Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Transition Community Cafe

June 29, 2014
food preparation at Transition Community Cafe

food preparation at Transition Community Cafe

It was whilst out scavenging for vegetables for her hens, and seeing the amount of food going to waste, the idea of Transition Community Cafe came to Ann Bushell. Why not set up a community business that turns waste into a resource, and in doing so supplies delicious meals to the local community at a reasonable price?

The local Coop provided an unused building, volunteers and local businesses helped get it kitted out and up and running.

For a householder, waste is something you put in your wheelie bin, and think no more about it. For a local business, there is a cost incurred in disposal. Anything that helps cut that waste, or will take it off your hands for free, is a cost saving, and is therefore welcome.

  • an empty shop put back into use
  • food waste turned into a resource
  • healthy meals at low cost
  • revitalisation of a town centre
  • meeting place
  • recycling money within the local economy

Due to the variable nature of the ingredients, there is no fixed menu at Transition Community Cafe, it depends on what is available that day.

I have seen the amount of waste generated by food businesses, they seem to be happy to throw it away, and incur a cost in doing so, rather than take steps to reduce the waste.

I have suggested to Harris + Hoole Guildford, that left over food that would otherwise be thrown away, goes to a needy charity. This now happens, but that with a very short shelf life, still gets thrown away. Need to have offers at the end of the day. Buy a coffee and get a free savoury.

A bakery, sadly no longer in Guildford High Street, used to have a queue last half hour. Why, loaves of bread were half price.

Baker in Godalming, does buy one get one free. Far better, half price.

I do not know if they still do, Food For Thought in Covent Garden, used to give their scones and flapjacks to late customers to take away.

A deprived area like Aldershot, empty boarded-up units and fast food joints, poor diet, obesity. It cries out for a community venture like Transition Community Cafe, which also recycles money within the local community.

There is a cost to local councils in waste. It is therefore in their interest to support community ventures such as Transition Community Cafe.

Transition Community Cafe opened June 2013. Between the beginning of June and the end of September 2013 the project achieved the following:

  • Surplus food acquired and kept from landfill – approx 100 kilos/week
  • Food cooked and sold in the cafe – approx 50 kilos/week
  • Food sent for composting, or to a bio-digester or to animal feed (when it has not entered the cafe nor come into contact with animal by-products) – approx 50 kilos/week

Transition Community Cafe is located in Fishguard in Wales. It was a Transition Bro Gwaun community initiative.

Transition Community Cafe is an excellent example of collaborative commons, sharing economy in action.

Lunch at Guildford Institute

June 27, 2014
chickpea bake and salad

chickpea bake and salad

banoffee pie

banoffee pie

As it was a lovely day, I was tempted to eat outside at The Keystone, but as will be closed soon for summer holidays, it was lunch at the Guildford Institute.

Chickpea bake with salad.

Followed by banoffee pie, plus a pot of tea.

As always on a Friday, the food excellent.

An art exhibition of watercolours of flowers and buildings, Nature and Architecture. Sadly spoilt by framed with glass.

Poor service and food at The Queen Hotel

June 25, 2014
rump steak less peas

rump steak less peas

 rump steak with peas

rump steak with peas

Since it re-opened in April following a £2.3 million refurbishment, the service and food at the Victorian Queen Hotel in Aldershot has been very mixed. Sometimes very good, at other times very poor.

The week it opened, it was chaotic, it then improved, now complacency has set in.

Rump steak can be excellent, it can also be very poor. Usually tough, but tasty. Last week the steak almost cold, the peas cold, the mushroom cold.

I once made the mistake of ordering steak when it was not steak day. A big mistake, you pay a lot more.

Chicken is pretty disgusting.

Burgers usually good.

Gammon steak usually good. Though why no pineapple?

Curry avoid, go to a decent Indian restaurant.

Fish n chips, the fish usually very good, the chips leave much to be desired.

Beer is usually good. I once had to send a beer back. It was changed without a quibble. I opted for a cup of tea.

Today, the service was abysmal, as was the food.

I asked for fish n chips. I was charged the wrong price. When I queried this, I was told only available on Friday. I pointed out available at special price afternoon up until 5pm and it was only 4pm.

The excuse then was I had ordered London Pride and offer only applied to guest beers, and yet, most of the guest beers were not available, and whilst this may be true, I have had London Pride in the past.

Manager intervened, and went through at correct price.

