Need another reason to visit?
If you still need another reason to visit, don't forget that up to 3p in every £1 spent at Gloucester Services is received by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust to invest in local people, projects and communities. Read all about it here.
This weekend we were lucky enough to be joined by a lovely group of residents from our target communities for a festive Christmas lunch at Gloucester Services. Most of the group had never visited Gloucester Services before, and it was a great opportunity for us to meet new people and thank some of our community partners for the great work they do.
Some of our guests had had challenging years, and yet still amazed us with their passion to volunteer and help others in their communities. Others shared their stories of living alone for a long time, and the joy they’ve found in building friendships through our partner organisations.
After a festive lunch, we ran a raffle and everyone won something from the Gloucester Services Farmshop. A big thank you to Hobbs House Bakery who also donated delicious mince pies for our guests to take home.
One of our guests commented: "I didn't know about Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, the connection with Gloucester Services and all that it does locally, it's really inspiring." We thought our guests were the inspiring ones.
You may have already seen, a couple of weeks ago our Community Support Manager Clare took some of our community partners to Hobbs House Bakery for a cooking inspiration day - here's what happened.
You can check out another delicious recipe for stale bread with the Autumn Panzella, or this amazing treacle tart - hands down favourite of the day!
Treacle tart recipe
Sweet and sticky with a nuttiness from the spelt breadcrumbs, great hot or cold.
1. First, make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until it is the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, and mix to combine. Wrap the pastry and then allow to rest in the fridge. This could be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for several days. If the dough is very firm, allow to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
2. Line 12 small tart cases or 1 large 23cm tart case and allow to rest in the fridge or freezer before baking.
3. Next, make the filling. Weigh out the syrup and place into a medium sized saucepan along with the butter. Warm gently until the butter has melted, do not allow the mixture to boil.
4. In a large bowl, mix the egg, cream and lemon zest until combined.
5. Add the syrup and butter to the eggs and cream and mix together. Add the breadcrumbs, keeping 2 handfuls in reserve. Stir to combine and allow to stand for 5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to swell slightly.
6. Spoon the mixture in to the prepared cases until it is just below the rim of the pastry. Even the mixture out, if necessary.
7. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 25 / 30 minutes on 170C.
8. Remove from the oven once the treacle mixture is just set and the tops are golden.
9. Leave to cool in the tins. Serve hot or cold with custard, cream or ice-cream.
A couple of weeks ago our Community Support Manager Clare arranged a cooking inspiration day for some of GGT's community partners with Hobbs House Bakery, a fantastic local producer stocked at Gloucester Services.
Our community partners receive bread that can no longer be sold by retailers to cook and share with residents, and bread is something we all often have left over. Here's the first recipe you can try too - big thanks to Hobbs House for sharing!
Rustic Italian inspired bread salad using autumn vegetables with a hint of warming chilli.
1. Peel and chop the vegetables into chunks, keeping each vegetable separate as they will cook at different rates. Toss them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, add the rosemary.
2. Place in roasting trays and cook in a hot oven (180ºC) for about 30 – 40 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised. Add the chopped garlic and chilli towards the end of cooking.
3. Cut the stale bread into chunks and toss in a little olive oil. Toast lightly in the oven.
4. Allow the cooked vegetables and toasted bread to cool slightly.
5. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil together to make a dressing.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the cooked vegetables and the bread together, with the chopped parsley and the rocket salad.
7. Add the dressing to the salad and toss together making sure everything is coated and mixed together well.
8. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
9. Best served at room temperature.
Some of the delicious local producers stocked in Gloucester Services Farmshops that showcased their products included apple juice from Our Small Farm; Paul Elliot of Gloucester Biltong; truffles and fudge from Nailsworth based Costello & Hellerstein; and Hobbs House Bakery.
Brian Iles, Group Food Operations Manager at Gloucester Services added: “There was a lot going on in Parliament yesterday with the general election announcement but feedback was very positive from Richard Graham, his team and all of our local MPs, the Secretary of State for Agriculture and a broad spectrum of MP’s from further afield and many, many researchers who were keen to learn about us and our brilliant producers.
Around a 100 people or so were exposed to our story, our suppliers and Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and it was really positive to share with those who had been customers. They were all keen to share their experiences on site and it was unanimously a positive return for our food, our team and the way we are working together as a community.”
All over the country demand for foodbanks is increasing. GGT has teamed up with Gloucester Services, the national FareShare food project, local allotment holders, GL Communities and other partners to create a new free food project.
Five days a week unsold food is collected and made available at locations connected to a community café or community food cupboard at its site. The donated food also supports the community cafés and is a great way to reduce food waste in business.
What can you do?
Food, fun and pea soup
Monday is the Munchday
Another of our community partners All Pulling Together (APT) in Stonehouse run the Neighbourly Food Project, which also makes food collections from local supermarkets available to residents, uploading photos of deliveries to Facebook. Volunteers from APT are also available to talk to people about any additional support they might need. They also run a 'Munchday' every Monday when anyone can call in for a hot meal and a drink for a donation of £1.
Also on a Monday, our community partner Fair Shares Gloucestershire runs a lunch club at Chequers Bridge Community Centre. Participants can help with the preparation and cooking, or set the table or wash up - there's a role to make everyone feel involved.
We like to encourage our children and young people to experiment with food, trying new tastes and textures, but we also do lots of training and skills development so that they are equipped to cook simple meals. These are great life skills for them to have. Food is also used for creative purposes. We use it to make food masterpieces like pizza faces that can then be cooked and eaten and we turn potatoes and carrots into people! This helps us to reduce waste as food that we cannot cook is used for art."
This week they welcomed us in to their kitchens and taught us some fantastic recipes to create with leftover bread. The treacle tart went down particularly well!"
Jacky Edwards from GGT community partner APT said: "A great day. We learnt some amazing ideas which we will certainly use for the APT Monday Munch Day meals, where Stonehouse residents can join us for a cooked meal for a £1 donation."
Sandy Brammer from another GGT community partner GL Communities who helps to run the food project agreed: "The visit was amazing, and the food was superb. Who knew you could make soup with bread (not me) and the treacle tart was definitely a treat. It was a fantastic experience and I am really excited to show everyone what I have learnt, bring such delicious food to the community and be able to do it all from free surplus ingredients."
A huge thank you to Hobbs House Bakery for making this day possible, and thank you to our community partner Fair Shares for the great photos.