Saturday, August 9, 2014

This week in the bakery… I spent a day in CrossCare Café

From my experience running a business I have learned that success is in balance: the balance of work and life, the balance of financial gain and labors of love, the balance of keeping my head down and looking up… This week I took my head (and whole self) out of the bakery for the day to see a broader picture, and cook with some friends in the Cross Care Café on Portland Row.

Let's face facts. Hairnets are not my thing. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, right?… Here I am with Sharon and Bill Gunter of Slow Food Dublin
CrossCare Café is best described here, from the CrossCare website:

Today the face of poverty is ever changing and a service like ours must change to identify and address any new need, we know that over 10% of those living in Ireland are affected by Food Poverty, they simply can't afford to eat the recommended daily amounts. Those at high risk of Food Poverty are those living alone, families on low income, single parents and families with three or more children. We are now working to redevelop our food centres into "Community Cafe's" that all can access, wether your affected by isolation or low income, wether you can or can't afford to eat. These Cafe's are focusing to work with the entire local communty. Together we can work to help those most in need and address two major problems facing our society, Food Waste and Food Poverty.

CrossCare also have a Food Bank and Meals on Wheels services, all of which are supported by community programs such as prison gardens, generous donations and corporate sponsorships from companies like Kelloggs. 

Our task for the day was to make a delicious and nutritious meal for the cafe using the ingredients available. 

We set off to make a roasted vegetable lasagna, heavy on courgettes as there was a glut of beautiful courgettes in the fridge from a recent harvest. 

I'm supervising here as I am half Italian and therefore the expert on the matter of lasagna.

Lasagna Art

Meanwhile, across the city on Holles Street, another team of bloggers, Claire (An American in Ireland), Lily (A Mexican Cook) and Roseanne (Like Mam Used to Bake), were cooking a vegetable lasagna too (it must be our intuitive connection). They also put a rhubarb crumble on the menu.

When we heard through the modern-day grapevine (Twitter and Instagram) that team Holles Street was making a dessert, we quickly took to the pantry to match them. Sharon was reminded of fond childhood memories with Fruit Cocktail cobbler. We improvised and made a Fruit Cocktail bake with a Crunchy Nut cereal and toasted almond topping.

The cooking was enjoyable, as I always enjoy cooking. But the very best part of my experience was watching the people lunching amongst each other and together in the lovely, bustling café. There was a tangible sense of community in the space; the inclusive kind. I would happily go back as a customer (that's what you want to hear from someone who's seen the kitchen of a restaurant!) because it's like a normal, warm and friendly café, but better.

CrossCare Café, St Agatha's,Portland Row. 
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 08:30am til 1:30pm (Breakfast served from 8am til 11, Lunch served from 11am til 1:30pm)

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland

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