Recipes for Gatherings

Teapot LogoThis document was written by Isy, from the awesome the Anarchist Teapot field catering collective. As well as compiling the Anarchist Teapot Catering Guide (available as pdf download) or from Veggies Bookstall, and the vegan bible “Another Dinner is Possible”, Isy is now running Vegan Cakebakers, Brighton based bakers for all things tasty.

Ideas for pasta:

Bolognese sauce for 200:

Saute up to 10kg chopped onion with enough oil (5mm is a good amount) to cover the bottom of the pan, add lots of minced garlic after a while (about 6 bulbs), and maybe some celery (not more than 5 bunches – it gets overwhelming), carrots, courgettes, peppers…. all chopped fairly finely. Keep sweating over a low heat as long as you can – stirring well!

As soon as it starts sticking be ready with chopped tomatoes – if you’re using big 2.5 kg tins you’ll need about 8-10. Add veg mince – ca 5kg (dried weight) of the MINCE, not the chunks – or red or brown lentils, up to 10kg – at this point too.

Add liquid – water or red wine, mmh – if needed to just about cover the veg and mince and make stirring without burning possible, but make sure you don’t add too much. Mix in some tomato puree to thicken it up – 4-6kg.

Add herbs like oregano and basil (it can take a LOT of both of these), some thyme/marjoram if you like, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar – a bit of sugar’s good to add to tomato stuff cos it takes off their sourness.

Bring this to a boil then turn down and cook at least 30 minutes, until done, add more herbs and fresh herbs like a bit of parsley (not too much), basil, oregano, if you have them, toward the end.

Veg tomato sauce for 200:

Kind of the same as the above, but with more veg instead of mince.

Use the calculation of 250g veg per person for this. Use veg like chopped onion, celery, carrot, quartered mushrooms, sliced peppers, broccoli separated into bits with the stalks chopped up finer, even root veg like chopped parsnip, sweet potato, squash, potatoes. If you want to use things like spring greens or spinach, add them later on when you have the whole sauce boiling.

You can also use some beans in this – less than 10kg, and use 5-10kg less veg, and either cook soaked beans separately and add toward the end, or use tinned beans – soaked beans will take ages to cook in the sauce.

Creamy vegetable sauce for 100 No. 1:

Saute 5kg onion in a fair bit of oil, and add say 5 bulbs garlic, and a bit of other finely chopped veg you decide to use – e.g. celery/carrot.

The following needs a lot of attention, so, attention! Slowly add about a third to half of a bag of flour and mix it in immediately so that it starts going all gooey down in your pan. Then have some stock ready – made separately with boiled water – to add bit by bit, alternating with some soymilk. Keep stirring, and stop adding liquid if it’s getting too thin. Bring to the boil, and you may be able to add some more liquid then.

Add some bay leaves – about 10, some salt and pepper, and maybe some herbs, and a bit of nutmeg is nice. Then, you could either be steaming some veg in a separate pan then adding it toward the end, or adding veg to the sauce to cook in it. Some nuts are nice in this too, like chopped cashews or hazelnuts.

Creamy vegetable sauce for 100 no. 2:

Cook a whole load of spinach – 5-6 large bags of frozen spinach or up to 4kg shredded fresh (you’ll need to spend a lot of time washing the spinach though). Steam it with as little as water as won’t burn, and as short as needed, mixing in 4-5 bulbs chopped garlic.

Mix in a large bowl with a fork and/or masher/anything that’ll mash, with 5-8kg tofu, and as much basil as you can afford – at least 4 big bunches. If you have a food processor, do it in that.

Then saute 5kg chopped onion, adding up to 5 more bulbs of chopped garlic, 2kg quartered mushrooms, and then make a roux again (like above) with flour adding soymilk/stock and nutmeg.

Mix in the tofu/spinach mash when done, taste test for salt and pepper and nutmeg, and serve.

Olive oil and pesto/olives/capers:

This needs a LOT of olive oil to be tasty, so it could become quite expensive for over 100 people, but it’s very easy to make.  It’s basically slowly cooking a bit of chopped onion, but mostly garlic in a whole  load of olive oil, then mixing this into pasta with salt, pepper, fresh herbs like  basil, chopped black olives and capers.

Vegan Pesto:

Best made with a food processor. Lotsa fresh basil, toasted pine nuts (pooosssh) or  toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds, other nuts/seeds.., olive oil, salt and pepper and go whizz. You can add a bit more oil bit by bit if you like, while it’s going. Other fresh herbs are nice too,  like parsley, fennel, mixed…

This is one to experiment with, but can turn out really really nice.  Worth it if you can afford all that olive oil.

