It has been a week since my last post and things have been a little full on.
Our kitchens have been busy this week and we did a private catering function for some older customers yesterday, where we served up a nice afternoon tea full of tasty yet healthy delights. If you saw my Facebook and Instagram updates from yesterday, you will have seen that I made the most delicious Orange Curd tarts. This was the first time I made these and I can hand on heart say that I LOVED them as did everyone who tried them.
They are definitely going to be a regular on my future menus!
As promised, I have also included the recipe (please see the end of this blog) for those of you who wanted to make them at home. Enjoy and as always please share your pictures and any variations you did that made them different yet tasty!
For the afternoon tea that we catered for yesterday, we made a delicious variety of vegan sandwiches (filled with vegan cheese, tofu scramble and cress, hummus and rocket), Scones (cheese, fruit & plain), our delicious Victoria sponge made with fresh strawberry jam (no added sugar), mini fruit cocktail trifles and last but not least, the orange curt tarts (recipe below). We served all this with a few varieties of tea: English Breakfast, Earl Grey Darjeeling and Green tea which went down a treat as they were served with the option of cows milk as well as soya and almond milks.
Although the ‘elderly’ residents were on the whole well taken care of and looked after, they loved the fact that we were there looking after them both in terms of new faces taking an interest in them individually as well as looking after them by providing fresh good wholesome foods. We made sure that we paid attention to all the residents, catering to their individual needs and tastes (although the majority of the residents were not vegan) they LOVED the foods we offered and on the whole, couldn’t tell that there was no meat on offer! We chatted to them, we laughed with them and we even joined in with a game of bingo with them after their ‘tea’ and didn’t want to leave.
I even shared jugs of fresh filtered water filled with lemon, lime and mint leaves which was enjoyed by ALL (including the staff) so that was a huge winner.
However during the afternoon, I noticed a few things. The need for attention was high. They all craved someone to chat with, tell their stories to, have someone pampering and fussing over them and I guess that sometimes seeing new faces helps bring some excitement to their lives which over time has become a routine, a schedule of activities and in some respects boring.
I have a mother who is 76 and I know first hand the attention that she craves, the conversations she likes to have, the stories she likes to tell of her past life (even though it is repeated and I’ve heard it all numerous times before) I listen again and again simply to give her that attention, love, respect and interest into her life from when she was younger. I also know the importance of ensuring that she has the rights nutrition to keep her healthy, well and focused for the next many years moving forward.
So this experience of being at the nursing home made me pay more attention to detail (food and service, quantity and quality, individuality, listening).
Do you have any similar stories and experiences to share?
Vegan & Gluten Free Orange Curd Tarts (makes 6 tarts)
2 Oranges (washed, zest and juice)
150ml cold water
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp maple syrup (you can add any sugar variety you like and add more or less depending on how zingy you want your tarts to taste – I personally love mine very zingy!)
In a saucepan add all the above ingredients and put on a medium heat and gently whisk until the mixture becomes thicker (medium thickness curd) and remove and put in a glass bowl, cover with cling film (so a skin does not form) and leave to one side to cool.
2 1/4 cups flour (I used Doves Farm Gluten Free Self-Raising flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp sunflower or coconut oil (melted)
5 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp lemon juice
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder & salt. Then add oil and work the mixture together. Finally add the milk and lemon juice and bring the mixture together until it forms a ball. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes (could be pre-made the day before). Roll out and cut into desired shapes and blind bake in the oven for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180C.
**USEFUL TIP**: To blind bake, cut up some pieces of baking paper and scrunch up and stuff into each tartlet. This stops the pasty from rising whilst baking. This is so much easier then messing around with dried beans!
Once the tart bases have cooked and cooled down, top each tart with your curd mixture and decorate. I used fresh mint leaves (when eaten adds to the flavour of the orange so well) and little fresh orange triangles. If you like coconut, you can sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top of the tarts instead of icing sugar. Delicious and so moreish……….
Let me know how you get on.
Don’t forget to always share your love no matter how tiring it can sometimes feel and even when you feel someone doesn’t need it – everyone always needs to know they are loved and cared about.
Until soon, Guilda x