Fareshare.

This country wastes a lot of food. We all know this. At home, many people buy too much or plan badly and as a result, end up discarding large amounts of produce. The size of the problem is multiplied many times when it comes to manufacturers, shops and restaurants. Some people occasionally score a free meal by 'skipping' discarded produce from supermarket bins, which has generally passed its 'best before' date or is damaged but may still be fine to eat. Some take this approach further by living a 'freegan' lifestyle. Freegans take as much of their diet from discarded food as possible in order to minimise waste and limit their participation in the consumerist economic system. However, many vulnerable people need support in accessing the waste food our society produces.

While tonnes of food is discarded every day, seven million people in this country are affected by low income, perhaps the most critical factor leading to food poverty. It is estimated that around four million people in the UK cannot afford a healthy diet. One fifth of people using the services of charities across the country admit they have gone without a square meal for a week or more in the last year.

Some organisations seek to work with businesses to ensure that the food they reject reaches the most needy. FareShare is a national charity fighting hunger in the UK by redistributing quality surplus produce from the food industry to a network of community organisations that support homeless and other vulnerable people. The charity also provides essential training and education on safe food preparation and nutrition, on top of warehouse employability training through its Eat Well Live Well programme.

FareShare argues that the current economic climate has made food redistribution even more crucial than ever. Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive of FareShare, says: "At a time of unprecedented demand we want the food industry and the general public to increase their support."

Recent figures released by the organisation show a sharp rise in demand on charities for food, as people all over Britain struggle to put dinner on the table. 42% of charities surveyed reported an increase in demand for food in the past year as prices continue to soar, putting additional strain on families and people on low incomes. Through collaborations with manufacturers and supermarkets, FareShare is helping charities to prevent hunger.

You can support Fareshare by making a donation or volunteering at their depot, with our local centre based in Barnsley.

fareshare.org
fssouthyorkshire@fareshare.org.uk
01226 213255

CASSIE KILL.

Midwinter Feasting.

Ah Christmas! Or should that be Aaaargh! Christmas! I was brought up in a fairly orthodox Jewish household. We still had turkey, presents and The Great Escape, just no crosses or carols. Christmas, Eid, Diwali, Chanukah or just making a damn fool of yourself on West Street with a pointy red hat on - it's all the same really. Time to bring light and warmth into the coldest, darkest months - the Midwinter feast. It can be a bit stressful though.

The buying, cooking, eating and drinking can make it more so. With the decline of the regular family meal the pressure is on to have a 'proper' Christmas dinner. Many parents feel guilty about working long hours or not providing enough consumer goods. We worry about our parents especially if they are on their own.

We overcompensate under the strain - too much food bought (strain on bank balance), cooking it (strain on sanity), eating it (strain on gut). And that's just the old school stuff. Now we have new worries about the food we consume; health, animal welfare and the environment; local, organic, Fairtrade; good food, bad food. But there's more. Like a vicious Krispy Kreme circle (did its opening really make a valid Sheffield Telegraph article?), stress alters what we choose to eat.

We may eat less or more. We can store more fat. We eat automatically - comfort eating. We eat 'good' foods to give us energy, 'bad' foods because we deserve it. We may get so stressed we don't know or care what we are eating. Food as fuel.

As I said before: Aaaargh!

There's even a Sheffield university course about all this food related stress. It's about consumer anxiety and it's called CONANX. Very good it looks too.

Enough mardy nay saying, then. How do we fight back? Here's my Midwinter feast plan.

Plan ahead - pre-prepare sauces, stuffings etc. and freeze.
Less is more - don't overbuy, but up the quality.
Keep it simple - roast all your veg.

Above all, shop local. Take your time and have a wander around your local shops. It's much better than doing a shop at the supermarket and the money you spend gets back to you eventually via the magical Local Multiplier Effect.

See you on Spital Hill, Middlewood Road, Sharrow Vale Road, Crookes or any of our neighbourhood centres. Have a good one.

shef.ac.uk/conanx/index.html
localmultiplier.com
The Effects of Stress on Food Choice in 'The Nation's Diet' ed. by Anne Murcott

LEON BALLIN.

