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Recipe of the Week: Almond & Citrus Olive Oil Cake (Palestine) Week 1

The Global Bakery represents the diversity of the world’s cakes for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents, with all tastes and occasions catered for. The recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book also includes a number of vegan, wheat & gluten free recipes.



Almond & Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Preparation: 10 minutes
/ Bake: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup / 130g all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 cup / 60g ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup / 150g caster sugar
1/2 cup / 120ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup / 120ml fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup / 60g flaked almonds
Confectioner's/icing sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Heat oven to 355°F/180°C/Gas 4.
Grease and flour a 9-inch/23-cm round cake pan.

1 In a bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.
2
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, caster sugar and olive oil until thoroughly combined.
3
Add the vanilla extract, orange zest and orange juice.
4
Gradually add the dry ingredients into the mixture and beat until the batter is smooth.
5
Pour the batter into the cake pan an sprinkle thickly with flaked almonds.
6
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool it completely on a rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Recipe of the Week: Jablecznik (Poland) Week 3

The Global Bakery represents the diversity of the world’s cakes for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents, with all tastes and occasions catered for. The recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book also includes a number of vegan, wheat & gluten free recipes.



Jablecznik (Apple Cake)
Preparation: 20 minutes
/ Bake: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/3cups / 280 g all-purpose/plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup / 225 g sugar
1/2 cup / 115 g butter, softened
1 1/2 oz / 40 g butter, cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup /180 ml milk
2 large eggs
4 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp cloves

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 355ºF/180ºC/Gas Mark 4.
Lightly grease a 13-inch/33-cm x 9-inch/23-cm baking pan.

1 In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and three-quarters of the sugar.
2 Add the softened butter, milk and eggs and beat well unt il creamy.
3 Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, then layer on half of the sliced apples.
4 Keep about half a cup of batter back then spoon the remaining batter over the apples, covering them completely.
5 Arrange the remaining slices on top and dot the reserved batter over the apples.
6 In a bowl, rub in the sugar, cloves and cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the mixture in the cake pan.
7 Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8 Remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle it with caster sugar while it is still hot.
9 Leave in the pan for 10-15 minutes so the juices from the apple can soak into the cake.
10 Cut into squares.

Recipe of the Week: Mango Cake (India) Week 4

The Global Bakery represents the diversity of the world’s cakes for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents, with all tastes and occasions catered for. The recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book also includes a number of vegan, wheat & gluten free recipes.



Mango Cake (Vegan)
Preparation: 20 minutes
/ Bake: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups / 150 g all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups / 350 ml mango purée (from 4-5 fresh mangoes)
1/3 cup / 80 ml vegetable oil
2/3cup / 130 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Slices of mango and mint leaves for decoration

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 355ºF/180ºC/Gas Mark 4.
Oil a 9-inch/23-cm square cake pan.

1 Sieve the flour, salt, cardamom powder and baking powder together. Set aside.
2 In a separate bowl, combine the mango purée, vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla and whisk well until smooth.
3 Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing carefully with each addition. Do not over-beat the mixture as this may increase the density of the cake.
4 Pour into the greased cake pan.
5 Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6 When the cake has cooled, dust it with icing sugar and garnish with slices or chunks of fresh mango and mint leaves.

Recipe of the Week: Pruimencake (Netherlands) Week 5

The Global Bakery represents the diversity of the world’s cakes for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents, with all tastes and occasions catered for. The recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book also includes a number of vegan, wheat & gluten free recipes.



Pruimencake (Plum Cake)
Preparation: 20 minutes
/ Bake: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup / 150 g sifted all-purpose/plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup /100 g caster sugar
1/4 cup / 55 g butter
1 egg
1/4 cup / 60 ml milk
5 pitted ripe plums, sliced into eighths
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup redcurrant jelly or apricot jam
1 tbsp hot water

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/Gas Mark 5.
Grease a 12-inch/30-cm x 8-inch/20-cm baking dish that is 2 inches/5 cm deep.

1 In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar.
2 Chop the butter into the flour and rub in until the mix resembles large breadcrumbs.
3 In a small bowl, beat together the egg and milk and then stir gradually into the flour mixture. Work into a sticky dough.
4 Spread the dough into the base of the greased baking dish.
5 Arrange the sliced plums in overlapping rows on top of the dough. Set aside
6 For the topping, combine the melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and then spoon the mixture over the sliced plums.
7 Bake for 35 minutes, or until the plums are tender.
8 While the cake is cooling, mix the jelly or jam with hot water to make a thick syrup. Brush over the fruit. Cut into squares and serve while still warm.

