Great speakers, great people and great grub! A crackin’ night I say.
The night kicked off with a few updates from me, as usual! I said a bit about the local food events that we could potentially get a stall at and sell our homemade wares as a group and anyone interested in joining in put their names down on a list to let me know what events they’re interested in potentially doing. For anyone that didn’t get a chance to do it last night , there’s an online version you can fill in too! I’m still looking in to the possibility of getting access to a community kitchen where we can all get together and cook our wares together before selling them – should be a good giggle!
I also reminded the group about submitting the recipes they use for their dishes to me so I can add them to the website and people can use them for their own cooking at home. It’ll give those not lucky enough to bag your dish for an exchange on the night a chance to still taste some of the goodness by cooking it themselves!
My Chorizo & Butterbean Stew in the making
I’m looking in to doing something slightly different for either the next event or the one after. The theme for June is Cakes & Chocolates and the Chocolate Studio in Colchester has given us the opportunity to hold an event there and for a fee of £10 per person we can do some hands on Chocolate stuff and keep some bits to take home and indulge in. I’m finding out more about this at the moment so watch this space for more details and to let me know if you’d be interested.
Danny, Bennison Farm
Danny Brooks-Steele from Bennison Farm came along to give the group an insight in to Community Supported Agriculture projects and the one he is establishing at Bennison Farm in Great Bentley. Essentially, the project is about getting local veg to people and cutting out the middleman -so, getting your veg straight from the farmer that grows it. The consumer pays a flat monthly fee and in return gets a weekly box of the harvest. Danny is also giving his members the opportunity to get involved on the farm and will be arranging social events such as bonfires & BBQs to bring people together. For more information or to get yourself on the mailing list then drop them an email.
Sally, Colchester Allotment Assoc.
Next up, we had a chat from Sally Young about allotments and home veg patches. She gave some very useful tips about what to do and avoid on your patches aimed at all levels of ability. She took some questions from the group and really encouraged people to give home growing a go as it’s very hard work but also very rewarding! Sally will be doing our updates each month, which is great for the group to get someone with her knowledge that they can *dig* in to! Take a look at their website to find out more about the Colchester Allotment Association.
Cindy, Poppy’s Pastries
As is customary, our last speaker gives the group some inspiration and tips to help them with what they prepare for the next event. So, last night we had Cindy from Poppy Farm in Lawford. Cindy has a small holding and grows her own veg, which she then uses to make her own pasties and pies to sell at local farmer’s markets in the winter months. All the meat she uses in her produce is also locally sourced from within about 20 miles of her home. She shared some of her tips on pasty and encouraged the group to give making your own a go, rather than buy the “Just Roll” variety! Her main tip was to make sure you handle the pastry as little as possible and put it in the fridge for an hour after making it and before using it. Some of the group asked Cindy to share some of her recipes with the them, which she is very kindly happy to do – so watch this space again and I’ll post them up on here. For anyone that missed out, her Scotch Eggs are sublime! The best I’ve tasted.
The Tasting and Exchange
So this is the main part of the evening – the bit it’s all building up for! Members bring along two tubs of a dish they’ve prepared for the event – one is heated up for being tasted and the other is kept to one side ready for the first person to exchange it when they taste and love it! The members bought along some very varied and interesting stews and casseroles – all of which, I can safely say, were delicious! I bagged myself Matt Beales’ Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew. It didn’t last long as I appear to have eaten it already! There were also Beef Stews, a gorgeous Pork Casserole, an Oxtail Stew, a Chorizo & Butterbean Stew amongst others. A great variety as you can see.
Matt Beales' Chicken & Sweet Potato Casserole on my plate!
Thank you to everyone that came along – I had a great time and hope to see you all again next time at Pasties and Pies on May 21st! If you are yet to sign up on the Event site (Meetup), it would be great if you could – it enables me to keep you informed and updated via email and also lets you RSVP to events to give me an idea of how many people to expect etc – very useful to me