Genovese for 100:

This involves cooking things separately, so only really good for 100 or less on a decent burner with a few rings, while boiling the pasta water on a separate stronger burner if available.

Cook 5kg small new potatoes until just done. Scoop out, and cool, then chop into cubes.

Cook 6-7kg penne or fusilli until just about done, scoop out and drain, mixing in olive oil and salt and pepper. Steam 6-7kg green beans cut into 5cm lengths (frozen ones are ok), drain.

Mix all together with a kilo of pesto, garnish with basil.

Pasta bakes

Possible if you aren’t cooking for too many, and you have a big oven.

You can usually fit four to six large (ca. 40cmx20cm) baking trays in a large oven – with each baking tray yielding about 10 portions. Don’t start stacking trays on top of each other, it just doesn’t work, cos the heat goes down then.

There’s loads of recipes about for these, so I’m just giving you my favourite one:

Aubergine and tomato pasta bake for 50:

Saute 8 large chopped onions (approx 2kg), then add 4 bulbs of garlic, and two handfuls of dried basil. If you have a lid, cover this for a while, stirring occasionally.

Cut up to 8 large aubergines lengthwise into quarters and slice, add them to the onion along with 10 sliced peppers, and 3 large (2.5kg) tins of chopped tomatoes – or a mix of tins and fresh tomatoes.

Cook for a while, add a dash of sugar and some oregano (less than a handful) if you wish.

Separately, cook 1.5-2kg pasta twists (e.g. fusilli) until just about done.

Mix in to the sauce, along with some tomato puree (about 2x900g) and a bit of stock, taste for salt needed. You can add some black pitted olives if you like.

Bake at 200 degrees/gas 6 for about 1/2 hour.

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Stock:

If you have a spare pan, it’s really nice to make your own stock. Look at recipes for stock, or re-use water you’ve cooked veg in and add some things like fresh herbs/bayleaves/marmite, or boil up a bunch of water with a few whole veg in it like carrots, lots of onions, garlic cloves, celery/celeriac, a bunch of fresh herbs (e.g. ‘bouquet garni’ with thyme, bayleaves, parsley), then scoop out all that after a bit or strain the whole thing. You’ll usually need about 20-25 litres for 100 people.

If you’re buying stockcubes or boullion, go for an organic one – so much better, and no monosodium glutamate/E numbers etc. Some aren’t vegan, and some have nuts in them – avoid if you can, cos it fucks the whole soup up for nut allergic people. We use the 1kg pots of Marigold boullion, (note some aren’t vegan and those that are often have nuts in them). We like Vecon which you can get in 1kg pots, it’s a darker, saltier stock, and a bit more ‘meaty’. Stockcubes are a really big pain when you have to use 30 little individually wrapped cubes. Remember that bouillion and stock will have salt in them, so don’t overdo it adding more salt – tastetest.

All Soup Recipes for 100

Potato based soups:

There’s loads of variations you can do with this. Saute up to 8kg chopped onions, add 5-6 bulbs minced garlic (optional). Have the heat fairly low, and enough oil in, then add altogether up to 20kg chopped veg, mostly potato.

You can also use combinations of: carrot, finely chopped celery, sliced leeks, shredded greens, chopped turnip/parsnip/other root veg, chopped herbs. For leek and potato soup, use 15kg potato and 5kg leeks

For watercress and/or spinach soup, use 16-18kg potatoes, and add 8-10 large bunches/bags of greens when the soup’s boiled and the spuds are nearly done.

Add water or stock (also use a bit of white wine if you’re posh! mmh), enough to just cover the veg. You can still add more later if it’s too thick and nearly burning, but you might not be able to thicken it, so be careful. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the potato starts breaking down when you’re stirring.

Stir a lot, pressing the potatoes up against the sides of the pan to break them down. Carry on cooking even after it’s done, so it breaks down as much as possible. Taste test adding salt and pepper, and maybe some Dijon or wholegrain mustard and fresh chopped herbs.

Lentil soup:

Saute up to 10kg chopped onion, 2-3 finely chopped bunches of celery and/or a bit of finely chopped  carrot, and even a few potatoes (chopped small) to help thicken the soup later.

Add either 3.5 kg red lentils, ca. 20 litres water or stock, and later, when the lentils are cooked, up to 10kg chopped tomatoes (4 large 2.5kg tins), OR up to 6kg red lentils, about 25 litres water or stock (enough to cover). Add bay leaves and maybe herbs like thyme, basil, rosemary, sage.