Recipe of the Week: Zebra Cake (Azerbaijan) Week 2

The Global Bakery represents the diversity of the world’s cakes for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents, with all tastes and occasions catered for. The recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book also includes a number of vegan, wheat & gluten free recipes.



Zebra Cake
Preparation: 25 minutes
/ Bake: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar
1 cup / 240ml milk, at room temperature
1 cup / 240ml oil (corn, vegetable or canola are fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups / 300g all-purpose/plain flour
3 tsp baking powder or 1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder

Instructions:

Heat oven to 355°F/180°C/Gas 4.
Grease and flour a 9-inch/23-cm round cake pan with oil.
Line with parchment paper and oil again.
You will need a large serving spoon or ladle.

1 In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy.
2 Add the milk, oil and vanilla extract and continue beating until well blended. Set aside.
3 In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, beating after each addition until the batter is smooth but taking care not to overbeat in order to prevent air pockets from forming in the mixture.
4 Divide the mixture into two equal portions. Leaving one portion plain, sieve the cocoa powder into the other portion and mix until it is thoroughly combined and not streaky.
5 Using the large spoon or ladle, scoop a spoonful of plain batter into the middle of the pan. Then place an equal-sized scoop of the cocoa batter in the middle of the plain batter. Continue to alternate between the different colors in this way, always placing each portion in the middle of the pan. Do not wait for the batter to spread between each addition, do not attempt to spread the batter yourself or tilt the tin. The mixture will spread by itself and will fill the pan gradually. Continue adding alternate and equal measures of the mixtures until both batters are used up.
6 The top can be ‘feathered’ at this stage. Lightly drag a skewer through the surface of the mixture from the middle of the cake to the edge. Each time, lift the skewer out of the mixture and go back to the middle of the cake, dragging in one direction only and being careful to pull the skewer lightly along the surface. Do this five or six times evenly around the cake.
7 Carefully place the cake in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Do not open the oven door for at least 25 minutes as this cake is prone to collapsing. Don’t be too concerned if cracks appear on the top of the cake as it bakes, since the cracks close as the cake cools. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8 Remove from the oven. Immediately run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert the cake onto a cooling rack.

Gardening in the margins

Bringing urban gardeners together in Washington DC.

Photo by tedeytan under a CC Licence

Community gardens grow from a need for such shared spaces, brought into being by a group of people working together for the free enjoyment of all. While allotment gardens are formed by dividing up land for individuals to use in return for a fee, a community garden includes shared areas as well as small plots available for individual users to garden rent-free.

The land used is often reclaimed from derelict sites in the centre of the community. A group of volunteers come together to clear the site, committed to providing a green environment in what are often inner-city areas. From the Culpepper and Phoenix Gardens in London to the Clinton Gardens in Hells Kitchen, New York, what used to be rubbish dumps, car parks and bomb sites are now thriving gardens producing flowers, vegetables and fruit, and providing urban homes for wildlife. The gardens are run by management committees formed by local people, usually working on a voluntary basis, and the emphasis is on co-operation and the sharing of labour, experience and responsibility, as well as the produce.

A community garden not only enables people to reconnect with how food is produced, it also brings urban gardeners together and provides a safe place for people to meet. It is a valuable educational resource, often encouraging links with local schools and community groups and encouraging all age groups to learn about growing and eating their own fresh food.

Unfortunately, the future of individual gardens can be precarious, with management committees often paying for short or temporary leases on what was previously derelict land. As such, they are easy targets for developers and many community garden committees have had to run publicity and fund-raising campaigns to stay open.

Such initiatives do much to provide city communities with precious green spaces: they are a perfect example of people taking positive action to directly improve their environment.

The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens – farmgarden.org.uk
Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network – communitygarden.org.au
Community Gardening in the US and Canada – communitygarden.org

Anna Weston is office manager at New Internationalist's Oxford office, and our gardening guru.

Pay your interns!

A worker at a Canadian textile plant, circa 1945. Photo by BiblioArchives/Library Archives under a CC Licence

I have read enough articles about the poor treatment and attitude towards interns to be incensed enough to blog about it! To the CEOs, HR departments and shareholders that exploit their interns, I say: you are being foolish in the extreme and missing out on an important business opportunity.

