the van last year just so that we could eat and thinking back to having to buy crappy corporate water or bad beer was off-putting. After the festival last year I tweeted at & e-mailed the festival organisers to see what could be done about fixing the veggie food situation and after not hearing back from them I assumed that nothing was going to change...that was until we saw on Twitter that Just Like Your Mom catering were going to be there.

Just Like Your Mom are a vegan catering company who work closely with Alpro Soya to provide vegan food for festivals, events and touring bands. We knew they'd been catering for bands backstage at the festival last year (so close but yet so far!) and we were really really excited that we'd be able to eat this year. We booked out festival tickets immediately!

On arriving in the festival arena on Saturday morning we lined up to buy our food & drink tickets and then went in search of Just Like Your Mom. We spotted the stall with its large vegan food sign but they weren't open yet & there was no way to tell what they'd be selling...mysterious!

Their stall opened at 12 and when we went back there are 11.45 there was already a line, I was really happy to see that other people at the festival were excited about vegan food!

Once they opened their doors the crowd were visibly excited and soon it became obvious why. They had loads of Alpro Soya products for sale including Speculoos Soya Desserts and flavoured milks, Wheaty Chorizo Spacebars & a menu of delicious sounding hot food.

My eyes were immediately draw towards these delicious looking cupcakes. Chocolate with a whipped cream topping, a caramel swirl & chocolate chips. These were soft & muffin like and the frosting wasn't overly sweet meaning that they made an excellent breakfast. I couldn't believe what an improvement this was on last years sad (read, non-existent) veggie catering effort. Cupcakes at a festival! Amazing!!

There were loads of excellent savoury food options to choose from and we got started with some mock chicken nuggets...

...these crispy Alpro Soya nuggets came with a delicious homemade garlic dressing. They were perfectly crisp and to be served a homemade dressing at a festival instead of cheap ketchup was excellent.

Nick opted for a sausage roll...

...these seemed homemade which was brilliant and although I only got to take one bite (these were sold out when I went back to get my own!) I can safely say they it was delicious, perfectly soft flaky pastry encasing a delicious sausage, what more could you ask for?!

Last year at Groezrock the only beer for sale was Jupiler which although vegan isn't the kind of beer I like meaning that I stuck to soft drinks. This year Groezrock also had a 'Special Beer' section of the bar which sold Hoegaarden and my new favourite vegan beer, Hoegaarden Rosée. This sweet, unfiltered, low alcohol beer is perfect for a cider lover like me & I was happy to be able to spend my drink tickets on something nice. Unfortunately a bit of internet research tells me that this beer's only available in Benelux which I guess just means I need to plan more trips to those countries!

The next day Nick & I headed straight for the Just Like Your Mom stand for breakfast. We were contemplating more nuggets or sausage rolls but once we spotted these we quickly changed our mind!

These flaky chocolatey croissants were a great way to start the day. Also, vegan croissants at a festival is kind of ridiculous...ridiculously awesome! After catching Anti Flag's acoustic set we got back in line for more food and I finally tried a burger.

There were three burgers to choose from, the Crispy Burger, the Veggie Burger and the Eastern Burger. I chose the Crispy Burger and was very pleased to find that it was coated with a very similar crispy breading as the nuggets.

The Crispy Burger came on a soft warm bun with a great salad and the same garlic dressing as the nuggets.

Nick stuck with his festival favourite, the Veggie Burger.

This soyabean burger was filled with sweetcorn, carrot, peppers & onion and also came on a soft warm bun with a good salad.

Yet again we were incredibly impressed with the quality of Just Like Your Mom's food, these guys aren't like any other festival caterers I've ever encountered. The burgers came with two types of salad leaves, red onion, tomato, cucumber and grated carrot. The bread seemed freshly baked too & was nothing like the usual long-life-rock-hard crap I remember getting served at festivals as an omnivore many years ago. I really really hope that Just Like Your Mom will be at Groezrock next year...judging by the huge line at the stand every time we tried to grab food I'd say that they were super popular.

This year there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be revisiting Groezrock festival next year, wanna come?!