Great British Waste Menu Banquet

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 5th July 2010


I was invited to attend this function which will be shown as a TV programme probably in the Autumn.

The venue was the Great Hall at Lincoln's Inn - a staggeringly beautiful place.  The Hall was originally built in 1489 but has been extensively renovated in 1625, 1652, 1706 and 1819.  (It is well worth Googling Lincoln's Inn - quite fascinating)

We entered this illustrious building to be confronted by banks of shiny dustbins with food spilling out of them.

The purpose of the 'Banquet' was to highlight the waste of food from our supermarkets - 30% of Supermarket Food ends up in Bins and the chefs for the day had 'raided the bins' full of perfectly edible food and their task was to concoct a three course meal from what they found.

There were about 60 guests - a mix of MP's, Supermarket bosses, worthies and 'Us' - some people from the world of TV.

I happened to be seated at what I think must have been the most interesting table in the entire room - well even if it weren't, we all got on like a house on fire and had a very interesting afternoon.  I was sitting opposite the delightful David Lindo - from the One Show - what a lovely guy - pity he wasn't 20 years older and single!! (Only joking) PICTURE below.

Next to me was a delightful Norwegian Artist who, bless her, has finally sent me the recipe for the cake for which my son would kill - the one which cost us an arm and a leg when we were in an Oslo Coffee house during our Baltic Cruise last year.  The cake happened to be Cathrine Kramer's Father's favourite cake and she was as good as her word and sent the recipe to me immediately.  I'm going to try it out on some friends at the weekend.

We were welcomed with samosa canapés - of which I didn't partake as I do find it so difficult to juggle a drink, eat and hold a conversation.  On entering I'd met an absolutely delightful lady, Laura Sandys, who turned out to be the MP for Ramsgate and Margate just up the road from where I live. 

Matt Tebbutt concocted the Starter which was billed as

“British Beef with a Beef Consomme and Summer Vegetables” made from meat and vegetables that were going to be thrown away.

For some strange reason, I really didn't like it and actually left the dish.  Later I was informed that rather than beef - the meat comprised ox tongue, ox cheek and something else from the offal family.  Any of you who've seen the Come Dine with Me in which I took part will know that I didn't eat Donal McIntyre's Ox Cheek Casserole.  There's something slimy in it's consistency and that's why I can't eat it.  I loathe Frankfurters and the French delicacy Andouillettes.

The Main Course was by Richard Corrigan

“Fresh Kent Fish Wrapped in Courgette with a Pork Ratatouille” made from fish and vegetables that were going to be thrown away.

As I love fish, this was more to my liking although again I don't know why it is so fashionable to almost kill the delicate taste of fish with meat.  Again at Donal's dinner he combined Scallops which I love with Chorizo which I don't - so I ate the scallops and left the rest.

Angela Hartnett made the Dessert

“Ginger Floating Island with British Summer Fruits”

made with strawberries and eggs that were going to be thrown away.

The Floating Island was definitely the rather bland French Ile Flottante but the overall taste was pleasing and I love Summer Fruits.

It is obscene when you think that half the world is starving and our dinner was made from food which had been thrown away.

It was a very long afternoon and very hot - the Great Hall is a lovely old building which, of course, has no air conditioning.

The chefs were judged by a panel led by Prue Leith and the Dustbin Award went to Richard Corrigan, although Prue did add that, had the canapés been part of the competition, then Simon Rimmer might have won.

I think the programme will be transmitting in the Autumn and it should make for very interesting viewing. 

Apart from the waste caused by 'Sell-by' Dates etc. I had a complaint about all these so called 'Offers' - you know what I mean - Buy One, Get One Free - Buy Two and get one for half price.  As a singleton with a small fridge and even smaller freezer, I simply cannot accommodate large amounts of food and have to grit my teeth to pay £1.99 for a pack of salad when for an extra 1p (yes 1p) I could have two packets - but what do I do with the second one except throw it away.

Who do the supermarkets think they are kidding.  If they can afford to give these 'Offers', why can't they sell the damn stuff at the correct price. I think it is the Walmart Ethos - pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap.

Cathrine told me that she tried putting the unwanted produce in a box outside her flat with the offer to just 'Help Yourself'.  It worked in Shoreditch but I don't think it would work where I live!!  They'd probably think it was a set up for a programme like the old 'Candid Camera'.

The lovely Stuart (don't know his surname as he had no cards and hasn't yet emailed me) suggested our table went for a drink after the recording.  I don't like Pubs but I did like the company and only had a train journey and an evening with the cat to look forward to, so went along for a while.  Someone else joined our party and I thought he looked familiar but wasn't absolutely sure.  We had a very animated conversation and then I checked out that it was Lembit Opic - previous incumbent of the Lib Dem seat in Montgomeryshire from 1997 until this year.  He was actually a very interesting and personable gentleman.  I'd only read in the press about his amorous exploits - but then the press love to get a handle on you and then you can rarely shake it off - like me and my marriages.  I was amazed to read that he nearly died in a paragliding accident in 1998 - broke his back in twelve places along with his ribs, sternum and jaw.  He is now a keen supporter of the Spinal Injuries Association - Good for him.

Anyway, I'm so glad I made the effort to go in to London.  And I'm sorry I keep breaking my promise to write up my Florence trip - but it's a heck of a lot of work and I do have other things to do.  I must also tell you about my visit to Rye a few weeks ago.  Been there before but this time it was a beautiful day and wasn't teeming with tourists.

A bientot.  Jan

P.S.  Just a little aside.  I'm an ardent reader of Historical Novels.  I love history but don't want to read a dry book of dates.  At the moment I'm making my way through a tome - just under a 1,000 pages entitled The Autobiography of Henry V111.  The author - Margaret George - spent 15 years researching and reading over 300 books on the subject of Henry V111 - the result is quite gripping.  Well, of course Sir or St. Thomas More featured heavily in Henry's reign and it was lovely to spot  in the Great Hall a copy of the Holbein portrait of Sir Thomas.

The photo is of David Lindo, Cathrine and me.


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