F: You and your team created a delicious sustainable feast for us last Summer, how has your sustainable approach prepared you for lockdown?
AH. As a small business we have always made sure we are pretty resourceful which really helped during the beginning of lockdown. Being able to whip up a meal from minimal ingredients has been a real help! We have always tried to look at what is going in the bin and work out a way to use it.
F. What have been your store cupboard staple ingredients and equipment?
AH. I am a big fan of delicious salads, so grains are where it is at for me. Puy lentils are wonderfully versatile, healthy and delicious, a great base for so many meals. Buckwheat, pearl barley, couscous are all essentials in my kitchen and when simply mixed with some roasted veggies and feta makes a quick and easy meal. During lockdown I treated myself to a big, heavy wooden chopping board and it is wonderful! Gone are the days of having to chop on a tiny space!
Another for me has to be a tin of chickpeas. They are great blitzed as a hummus best enjoyed with a stack of crisps and a chilled rose, or roasted and mixed through a delicious salad. A tin of chickpeas lurking at the back of the cupboard has saved me on a few occasions!
F. Do you have a quick and easy zero-waste recipe you'd recommend people try at home?
AH. This is not really a recipe but, last week I was hosting a few bubble/family members for a BBQ, after peeling the cucumber which went into a salad, we used the peelings in the water jug. The cucumber gave the water a refreshing edge and it looked great, the perfect solution as I didn’t have any mint to add in.
F. Is there anyone you'd like to shout out about in your local area at the moment?
AH. One exciting news flash is that Social Pantry café will open on 5th August, we have spent a lot of time developing a really delicious, fun and exciting menu to relaunch with. Watch this space!
F. Do you have any tips for independent business owners as we all become accustomed to this new normal post-lockdown?
AH. We are all as experienced as each other when looking ahead to trading post Covid but I would urge everyone to support local businesses so we can all get back up on our feet as soon as possible. I am sure all traders are wanting to make sure guests feel totally safe and will be adhering to all H&S guidelines to keep customers coming back.
F. What are you up to at the moment and what does the next year hold for Social Pantry?
AH. We are always working on a range of projects which keeps us very busy! We are looking to develop an ex-offender training academy which is exciting and next year will put real focus on delivering incredible weddings for all our brilliant wedding couples. In the meantime working and developing café menus keeps us well fed and motivated for a brilliant Social Pantry comeback!