Vegetarian & Vegan lunch buffet delivery in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

Tuesday, October 06, 2009
15 events in 9 days - and half of these were accounted for by repeat bookings, always a good sign.

The group that had the all vegetarian buffet last year had liked it so much when the organiser was hosting the seminar this year she contacted me again. With a lot of vegetarians and other menu requirements she felt it easier to go once more all vegetarian. As I delivered the last one yesterday she booked again for next year.

One delegate who wasn’t vegetarian said she hadn’t been looking forward to the lunches beofre she arrived - ‘more of a beef fan’, but from the first day found that she in fact loved everything, and looked forward to it each day. Another delegate added that at other events he had been to normally by the third day everything starts to taste the same, but I had kept making everything taste different. So plenty of happy people over the 5 days then.

As it was a different set of delegate this time I kept the same menu as last time - you can see all that with photos and links to recipes on last year‘s blog post. This year I just improved a few things, refining the recipes etc and planned the menu so each day featured different breads, flavours & textures. And this year it was 5 days rather than 4 so I had to do a bit of early morning vegetarian research, and came up with a few more tasty ideas. This year there was a vegan too - so I had to adapt quite a few things to be vegan friendly. But even vegan food can taste really good if you take a bit of care!

Herb pitta crisps

Each day I did a different mezze item: the tapanade toasts with red pepper dip, baked new potatoes with asparagus and blue cheese, olives, stuffed vine leaves and these herb pitta crisps which were served with tatziki.

When I have done these before I have simply grilled the pitta and cut it into dip-size pieces. It is quite popular in Lebanese, greek & Turkish cooking. When I was looking at dry snacks at the beginning of the year I came across these herb pitta crisps, again, in the canape book.

You cut the pitta into 4 and separate the pieces and lay them out on a baking tray so the inside is facing up. Then brush them with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle with rock salt and fresh chopped thyme and bake them till crisp. This makes the pitta much more desirable. For the vegan we made a separate tatziki with soya yogurt.

Artichoke puree, grilled courgettes and red onion marmalade on tiger bread
Any excuse to use the Le Creuset grill pan - because it's double or more the size of a normal one it gets the job done so much faster. More can be found on the red onion marmalade recipe can be found from a previous post.
Artichoke puree makes a great alternative to butter or mayo!
Open sandwich with bean puree and roast peppers
A new improved version from last year. After quite a bit of experimenting with baked beans over the last year - like the beer baked cannellini beans, the breakfast tomato baked harricot beans, I baked these ones in cider and vegetable stock with onions, garlic, cumin & thyme (don’t ask for measurements).

Sesame bagels with red lentil pate

The bagels I made for a party at the beginning of September went down so well I made some more for this one. It’s just so different when you make your own - when toasted they stay crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. And I was amazed at how nice the red lentil pate was that I made for the wedding in August. The two together seemed a good combination. And both contained no dairy so were fine for the vegan too.

Sun dried tomato foccacia with roasted butternut squash and mozzarella

This is last year’s photo, but it looked rather similar. Last year I used foccacia from the local bakery. But this year I wanted to make my own. There was a great recipe in the bread book by Eric Treuille that I recently purchased that had white wine in the foccacia bread mix. This is, apparently, a traditional addition in a part of Italy. I didn’t follow that recipe exactly, but adapted my usual bread recipe to incorporate the wine and more olive oil (which enriches the foccacia).

1 kg strong flour
250ml white wine
150ml olive oil (+extra to finish)
200ml warm water
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
Sun dried tomatoes chopped

As with normal bread you let it prove, knock it back, add your flavourings, in this case the sun dried tomatoes and thyme. Then for foccacia you roll it out. For this I wanted a square or rectangle shape as it would reduce the amount of offcuts - though you could make any shape you wanted. After you’ve let it prove again, you poke holes in and sprinkle with more olive oil (the holes collect the oil so the bread absorbs ir as it cooks). If you are serving it as the table you can add garlic cloves, herb sprigs, sea salt etc, but as I was going to be covering it with a topping I didn’t think this was necessary.
I made the crushed butternut squash with olive oil, mixed spice and a little orange zest rather than dairy, and did the vegan version with oven dried tomato rather than the mozzarella.
Sweet potato scones with sweet corn chutney

I found both of these recipes in the early hours of the morning, and they seemed to want to go together. I had been looking for savoury scones which would suit both vegetarians and vegans - and the sweet potato in this means you don’t need egg. It was one of things I didn’t actually make myself - my brother Adam had arrived back from a sojurn to Cornwall just in time to help out with the busy weekend, and made both the scones and the chutney while I was making tart cases, bread rolls, breakfast loaves and foccacia among other things.