Not the first time this has happened, charging for the free beer. Last time this happened, it was because the beer was over 5.0% alcohol. And yet I had specifically asked was it in the offer. They were going to throw away what had been drawn and serve me a different beer. I pointed out this was ridiculous. A manager intervened, I kept what had originally been drawn.

I have also been charged high price for gammon, when on offer during the afternoon.

The fish was awful. And was not served with peas.

I called over a member of staff, and said it was not edible, and wished to send it back.

Why, what is wrong with it?

Fish taste not good.

Cannot change because you do not like the the taste of the fish.

Then relented when I said I had had fish before.

I said I did not want fish, I would have the rump steak, left over from day before, which was on offer and cheaper than fish n chips.

Waitress had to go away and discover if this was possible.

Yes, it was. I emphasised that I wanted it with peas, peas which should have come with my fish n chips.

Rump steak served with chips, no peas.

I point out, I had asked for peas.

No, cannot have peas.

Then tried to claim I had not ordered peas with my fish n chips. It actually comes with peas.

Then tries to take away my steak and chips.

I said no, bring the peas,

The peas came. They did not taste very nice either.

At no time during my two different attempts at a decent meal, did anyone come over to ask how was the meal.

When my meal was finished, the waitress who had quibbled when I sent the fish n chips back came to clear away my plate. She made no attempt the pick up the peas that had spilled onto the table, or to clean the table.

Building work taking place. Apparently to install new staircase next to existing staircase. A somewhat pointless exercise, but I guess to segregate the hotel.

The Queen Hotel is a Grade II listed building. Should planning permission not be applied for?

The female manager who is usually there, very good and always helpful, not there. On holiday, left? Maybe explains how bad today.

A pretty bad experience.

A couple of hours later, I was feeling sick.

Lunch at Café Mila

June 23, 2014
tomato and celery soup

tomato and celery soup

A very hot day in Godalming. I arrived earlier than usual. I popped in and had a zinger (I think apple, pear and ginger), a very refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day. I then returned a little later for lunch.

For starter tomato and celery soup. I thought it would be a little too heavy for a hot day, but it was light. The celery gave a zing to it, almost as would expect from ginger. Delicious.

Followed by potato and green vegetable bake with a little side salad. This I though definitely winter dish, but it proved light. A potato crust, inside, peas, broccoli and cauliflower.

Followed by a ginger flapjack and a cup of tea.

With the gingerade I had later in Harris + Hoole in Guildford, I was probably suffering ginger overload.

Café Mila currently has a summer art exhibition. Well worth a visit.

Lunch at The Keystone

June 22, 2014
fish cakes and salad

fish cakes and salad

The Keystone, behind St Nicolas Church in Guildford, used to be a an excellent pub, until it went rapidly downhill, then new owners took over.

It was a lovely day, ideal to sit in the courtyard at The Keystone.

I thought I would look in, see what the menu was like, if the pub had changed, and if it was busy.

I thought it would be packed, luckily it was not, and so I decided to stay.

I ordered fish cakes and salad, and half a pint of a beer I cannot recall what it was.

The fish cakes were as good as they always were, in other words excellent. The salad needed to be improved.

I was going to order soup. Carrot and coriander? Boring. Summer they need summer soups, watercress or pea and mint soup.

The beer was good.

The pub?

Much needed renovation has been carried out. The broken and dilapidated tables outside replaced.

But a retrograded step, the introduction of a widescreen TV.

Two outside seating areas. They must designate that at the front smoking, making the rear courtyard no smoking.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori

June 20, 2014
steps leading into back garden

steps leading into back garden

tree with spreading branches providing much needed shade

tree with spreading branches providing much needed shade

white trailing rose running along the wall

white trailing rose running along the wall

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

Bottega dei Sapori is a lovely Italian coffee shop at the top end of Alton. Next door used to be the bank belonging to the brother of Jane Austen.

As it was a hot day, I sat outside in their lovely little walled garden, under the shade of a huge spreading tree. The table I sat at, I looked around, and a lovely white trailing rose was running along the wall.

Delicious lentil and vegetable soup, with which I assume was their own bread, or maybe sourced from a local baker. A winter soup, not a summer soup. Summer soup, pea and mint or watercress.

Tortellini stuffed with I think it said aubergine though it looked and tasted like pumpkin. Not what I had before, which possibly was mushroom.

Followed by a flapjack and a pot of tea.

Bottega dei Sapori source wherever they can locally. And most what they serve, they make themselves.

Integral to the coffee shop, is a little shop, with bread and many other products, including very delightful tea cups and pots.

The coffee is singled sourced. No freddo cappuccino.

The tea, teapigs. Not quality tea, nor is it the little indie company they pretend to be. It is Tetley’s tea.

Lunch at Guildford Institute

June 13, 2014
chickpea bake and salad

chickpea bake and salad

summer pudding

summer pudding

Last week, loads of food going to waste, this week all gone bar one portion of chickpea bake.

To follow for dessert, summer pudding.

Zero waste supermarket

June 9, 2014

I find annoying, when I go into a supermarket and find everything is shrink-wrapped and overpackaged. One of the worst offenders is M&S who then have the gall to charge 5p for a plastic bag. They claim this goes to environmental charities. It does not, only 1p, and I doubt even that. It is greenwash by M&S, and an opportunity to rip off gullible customers.

And where fruit and vegetable are sold loose, as for example Waitrose or Lidl, why am I forced to use plastic bags, why not paper (which I can recycle on the compost heap)?

One reason why I buy off markets, it is seasonal, cheaper and fresher, and I can pop in a paper bag. At least I could. I notice some stalls are switching to plastic, which is a retrograde step.

Americans produce an unbelievable three pounds of trash every day. I do not produce that in a week, probably not in a month.

It is therefore good news, that a German supermarket Original Unvertpackt has moved to zero waste. The launch of the supermarket has been through crowd funding.

Customers are invited to bring in their own bags and bottles.

I remember Neals Yard Wholefoods, in an old warehouse in Neals Yard in Covent Garden. Everything was in bulk, you shovelled out what you wanted. Freshly ground peanut butter in large jars.

Original Unvertpackt is only a small step in the right direction. We have to recognise an end to growth, an end to the purchasing of worthless stuff, that goes on a one-way trip from mining, sweat production, sitting in the house for six months, then on its way to landfill or recycling.

The Traditional Plaice

June 7, 2014
The Traditional Place restaurant

The Traditional Place restaurant

 cod and chips

cod and chips

A tiny little fish n chip shop in Downing Street with a restaurant out the back.

As it was late afternoon, and I was feeling hungry, I thought I’d give it a try.

Walk through a narrow passageway at the side of the fish n chip shop.

I was greeted by a zombie like creature. Greeted, a slight exaggeration, she just stood there. So much make up, gave the impression her face was porcelain. Maybe that is why she did not smile, it would have cracked. Scrub off the make up and she would have been very attractive.

She showed me through to the restaurant, or rather, I asked could I go through.

I was surprised how large it was, with a tiny garden out the back. And it was empty, bar two occupied tables, and they left as I arrived. Popular it clearly is not (though maybe early).

I had not been there long, when three people walked in. They had the whole restaurant to sit in. They sat at the adjacent table right on top of me.

Service was appalling.

A long wait until zombie took my order. And even longer wait until the food arrived.

I had asked for a glass of water. I had to ask for it again when the food arrived.

Fish n chips, choice of cod or haddock. Cod was £8-35 and upwards. Haddock was over £10!

A choice of peas, mushy peas or salad.

The plate was too small, salad overflowing onto the table.

Cod and chips was ok, nothing to get excited about, cod and chips were piping hot, and must have come straight out of the fryer. The batter was light and crispy.

The glass of water I did not touch, the glass was filthy, I could feel the dirt as I picked the glass up.

Environmental Health must check this place out.

Not somewhere I will wish to return.

Oh how I miss The Barn, where you could get an excellent lunch, all freshly prepared.

To put the price in context, fish n chips at The Queen Hotel in Aldershot, £5-09 (and you get a free pint of beer).

Kerfuffle at Rasta Man veg stall

June 6, 2014

This afternoon, a very unpleasant kerfuffle at Rasta Man veg stall in North Street in Guildford.

A young lady was complaining that she had been sold two rotten mangoes and politely requested than Rasta Man change them.

Rasta Man refused, on the grounds they were cheap. The young lady, said no, and stood her ground.

Rasta Man then became quite aggressive, but to her credit she refused to be intimidated and refused to back down.

Rasta Man was entirely in the wrong, there can never be any justification for selling rotten fruit, and he was also in the wrong trying to intimidate the young lady. If nothing else, he owes the young lady an apology.

One market stall I will think twice supporting.


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