OUR DAY WITH FOOD CYCLE

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Back in November, in support of Food Cycle, I took part in the Breadline Challenge  where I attempted to eat on £2.10 a day.  Food Cycle run 17 weekly hubs across the country. These are local projects that rescue surplus food from various large food suppliers.  They then call upon volunteers to cook it up for local people living on the breadline. I HATE WASTE

The current "Use by" and "Sell by" labelling system on food is confusing and leads supermarket and consumers to throw away perfectly good food.  Food waste is a hot topic at the moment and I'm glad finally people seem to be paying attention. Interestingly I was looking for a recipe this week and happened upon these words from Darina Allen (Ireland's answer to Nigella).

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We've all become hyper paranoid when it comes to eating, but if something isn't right, your taste buds know better than any EU regulation.  Another fault of the supermarkets is their abundant food displays.  They overbuy fruit and veg so that richness and colour lures people in.  Rather than sparse shelves and potentially losing customers, they'd rather swallow the cost of the waste.

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Intrigued about Food Cycle's work, this week Jodie and I decided to volunteer at the weekly Islington hub.  We met at Waitrose on Liverpool Road where we were given a trolley load of unwanted grub: tubs and tubs of rocky roads, melons galore and a load of plums, papayas, avocados and cherries.  Delicious, but didn't bode well for the nutritious 3 course meal we had to create.  Next stop was Planet Organic where we were hopeful of veg, but oh dear, we were handed a bin bag full of artisan bread.

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3 mushrooms and 4 avocados were the savoury extent of our haul.  It was time for our Ready Steady Cook moment.

Luckily at the kitchen we attacked the store cupboard and freezer and found cheddar, onions, tinned tomatoes and pasta - enough for a pasta bake.  We were shown the way by Christina, the saintly hub leader, who treks in from outside London every Wednesday and makes it all happen, greeting and serving everyone with happy enthusiasm.

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Christina tackles the plums

 

As everyone rolled up hungry, we served up our extremely interesting starter of papaya, avocado and nectarine salad ... somehow toast and the grated cheese for the main course made it into the mix.  A combo I probably won't be repeating.

Pudding was the extremely unhealthy highlight - berry crumble with rocky road topping and custard.

It's so incredible that these guys turn up every week and give their time to make something out of nothing to feed hungry people.  I hate the fact that there are so many people without food on our doorstep when we're all chucking out perfectly good stuff.

For tips on how to cut down on your waste at home, see Food Cycle's website and if you can, please donate here.

I'M SO PLEASED THAT WE RAISED NEARLY £1000 FOR FOOD CYCLE AT FARE HEALTHY!  THANK YOU COCKTAIL DRINKERS AND COOK BOOK BUYERS!

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 Loving his style

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