Revered Manchester chef Simon Wood is helping to feed families in need and on a budget with the launch of his new #FeedingFamiliesFor30 initiative.
The MasterChef champion – who was the winner of the 2015 edition of the cookery competition show – has joined forces with Manchester-based specialist communications agency, Down At The Social, to showcase what £30 worth of food from a supermarket should look like, compared to the free school meal parcels previously provided by the government.
As part of the initiative, the Chadderton-native has also created a series of quick and tasty recipes using dried goods and tinned produce to offer inspiration to families when cooking at home.
The recipes have been incredibly well-received – especially for those who have seen their income cut due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – and the accessible nature of the content has also led to food banks printing and handing them out alongside food parcels.
The Feeding Families With Simon Wood website has officially been launched this week.
The website serves as a central and permanent home for all the recipes, and looks to provide a space where individuals and families can seek inspiration and resources to create quick and easy meals using cupboard essentials.
With the government now returning to the school meal vouchers instead of pre-prepared food parcels, families can now also access ready-made shopping lists which can be used to create a host of Simon’s recipes.
Inspired by the incredible work of Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford over the past year, Down At The Social and Simon Wood want to provide “real solutions for real people” who want to eat well but on a strict budget, and #FeedingFamiliesFor30 does just that.
It aims to demonstrate what £30 of food really looks like when done properly.
After buying dried goods, tinned produce and essentials from a supermarket of their choice, families are encouraged to taking a picture of their creations and post it on social media and using the dedicated hashtag, before donating the goods to a local food bank.
Speaking on the launch of the new initiative and website, Simon Wood said: “It’s been incredibly heartwarming to see the reception of me posting these recipes on my social channels, with everyone getting stuck in and recreating them at home [and] knowing that food banks are now offering them out alongside food parcels is something I’m really proud of.
“We just wanted to provide a solution to families and individuals who have limited resources, but [still] want to eat well [and] launching this website means we can extend the reach and allow more people access to quick and easy recipes using just basic, cost effective ingredients.
“What Marcus Rashford has started has been incredible and now we must all do our part to ensure that vulnerable children across the country do not go without.”
You can find more information and access Simon Wood’s recipes on the new Feeding Families With Simon Wood website here.
The bottomless BBQ meat feast with endless pints, cocktails and wine
A restaurant in Manchester is serving up a bottomless BBQ meat feast with non-stop drinks, and we’re just a little bit obsessed.
Red’s True Barbecue has long been a fixture in Manchester for fans of barbecued meats, but now we all have an extra reason to go: namely, the new Christmas BBQ meat feast.
Served on a giant bin lid, which is actually a lot more appetising than it sounds (don’t worry the lid is clean, we checked), it’s designed to be shared between groups of two or four.
As part of the feast, you’ll be treated to heaps on heaps of chicken and pork, plus 90 (or 120) minutes of endless pints, festive cocktails, fizz, and wine.
Priced from £48.95 per person, for that you’ll be treated to pork ribs, pulled pork stuffing balls, turkey breast, cheese and jalapeno stuffed sausages, meat pit beans, unholy BBQ XXXL wings, cornbread, mashed potato, fries, onion rings and giant pots of gravy and cranberry sauce.
And that’s not all. There are also the bottomless drinks to consider, with options including pints of lager and cider, plus prosecco, red and white wine and festive cocktails.
On the festive cocktail front, choices abound with everything from steaming mugs of hot gin and apple to Red’s take on a pornstar martini.
The cocktail menu also features a bacon-washed old fashioned, smoked negroni and chocolate orange espresso martini, with more tempting options including the likes of the Candy Hi Ball (made with raspberry vodka, pink gin, candyfloss, lemon and cotton candy) and a chilli and mango margarita.
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood