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Community Chef Andrew shares some highlights from our recent Easter community meal. Happy belated Easter from EFS!

Spring has sprung. The weather is finally changing. The dark, cold, wet winter months are behind us (hopefully – this is Scotland after all). At EFS we love spring! The turning of the season brings a whole barrage of delicious produce that has been hiding away over the cold months. So what better way to celebrate this than to host another Craigmillar Community Meal at the White House followed by a number of family classes designed to showcase the best of Spring’s produce. 

On the Thursday before Easter, and in collaboration with The Greenhouse Pantry, we decided to host an Easter / Spring meal for the community of Craigmillar. Just like the Christmas meal we put together at the end of 2023, the goal was much the same – provide some delicious food, and a welcoming space for people of Craigmillar to come together to enjoy a meal and socialise.

We pulled together a team of willing volunteers to assist the rest of the EFS team. Job one – make some final decisions on the menu. With some excellent mutton arriving that week from Peelham farm and plenty of fresh veggies and rhubarb from Phantassie farm, we were spoilt for choice. This meant that after a short time, the smell of braised mutton and roasted vegetables filled the room.. much to the delight of the team’s noses.

Once the prep was done, and with a ‘spring’ in our step (excuse the pun), we headed up to the White House to begin setting up. The place was quickly whipped into shape ready to host our guests, whilst Andrew and Fergus (our Community Chefs) worked in the kitchen on the final preparations and finishing the dishes off. The time to eat was here – slow braised mutton (six hours of cooking ensured it was pull-apart tender), pearl barley risotto, seasonal vegetable caponata, roasted Purple Sprouting Broccoli served with some delicious mutton gravy and salsa verde. 

Once everyone had had their seconds, and some even thirds, it was time for pudding. Springtime brings about the emergence of one of our favourite ingredients, Rhubarb. In this case, we made a rhubarb and apple crumble, served with poached rhubarb that had been folded through a yoghurt.

As the night came to an end, it was clear to see that it was a successful and enjoyable evening for the guests. All leftovers were quickly (and somewhat competitively) boxed up for people to take home. 

Given the success of the night and the positive feedback we received about the food, we thought it would be a good idea to use the upcoming Easter Holiday Family Cooking Classes as a chance to teach those attending about some of the key techniques, ingredients, and dishes that made up the meal. It was great to see one of the families who attended the Easter meal arrive at the cookery class just a few days later.

Safe to stay, the aromas of slow braised mutton filling the room for a second time in the space of a week was something to cherish. These classes also gave us an excellent excuse to prepare more rhubarb (I’m sure you can tell by now… we are rhubarb nerds). 

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped us over that week and to the Community Alliance Trust for letting us use the space at the White House to host the event. Everything prepared that day was free or by donation so no one was excluded. The whole experience was a lot of fun for the EFS team and we are looking forward to the next meal – Summer is coming, which means BBQ season!