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.

Recipe of the Month: Yummy Mummy Halloween Cake Balls

Are you looking for a scary (but cute) treat to make for your Halloween bash this year? Try these spooky mummy cake balls! At only 102 calories per cake ball (hardly anything when you think of all the yummy goodness that it incorporates) this Halloween treat will be a hit with the kids, as well as the Mums!


Ingredients:

16.5 oz package yellow cake mix

6 oz plain fat-free Greek yogurt

1 cup water

2 large egg whites

Baking spray

48 oz Baker’s white chocolate

Mini chocolate chips for the eyes

1 wooden skewer

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly spray a the cake pop pan with baking spray.

Combine the cake mix, yogurt, 1 cup water and egg whites in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Place the batter into a pastry bag or large ziplock bag with the tip cut off.

Pipe the batter into the prepared cake pop pan and bake about 18 minutes (I rotated the pan after 10 minutes to be sure they baked evenly). Let it rest 5 minutes before opening the pan.

Place the cake balls on a wire rack and repeat with remaining batter. Using a scissor, cut the seam off the balls.

Refrigerate the cake balls for about 45 minutes, this helps the chocolate stick to the cake.

Melt some of the chocolate in the microwave according to package directions, careful not to overheat the chocolate. If it’s too thick add a drop of oil to thin out. Use the wooden skewer and insert into the cake ball, then dip in melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off then place each ball on parchment paper.

Place remaining chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle onto the tops of the balls to make a criss-cross effect to resemble a mummy wrap.

Place the mini chocolate chips over the chocolate for eyes and set aside to dry.

Servings: 48

 

For more tasty treats, check out the Casserole Club Pintrest!  And join Casserole Club to connect and share food with an older neighbour who would appreciate tasting your mini mummies!


Recipe courtesy of SkinnyTaste.com

Food Friends in Surrey

During our 8 or so months (and counting) working in Surrey on Casserole, we’ve been lucky enough to discover, befriend and partner with some pretty awesome organisations and businesses that are doing great things with food and cooking in the area. Since we are all about sharing the love, here’s a little run down of some of our favourite food-related finds and why you should check them out!

Local Food Surrey – This is THE place online to find everything you want to know about local food in Surrey. They have lists of top food producers, small businesses, farm shops, restaurants, foodie events, recipes, and articles to inspire home cooks to buy local and celebrate the culinary delights that Surrey has to offer. Find out what local delicacies are available near you and support Surrey’s food businesses!

East Surrey College – We’ve been chatting to East Surrey College since almost the very beginning of our time in Redhill about how the college and Casserole can work together to support our members. Apart from having a beautiful new building, the college runs a brilliant series of adult cookery classes (ranging from one off evening courses to longer multi-week sessions) that are perfect for any avid cook looking to pick up a few new tricks and recipes and have a bit of fun. Just the other night, we ran a special Indian Cooking to Share class for a few of our Cooks which went swimmingly (given the positive response from this first one, there are sure to be plenty more i the future!), and was a great opportunity to get Casserole members together doing what they do best.

The Art of Living CookShop – Need that perfect baking pan or the best spatula you will ever use (seriously, the best!)? Art of Living is a family run shop in Reigate (they have another shop in Cobham too!) that is a bit of a wonderland filled with every type of cooking supply you could possibly need, are always experimenting with new gadgets (the food results of which they share with their customers). They helped spread the word about Casserole amongst their customer community when our Beta site went live, and we hope to do more with them in the future!

Chalk Hills Bakery – Chalk Hills Bakery is our favourite place to grab an artisanal loaf when we are in Reigate. Chris, the owner, went above and beyond when we asked for some help with our pop-up Lunch Table in Redhill a fewmonths ago,donating two whole bags of beautiful, freshly baked bread to accompany our free lunch feast. They bake all of their bread at Priory Farm (another wonderful place to visit!), use organic flour, and follow traditional, artisanal baking methods – their seeded sourdough is out of this world! 

