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.

Happy World Food Day!

“Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems”


68 years ago today the Food and Agriculture Organization was founded, and since then, every 16 October marks World Food Day.  World Food Day is organized by the United Nations to raise awareness of the ongoing issues in food production and hunger.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) strives to inform people of the worldly problems with the quantity and quality of our foods, stating their objectives as the following:

Picture and information courtesy of http://www.fao.org/

  • to encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;

  • to encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;

  • to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;

  • to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;

  • to promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and

  • to strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

A great way to help end hunger is by sharing a plate with someone in need, whether it be through Casserole by cooking and older neighbor a home cooked meal, or through donating food to Food Banks, such as our friends at Tower Hamlets Foodbank.  It can be a little or it can be a lot, but any help goes a long way in the aid to end hunger.

To learn more about what the FAO is doing to help secure better food systems, or to get involved, visit http://www.fao.org/getinvolved/worldfoodday/home/en/.

Casserole comes to Tower Hamlets and Barnet

At Casserole, the site that joins up people who like to cook with neighbours who could really benefit from a plate of delicious home cooked food, we believe that food should be something enjoyed and celebrated, and that nothing beats a fresh homemade meal.

After a six month pilot in Reigate and Banstead, we’ve learnt a lot and are now getting ready to launch the next phase in Tower Hamlets and Barnet, so even more people can join our growing community.

If you live in Tower Hamlets or Barnet and would like to Cook for an elderly neighbour who lives locally to you, please sign up as Cook at www.casseroleclub.com and we’ll be in touch soon with next steps.

We’d also still love for you to sign up even if you live outside of the current live areas, so we can gauge interest in new areas of the UK where Casserole might go next. Make sure to share Casserole Club with friends on Facebook and Twitter and get them to sign up too.

You might also have seen us in this months Waitrose magazine, which had an brilliant in-depth feature into what we’re up to with Casserole. Make sure to pop down to your local store for a copy, or take a look at the full article below.

Casserole Lunch and Learn, come and join us

We mentioned it last week, but here is the full flyer for our upcoming Casserole Lunch and Learn event in Redhill – doesn’t it looks nice? Check out the details below, and click on the flyer to sign up to attend.

We hope to see you there (and don’t forget a dish to share)!

A Day at the Redhill Markets

Bag full of homemade treats….check, plenty of warm clothes…check, 6am start…check this could only mean one thing…. Casserole was hitting the markets in Redhill. 

After a long drive through South London we were finally up and about in Redhill to chat to local residents about the Casserole project and the trial we are starting next week. We thought what better way then to cook up some tasty treats and set up a stall in the Redhill Market (thanks to the lovely folks at Hughmark International who helped us get the stall and also to Rachel and Kirsty for cooking up some delicious treats). Check out the great little video Joe’s put together of the day.

Mmmmm... FOOD!

With a big bag full of banana bread cake, rocky road, marshmallow lollipops and choco cinnamon muffins we got loads of interesting people across to our stall to talk about Casserole. Using our simple COOK and EAT cards we signed up 16 new Casserole COOK’s as well as one new DINER and by the sounds of it they can cook some delicious dishes.

Some of the complete Cook and Eat cards, yum!

The cards asked cooks to jot down what they’re great at cooking and how far they wouldn’t mind travelling to share a meal and for diners they asked what they loved to eat and what they hated to eat as well as a bit of info on their dietary requirements. Loads of people shared their thoughts on the project and for those who wanted to sign up online as promised here are the links to the online forms.

To sign up as a Casserole Diner click through to this link and to sign up up as Casserole Cook it’s this link. We really quickly realised that loads of people mentioned that they would love to refer Casserole to someone that they knew and so we’ve made some little adjustments on the forms so that you can do that.

Signing up at the Casserole stall

We were overwhelmed by the amount of support from passersby and were thrilled to catch up with Sarah Finch Green Councillor for Redhill East who came to visit the stall and show support. The stall helped us to chat to people about what Casserole is and ways they can be involved but also helped us to get more of an insight into how the Casserole service could be developed and run in the future.