We thought long and hard before setting up an intern programme here at New Internationalist. It would mean that despite our equal-pay co-operative rules (whereby all permanent staff are co-directors of the workers’ co-operative and on equal pay), we would have short-term junior workers on a lower salary. We decided to trial a paid intern programme for a year and are now in our second year, with four interns – who are some of the most hardworking and dedicated members of our team.

I carried out some research beforehand to find a model that we could follow, but sadly drew a blank. Other alternative media that I contacted had intern placements – but these were unpaid or for lunch expenses. The interns who answered the phone felt they had no employment rights and yet were expected to come in every day for the whole day. In some cases they had no idea how long the placement would last, had not been given a clear idea of what they were expected to do and there was no guarantee of a reference at the end of the internship.

We decided to create our own model, based on that of the student campaigning organization, People and Planet. Our interns are all paid at the higher rate of the minimum wage (regardless of age) plus 10 per cent, and also get paid holidays. There is a proper interview process and the successful candidate is given a letter of agreement stating the expected hours, the duration of the placement and an outline of the tasks that they will be expected to fulfil. There is a review process during the placement and it is made clear they have the same rights to fair treatment as permanent members of staff. Their managers give them support and direction and in return we get their enthusiasm, ideas and expertise in social media. Our interns come from various backgrounds but all agree that the payment means that they can continue to learn and gain experience in their area of interest rather than just taking any job to make ends meet.

Interns are a business asset to be encouraged and developed, not a form of employment underclass to be exploited and bullied. It is time the trade unions recognized the injustices meted out to young people desperate to get an ‘edge’ on their CV when a degree is no longer a guarantee to employment. They should be offered a reduced membership rate, information about their rights and protection when it is needed. Similarly, employment legislation should catch up. In the meantime, employers need to wake up and see the potential that interns can bring to a business and start treating them right.

This month saw the graduate advice site Graduate Fog launch a ‘Pay your interns’ campaign, intended to ‘name and shame’ companies that fail to pay interns the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The campaign reflects the ongoing concern, from both employers and interns, about the lack of clarity surrounding interns’ rights. In an effort to clarify the position, the government has now published guidance, outlining when interns should receive the NMW.

Sharing the bounty

Balaji.B under a CC Licence

‘Abundance slips between and prises open the idea of “private and public” by harvesting, through agreement, collaboration, reciprocation and permission, in backyards, church grounds, hospital carparks, industrial estates, waste land, streets, scrub, derelict property, private businesses, public authority housing, parks and green spaces, and turns ownership on its head by distributing these private resources publicly.’*

The idea is to make use of fruit that would otherwise rot on the trees and use the produce to make jams, chutneys, pickles and juices that are then distributed to local community groups for free. Abundance locates public and private growing sites, notes when the fruit is ripe and then organizes groups of volunteers to collect and preserve it. Obviously they make sure that they seek the permission of the landowner before harvesting trees on private land, but when trees are located on public land they are seen as a public resource. Care is taken not to damage the tree and some fruit is left for wildlife.

Fruit trees and bushes produce ‘low-effort’ food, but there are often gluts when much of the produce is wasted. The trees grow happily on waste ground and continue to thrive on the sites of old orchards, where only the local wildlife take advantage at harvest time.

Local authorities are starting to use fruiting trees and shrubs as part of urban planting schemes but, unless picked, the spoilt fruit just creates a mess. Groups like Abundance should be encouraged and supported. They prevent waste, provide a healthy activity for the fruit harvesters, keep skills such as preserving alive and, when you consider that 95 per cent of fruit on sale in Britain is imported, their ethos just seems to make sense. So start planning now, note where fruit trees and bushes are blossoming, get some willing helpers together and start planning an Abundance group in your area.

Anna is office manager at New Internationalist in Oxford, and our gardening guru.

*From the Abundance handbook: www.growsheffield.com/images/abundbkview.pdf

Don't bank on it!

Britain will grind to a halt on 29 April as we all ‘celebrate’ Kate and William’s wedding. But the extra bank holiday has caused angst and argument at work places around the country.

