| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:25 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:39 pm 
Offline
Tofu Pup

Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:23 pm
Posts: 4
Hi,

I've looked on this site lots in the past but never posted before. Now I have a big cooking challenge, and I thought this could be the place to save me.
My boyfriend and I often go to a social centre near where we leave which has a weekly vegan meal night, cooked by volunteers, with people giving a donation to support the centre and other causes.

Since we've been quite a few times we impulsively volunteered to cook next Saturday and now I AM PANICKING!!!

We are both mediocre cooks at best. Neither of us has any experience of cooking for more than about 5 people. We've not even vegans (we're vegetarian).

I would be incredibly grateful for any tips at all- I thought about pasta but it would prob be hard to stop it getting soggy, or a lasagna type thing, but I don't know what vegan cheese is like and I imagine it's expensive.

I've never made a good curry though I know that's probably a good option.

Any suggestions on quick desserts or cooking times for this number of people would be good too.

thanks !


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:41 pm 
Offline
Impressive boner
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:57 pm
Posts: 4181
Location: Nottingham.
Hello! Is it the Sumac Centre, by any chance?

Here is a thread on bulk cooking - http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=29845&hilit=batch+cooking

Curries and chillies are good, low cost, tasty and filling. If you used rice do you know how you'd keep it hot? (rice can sometimes be the cause of upset tummies if not kept at the appropriate temperature.) Instead of rice you could do breads - I'm pretty sure you could get quite a good deal on chapattis or naan in Hyson Green to serve with curry, or for chilli you could serve cornbread.

The Indian supermarkets in Hyson Green sell lots of kinds of lentils (for dhal) and canned beans (chickpeas, kidney beans, etc) and tomatoes plus pre-mixed boxed spices for curry dishes. They also sell canned goods in catering sizes down the back on the right hand side, right by the butchers counter though.

I'm sure Holland and Barrett have soya mince in the penny sale right now, and you can get other kinds of spices and seasonings off the nut stall in Victoria Centre market.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:24 pm 
Offline
Bathes in Braggs
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:38 am
Posts: 1368
Location: Windmill row
I learned to cook in the kitchen of my student society. We would make beany chili very often for big groups. Fry up some onions, peppers or carrots, add cans of tomatoes, beans and corn. Spice with garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and simmer for a while. The cheapest option is to serve it with rice (don't worry about keeping it hot, 50 peeps worth of rice will keep hot for hours by itself), but bread, tortillas or taco shells is nice if you can find them for cheap. Have fun!

_________________
Can you read Dutch? Kom eens kijken op Vegetus!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:25 pm 
Offline
Drinks Wild Tofurkey
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:10 pm
Posts: 2781
Location: Midlands, UK
For dessert, fruit crumble might be good in this weather and would be easily scaleable, or a basic traybaked chocolate cake (something like wacky cake) with optional custard. Warm cake served from huge baking trays was about the only thing I remember enjoying at school dinners, and would be pretty economical.

I found a blog a while back with advice on catering for a youth group, and while not all of the recipes are vegan a lot take it into consideration, and they're in the right sort of quantities to give you some idea of scale of ingredients - http://yfgmcatering.wordpress.com/

_________________
"Wait a minute. There is a holiday for eight days of fried food and I haven't been celebrating it?! This is not right." - Rhizopus Oligosporus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:29 pm 
Offline
Tofu Pup

Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:23 pm
Posts: 4
Yes it is the Sumac :) it's strange to be talking to someone in Nottingham via America!

Thanks for both of your replies: before I read them, we came up with a plan of mushroom risotto & vegan tiramisu. We have the cognac for the tiramisu already but not the tofu, cashew nuts, or fancy biscuits. Does that sound too expensive? (we'd be doing very small portions).

We thought the rice might work but risotto rice is expensive, so wondered if anyone knew of a cheaper type of rice or way of cooking normal rice that would give the same sort of effect?

Thanks :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:52 pm 
Offline
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:16 pm
Posts: 76
I'm not sure risotto would work in such huge quantities, you need to stir it a lot which is difficult when the pot is really big.
Maybe pilaf is a better idea, you can use regular rice so it's cheaper, and it requires less stirring because it's not supposed to be as creamy as risotto.
Tiramisu sounds good but it could be to expensive, if vegan custard is cheaper and easier to find then silken tofu where you live (it is where I live, but it's different everywhere) you could make a trifle.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:45 am 
Offline
Impressive boner
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:57 pm
Posts: 4181
Location: Nottingham.
For your tiramisu ingredients you can get tofu from Asiana in Hockley (less costly than Oriental Mart. Big 600g packs of Tofu King come in firm, medium and soft for £1.19), cashews from the nut stall on Victoria Market and you can probably get the biscuits or cake fingers off the market too.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:50 am 
Offline
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:05 pm
Posts: 1965
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I used to cook for 50-150 people twice a week at a local social centre for several years when I was a teenager. It's a lot of fun, but I can tell you already that at 1 pound per person, getting tofu and stuff for tiramisu will probably be way over your budget. And considering you haven't tried cooking in these amounts or have a lot of practice and skill, I'd stick to something simple, easy and impossible to mess up. Risotto is REALLY hard to make in big quantities - you have to stir it constantly and it will result in VERY tired arms after just a few minutes when you cook it in big amounts.