He switched the milk in the sweet potato scone recipe for soya milk and the 'buttery spread' for soya pure so it would be suitable for the vegan as well. The sweet corn chutney was another revelation - something I hadn‘t thought of before. So nice I had to keep ‘testing’ it.

Artichoke hoummous, pickled wild mushrooms and sautéed artichokes on sourdough

Another updated version - it was useful having last year’s blog post as a reference. I used hoummous for the base of this that time, and knocked up a quick version on the morning yesterday - cooked chickpeas, cooked artichokes, lemon, garlic, cumin, olive oil, seasoning. The addition of the artichoke worked well, and spread thickly is a nice alternative to spreading with butter or cream cheese. Last year I used French bread, but as they had had this on two other days I opted for sourdough - the mushrooms and sourdough seemed to work well together.


Along with the other desserts (which you can see from last year) I added these:

Blueberry and white chocolate cheesecake
Cheesecake ranks high in the top 10 favourite desserts. As I also make them for a restaurant in Cheltenham, I don’t really want to give the recipe away, but you can find a very good one here, which is where I got the idea for doing them in muffin cases from in the first place. In muffin cases they are much more ideal to be served as a buffet item, and Margaret's trick of spraying the cases with oil first worked really well. I used quark - the vegetarian creamed cheese.

For the vegan version (the one in the middle - can you tell?) I made the base with nice biscuits (no dairy in those) and soya pure spread. Then added blueberries and set some blueberry soya yogurt with gelatine. It worked surprisingly well.

Chocolate orange drizzle cake
I loved the lemon drizzle so much that Adam made back in June for a buffet we did in Gloucester, that when I saw the chocolate orange drizzle recipe on Rosie’s blog I bookmarked it. Chocolate and orange - where can you go wrong? I made it last thing late in the evening before it was being served (quadrupling the recipe) - so it would still be fresh and moist from the syrup. It was only in the morning I realised we needed another egg-free vegan version, so I made another small one halving the recipe and replacing the butter with pure soya spread and eggs for vegetable oil and added a bit of extra baking powder.

Vegan banoffee sponge
I put my normal banoffee sponge recipe aside and found this vegan version, which turned out very nice. For the topping I mixed soy ‘cream’ with brown sugar and thickened it with a little arrowroot.

Vegan chocolate torte

While I made the chocolate nemesis for the rest of the group, for the vegan guest I found this vegan chocolate torte recipe (missing out the raspberries) and made it in the last hour before it was away - as it was small it didn’t take too long in the oven, and as with a lot of vegan recipes, because there are no eggs there is less mixing time.

I used one of the spare tortes again and made a vegan chocolate and raspberry trifle a couple of days later.

Vegan pear and almond tart

Along with my vegan tart case, for the pear and almond tart I made a separate vegan frangipane, replacing the butter for soya pure spread and eggs for vegetable oil.

Vegan lemon tart
While I made normal lemon tarts for the rest of the guests I cheated a bit with the vegan tart case and used the nice biscuits again set with soya pure. For the lemon filling I boiled soya milk with caster sugar, lemon zest & juice and thickened it with cornflour. Once chilled it held perfectly in the tart case, and like the rest, was glazed on top like a crème brûlée.

Blackberry and apple shot
While I made apple and blackberry crumble tarts for rest of the group (and blackberry and apple pie for a delivery bistro meal - one of the other 4 events we managed to pack in this weekend along with the daily lunch buffet) I made this for the vegan with blackberry coulis mixed into soya yogurt. This is a nice way to serve yogurts for breakfast too.

Related posts:

Other buffets
Other vegetarian dishes
Other vegan dishes


Jan said...

Wow that'll keep you busy! As you say though - a good sign to have repeat bookings! All looks delish.

Bronwen said...


I was part of this course, well I was the teacher, and I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful food. What a quality and taste!!!

Looking forward to next year.

Frans Stiene

Sam said...

Good to hear your getting repeat bookings though I'm not surprised, the food looks fantastic as always!

Dhanggit said...

OMG, I've never seen such yummy vegetarian buffet before!! truly mouthwatering!

Margaret said...

Pleased to hear you are doing so well, especially in these very trying times.
Also the food looks wonderful.
Thank you for the mention James. It's great that we can learn from each others blogs.
It was very interesting to see your vegetarian and vegan lunch.