29 March 2010

A cracking day for a Cracking launch!

Phew, we're only just recovering from the launch of Cracking Good Food at Chorlton's Big Green Festival on Saturday, when around 6,000 local residents turned up to enjoy sustainability in the spring sunshine.

The Cracking Good Food launch was a resounding success, with loads of happy customers signing up for sessions led by Kim, Lorenzo and Rob, pictured above manning the woks. Young William here even said how much he enjoyed the mushrooms in the stirfry he made - his mum Zoe (who kindly passed on the two photos below) was thrilled because apparently he won't touch them normally!

Cracking coordinators Jess and Adele (shown here with the official Cracking Good Food clipboard!) collected loads of feedback on what kinds of workshops the good people of Chorlton would like to see run by Cracking Good Food - from classic French to basic bread-making. We'll let you know when we have some dates in the diary so you can get booked in!

26 March 2010

Cracking new leaflet!

Do you like our new leaflet? We're going to be handing them out at our official launch at Chorlton's Big Green Festival tomorrow. We'll also be asking festival-goers to fill in a quick questionnaire to let us know what kinds of workshops they'd like to see Cracking Good Food offer, so come over and give us your thoughts and say hello! Lots of the team will be around, including coordinators Adele and Jess, and three of the Cracking Cooks - Avril, Lorenzo and Rob - will be running cooking sessions in St Clement's schoolyard from noon until 4pm. It's your chance to stop and chop with the Cooks On The Hop!

23 March 2010

Magazine star...

Cracking Good Food is featured in this month's Community Index, coinciding with our launch at Chorlton's Big Green Festival on Saturday 27 March. You can download a PDF of the April issue here or pick up a copy in Unicorn, Chorlton Library, Chorlton Bookshop, Creative Recycling and various other outlets. The magazine is also delivered to 4,000 homes in and around Chorlton.

We're very excited about appearing on the centre spread and being mentioned on the front cover - we're proper media stars now!

20 March 2010

Cracking Good Food official launch

Cracking Good Food's official launch is approaching fast and a week today (Saturday 27 March), we'll be rocking up at Chorlton's Big Green Festival with our Cooks On The Hop gazebo!

Chorlton's Big Green Festival gives people the chance to sample sustainable living in fun and friendly surroundings, putting environmental issues centre stage with a vibrant and varied programme of live entertainment, activities and workshops. The festival is a really great showcase for local suppliers of tasty, responsibly sourced food and drink, and this year there will also be plenty of info about grow your own and allotments as the theme is "growing locally".

Cracking Good Food is really pleased to be involved and we'll be running our unique Cooks On The Hop sessions on the day, which kicks off at 11am. Make sure you pop in to the school hall at St Clement's where Cracking Cooks Avril, Rob and Lorenzo will be in action, rustling up sensational stir-fries. You get to choose your ingredients, chop them up then combine them in a wok with one of the fabulous sauces blended just for you. The best thing is you get to eat your creation, so you'll have plenty of energy to enjoy the rest of the festival!

17 March 2010

12 March 2010

Cracking Cooks training session, Friday 12 March

There’s nothing quite like getting a group of foodies together to cook up a meal, although our recent event was something of a dinner party with a difference! To be a Cracking Good Food Cooking Leader, our team of Cracking Cooks have to undergo training in everything from food hygiene to health and safety, and this was their second session, held in the Youth Centre at St Clement's Church in Chorlton.

This time, we (the coordinators) wanted the Cracking Cooks to get into practice for leading their upcoming workshops by prepping, cooking and talking us through everything: where the ingredients were grown, how to chop veg safely, which flavours compliment each other... Well, I learned loads! I’d never have thought to add lemon juice to a grated celeriac salad to keep it white, or known to keep the onion roots intact when chopping to make it easier. And I didn’t know that vegetable stock was just a vegetable concentrate either. Wonderful! I just hope I’ll manage to get to all the future cooking sessions, because I’m cracking loads right now. And it can only get better!

10 March 2010

GUEST BLOG: Cracking Cooks training session, Wednesday 3 March


It didn’t bode well. The venue (St Ninian’s Church) seemed deserted and when I finally got in, I was presented with a large church hall, a semi-circle of seats and a heater. It looked like it was going to be a long, cold and dull four hours for my Cracking Good Food training to be a Cooking Leader.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. First, Adele greeted us, gushing and motivated as usual; then Beth sidled out of the kitchen and re-introduced herself and the aim of the session. Folders were distributed; teas, coffees and juices offered and pleasantries exchanged; and the room wasn’t as cold as expected – I even took my coat off.

And so the session began. It was well structured, concise and divided into bite-sized pieces. We covered the usual suspects: Health & Safety, How To Run A Cookery Class, Housekeeping For Cooking Sessions, Recipe Sheets Debriefing, Equipment Requisition, Costings and Registration. But we also talked within the group. We discussed issues that surfaced, brought up problems that worried us and raised matters that hadn’t even been thought of. A very agreeable session.

The bit that I/we hadn’t expected was a bit of real cooking. Two recipes had been provided and we divided into a Veggie group and a Meat group. We were set the task of following a recipe (my own personal nightmare) in order to produce either a vegetable cobbler or a sausage something-or-other (don’t care; it wasn't veggie!). It was quite interesting seeing a group of chefs, home cooks or wannabe foodies all come together in a kitchen and interact. We didn’t really have time to form a hierarchy or have squabbles, but it was fun and quick and helped everyone bond. So, within half an hour we had two dishes in the oven for our lunch - giving us enough time to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire. Read on.

Cooking time was literally the time taken to fill in the self-assessment form. This would indicate our learning styles. By ticking a series of questions regarding how we approach life and analysing the results, we discovered how we function. No one could believe how perfect I was, but that’s life.

Following this we ate lunch, disseminated the assessment form, talked at length about future courses, discussed how things were likely to pan out and ironed out any potential problems. So all-in-all a very good, interesting and fruitful course.

P.S. Did I mention that for lunch we had to move to a very cold room (coats on), the vegetable cobbler was voted the best (does my memory serve me right? or is this maybe fictitious?) and the topping was baked to perfection, and Cracking Good Food moves on to the next level. Several more members committed to the cause.

8 March 2010

Cracking website

Check out our lovely new website at www.crackinggoodfood.org

There, you'll find top tips for Cracking Good Food shopping in Chorlton, dates of upcoming workshops and Cooks On The Hop sessions, details on how to get in touch with us and useful info on some of the people we are working with to make this project work. It's constantly being updated with news, so keep checking back on a regular basis.