Bring back to the boil, simmer for 20-30 minutes, longer if it needs to break down more. Stir a lot. Add salt, pepper, and up to 1/3 litre of lemon juice at the end (more if you’re using real lemons) and maybe some parsley. You can also add a more interesting flavour to it if you fry up some very finely chopped onion with garlic and cumin, separately, then mix this in. Don’t put in too many herbs though if you’re doing this.

Another alternative is lentil and miso soup – cook the soup with some grated carrot in it, then add 2-3 large packs of miso bit by bit while it’s boiling (mix in well).

German lentil soup’: Saute up to 10kg chopped onion, 2-3 finely chopped bunches of celery, then add some garlic (4-5 bulbs), up to 4kg of chopped carrot and up to 8kg potato chunks, (do you see a pattern emerging in these soups…?). Stir well and get ca. 25 litres water in before it starts to stick, along with up to 6kg brown or green lentils, a few bay leaves, marjoram, and a stronger stock like Vecon unless you’re using homemade stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer. It’s really nice, if you can, to separately fry up a bunch of veggie sausages (50/60 will do for a soup for 100 if they’re fairly big), then chop them up and stir into the soup at the end. Taste test with salt and pepper. This is nice with a bit of fresh parsley (not more than 3 bunches) and some fresh marjoram if you get any.

Carrot and coriander:

Well, kind of the same again: sauté up to 10kg chopped onion, celery, garlic – if you like, you can add a little bit of ground coriander or ginger too – then add 15-20kg chopped carrots (maybe some potatoes too) and water/stock and bring to the boil. Use a lighter stock for this one. Simmer, stir a lot so it breaks down, and then add salt, pepper and 4-5 bunches of chopped coriander with the toughest of the stalks taken off (bit of a fiddly job). You can also add some grated carrot to thicken it more. It can be nice to mix in a bit of soy cream at the end, but don’t let it boil after adding. Or serve the soup with a ‘swirl’ of soy cream.

Minestrone:

Soak 5-6kg haricot or cannelini or borlotti beans overnight.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and cook the drained soaked beans until done. Saute 8kg chopped onion, then add 6-8 kg diced potato, 6-8kg diced carrot, 2-3 bunches of sliced celery, other veg if you like such as some chopped cabbage leaves or greens or chopped courgettes, and 5 bulbs minced garlic.

Saute until just before starting to stick, at least 5 minutes, then add 10kg chopped tomatoes – fresh is nice, but tins are okay too, or half and half. Also add about 20 litres water or stock, and some fresh herbs like bay leaves, parsley stalks, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs (if you want to tie them together like a ‘bouquet garni’ DON’T use plastic string, or rubber bands, or anything else that’ll melt!).

If you want you can also add some green beans here – if using frozen ones, add later on with the beans. Bring to the boil and simmer til veg is cooked. Now add the beans, and pasta – use 3-5 kg macaroni or other small pasta. It’ll cook pretty quickly once it’s boiling again, so check it often. Taste test with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar if it’s too tomato-sour, and stir in some fresh basil if you have.

Veg and coconut soup:

A chunky root veg soup with creamed coconut stirred in toward the end is lovely. Here’s an interesting recipe. Saute 7kg chopped onion, add up to 20 kg cubed veg – any combination of potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, swede, pumpkin, squash, turnip, and add one or two large handfuls marjoram, a handful each of ground ginger and cinnamon.

Saute as long as you can, then add 7-8 bunches of spring onion, chopped (both the green and white bits), 30 litres stock (or until the veg is covered, but not much higher than that), 200g flaked almonds or more if you have, some finely chopped fresh chillis – say 10-12 small ones, and a large handful sugar.

Bring to the boil then simmer until veg is done. Grate or generally chop up 2.5-3kg creamed coconut (a bastard job), stir in until dissolved, then serve with lots of fresh coriander (6-10 bunches). 

Sweetcorn and coconut soup:

Easy if you have access to frozen sweetcorn, less viable otherwise.

Saute about 8kg finely chopped onion for a few minutes, then add a 6kg box of finely chopped red peppers, maybe a few kilos of finely diced carrots, and up to 5 bulbs of minced garlic, stir for a few minutes, then add 1 large root of grated ginger, or a large handful of powdered ginger, and if you want a spicier soup, add about 10 finely chopped red chillis (don’t touch your eyes!!). Add about 20 litres water and bring to the boil.

Add 5-6kg frozen sweetcorn, and 2.5-3kg chopped creamed coconut (wholefood distributors will often sell creamed coconut in large blocks of 2-2.5kg), and salt and pepper. Bring back to a gentle boil and then simmer for a little while longer until the coconut is dissolved and the sweetcorn is cooked.

