Surrey’s New Campaign Could Provide Inspiration to Casserole Cooks

Hey, Casserole Cooks! Feeling stuck when thinking of a delicious meal to make for your Diner from your leftovers? Surrey County Council is here to help with their new Love Food Surrey campaign and accompanying Facebook application.

With staggering facts about how much food Surrey alone wastes each year (over 75,000 tonnes!), the Love Food Surrey campaign offers an interactive platform for people to share their creative recipes and tips to make the most of their leftovers. So stop tossing those apples that are a little too soft, and the banana that has some brown spots on it, and use it to make Fruit Bowl Muffins! Soak your wilting greens in cold water to salvage them for your sandwich, and save your money for something you don’t already have in your fridge.

In honor of the new application, the person with the most likes on their posted recipe will receive a gift, generously donated by local fine food and drink companies. The competition closes on 31 December, so get signed up and post your best leftovers recipe!

Love Food Surrey makes using leftover food and saving money easy! Click here to like their application on Facebook and gain access to their online campaign. Then visit Casserole Club to find a Diner near you who would appreciate a portion of your home cooked meal! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to find out more ways to get involved with your community.

Did the Great British Bake Off Finale Inspire YOU to Start Baking?

An estimated 8 million viewers tuned in to the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) Finale last night on BBC 2, where Frances Quinn, 31, was announced the winner of the 2013 series of the popular show.

Quinn wowed the judges and audiences across the country with some of the most creative and intricately designed baked goods the show has seen in all four series.  From her very first bake, a giant jam sandwich cake, to her final showstopper cake inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Mid Winter Night’s Dream”, Quinn has proved that she is a deserved winner.

Watching all of those delicious cakes being presented each week has inspired loads of people, especially here at Casserole Club, to try their hand at baking. But what about you?

Are you suddenly confident you can create a five-tiered checkered cake decorated with passion fruit-infused chocolate butterflies and pineapple bumblebees? Or perhaps you just want to give the classic (yet delicious) Victorian sponge cake a whirl.

Either way, instead of going through all that effort to bake it, taking one bite (or slice) of it like GBBO judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry then casting it aside, try bringing some round to an older neighbour who would appreciate some homemade goodies!

Even GBBO runner-up, Kimberly Wilson thinks it’s a good idea! A few weeks ago she retweeted one of our posts, and we were so starstruck we just had to tweet back:

If you have some GBBO-inspired cake going spare, try sharing your tasty hard work.

Why not give Casserole Club a try?

You only have to do it once, after that no pressure.  Even one meal means so much to our Diners. Find out more and sign up here.

Warming up the Casserole Club Blog

Welcome back Casserolers!

We’re back in action with our brand spanking new, totally rebooted Casserole Club Blog!

We will be providing you with information on upcoming events, news from our future and currently active boroughs (Barnet, Tower Hamlets, and Reigate & Banstead), interesting case studies from our community Cooks and Diners, and even some of our favourite recipes.  You’re welcome!

A huge help to the success of Casserole Club is word of mouth. We need you to help us help you help the elderly people in your area. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of help to us!  We’re not asking for too much though, honestly.

You’ll be hearing from us more through this blog, so follow us on Twitter (@Casserole_Club) and like us on Facebook to keep updated.

Oh, and sign up to Casserole Club, too, if you want to get involved in the community!

Creating a Meal to Share

A site and service like Casserole depends on the energy and activity of its members to make it thrive. It’s so exciting to see new names cropping up on the site, but now, why not take things one step further?

Once you are signed up, and after such a jubilant weekend, there is no better time to cook up a meal to share with someone in your community!

Sharing a meal is simple:

 

Click Cook a Meal (found on your Dashboard and at the top of each page when you are logged in).

If you have already created a dish, select it from the drop down menu, or click Create a New Dish to add to your cooking repertoire and fill in some details about what you are cooking. Once you have finished creating your dish, it will be added to your personal roster of dishes – whenever you want to cook it again, it’ll be right there in the drop-down menu!

When it comes to charging for your dish, it’s entirely up to you. You can choose to be reimbursed for the cost of your meal by setting the price at what it cost you to make the dish, or you can choose to serve it up for free, whichever you prefer. We want to make sure that cooking for Casserole isn’t a burden – so if getting a bit back on the cost of your meal means that you are more willing and able to share our extra portions, go for it! You will also notice that we add 20% to what you decide to charge – this 20% goes straight back into keeping Casserole running and helps with things like tech development, campaign and welcome packs and running local events.

 

Once a dish is created and selected, just set the date, time, and how many portions you will have available.

When you are happy with all your details, click Finish – Your meal will appear on your neighbours’ local menus, letting them know you are cooking!

There you have it! Now there is no excuse – if you are planning to cook up something tasty, and have some to spare, put it up on the site and see who in your area wants a bite!

Lessons Learnt – Casserole texting and sharing

With a first small step into foodie matchmaking under our belts, bringing together three satisfied Diners and six stellar Cooks delivering top-notch meals, it’s time for a bit of reflection. With that in mind and as promised in the post ‘A New Year‘, the next few blogs will start to delve a bit into what we’ve learnt so far, and how this is helping shape Casserole as a service.

After a couple of visits to local community groups and a market stall in Redhill town (don’t miss us or our cakes at the next stall this Saturday 21 January!), we managed to drum up a lot of interest and signed up 22 Cooks and 4 Diners. With this user group in hand, we started to test how Casserole could work in a few different settings. A big thank you to everyone involved for your feedback – it’s exciting to see this project happening for real and to learn about all your experiences!

We’re beginning to get an idea of exactly what is most important for both our Diners and Cooks. For instance, the importance of a text service in communicating with all involved. In a really quick test we found that out of 5 texts sent out by Casserole 4 replied within 2 mins giving an answer (we later found out the the 5th persons phone had run out of battery!).

An example of the texts used in the Casserole pilot

It makes perfect sense that text services are becoming incredibly useful as more and more people use their mobile phones for important things. For instance, last month when I moved into my new flat, I didn’t have an internet connection set up yet but needed to register my meter readings to get my electricity set up. After registering with Southern Electric they sent me a text and all I had to do was text my meter reading to them. Now the more I text readings, the more accurate my bill will be. Plus if you’re anything like me, your phone is always close by making it easy to fire off a text quickly.

Of course, Casserole will need to use a range of different communications channels to reach a diverse range of participants, but there’s little doubt that using text messaging has already proved one really good way to get people interested and active in the service. This ties in with how banks, postal couriers and supermarkets are all using text services to complement their online and phone services.

Using the Southern Electric text service to save some money + time!

While text messaging has turned out to be a great way to get information and responses out quickly, the Casserole facebook page is proving to be brilliant in building the community around Casserole. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a number of people ‘like’ the page and what’s event better, people have started posting what they’ve been cooking for their Diners. This gives Cooks the chance to comment and share culinary tips, not to mention wets the appetite of others to get involved in the service as well!

Some of the lovely food being discussed on the facebook page

We now know something we didn’t a few weeks ago; text services could be really useful and sharing recipes would be mighty popular.

The range of other interesting info that’s emerged just from this initial small scale prototype alone are making it easier for us to understand and plan how the Casserole service should operate in the long run – from how people sign up and communicate to the cooking and sharing of meals.

To find out even more about Casserole and what we’ve discovered from this initial trial, come join us at the Casserole Lunch and Learn event at Warwick School, Saturday 28 January from 10am-1pm.  Want to stay up to date with Casserole? Then join our mailing list or drop Murtz a line at murtz [at] wearefuturegov [dot] com.