Festival spotlight on good family food on a budget

Denise Welsh from Peelham Farm cookery demonstration
Denise Welsh from Peelham Farm cookery demonstration

The right to good, clean, fair food for all is one of the central tennets of the worldwide Slow Food Movement and the organisers of the Berwick Food and Beer Festival (September 7/8) will highlight just how difficult this can be for local people on a budget.

One of the highlights in the hugely popular Cookery Demonstration Kitchen will be a very special ‘Ready Steady Cook’ where contestants attempt to create a dish from ingredients typically found in boxes provided by the Berwick Food Bank.

Each afternoon teams of local dignatories and business people will battle it out to create the best dish from an assortment of mainly tinned and dried goods. Their efforts will be judged by Jan Casson from Berwick Food Bank who will also talk about how it goes about providing food boxes for needy families with donations from the local community.

Jan explained: “Times are hard for many people at the moment and knowing how to cook on a tight budget has never been more important, we all need a bit of a helping hand sometimes, and that’s the aim of the north foodbank, its the community supporting each other to the benefit of all.”

The competition has been organised by Slow Food Berwick committee members Jackie Kaines-Lang and Maggie Jary.

Festival director Helen Henderson said: “Once again Jackie and Maggie have put together a highly entertaining and informative programme of talks and demonstrations which will run throughout the festival. In particular the Ready Steady Cook Competition highlights the struggle, which many people are facing at the moment, to feed themselves and their family on a very tight budget.”

Providing food education in an entertaining format has always been at the heart of the festival and organisers are keen show how eating locally and seasonally can help with the family budget.

For instance eating vegetables in season means they are often cheaper; buying meat from local farms and butchers means customers can buy exactly the portion size required and get free advice on how to best cook cheaper cuts and learning how to prepare food means savings on pre-packaged meals. As well as being highly entertaining, the Demo Kitchen programme also aims to inspire people to try the recipes and techniques at home. Full details of the programme will be confirmed prior to the event; so far there will be cookery demonstrations from the chefs at the Collingwood Arms in Cornhill, The Queen’s Head in Berwick and Kwans Chinese Restaurant in Kelso.

They will be joined by Berwickshire’s Denise Walton from Peelham Farm, showing how easy it is to cook a delicious and nutritious supper from their organic meat and Clare Weeks from Wicken Fen demonstrating how to bone and dress a salmon.

Young foodies will join in the fun with a separate special programme of hands on cookery sessions throughout the weekend from pizza making to cake decorating.

Berwick Food and Drink Festival is being held in the Barracks and on The Parade and includes a producers’ market, cookery demonstrations, heritage displays, children’s activities, beer festival, street food stalls, films, music and entertainment.

Entrance £2 adults, under 12s free, to the food and beer festivals and Barracks Museums.

For information see www.berwickfoodfestival.com.