Courgette and tarragon soup:

A nice one for the summer when courgettes are abundant. Saute up to 10kg chopped onion with 2-3 finely chopped bunches of celery and a bit of finely chopped carrot, and maybe a handful of dried tarragon.

Then add up to 15 kg courgettes chopped into chunks. Saute as long as you can, then add 20-30 litres stock or until the veg’s covered. Boil, then simmer until cooked. If you can, scoop up some (up to half of it) out and mash or blend, then return to the pan. Add lots of fresh tarragon and serve.

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Potato Provencale/Bean Provencale

It’s basically potatoes, or beans and some veg, in a tomato/red wine/olive sauce. We usually serve it with garlic bread and a green salad.  Get a large pan of water boiling (for the potatoes or the beans).

Saute a lot of onion (about 10kg for 200), add lots of garlic (a large plate full when chopped), and if you like, some finely chopped courgette (not more than 5kg) or carrot (same), or sliced and quartered aubergine (same), or sliced peppers (same) or a combination. Sliced peppers are especially nice with the beans, use a bit more then (6-8kg).

Add red wine (2-3 bottles, depending on how much the cooks want to spare), bring to the boil and leave boiling for a few minutes. This makes the actual alcohol evaporate, but the nice wine taste in. Then add chopped tomatoes (4-5 2.5kg tins), and simmer a bit, then start stirring in lots of tomato puree (4 up to 6kg). Add any combination of marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, plus salt, pepper and sugar (not too much). Cook until dark red, stirring all the time.

Add pitted black olives (3x 2kg tins – usually available from wholefoods distributors) near the end.

Cook cannelini beans (10-12kg) – you can also use a mix of beans, e.g. butter beans, cannelini, and some flageolet – cook together according to cooking times – or potatoes, chopped into large ish chunks, separately. Scoop out when done – if the beans boiled up all frothy, rinse them a bit before adding – and mix in to the sauce. Taste again for salt before serving.

Greek Beans: (for 200)

Soak 12kg haricot beans overnight and cook until done.

Saute beans in lots of olive oil or a mix of olive and sunflower with a lot of garlic (15 bulbs or so) stirring well, for a few minutes. Add up to 30 litres stock (until covered), bay leaves, some sprigs of fresh oregano (tie them together with non-plastic string to fish them out after), 4-5 large tins of tomato puree (it shouldn’t be too red altogether), lots of lemon juice—use both fresh and bottled—enough to give you a good whiff of lemon when you sniff it – and some chopped red onion (about 5kg).

Simmer, stirring a lot, for as long as you can, up to an hour is good. Then add 2-4kg halved black olives and salt and pepper. This is also good cold. Serve with French stick and a green salad for a simple meal.

Nuts and Beans: (for 250)

Soak 15kg black eye beans overnight in nearly twice the volume of water. Scoop out and boil up in enough water to easily cover, when they’re done, scoop out, sprinkle a bit of salt over, and mash as much as you can. You’re not making a puree or proper mash, you just want to be breaking it down a bit.

Try to keep this warm, or time it so it’s done just before the rest of the meal is done.

Meanwhile, sauté 15kg chopped onions, add 10 bulbs of garlic, then 20-25 large (2.5kg) tins chopped tomatoes, and 3 large (900g) tins tomato puree. Bring to the boil.

When it’s cooked a bit, add 8kg chopped mixed nuts, 8 or more chopped bunches of parsley, salt, pepper, a handful of sugar or a bit more, and the mashed up beans.

This mixture will be a fucker to stir now, so don’t even try to cook it much longer. This is nice served with boiled new potatoes with some marge and parsley in, or rice, and salads.

Chili: (for 100)

You might have your own way of making it – everyone seems to! But here’s how I do make it – others in the Teapot make it different…

Soak 5kg kidney beans overnight. Scoop out, and bring to the boil in plenty of fresh water, turn down and cook until done – scoop out while rinsing if you can, and keep ready.

Saute 5-6kg chopped onion, after a bit, add 8-10 finely chopped chillis (and don’t touch your eyes when you chop the chillis! ow!), and spices: small handfuls of paprika, cumin, a bit less coriander, less cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Herbs like oregano and basil are good too. Stir well, and watch it doesn’t stick. Add 6kg sliced mixed peppers before this happens.

Be ready with opened tins of chopped tomatoes – 4-5 large (2.5kg) tins. If you have fresh tomatoes, use half the amount of tins, and add about 4kg chopped fresh tomatoes.

Keep stirring, and add 2-3 large (900g) tins tomato puree. Add 2-3kg grated carrot. Simmer until carrots are soft. Add the beans toward the end, a bit of sugar, taste test for salt and pepper. If you have some dark chocolate (1-2 large bars), break it up or grate it, and add it while it’s still cooking – mmmh. Or at least add a bit of cocoa powder.