Roast Pigeon Christmas Dinner.

COURTESY OF THE WICK AT BOTH ENDS, WEST STREET.

Pigeon is often overlooked as a roasting option. This might be down to our own preconceptions and prejudices about the bird, but it is actually very tasty and relatively cheap to buy. Topped off with a lovely red wine gravy, it makes for a rich meal well suited to the Christmas dinner table. The roast potato cubes are a joy to behold too.

Ingredients:

Pigeon (one per person)
Potatoes
Cabbage
Baby onions
Baby carrots
Butter
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme
Oil
2 small bottles of red wine
Redcurrant jelly

Separate the cabbage leaves. Remove the spine of each and cut into strips. Blanche for 30 seconds in boiling water and then refresh in ice water. Drain.

Peel, quarter and parboil your spuds. Drain and shake gently to rough up the edges. Take half a pack of butter, soften and add finely chopped rosemary and sage to a little oil. Season well. Blitz together and smear all over your spuds. Put in the oven with the baby onions and roast at 200°C.

Cut your carrots into batons and parboil so they still have a bite. Drain and refresh. When your potatoes have a small amount of colour, heat a heavy based oven proof frying pan, adding oil and a small amount of butter.

Meanwhile, season your pigeon well and when the butter is foaming, seal the breast first to a nice light brown. When sealed all over, add a few garlic cloves and a sprig of thyme and place the pan in the oven at 220°C.

Give your potatoes a turn. Leave the pigeon for 15 to 20 minutes depending on how you like your meat (20 minutes will leave a nice pinkness). Mix your carrots with a little honey and seasoning and roast on the bottom of the oven. Keep your eye on them so they don't burn. When the pigeon is cooked, remove from the oven and cover in foil to rest while you finish the greens. Melt some butter in a pan, toss the cabbage for a minute or until the greens start to colour a little. Put everything together on a plate and add gravy.

Gravy

Pour 2 small bottles of red wine into a pan and reduce on a high heat by a third. Add some chopped thyme and a generous spoon of redcurrant jelly. Add the roasting juices from the pigeon pan and cook out. When the flavours are infused, turn the heat down and add a small knob of cold butter. This will enrich, thicken and give your gravy a nice gloss.

Stuffing

Finely dice an onion and mince a bulb of garlic (chop finely, add some salt, chop some more then use the back of your knife to crush to a paste). Soften with some finely chopped rosemary and sage. When softened but not too coloured, add a glass of red wine and turn up the heat to burn off the alcohol. When it has reduced, add pork sausage meat with some dried breadcrumbs, form into small balls and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 220°C.

Sosmix & Chestnut Loaf.

BY JAN SYMINGTON AT BEANIES.

Most recipes are a basis for negotiation, so providing proportions remain the same, the ingredients can be tinkered with. In addition to being vegetarian, this recipe is a great way to avoid wasting a stale loaf as you will need bread crumbs to bind the ingredients. You could pick one up from the reduced section if not available at home.

Ingredients:

1 packet of Sosmix (available from any good vegetarian/health food shop)
Half a 415g tin of chestnut purée
200g packet of cooked, peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 large onion
Fresh thyme
50g breadcrumbs (make from stale bread with a blender or your fingers)
Vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Mix up a packet of Sosmix as per instructions on the packet and allow to rehydrate while preparing other ingredients. Add some olive oil to a wide, shallow pan. Soften the onion in the oil, add the Sosmix and cook while stirring. It will stick a bit whatever you do. Add ½ a tin of chestnut purée and the cooked chestnuts. Keeping stirring. Add the thyme and breadcrumbs and soften with vegetable stock. Cook and stir till it is all mixed well. Bake in an oiled loaf tin at 180°C for about an hour. Serve in thick slices with veg and all the trimmings. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The mix can be made in advance and frozen in a freezer bag to save you time on the day. Simply defrost overnight in the fridge, add to the oiled loaf tin and roast as above.