Get a taste of our cookery courses this National Vegetarian Week 2020

Posted by Oliver on 06/05/20 in Recipes, VfL News and Events

We couldn’t run these sessions without donations.

Your donations meant that we could get vital information on vegan and vegetarian meal delivery services to those most in need during the pandemic. They meant that we could connect isolated people through our veggie pen- and phone-pal scheme. They mean that we can continue to be there for older vegans and vegetarians, whatever the time of year. Will you give a donation this National Vegetarian Week?

As a guide, we suggest a donation of £5 per session, or £2 if unwaged, and £10 if you are able to ‘pay it forward’ to help us keep these sessions accessible to all. 

This National Vegetarian Week, we're excited to announce two brand new courses: 'Vegan Baking' and 'Vegan Cheese-Making'. With the huge rise in veganism, we’re sure that you’ll want to ensure that your chefs are ahead of the game and fully prepared to cater well for all.

As part of the launch, two of our top roving chefs, Alex Connell and Ollie Bragg, will be presenting free live cookery demonstrations via Vegetarian for Life's Facebook page.

Catch them in action to get a taste of what the new courses hold in store. Further your cheffing aspirations by registering for the full courses now, and learning the keys to success.

Vegan Baking

If you cater for older people, join Chef Alex for an introduction to vegan baking, where he'll show you how to make a delicious chocolate and orange cake that the people you care for will love. You will, too!

Alex's free vegan baking 'taster' session will take place from 11am, Tuesday 12 May 2020. Join here.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Prep time: 30 minutes (plus time to allow the sponge to cool)

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8 slices

Ingredients (cake)

  • 240g self-raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate powder
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 130g vegan margarine (gently melted)
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 200ml soya milk
  • 125g vegan natural yoghurt
  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add all of the remaining dry ingredients. Set to one side.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and combine.
  3. Fold in all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  4. Divide the mixture into three lined cake tins and place into a preheated oven (180°C) for 15 minutes. After this time your cake should have risen. To check it is cooked, carefully slide a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it is done.
  5. While the cake is baking make the filling.

Ingredients (filling)

  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 50g soya cream
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence


  1. Simply combine all of the ingredients until smooth then place in the fridge. When chilled, your mixture should have a thick consistency. If too thin, add a little extra cocoa powder.

Chocolate Orange Topping


  • 150g dark chocolate
  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the orange zest. Balance the bowl over a pan with a little water in it. Gently heat until the chocolate starts to melt. Once melted turn the heat off but leave over the pan. This will allow the chocolate to stay melted for longer until ready for use.

Bringing it all together

  1. When the cake is completely cooled, set the base layer onto your serving plate. Carefully spread half of the filling onto the top and add the second sponge. Repeat with the remaining filling and add the final sponge.
  2. Spoon the melted chocolate over the top and serve straight away while the chocolate is still warm.

Full course details

The full vegan baking course will demystify the secrets to successful baking without eggs or dairy.

You'll be amazed at the mouth-watering bakes that you can create. Not only are these suitable for vegans, but also any residents who may exclude dairy or eggs because of allergies or religious beliefs, thus ensuring that your care catering is fully inclusive to all. Upskill your chefs and go the extra mile to ensure that you are fully prepared and able to cater well for special diets.

During this inspiring full-day course, chefs will become familiar with a range of techniques and ingredients to create tasty vegan desserts suitable to be served in care facilities.

The course is tutor-led but is weighted to hands-on experience and plenty of sampling. All of the bakes have been chosen so that they are popular with the all of the residents in your care, not just vegetarians and vegans.

Learning objectives:

By the end of the session, delegates will:

  1. Become familiar with a range of vegan baking techniques.
  2. Be able to identify some of the common ingredient pitfalls in vegan baking.
  3. Be able to suitably fortify recipes for added nutrition.
  4. Identify best practice in providing vegan options, and the inclusivity of vegan baking.

Click here to register.

Vegan Cheese-Making

Join Chef Ollie for a taster in vegan cheese-making, a tantalising introduction to raw, fermented nut cheese and the textures and flavours that can be achieved.

Ollie's free vegan cheese-making 'taster' session will take place from 2pm, Thursday 14 May 2020. Join here.


Great for salads and vegan pizzas.

Serves: 6
Time to prepare: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes
Dietary requirements: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan


  • 150g raw cashew nuts, soaked
  • 245g unsweetened vegan yogurt with probiotics (such as soy)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10g nutritional yeast
  • 7 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3¾ tbsp agar flakes or 1¼ tbsp agar powder


  1. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashew nuts, yogurt, salt, nutritional yeast, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a large bowl and cover with a lid or cling film. Let it ferment for 12–24 hours.
  3. After the fermentation period, add the tapioca starch and mix well.
  4. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Set aside.
  5. Add the 1 cup water and agar powder to a pan. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Transfer the fermented cashew nuts to the pan and continue simmering until it’s thick and very stretchy. It takes about 7–10 minutes.
  7. With an ice cream scoop, make balls out of this cheese paste and drop them inside the icy water. Let them rest inside there for 30 minutes.
  8. After that, you can transfer to an airtight container, or into a salty brine solution. Keeps well in the fridge for 7 days.


This isn’t a fermented nut cheese, but it’s super quick and easy to make and great to use instead of parmesan. You can also use as a topping on all types of salads and pasta dishes.

Serves: 10
Time to prepare: 5 minutes
Dietary requirements: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan


  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • ⅔ cup of raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1–2 tsp of sea salt (to your taste)
  • 2 tsp of dill
  • 2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Put the walnuts and sunflower seeds into a blender and ground them up.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Keep in a jar with a lid.

Full course details

Open up a whole new world with this vegan cheese-making course, not only suitable for vegans but for any service users with dairy allergies too, ensuring that your care catering is fully inclusive and person-centred.

An inspiring half-day training course to give you a deep insight into textures, flavours and the health benefits of raw, fermented nut cheese and how to make it at work or at home.

Learning objectives

By the end of the session, delegates will:

  1. Learn how to ferment, culture and make a variety of vegan cheeses including parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and chevre
  2. Understand the benefits of fermenting nuts and seeds
  3. Know how to flavour the different cheeses

Click here to register.


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