There you have it, a few of our favourite foodie friends in Surrey. We hope you take the time to check them out, pop round for a visit and say hello! 

Love Food Surrey

Did you know that this summer, Surrey residents are set to throw away an Olympic sized swimming pool worth of salad? Or that every day, the same residents could fill a double decker bus with binned bread?

Surrey County Council’s Love Food Surrey Campaign is on the mission to raise awareness about just how much food we waste in our daily lives, and help provide people with helpful tips, tools and tricks to reduce the amount you throw out, and save you money in the process. The programme is run by Surrey Waste Partnership, which includes the County Council, and the 11 district boroughs within the council, working together to help better manage the area’s waste.

The Love Food Surrey site features plenty of useful information and features to help you plan and manage your food better. There are recipes for optimising your leftovers or slightly tired ingredients, a meal planner to help you shop smarter (which could potentially save you up to £50 a month!), and facts and figures on just how much food we waste and what effect that has on the environment, waste services, and our own purses.

There are plenty of simple, easy things we can do to help reduce the amount of food we throw away (including sharing those extra portions on Casserole!), so have a look at  Love Food Surrey to see what you can do in your own home to fill a few fewer double decker buses next month!

Casserole is back in action in Redhill!

After our initial two-week pilot before Christmas, we took a long look at what we started to learn from the experience, and have been working on developing the next stage of our pilot process ever since! Well today is the day we start that next stage, as we relaunch the active pilot in the Redhill area. But unlike last time, where we used a very controlled group (3 Diners and 7 Cooks), we now want to see Casserole grow and develop with its users, engaging you guys every step of the way for feedback and we continually iterate and refine the service. So from here on out, we are not only looking for people to sign up as Cooks and Diners, but to start using Casserole as a real, working service.

To kick off the relaunch, we’ve given the website a bit of a revamp, added an About Us page and put together some swanky new registration forms with added questions and safeguarding features (like our new referencing process), and we even have a Casserole phone number (020 3286 8911) so that we can learn about and access the growing Casserole community that little bit better. Throughout the pilot we will be organising feedback sessions with users, stage more events like Lunch and Learn and testing out some incentives and rewards (cooking classes anyone?!) and start getting our online community up and active.

Our main goal from now on is to work our way up to 40 Diners and 90 Cooks cooking, eating, and sharing through Casserole by early May. This may seem a little daunting, but we are confident that with the help of the organisations and people who have already been so supportive of the project and putting some serious elbow grease into our connections with the community, we will be able to get there (and who knows, maybe we’ll even pass it!). So please, if you are interested in taking part in Casserole, high-tail it over to the website and get yourself registered, and please help us spread the word!

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.

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!

Eat, Cook, Share: Casserole hits the markets

Roll up, roll up! Casserole is hitting the markets. This Saturday 26th November we’ll be running a Casserole stall at the Redhill market where we want to talk to all sorts of people about what we are doing. We want to spread the word about Casserole in Redhill and we’ll be on high street from 9.30 onwards so if you are passing by make sure you say hi. We’ll be explaining everything about Casserole and asking people what they think as well as trying to get more people on board with the pilot that we are running in the coming weeks.

Casserole will be at the market in Redhill, on Saturday 26 November

If you are out and about in Redhill or know someone who lives close by make sure you tell them to visit our stall, we’ll have tea and coffee and maybe even a little snack! If you are interested in knowing more about the trial then feel free to get in touch with Murtz (murtz@wearefuturegov.com) and if you are interested in signing up for the 2 week pilot then simply fill in the online form so we can get in touch with you.

The trial itself is simple as pie, all we want to do is ask a few people to cook 2 meals in 2 weeks and share this with someone we match them up with in their area. We’ll introduce everyone first and also make sure that everyone is cooking and eating things that they like.

If you are interested in being a “Cook” the form is here or if you are more interested in being a “Diner” the form is here.  If you are unable to access these forms from work and can’t get them at home either, drop Murtz a line a murtz@wearefuturegov.com and he’ll hook you up to cook or eat.