At Italian Nursery and Elementary schools children sit down each day to a three course meal, served more often than not on real plates, with regular cutlery and glass drinking vessels. I see it as a wonderful kind of nutritional equality; where all children, at least for one meal a day, eat the same food. There are lots of great soups and ministre full of lentils, chickpeas and beans. For morning tea there is fruit or panini filled with mortadella or prosciutto. Notwithstanding this amazing school canteen system Italian kids are still stuffing down frightening quantities of merendine (snacks) full of refined sugar, and slurping down litres of fruit juice, soft drinks and other saccharin laden drinks. And eating less real fruit, like their compatriots every where else in the world.
Hence the big bag of apples someone handed me at school pick up time yesterday. Unwanted apples. Apples ready to be stewed and baked, and grated into cakes.
This is another star cake from my 21st Century recipe collection. It was given to me by a beautiful girl called Rebecca who was a park friend during our Northcote year, while we found ourselves amongst veggie co-ops and the Ruby Thompson Reserve, while I contemplated the move back to Rome and she trading Northcote for Daylesford.
This cake is totally Vegan – and whilst I’m not – I think we can all keep cutting back on animal products, for our own and the earth’s sake. Being about fifty percent fruit it is a wonderful recipe for unwanted fruit – and you can mix it up according to what’s looking tired in the bowl.
Vegan Fruit Cake – for one loaf tin
450 g squashed bananas, grated apples or other fruit
50 g chopped walnuts (optional)
100 ml sunflower oil
100 g dried fruit (again optional)
75 g rolled oats (substitute with flour if not available)
150 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of raw sugar (optional)
1 or 2 teaspoons of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Pour batter into a lined loaf tin and bake for 30 – 40 minutes.