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Hello! Happy New Year from everyone at EFS!

‘Prepping all of those sprouts will be worth it in the end’ – This was the mantra of the day as we embarked on hosting what we are hoping will become our annual Christmas meal at the Whitehouse. It took place on the last Thursday prior to Christmas. Our mission was simple, making a delicious Christmassy meal for (and with!)  the community.

So here’s how the day panned out (if you’ll pardon the pun). The day started with new community chef Fergus sorting out jobs for the volunteers he had the enviable task of keeping spirits high in the kitchen whilst telling the volunteers that, the order of the day would be ‘sprout prep and plenty of it’. As Noddy Holder and his contemporaries gave us musical accompaniment Fergus and his plucky band of volunteers set about the remaining veg prep, sauce making and general finishing touches to the menu. All was going so smoothly until the Christmas cheer had a brush with death as Elaine (one of our fantastic volunteers who had previously joined us for cookery classes)  nearly choked on a chocolate coin, Heimlich maneuver not required but definitely another cup of tea once the coughing had subsided.

Time raced on and it was now time to head up the road fully laden with distinctive aromas of Christmas; cranberry sauce – check – Gravy – check – turkey and bacon pie – check. 

The volunteers, along with the Community Alliance Trust staff, quickly turned the White House into a winter wonderland with decorations including some rather cumbersome ‘Merry Christmas’ balloons we brought from the EFS kitchen! Piles of crackers on each table and an acoustic cover of ‘Feliz Navidad” really set the tone.

As the chef team set up the kitchen and warmed up dinner the guests began to pour through the doors quickly filling the space. Andrew gave the community members a welcoming speech and then it was time to tuck in. Turkey pie with all the trimming or a vegan Christmas pie were consumed with great gusto. To drink we had a sparkling Christmas cordial which Kirsty had made in the afternoon from Mulled wine tea bags of all things! 

We had also been supplied with a lemon kefir drink and copious amounts of cranberries by Fareshare and after some creative thinking we turned these into our pudding for the night – Cranberry and kefir cake and, of course, CUSTARD! Although everyone had plenty of the main course the promise of piping hot custard spread as a fairly orderly queue formed for pudding. 

As the night drew to a close, the room was filled with plenty of cheer, crackers had been pulled, bad jokes read out and Christmas hats worn by all. Quick arrangements were made and any unserved food was wrapped up and taken to the Greenhouse Pantry for the following day. Our fantastic volunteers headed home and the guests all went home with goodie bags filled with fresh veggies, canned goods and some make-at-home stuffing kits.  

We would like to say a big thanks to the Whitehouse and the Community Alliance Trust for hosting our event. The venue was perfect and we were so happy with the reception the food and hospitality had.

“The food was excellent quality and offered an alternative to some of the fayre that is available on the high street. There also isn’t anywhere in the evening for people in Craigmillar to have a sit down meal and socialise – there is a huge gap here so we are really keen to work with EFS to offer more community meals in the Whitehouse.” was a quote from a member of the Community Alliance Trust. 

Everything was free or by donation, so no one was excluded. From start to finish the day was a lot of fun with roughly 45 people making it along and enjoying a lovely meal together. We cannot begin to thank the volunteers enough for all their hard work. We look forward to hosting many more community meals in the future.