Friday, 28 March 2014

Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings #1 : Tres Leches

My first Dessert Island Pudding is a cake that my mum always made when I was growing up, and since it's Mother's Day here in the UK on Sunday, it fitted perfectly, plus I hope you agree that it looks a bit like a Desert Island!

Tres Leches (Three Milks) is the Latin American version of the British Trifle or the Italian Tiramisu, and it's basically consists of a soft sponge that is soaked by 3 types of milks: Evaporated, Condensed and Double Cream. We spent a few years in El Salvador and Honduras in the mid eighties and this is where my mum learned this recipe, and since then it regularly follows her world famous lasagna, which we all still beg her to prepare when there is a sufficiently important cause for celebration in the family.

Here's what you'll need:
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1/3 cup of Milk
- 1 tsp of Fairtrade Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of braking powder
- 350 gr of Condensed Milk
- 350 gr of Evaporated Milk
- 2 cups of double cream
- Fairtrade nuts
- 3 tablespoons of Amaretto

1) Heat your over to 170 C
2) Grease a pan with high sides
3) Separate your 5 eggs
4) Beat the yolks with 2/3 of the cup of sugar until pale and double in size. Slowly add the milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder

5) Separately beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until they form stiff peaks
6) With a metal spoon fold the egg whites into the yolks and place in the pan. Bake for around 30 minutes, test with a skewer. Leave to cool for about an hour

7) Once cool, pierce with a fork or knife repeatedly
8) Mix the evaporated, condensed milk and 1 cup of cream in a jug and bathe the sponge. You may want to keep some of the mixture aside for serving.
9) Leave in the fridge to soak for at least a couple of hours, but best overnight.
10) Whip the remaining cream, decorate with the nuts and serve!

It's really very simple and has such a lovely homely feel to it, no wonder it reminds me of my mum.

Somebody once told me that it's not until you have children you really understand your parents and the miracle of truly unconditional love. I can see that now, and sometimes when I marvel at the impossible perfection and happiness that my children bring me, I feel very close to my parents, because I understand that I however old I may be, I am still their baby too.

But its mother's day, so here go a few words about my mum. I think I could write a whole blog about her, but I will just say that she is the most beautiful, kind and annoying person I know, and that when I hear people joke about how all women inevitably become their mothers as they grow older... I just sigh and quietly hope I can become even just a little bit as incredible as she is.

So happy mothers day Mamuchita Morf - A - Lot... the ultimate foodie of the family!

Personalized Quote Sign for Mothers Day Handpainted  Wood by CRSWoodDesigns

Mothers do have a way of keeping things together (:

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings Series

My husband is convinced that I am turning into an old lady. The fact that I have started to collect glass jars and plan on making jam this summer, coupled with my newly found passion for Radio 4 (which has unleashed my inner-geek apparently) proves his argument.

I don't disagree. Maybe I have always been an old lady, one of those... 'old souls'. I remember my parents laughing at the fact that I used to sit in a small rocking chair and do crochet, while watching soaps when I was only 9 years old. But luckily all things 'vintage' are now 'chic' and so I can let my laughed-at passion for cream teas, blankets and all things with floral patterns, run wild!

One of the programs that I sometimes catch on Radio 4 when doing the school run, is Desert Island Discs, which basically asks all sorts of famous people to play a few songs that they would take to their Desert Islands and talk about what they represent to their lives. I often find it very moving because like food, music plays a big part of me and my family's story and it is most certainly connected to the best and worse times...but, as I go through the exercise of wondering what what songs I would take.... I also find myself choosing what foods I would take to eat while playing the records!

So, I thought I'd do my own version of the program for the next few recipes..... and I will call it " My Fairtrade Dessert Island Puddings" (get it... desert, dessert... see the geek is out, hence grammar joke below) and I will choose 4 recipes that I would be happy to take and eat on my island 'forever' without tiring of them. 

