Last Saturday I had the pleasure of going along to FoodCycle to volunteer and also document what they get up to. I have been aware of them for a few months as my sister-in-law by proxy is one of the FoodCycle 'Champions'. FoodCycle's mission is simple, they collect food from food retailers that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into a delicious & nutritious 3 course meal for people in the community that do not have access to healthy food for a variety of reasons. The meals are always vegetarian and they never know exactly what they're getting until they have picked the food up.
On friday afternoon I organised to meet Jen at Sainsbury's who are one of the suppliers they regularly use. Before I set off I picked a big bags worth of plums from the trees outside the studio with the idea of make a plum clafoutis with them. In Sainsbury's they had about 6 boxes worth of fruit and vegetables waiting for us as well as lots of bread. Jen told me what to look for, best before and display until dates were fine as long as the food looks ok but if it was past its use before date then it was a no go. They never collect meat, fish or dairy. We ended up collecting about 5 big bags worth of food which Jen informed me was a lot more than normal.
We cycled back to St Pauls Centre and then Jen and Benji set off to Massaros and the Farmers Outlet on Regent Street and Lensfield Road and came back with even more goodies. Next it was time to put the thinking hats on and work out what should be made with all the food. Jen got a rough outline together and then set off to buy a few things to top up the ingredients.
On Saturday morning at 9.30 the volunteers all met in the kitchen. The first task was to discuss what was planned and to share the jobs. It was decided that we would make a Broccoli soup with garlic bread to start followed by a Ratatouille with a parsnip, suede and carrot mash, crispy potatoes and salad. Then for pudding there was a choice of Peach and Pear Crumble, Fruit Salad & my contribution of Plum Clafoutis.
I started by greasing the base of a baking dish with butter and then sprinkled it with sugar. Next I halved and stoned the plums and place them cut down in the tray.
After that I combined eggs, milk, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a blender until smooth. You can also add vanilla extract and lemon zest but unfortunately I didn't have any to hand. I poured the mixture over the plums and baked in a preheated oven at 170C (fan assisted) for about 50 minutes.
Some of the lovely team
The delicious crumble.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with FoodCycle and will definitely be volunteering again. You can find out more about FoodCycle and a hub near you on their website www.foodcycle.org.uk . Thank you so much to Jen and the rest of the team for having me and see you all again soon!