We have been cooking for our friends at the local shelter home for a couple of weeks now. This is a cause I have always been passionate about and has built upon the previous work on communal eating with local communities.
We do meal drops twice weekly, each time with two trays or boxes of food. Here is a short guide and some recipes for those who are considering to do this:
Who? Who are you feeing?
It’s always a good idea to have a chat with the centre manager to understand the nature of the organisation you are supporting as every shelter home is slightly different. A lot of the residents may only be there on a temporary basis, some might be day centres. Don’t forget feeding the staff means they can then focus on the important operating tasks of the centre.
How? How are you going to drop off the food? On foot or by car or bus?
We drop off the meals on foot, so we cannot cook something which is too liquidy such as soups and stews.
What? What kind of containers are you using for the food you prep?
I’ve found the aluminium roast trays (@£1) to be excellent – just cover with foil. These then go into the paper bags which we keep from our previous food deliveries from Zoom and Amazon Pantry. We put these in separate supermarket longlife bags which are handy to use. We have also experimented with different dishes, but based on the feedback, fried rice and noodles have been popular with both staff and residents.
Nice Fried Rice (2 trays)
- 1kg rice, then cooked according to packet instructions
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peels and diced
- 100g frozen peas
- 6 eggs, beaten
Halve the ingredients. Heat oil in pan, add garlic and onions, then rice. Make a well to add in eggs, stir well. Lastly carrots and peas. Repeat with the remaining half. Serve.
Fried Noodles (2 trays)
- 2 x 400g packets of noodles, pre-soaked in water
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 peeled onion or leek, sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
- 400g meat, chicken or beef, sliced
- 200g frozen peas and sweetcorn
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp oyster or black bean sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Halve the ingredients. Heat oil in pan, add sliced onion or leek, then red peppers before adding the meat. Stir well. Add the noodles. Make a well to add the eggs. Lastly peas and sweetcorn, then the sauces. Repeat with the remaining half. Serve.
For pasta dishes, this is a recipe for beef meatballs with spaghetti in tomato sauce: