This month our Northampton and District CCC group met at The Good Loaf in Northampton centre. It was a lovely evening spent with around 20 old and new members, or I should say ‘friends’.
Our theme was Healthy Loaf Cakes and many examples were brought along for us to try and all qualified as ‘healthy’ in some form or other. Our examples featured fatless sponges, almost sugarless batters, included vegetables and fruits within the mix, were either eggless or gluten free, used wholemeal flours and oats, and we even had a cake made with a healthy sourdough starter. A great deal of discussion took place on the merits or otherwise of using sugar substitutes and generally it was felt that there is no real alternative – either in flavour or texture - to using the real thing but perhaps it could be reduced or diluted a little in a recipe.
Chief Executive of the Good Loaf, Suzy Van Rooyen, gave us a most interesting talk about the story behind this artisan bakery and cafe project, which helps ex-offenders back into the world of work through learning to bake, while also generating its own income. She said that the first six months of trading had been a great success and went on to tell us that as well as teaching ex-offenders baking skills, the venue, which is the trading arm of the charity C2C Social Action, also runs a number of volunteering projects, a youth group and now sells bread wholesale to 17 different outlets across the town. I think we all felt that it was a most remarkable venue and I do hope that we will all be able to support the venture by visiting the café in the future and, indeed, let others know of its existence. Our thanks to Suzy and her team for the warmth and welcome afforded to us.
Sadly, I didn’t take any photos during the evening but the camera is primed and ready for our next meeting in March and, on that subject, we have another super host venue to look forward to, so watch out for details to be published on the CCC website in the next few weeks. See you then! Gillian x