:) The only time I find grammar errors funny

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Guest Post - Fairtrade Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Swirl

Competition time! The wife entered Liberation's Banana Nut Bake Off. Emilia (my 3 year-old mini chef) and I thought we'd give her a run for her money this afternoon. 

So this one is really easy.
1. We chopped two bananas and squeezed half a lime juice on top of it to stop it going brown. 

2. We were feeling adventurous so also added the zest of the lime and also some grated nutmeg

3. Then Emilia rolled out the puff pastry and put on the chopped banana, then the chocolate chips 

4. The last bit was some dollops of crunchy Liberation Peanut butter 

5. We then rolled it up and cut it into slices about as thick as my thumb

6. Emilia then squashed each one under a plate and popped it onto the baking trays (make sure you use grease proof paper or silicon paper or a non stick mat)

7. After a quick egg wash they were ready to go into the oven for 16 minutes at 220

8. We let them cool....  just for 5 minutes and gobbled them up while the chocolate was still a bit melted. 

Mmmmmm easy, quick and yummy

Shopping List
Puff pastry
2 Fairtrade Bananas
Around 8 tea spoons  of Liberation Peanut Butter
Around 200g Fairtrade Chocolate Chips (dark is my preference)
1 Lime 
1 free- range egg 
Optional Extras (nutmeg / lime zest / FT Nuts)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fairtrade's power to bring communities together

I live in Edenbridge. A charming little village in the south east of England, which proudly boasts in a sign as you enter it that is it's 'Kent's first Fairtrade Town'.

Even though we moved out here from London almost 5 years ago, and all this while I have been working on Fairtrade, it is only recently that I have gotten involved with the local fellow activists from the Edenbridge Fairtrade Group; and what a lovely and passionate bunch they are.

I guess because my work to date has been focused on the other end of the spectrum, that is, on the impact that Fairtrade generates in producers in their countries, it is fantastic for me to now also discover the impact that it also has in bringing communities together in ours.

I have attended many events over the past few years where producers have been the 'stars of the show', but they have always said to me that meeting the many churches, schools, universities and towns and villages that promote their products, 'for free' is what touched them the most, because without them the movement really wouldn't be what it is today. I don't know what it is about Fairtrade, but something about it makes it very different from many other, very worthy consumer related causes, like say: free range eggs, or responsibly caught fish or local, seasonal and even organic food. Or even the work of many other conservation, environmental organisations or charities. And I think it's the fact that Fairtrade has also had this effect of creating such groups of community activists who are always thinking of different ways to promote it and spread the word. I may be wrong, but I have never heard of a say a 'free range town' or an 'seasonal school'!

My local group organised such an event to mark Fairtrade Fortnight last night and invited me to come along and blog about it. As a mum of very young children who hasn't 'gone out' on my own to any evening event (due to bedtimes etc!) in a VERY long time... it was a bit of challenge... but one that I was very happy to accept! and so with the support of my husband Chris, who took a day off and was left with lots instructions and tips on how to feed, and put the little ones down in my absence (why do mum's worry so much about this things!) I left home, at nighttime, during bedtime... on my own and without a nappy bag! wow... talk about small victories... :)

Anyway, the event was orchestrated by Rachel from the eAt@Eden cafe and was called Come Dine with Me, and it was to be a fun competition between local 'celebrity chefs and' food enthusiasts' who,  in pairs, had to cook a dish in 10 minutes using Fairtrade products and then the crowd would vote on which dish sounded the most delicious. After the cooking demonstrations, people would be invited to sample all 6 dishes. The event was sold out (over 100 tickets!) which for a small village on a Monday night is a fantastic achievement on its own!

The demonstrations were great fun and there was fantastic banter between the 'local food celebrities' and the crowd throughout, and even though I didn't stay for the sampling bit of the evening, I could tell that everyone was having a really good time, and there was a real sense of community spirit.

I rushed back just before 8 pm (like Cinderella from the Ball).... half expecting to find an orchestra of babies crying and my husband by the door... but to my amazement... both babies were down... the house was still standing... and my husband was sorting out our dinner... wow... double success.

Some photos from the event below.