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!

What a Day!

Well! What a day we had yesterday in Redhill, handing our free lunch in the town centre at our Lunch Table, spreading the ethos and word about Casserole to anyone and everyone willing to chat and eat with us.

Waking up to tempestuous winds and icy droplets of rain falling from the sky, we bundled up our Casserole gear and headed to Redhill – not even this weather was going to keep us from our mission! We’d barely arrived when the guys from Furnistore rocked up with our borrowed dining sets for the day. Lucky for us, there is a big covered area in Redhill, so we shuffled the tables under some shelter and started to set up shop.

Setting up began after the delivery of our furniture from Furnistore!

We’d barely set our chairs down when Chris from Chalk Hills Bakery turned up with two of the most lovely bags of freshly baked bread you’ve ever seen!

The Bread Man himself! Chris from Chalk Hills Bakery delivering our wonderful bread

With our tables set and our bread arrived, we could start to create a bit of ambiance, adding in a splash of gingham and a few Casserole leaflets for good measure.

The last piece of the puzzle was the food, cooked and served up by Munch in Marylebone, who soon arrived with colourful salads galore!

Naomi from Munch sets out the salad spread

With everything in place, it was time to start serving! We’d been getting some funny looks all throughout our set up – after all, who wouldn’t stare at a group of people setting up a picnic dining area in the middle of a town centre…. in the pouring rain no less!

Wouldn't you do a double take if you saw this set up in your town square?

We soon had the curious, the bemused, and the hungry stopping by to see what all the hullabaloo was about, and enjoy some tasty lunch, while finding out who on earth would be crazy enough to give out free lunch to anyone and everyone, especially in this weather…

We were chuffed to have several people recognise the Casserole name, with plenty more telling us stories about how they cook and share food already, and would be interested in a project like this. We met Ron, a man who used to do the cooking for his army troop of 100 men in World War II and still makes an “army casserole” every week, Roy, who runs a youth project in Merstham where one of their activities is food growing (we are excited to see where that link might go!), and several others who live right around the corner from existing Casserole members!

Digging into the feast!

 Our goal for the day had been to serve 50 meals and speak to as many people as we could. Over the course of lunchtime, we ended up serving well over 75 meals for hungry passersby, and chatted to even more about the project. The Surrey Mirror picked up the story as well, sending down a photographer and reporter to cover the Lunch Table and write a little feature about Casserole (you’ll be able to see the story in next week’s paper!).

Most had a really positive response to Casserole, and many were asking when the next Lunch Table might be…ideally with nicer weather next time. By 2pm, our friends at Furnistore were back to collect their tables and our experiment in disrupting the daily lives of Redhill citizens with some nice free food was complete.

Once again, we have to thank Furnistore and Chalk Hills Bakery for their wonderful contributions, and Munch in Marylebone for making such a delicious lunch spread!

And finally, the best bit of the whole day? We hadn’t even crossed Tower Bridge on our drive back when we had a new Cook signed up!

If you missed us yesterday, don’t forget that we’ll be at Redhill Library tomorrow morning for a food themed Rhyme Time, so stop on by and say hello! 

Lunch Table and Rhyme Time!

What a week we have in store here at Casserole HQ! We hope some of you got to enjoy a Doorstep Cake on friday, and are revved up for the week to come. We are in the crux of getting everything set and ready to go for this wednesday’s Lunch Table in Redhill town centre (we’ve just gotten the menu through from Munch in Marylebone and it’s a good’un! I’m getting hungry already….). Our fingers are crossed for the weather to stay in our favour, but we will be out, rain or shine, in the centre of town with tables borrowed from the brilliant Furnistore and bread donated by the Reigate’s own Chalk Hills Bakery, offering up a free lunch from 11:30 to 1:30. So, when your stomach starts to rumble, come on out and join us for a bite and a chat about Casserole.

It'll look a bit like this, but outside...

Also in the works this week is a fun little collaboration with Redhill Library this Friday, 20 April, from 10:30-11! Casserole has infiltrated the regular friday Rhyme Time, making this week’s food themed. Expect ‘Patty Cakes’, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ and plenty more rhymes to make you hungry, while hearing a bit about Casserole and hopefully getting local Redhill families signed up and sharing meals in no time.

So stop by our Lunch Table on wednesday or come along to sing some food songs at the library on friday and don’t forget to sign up to cook and eat local, homemade food with Casserole!

Doorstep Cakes and a FREE Lunch Table

Today was another day spent hitting the streets of Redhill, spreading the word and food-filled goodness that Casserole can bring.The reason for all this pavement hitting? Apart from spreading the message about Casserole in general, we are getting the word out about something rather exciting! This Wednesday, 18th of April from 11:30 to about 1:30, smack dab in the middle of Redhill’s town centre, we are setting up a Lunch Table feast for anyone and everyone to come along for a free meal and a chat about the project!

We’re setting up three dining room tables, generously on loan from Redhill’s very own Furnistore, set and ready for people to take a seat and dig into some delicious food prepared by Munch in Marylebone, and complimented with freshly made bread donated by Reigate’s top notch Chalk Hills Bakery – its sure to be quite the feast! We have 50 meals on offer, so if you are around in Redhill on wednesday, drop on by for a free tasty meal on us before they run out!

Right, back to today’s action filled day. After picking out the perfect tables from Furnistore, we hot-tailed it around Redhill’s office buildings, knowing they make up much of the lunchtime contingent in the town centre, chatting to receptionists and office managers, letting them know about the free lunch that’s on offer next week (on a side note, did you know that the guys who make all the crossword and sudoku books are based in Redhill??).

The wall of puzzles!

Next up was the highlight of the day, a little activity I’m going to dub Doorstep Cakes. Remember last week’s Cake to Door? Well, this week we were back in the neighbourhood, leaving little “Sorry we missed you” cake packages, letting people know about the upcoming Lunch Table and to remind them to check what we are up to on the site.

The story of cakes from drawing to doorstep!

We “caked” 70 homes today, and hope to do many more in the future – we think its a nice little surprise and brings about a bit more curiosity and interest than your typical flyer, not to mention it means people get to eat cake! As another bonus, during our neighbourhood wanderings, we met a man named George. At 88, he served in the Navy in WWII, worked as a printer, taught printing, design, and woodworking in prison and schools, travelled the world, and now spends his days building wheelbarrows from pallets, tending to his beautiful garden, and most importantly, baking and cooking like a fiend! We had a brilliant chat with him and hope he’ll soon be cooking up some of his favourite pies for his nearby neighbours.

Listening to George's amazing tales and cider fruit bread recipe

So if you live in Redhill and found a cake on your doorstep, let us know either in the comments below, or on our twitter or facebook, and don’t forget to stop by for a free meal and a chat with the Casserole crew this wednesday!