There’s plenty you can do to turn a bad situation into something positive, says Maria Broadbent, form Bury St Edmunds restaurant CASA
The world and our lives have changed in a matter of weeks. I am acutely aware of the bad side of it and (too) avidly follow the news. For the sake of this article I am going to focus on some of the positives and give some ideas on easing you through being in lockdown.
Firstly, a little about what is happening at CASA.
Meals on wheels
The dining areas have been closed now for three weeks – the kitchen, however, is flat out. We started four weeks ago preparing a two-course hot lunch to send out to the elderly and vulnerable who were already being told to not leave their homes. These meals cost £7 and are delivered for free by Heather Warren (retired nurse) from Oakes Barn and Yvonne Leyman a self-employed carer who cannot visit her client currently. These wonderful people check on the customers, make sure they answer the door, we also send bread, milk, eggs, etc, if they need them. We also report back to their families, who are too far away, to reassure them they are all OK. These set meals can be ordered just one day or everyday with dietary needs alternatives if necessary – they also can add a cold supper (£3) and fruit with cake (£2).
Two-course set meal for £5 can be added to a regular delivery or ordered on its own for collection. These are brought out to the customer’s car to ensure no contact. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Wednesday-Saturday we are cooking many of our regular dishes. You can collect or we deliver – both methods very strictly follow the Government guidelines. We are only using our own drivers now to ensure the safety of the delivery and also that it arrives promptly. We are also running a special deal which includes a bottle of wine, bread, olives, six tapas, candles and napkins for £60, with FREE delivery within a 15-minute radius. We can deliver a little further for a charge and have headed out as far as Stanton, Barrow and Stanningfield. Please order with as much notice as possible as we manage the bookings the same way as booking a table to keep the flow in the kitchen.
Call 01284 701313.
Wednesday and Thursday: 5-8pm
The Dining Experience
This deal is available Thursday-Saturday. It is the Italian menu which we ran last week and have been asked to do again. We also have a classic Spanish and vegetarian deal, too.
Italian Olives & Focaccia
Pork Saltimbocca with Polenta
Lamb Steak with Caponata
Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Salad
Garlic & Chilli King Prawns
Salmon Salmoriglio with Saute Potatoes
BOTTLE OF WINE:
Red: Merlot Sangiovese
White: Sicilian Grillo
Add £5 for Gavi di Gavi
When ordering a takeaway from any local business, please call first to see if they have set up their own delivery/collection service before going onto online delivery sites. Deliveroo and Just Eat charge the restaurant around 30 per cent of the food price. This means after VAT if you order a meal from a restaurant/takeaway and pay £40 – they only get £21.33.
IDEAS TO INSPIRE
There is a great deal of advice floating around on the internet – some of it is fake, some funny and some is really helpful. The consensus is to maintain some level of structure and routine whilst being kinder and more forgiving of yourself. This does not mean religiously opening a bottle of wine at 5pm every day and downing its entire contents despite all the ‘funnies’ making the rounds!
Upskilling in the kitchen and family time around the table are two really good things to come out of the dreadful scenario. Budding Mary Berrys, Paul Hollywood wannabees and many following Jamie’s Keep Cooking and Carry On (Channel 4 at 5.30pm) – the upsurge in the delights of cooking based on a combination of necessity and boredom makes me really happy. Sitting around a table and sharing food, stories and maybe playing games is something I grew up with, I did with my children and they are now doing it with my two-year-old grandson – although he most definitely does not want to share his food as demonstrated whilst Facetiming him at breakfast (it’s the only time he sits still). He practically teleported himself across the room when my daughter suggested he might share his breakfast with her!
Ideas to try (even on your own)
I did myself a barbecue for one the other evening and sat outside with the warmth from the residual charcoal and enjoyed the calm of the evening. The pink moon (that wasn’t very pink) was beautiful. Try a picnic on your lawn, put a tent up or make one from the washing line, garden canes and a sheet.
I have a zoom meeting planned with my younger daughter – with a holiday photo backdrop and we will be appropriately dressed and sporting an apt beverage. We are thinking a mountain backdrop, bobble hat and mulled red wine for one. Another, perhaps a bar in our gladrags and a glass of fizz. . . a constructive use of our imagination we believe. If you live with others you can do it without the need for technology – as a delivery customer did all dressed in tuxedo for his Saturday dining experience! The video he sent is on our Facebook page.
Ready, Steady, Cook
How about rummaging through your fridges and cupboards to use up stuff. Get a couple of bags or boxes and then pull one thing out of each that you have to use that night. Also, local market traders are now offering delivery of boxes of mixed fruit and veg – order a mystery box. Visit Faraway foods on St John’s Street or one of our local butchers and ask for a different vegetable or cut of meat to the norm. If you are googling recipes I find that a BBC Good Food recipe with a rating of 4 stars or higher is a safe bet.
Make an Easter bonnet
I remember doing this as a child. There used to be a parade – but you could do a virtual parade with your own closed Facebook page of your friends
and family possibly?
Easter cooking ideas
Simnel cake, hot cross buns, anything chocolately, lamb on Sunday and fish on Friday.
Make 2 holes (one either end) and blow out the filling for making a cake, of course. Then the eggs can be painted.
In the garden or even the house – also this doesn’t need to be eggs it could be Easter-related treats some of which might be to have a favourite story or play a game.
Maria Broadbent is owner of Mediterranean restaurant CASA in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Tel 01284 701313