Thank you to all who attended the Tapas and Pinxtos evening. Here are a few pictures of some of the dishes.
Baked tomato and fennel salad with a garlic oil
Green pepper chilli jam and pickled rhubarb pinxtos
Roasted courgette, mint, lemon and chickpea salad
Patatas bravas with slow cooked fresh tomatoes
Almond and cinnamon cauliflower florets
Roasted red peppers
Thank you all who came to the April dinner exchange brunch.
On the menu was
Home made Lemonade
Home made Tomato juice
Lettuce parcels with potato, flax seed and chilli filling with chilli oil
Red and green pepper salad in a peppery lemon vinaigrette
Lemon vegan savoury muffinsCarrot and orange zest drop scones served with jams
Square Mile coffee and Tea.
On a sunny Sunday a group of hungry people, big and little, gathered round a table laden with food prepared from produce that would otherwise have gone to waste. The first dinner exchange brunch was over so soon, it felt, and not a crumb was left on the table. Here are a few photographs taken by the photographer and artist Samantha Day.
From waste food collected… ( beetroot, oranges, apples, pears, broccoli, red cabbage, butternut squash, lemons, celery bursting with nutrients and flavours )
…to a nourishing brunch
As some of you know, the Dinner Exchange has showcased performers before as part of our dinners, but this dinner, organised in collaboration with Space Production at the Arcola Theatre, took place within the very set of the Doll’s House (Ibsen). It therefore was a first for us and represented many an exciting challenge ( as if cooking only with ‘fit for purpose food’ was not enough).
How can the theme of food waste be communicated through theatre? Would dinner guests enjoy the participatory aspect? How do we create a three course meal that relates to the aesthetics of the Doll’s House set created by Irina Borisova and Emma Thatcher?
Not only did guests enjoy it, they revelled in it. Our wonderful guests played the actors at their own game and rose to the challenge set by Alex Crampton to get the character of Nora to dance a tarantella, to play a drinking game. The character of Dr Rank dutifully made a speech about the nutritious value of food waste when summoned by the ‘mayor of the town’ – whom we have to say was no ‘plant’ but a guest who embraced his theatrical leanings and got seriously involved, making us proud. The underlying theme to Ibsen’s play is the search for perfection that hides tensions and injustices. In this way the play served as an interesting platform to discuss food waste and food distribution and to reconsider the value we ascribe to food. At the dinner exchange we do not want to be dogmatic or judgmental, we want to be informative of course, but we also want to be engaging and fun. The Dinner at the Doll’s House was informative and without a doubt, fun.
What about the food? The team worked magic with the produce retreaved from consecutive pick ups at Langridge Organics and Grocery’s in Shoreditch. Ulla, Eva, Brigida, Hannah, Sergio, Alice and Billur set to task on saturday night cooking until the early hours of the morning. The kitchen was a flurry of activity, brainstorms, experiments and laughter. Laughter is the secret ingredient that makes the food at the dinner exchange taste so special. Secret ingredient aside, the produce we were donated was ripe and luscious and the odd variety we had to hand led us to marry different tastes, to play around with allying savoury tastes with the sweetness of fruit in creating a three course vegan meal. Here, is the result:
Vegetable and corn soup with garlic and chilli oil
A taster plate of
Tomatoes with a fennel, cabbage and lemon stuffing.
Quinoa, spinach and spelt cake with almond and spinach pesto.
Carrot, apricot, ginger and raisin salad with apricot dressing.
Chickpea and roasted pepper hummus in a cucumber mould with vegan tzatziki
Lemon, almond and mango fairycake.
The photographs that follow are by Lorcan Fox.
Together with the dinner exchange, Louisa Barry concocted an operatic recital around the subject of food to charm the ears of our guests during our 16th dinner in Hackney Wick. From ‘glorious food’ from the musical Oliver, to difficult uncanny numbers by Leonard Bernstein, it was truly beautiful, and witty. Brava Louisa, bravo Michael (the pianist)
As for the food, our team of volunteers: Samara, Ulla, Sandra, Steve, Brigida and Alice spent the afternoon chopping, blending, simmering and inventing pestos, sauces and dishes with the produce collected the day before from Langridge Organics in Vauxhall. Fresh, colourful and flavoursome produce that would otherwise have been thrown away. To raise awareness of food waste is our aim, but it is just as important to us that the process itself is fun and the food we serve a mark of our passion for food. All the proceeds were donated to the charity Crisis. I think we did well, and for those of you who missed the dinner, this is what we served:
Melon with a basil pesto, garlic and lemon bruschetta, cauliflower and almond paste.
Bulgur and walnut pilaff, roasted fennel and celery in a creamy sauce
Ginger and rhurbarb tart with apricot and gin coulis
At the dinner exchange we do not compromise on anything so that we strive as much as possible to use only ‘freegan’ products, what little we do buy we get get from ethical sources such as Suma and shops like Grocery. We use no egg replacer, margarine or dodgy soya.
On the 12th of May The Dinner Exchange travelled south of the river to a homely garden in Clapham. This chapter in the dinner exchange story saw 44 people tucked into a vegan gourmet buffet feast cooked that day from ‘fit for purpose’ produce from Langridge organics. Everything was cooked from scratch and made up on the spot.
On the menu we had:
Nutty vegan waldorf salad (quinoa, walnuts, apples, celery, cooked apple dressing)
Green monster salad (steamed broccoli and greens, broad beans, home made spicy tomato salsa dressing)
Tangy parsley coleslaw (red and white cabbage, carrots, and parsley, lemon and garlic pesto)
Caramelised onion tart
Roasted pepper hummus and roasted butter nut squash and grilled sesame hummus
Cauliflower and cinnamon tarts (vegan and gluten free)
Dill and courgette muffins (vegan)
Guests enjoyed a vintage gin cocktail prepared with organic juniper gin, the only London dry gin organically grown and ethically produced by our friends at the Organic Spirits Co. Miss Constance Irkles the Hoola hoop siren wowed us with her hoola skills and a few brave guests tried it for themselves. Lorcan Fox edited images taken from the day into a VJ projection onto the neighbours back wall and Johnny Moorehead clambered onto a roof armed with glow-in-the-dark poi. All in all, the night was full of surprises and joy. Here are a few pictures taken by the photographer Johnny Green. To see more of his work go to http://www.johnnyintheechocafe.co.uk
Miss Constance Irkles runs popular Hoola classes in Dalston, email her on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Organic juniper green gin is widely available in London, for more details please see www.junipergreen.org