The eighth annual Big Lunch takes place on June 12, and people from all over Wales will be gathering together to share food with friends and neighbours.
Boudicca Stretton-Brown, 30, from Habershon Street in Cardiff, is a well-known local cook, and organised a hugely popular Big Lunch street party in Univerisity Place.
Here she gives anyone wanting to organise a Big Lunch some top tips on organising an event. As the mother of three small children, she knows that time is of the essence for most people, so here’s how to organise a stress-free party.
*Find as many helpers as possible, and delegate tasks. Be clear about everyone’s role.
*Send out flyers or invitations, explaining what’s going on, and asking everyone who attends to bring a dish. If everyone brings a contribution then it keeps the stress and the hassle to a minimum. Plus it means there’s no significant financial outlay for anyone. If you have time, knock on doors too. We had about 50 attendees at our party, and everyone was very enthusiastic.
*If you are having a street party you will need to ask the council for permission to close the road. Otherwise, you could have a big picnic in a park, or if it’s a small gathering, in someone’s garden. The Big Lunch can take any form, and you can have as few or as many people as you like. The important thing is to share food together and be sociable.
*Music added an extra dimension to the event, so see if someone can DJ or play live.
*Be organised. Make a to-do list and work out a timeframe, and keep to it, that way there will be no major panics on the day.
*Take short cuts. The cakes in the picture are bought Swiss rolls, cut into portions, which I then decorated with chocolate buttons to make them look like flowers.
The Big Lunch, is the brainchild of the Eden Project (made possible by the Big Lottery Fund), and has inspired people throughout Wales to get together with their neighbours – creating the perfect recipe for feeding community spirit– while having lots of fun.
Gwion Thorpe, manager of The Big Lunch in Wales, said: “The Big Lunch is about building friendships and creating communities where people share more – from conversations and ideas to skills and resources – and sharing a meal is a great place to begin. The Big Lunch gives neighbours a reason to come together, and every year more people get involved. It doesn’t matter if you are holding a street party, an afternoon tea, a barbecue, or a picnic in the park – people are the key ingredient and it’s all about connecting people to create stronger communities.”
For people interested in getting involved this June, free packs are available from www.thebiglunch.com. These include invitations and posters to adapt for communities as well as lots of ideas and info to help get the ball rolling.
The recipe below is from Boudicca…
12 muffin cases (cupcakes cases are fine just be careful not to overfill)
Half tin of peaches drained and pureed in a blender or hand blender
If you don’t have a blender you can just chop them up and pour the cake mix over the top
100g Castor sugar
100g Dark brown sugar (or anything similar Muscovado or light brown)
If you don’t have any just replace with castor sugar
3 large eggs
100g ground almonds
150g self raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla paste/essence
Toasted flaked almonds (you an toast your own under the grill, take care they burn very quickly)
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl, Make sure the butter is soft you can put it in the microwave on defrost for 10-20 seconds to speed up. do not melt it!
Cream them together by hand or in a mixer.
Add the eggs, flour, almonds, vanilla and a few spoonfuls of puree.
Fill the cases half way and make a dip in the middle of each one with a teaspoon.
Fill the dip with a teaspoon of puree and top with a little more cake mix don’t panic if it gets messy.
Bake for 18-20 minutes At 160’c fan or 170’c gas
I always take one out and cut in half with a sharp knife to be sure its cooked through and then eat it!
If some are still gooey and others bouncy put the gooey few back in for two more minutes.
I top these while still warm with golden syrup and sprinkle with toasted almonds and demerara sugar for extra crunch and texture.
You can simply drizzle the syrup out of the squeezy bottle over the cakes or you can warm some in a bowl and brush over the top of each one with a pastry brush.