There were three main strands to the Affordable Food Tasting Event held in the Edwardian Splendour of Plumstead Library during the week. The first concerned the use of herbs to improve the taste of Supermarket budget ranges. This was demonstrated by adding marjoram and cream cheese to tinned potatoes and describing how a bay leaf can be added to rice pudding and left to steep overnight. These were put to one side for sampling later. Meanwhile, there were a series of herb-based drinks to taste, some cold, some hot.
The second part of the presentation concerned foraging and how it can supplement a person’s diet. South East London is well supplied with open spaces that can provide fresh food for those who know where to look. The point was well made that although it is usually described as ‘free’ food, that isn’t actually the case; in the first place, the forager has to spend time and effort building up knowledge of plants to avoid being made ill, or worse. Then there is the time spent processing the harvest. Sadly, some people strip an entire tree or bush, often far too early lest anyone else takes anything. There is no need, England has plenty of food!
The third session was all about home made food, which is another way to save money and allows anyone to create dishes which are unavailable in the shops, or else prohibitively expensive. It also gives a greater degree of control over what goes into the meal, to reduce sugar, salt and fat for instance. Reference was made to the Greenwich Community Cookery Clubs, provided by GCDA. The afternoon concluded with a chance to mingle, whilst sampling the food on offer, with an offer to take home organic onions from a local food growing space, run by Growing Greenwich.
On the menu were:
Potato Salad with Marjoram
Green Tomato, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad dressed with Lemon Juice
Orange Salad, sprinkled with Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Juice and a pinch of sugar
Mackerel Pate with Watercress, Organic Carrot and Sorrel wraps
Crispbreads with Mature Cheese and Loughton Quince/Plumstead Apple Chutney
Cheese and Marjoram Oat Biscuits
Rice Pudding with Sultana and Bayleaf
Rose and Lavender/Fennel buns
Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena Cake
Water infused with Salad Burnet
Apple Juice flavoured with Sweet Woodruff
Lemon Verbena/Gorse/Lime Flower Tisanes