Cllr Sarah Finch visiting the Casserole stall

We are really excited to move forward into the trial period which should start next week (Monday 5th December), we already have three Diners signed up and by the looks of things they each have a couple of people interested in cooking quite close to them. Amazingly we even found that when flicking through the cards we had a “Diner” and a “Cook” who are essentially next door neighbours living on the same road. We had to double check we hadn’t made a mistake but true enough two people living next door to each (and don’t yet know each other) have signed up!

The trial is all about observing and learning as much as possible around how people found cooking, sharing, eating and organising around the service and rest assured we’ll be sharing our insights through the blog to let you know how it’s going so stay tuned!

Introducing Casserole

Knives and forks at the ready? Good because we want to introduce you to Casserole, a community project that connects people – one good shared meal at a time. The project is being developed and piloted with Future Surrey and has just won a contract with the TSB and Design Council on their joint Independence Matters programme.

It’s been a busy few months here at FutureGov and one of the many imagination capturing projects we are working on started out a few months ago as Community Kitchens. Supported by an initial development contract awarded by TSB and Design Council, we wanted to get out and understand more about the variety of things that might impact on our idea of getting people to cook extra meals for others in their community. With the help of the lovely folks at WRVS in Waverley and Elmbridge Borough Council, we spoke to a whole host of people from volunteers who’ve been helping deliver meals on wheels for more than 25 years,to interviewing random members of the public on the street to discover their views on participating in community services. We even got to catch up with Mrs Munday, who had been celebrating her 100th birthday that week, when we shadowed some of the brilliant meals on wheels volunteers in Surrey.

WRVS preparing meals

Linking up with the Future Surrey project has been a fantastic boost for Casserole. Surrey Camp, held in September, brought together a whole host of different people in Surrey from county and borough councils, police, public and voluntary organisations, residents and service users in an unconference style of collaborating to change through design and technology. Having so many people in one place was incredibly useful and out of this big network the Social Isolation group began to form, sharing their insights into social isolation and adult social care and it became apparent that food could be a key factor in combatting this issue.

Why? Well we know that food is more than simply nutrition –  just look at the endless cookery programmes on telly or remember the smell of your grandmother’s kitchen. Whether through international food markets, Christmas meals, summer BBQ parties, Come Dine With Me or community allotments, food is one of those rare social objects that is able to build universal connections across cultures and generations. So we thought, what better way than using food to tackle social isolation?

The idea behind Casserole is as simple as pie and offers you the choice of being a cook or a diner. A cook chooses times that they can prepare an extra portion of the meal that they are already making and what this meal might be and then Casserole matches them with a diner who lives nearby. Diners can then suggest recipes and give feedback on dishes they liked. Being a part of Casserole means everyone involved can share recipes, hints and tips to learn some cool stuff along the way. We want the mouth watering smell of a fresh lasagne or red hot curry to spread from street to street through our network of Casserole volunteers.

Casserole is all about looking at the small and unique contributions we can each make by cooking an extra meal along with our own and giving it to someone who might appreciate it. When it comes to cooking dinner, it doesn’t take much extra time to add one more portion to the mix, but the value of that extra portion to someone who lives on your street and struggles to get out and about amounts to much more than just a meal. As a Casserole volunteer, you might build relationships with people you would never otherwise encounter, and what’s more, their recipes, feedback and opinions could help you to finally cook that amazing Beef (or Veggie) Wellington you’ve always dreamed of.
Thanks to Surrey County Council, the TSB and Design Council and developments through Future Surrey, we are now focusing our first pilot of Casserole in Reigate & Banstead and, in particular, in the Redhill and Merstham areas and would love to hear from people and organisations who live in this area and are keen to be involved.

And finally, we are excited to announce that  Surrey’s very own Carmela Tomkins, of Carmela’s Kitchen, will be supporting the project as one of our advisors. Carmela’s enthusiasm and passion for good food is something we love and aspire to have at the heart of the Casserole project.

If you are interested in finding out more about Casserole, sign up by visitingwww.casserolehq.org or get in touch by e-mailing me at Murtz [at] wearefuturegov [dot] com