So, after a brief discussion at the last co-op meeting, New Internationalist staff have agreed to ‘take the King’s shilling’ and accept the day off for the Royal Wedding. There was a suggestion that we work on 29 April but then close the office on a different date, agreed by us all, as a small protest against the passive national acceptance of the ridiculous cost of a Royal Wedding at a time when people are losing their jobs and homes due to this government’s cut-backs. But that would cause some difficulty for people with children who wouldn’t have a carer available on 29 April and who would then have a day off when partners would be at work. Our contracts state that we are entitled to eight days’ statutory holidays so we had to agree that the extra Bank Holiday would be recognized and paid for. While I won’t be watching the spectacle, discussing the dress or buying any thimbles or tankards – there is no way I am going to turn down a day off with my family – with the telly switched firmly off!

Kate and William announce their engagement

Photo by UK_repsome under a CC Licence

The day off has caused difficulties in other much bigger organizations. Over 100 NHS trusts are refusing to pay enhanced rates to those working on the big day, despite the huge pressure and dedication of staff. The trust’s lawyers say that as contracts specify eight statutory bank holidays per year and this one is extra, they will not pay the holiday rate. This is just mean-spirited – if the government has decreed the date to be a Bank Holiday then surely people who have to work it should get the same rate as any other Bank Holiday? It could be argued that as we’ve all paid for the wedding in some way already, to expect some of the lowest-paid workers to work for a flat rate on a public holiday is just unfair. Oddly enough, the officers providing security for the wedding will be paid double for working on a Bank Holiday, and this higher rate is contributing to a security bill that some set at £20 million.

Kate and William commemorative mug

Photo by poppet with a camera under a CC Licence

Not surprisingly, some private firms have taken advantage of the lack of clarity around entitlement and have already stated that as the additional festival is not a statutory bank holiday, they will pay normal rates for staff working on 29 April, and will make them take a day’s annual leave if they wish to have the day off. How can we all share in William and Kate’s joy if some of us are having to carry on as usual and for no extra payment to cushion the disappointment?  

If the government is serious about wanting us all to celebrate the continuance of a dysfunctional family that costs the British taxpayers £36.7 million per year, then it should make damn sure that we are all there to do it together and make it clear to all employers that 29April is a Bank Holiday like any other and should be treated as such.

Anna Weston is the office manager at New Internationalist's Oxford office.

Our travel policy: walk the walk

At New Internationalist, travel for co-op business has always been undertaken thoughtfully, with regard given not only to costs and how valuable the trip is to the magazine, but also to the bigger picture. For instance, how can we ask our readers to cut down or stop air travel altogether when we use flights to undertake research for the magazine?

Fly the flight? Photo by sacks08 under a Creative Commons licence.

This was highlighted in the July/August 2009 issue ‘Some like it cold’, edited by Jess Worth. It was about the effect of climate change on the people and environment of the Arctic. As she put it: ‘In order to put this magazine together, I flew halfway across the world, contributing to the very problem – climate change – that is threatening the Arctic’s future.’

In the past, if an editor planned to travel to research their magazine, they had to bring a paper to the co-op outlining why they were travelling, outline the costs and then seek approval for the trip from the whole group. Agreement was rarely denied but Jess’s request caused a heated debate with some feeling the flight couldn’t be justified. This put Jess in a difficult and defensive position when she was simply trying to do the best she could to fulfil our mission statement, in other words, to tell stories that are ignored and bring out voices that seldom get heard.  

After lengthy discussions we agreed that Jess should go. Her excellent magazine included interviews with people from the Inupiaq village, Kaktovik, who wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to tell their personal stories about the effects of climate change on their lives and their environment.

We have decided to address this dilemma by setting out a travel policy that limits the number of flights we take to six return trips for the whole year. This number has to include trips to and from our overseas offices, trips to research material for the magazine and to attend appointments with overseas printers and publishers to produce and promote our publications. This is a challenge for a magazine that addresses worldwide issues and has offices in Canada, NZ/Aotearoa and Australia – the clue is in the name!  

We do realize that we must be seen by our subscribers to be ‘walking the walk’ rather than just ‘talking the talk’, while acknowledging that there may be added costs to the business by avoiding cheap flights.

Obviously, we use Skype and other video conferencing when appropriate, but if a European trip cannot be avoided we provide technology that enables staff to work effectively on their journeys by rail and public transport. Staff will be out of the office for longer periods and will be entitled to time off in lieu when journey times impinge on personal time, but the business is willing to meet the cost of this.

The policy is now in place and we will strive to stay within the six flights limit and reduce this number further if we can, while keeping up our high standards of global journalism.