Apple Hotpot: (for 50)

This sounds weird but it’s very tasty. It needs a lot of stirring to start with so we haven’t actually ever made it for over 100 people.

Soak 4.5kg butterbeans overnight, cook until done and when draining, keep the water.

Saute about 10-15 sliced onions for a few minutes, then add the same amount of sliced apples and a good handful each of turmeric, allspice/mixed spice, and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed through and the onions are cooking, then add the cooked beans and some of the liquid—until not quite covered.

Stir through and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, add salt and pepper and serve with crusty or garlic bread. Also nice served with vegan yoghurt mixed with chopped dried apricot (3x500ml pots plus about 150g apricot).

Tip for cooking pulses: if you need to hurry up cooking dried pulses, add a whole chunk of margarine to the beans when boiling. Make sure beans boil vigorously for at least 10 minutes to break down the toxins in some of them. Add some bicarbonate of soda to the cooking water if you want to counter the farting effects. We don’t, we enjoy making everyone fart….

Goulash: (for 100)

Sauté 4-5kg chopped onion, then add about 6kg carrot chunks, and 5kg peeled and cubed parsnips until they start to brown. Add about 6kg veg soya chunks (get organic ones if you can), OR use the equivalent amount of fried up veggie burgers chopped into chunks.

Also add a large handful paprika, 2-3 large (2.5kg) tins chopped tomatoes and/or some fresh chopped tomatoes, 1-2 large tins of tomato puree, and half the amount of the paprika of caraway seeds.

Heat gently, then add some stock (up to 10 litres – much less if you’ve used cubed burgers) and about 5kg diced potatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for about half an hour until the veg chunks are done. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in up to 3litres warmed soya cream and a bit of parsley (1-2 chopped bunches, unless you can ‘garnish’ the servings with this), heat through but don’t boil again. Nice with rice, cooked new potatoes, mash, or chunky bread, and salads.

Satay Sauce:

This is just to give you the general idea, there are tons of good recipes for satay sauce:

Sauté onions, garlic, maybe a bit of celery and/or spring onion, fresh chopped chillis, lots of fresh finely chopped ginger for as long as you can, then add a bit of liquid, some chopped tinned tomatoes (not too many), then slowly add lots of peanut butter stirring all the while, until you have a sauce that’s still creamy and stirrable but thick enough to not run—try to bring to the boil but if it starts sticking, you’re going to have to turn it off.

Add some lime or lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cook some veg separately like shredded cabbage, carrots, other root veg, broccoli…

Then mix in the sauce (tastetest again—may need more salt). This is a good one to make cheap veg nice with.

Rice and beans:

We’ve never actually done this, but I’d like to sometime – it’s from the Food not Bombs cookbook: Saute onion and garlic, add water and beans – kidney/pinto/black, one part beans to two parts rice to five parts water. Add one teaspoon of salt for each gallon of water (hm. what’s a gallon?) and let the beans boil for 45 minutes or less if you soaked them beforehand (advisable with most beans).

Add long grain brown rice, half a cup of coriander or cumin per gallon, some pepper, and any vegetables if you like, e.g. carrots, onions, dried tomatoes. Cover the pan and bring to the boil again.

Stir up from the bottom, then lower heat and continue boiling until all the water is absorbed, or ca. 45 minutes. Don’t stir more than once after the rice is in.

Sausages and Burgers:

Meals like bangers and mash, with veg like cabbage stew or peas and gravy or cider sauce, or burgers with mash, or in buns with salads, go down really well, but be warned – frying burgers and bangers for hundreds of people gradually gets to you. Use a griddle, brushed with oil, or a wide, flat wok/frying pan on a burner with lots of oil – it’ll be greasy but it’ll cook a lot better.

For sausages, we use Veggies Sosage mix – a 20kg sack makes about 800!

Other meal ideas:

Sweet and sour veg, stir fries (for under 100), bean stews, chow mein style noodles mixed with fried veg in a bit of sauce, ratatouille on grains, kidney beans and veg in a coconut sauce with lime and coriander, soymince and veg stewed in gravy sauce on mash…

Things that don’t work well or need to be adapted are very heavy sauces or sauces in which veg and beans need to cook in a heavy sauce (if you want to try it, cook sauce and veg/beans separately); paellas and risottos seem to be difficult to make for over 30 people; things involving a roux, i.e. a creamy sauce with flour—if you want to try it, make a roux seperately then mix in to the finished meal; and baked things for over 50 people unless you have some kind of superoven.

Checklists & Tips for Cooking for Events and Gatherings