If you have an industrial size oven, I am going to suggest that you make something that you can prep and then let cook in the oven, like roasted veggies or vegan lasagna. You DEFINITELY don't need any substitute for cheese - lasagna can be made by just making any type of tomato sauce with a lot of vegetables and maybe some TVP added + lasagna noodles (dried are perfect) and then making a vegan béchamel. Just add a layer of béchamel as the top layer. I used to make big asparagus quantities of lasagna by sautéing lots of onions, garlic, zucchini, carrot, aubergine or whatever else was reasonably priced, then adding some tomato paste and sautéing for a few minutes, then adding some cheap balsamic vinegar and herbs de provence or dried herbs and then adding tons of canned tomatoes and letting it simmer. If you want to add TVP granules, just add them directly to the sauce and add a few cups of vegetable broth. Add plenty of freshly grated pepper and taste with salt.
Then you just make a simple béchamel by heating some broth (or water with adequate amounts of bouillon) and maybe some soy milk or soy cream, then thickening by mixing white flour with water and whisking, then adding it to the almost simmering broth white whisking the sauce. Heat to thicken and then taste with grated nutmeg and freshly grated pepper. You can add some garlic as well. Sure, it's not the most delicate sauce ever, but it will make a tasty lasagna, I promise!
Assemble like you would any lasagna, and then make sure the béchamel is the top layer. You can just use dried noodles, it will take about 45 minutes for the lasagna to get well cooked.

When we used to make lasagna, we always made something like a lentil salad on the side. Just cook a million dupuy (or green or black) lentils until tender, preferably with a little dried herbs, and then mix them with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maybe a little sugar, some garlic, salt and pepper + more dried herbs. Then you can add basically anything you want to: raw grated beet, roasted zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, blanched green beans (frozen works fine if you don't let them cook too long).. It's a delicious and protein rich and cheap way of making food for a lot of people.

One of my favorites was to make dhal - indian lentil stew. There are a ton of recipes online, just use a simple one. It can be cooked EASILY in huge quantities. Serve with rice and maybe some mango chutney and fresh cilantro.

I think those were the two favorites - I really do suggest that you stick to something simple. When I became better at managing the kitchen and my time, I made some pretty elaborate soup kitchens, and a local school for troubled kids actually hired me to teach vegan cooking and we made it into an awesome soup kitchen event once a week for about a year when I was 19. One of the awesome things about cooking in big quantities is, that when you get to know your cooking style, you can make elaborate buffets for the same money - I've made Indian night with curries and homemade chutneys and fermented vegetables and deals and rice pilafs; I've made mexican night with tamales and mole and deliciously fresh salads; I've made italian nights and spanish nights and french nights and middle eastern party meals! it's a lot of work, but it's fun and so rewarding. The best part is that I was a horrible cook when I began cooking soup kitchens, but you learn pretty fast when you're responsible for 50 people not going hungry :)

Other awesome options are curries (I like potato/spinach/chickpea curry with coconut milk and rice!) and chilis (beans are cheap and healthy, and chili is delicious with rice) or other kinds of bean stews - you can make an provencal-inspired bean stew with vegetables, or ratatouille with canned tomatoes instead of fresh and then adding tons of beans and green beans, or you can make mashed potatoes.. Or bruschettas if you can find cheap day old bread!

Good luck! Oh, and another winner is making bread - it's SO cheap, everyone loves freshly baked bread, and we always made rolls and some sort of bean spread if we had the time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:30 am 
Offline
Making Threats to Punks Again
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:09 am
Posts: 1108
Location: Denver
Everything smoothie said. If you don't have experience cooking for crowds, risotto is going to be very difficult. The tirrimasu will eat up a LOT of your budget, too. Stews, especially in winter, are always a winner, and they are easy to make in large quantities. Again, as smoothie said, baking bread is an awesome touch, and you can use some no-knead recipes for great, easy results.

I don't know if the ingredients are cheap in the UK, but burritos are also easy - cook a ton of beans, roast potatoes onions, other veggies, serve with hot sauce, maybe rice and a salad. Pasta is also easy, although keeping noodles warm for a long time can be challenging, unless you make a baked dish.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:25 pm 
Offline
Tofu Pup

Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:23 pm
Posts: 4
Thank you everyone for all your replies and encouragement :)

So..it turns out some other people are making cake as a fundraiser so no dessert is required. Yess! My boyfriend was quite fixated on the tiramisu plan (nebulous idea) and I didn't want to be the person to take it away from him, but an act of God as it were has intervened so we can gracefully retire. Obviously it would have been fantastic but we didn't want to risk distracting from the fundraising cake ;)

The risotto idea was my baby so I'm letting it go with a heavy heart, but I trust the combined PPK wisdom, and combined we have an upper arm strength below the average 12 year old, so we'll go for a vegan lasagna with a bit of salad, maybe some garlic bread if funds allow, and hopefully get the job done.

I'll let you know how it goes, so you can either enjoy some culinary schadenfreude, or pat yourselves on the back for saving our vegan substitute bacon.

Til the next time...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:43 pm 
Offline
Impressive boner
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:57 pm
Posts: 4181
Location: Nottingham.
The huge, flat sesame seed topped breads from the Turkish supermarket on Sneinton market are delicious if spread with garlic margarine and popped into a hot oven for five minutes and they only cost about 75p each.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: HELP!!! Cooking for 50 for £50 on Saturday
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:59 pm 
Offline
Tofu Pup

Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:23 pm
Posts: 4
Hi again,
Just checking in to let you know that we survived, no one got food poisoning, and it was actually fun :) We had more help than expected, and not as many guests so we were fine for quantities and not too late serving..In the end we made a brussels sprout soup with bread and then the lasagne. Luckily someone experienced made the bechamel for us.
Thanks for your help everyone ! especially 8balls Nottingham tips, and smoothies recipes, we would have been even more lost without it :)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], mumbles and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer