I don’t know my neighbours very well. I can tell you what music they’re into, because I hear it through the walls (mostly Ed Sheeran, if you’re interested), and I can tell you when their kids’ birthdays are because of the banners they hang on their front door… but ask me what they do for a living, and I wouldn’t have a clue. It’s actually really sad! And I’m sure there are millions of other people in the same boat.
The Big Lunch is an annual event that aims to remedy this situation, and encourages people to get to know their neighbours by hosting a community lunch event. Last year, more than 4 million people took part! That’s a lot of people who can now put names to those faces they see through their windows every day. If there’s one thing that will never fail to bring people together, it’s good food.
This year’s Big Lunch is being held on Sunday 7th June (let’s hope it’s stopped raining by then…), and events will range from intimate BBQs in people’s back gardens to enormous street parties with everyone getting involved. It’s not too late to join in!
If you decide to give the Big Lunch a go, here’s a recipe idea for you: savoury flapjacks!
At events like this, people always bring the same things – sandwiches, crisps, maybe a couple of salads. These things are always really tasty and well-received, but it’s nice to mix things up a bit with something different (as long as you don’t mind getting a reputation for being a good cook on your street, as your neighbours may hassle you for goodies forever more). See those dark bits around the edge of the flapjacks? That’s crispy cheese. Seriously, people will be knocking your door down for more of these.
These are actually the first savoury flapjacks I’ve ever made, and I wasn’t entirely sure how successful they’d be, but it turns out they’re really great! In the absence of any sticky syrup, I used egg to hold everything together, and fresh chives to add heaps of flavour. I was also pretty generous with the cheese, using a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella. The cheddar gives a lovely cheesy taste, and the mozzarella makes them a little bit stringy when you break them in half.
Just mix everything together, and press the mixture into a tin. I used my mini loaf tin to make individual flapjacks, but if you don’t have a similar tin, just make one large flapjack instead, and cut it up once cooked.
These savoury flapjacks are great served warm or cold, so if you do decide to serve them for the Big Lunch, it’s up to you whether you bring them out hot from the oven, or cook them in advance and serve them cool.
So, are any of you hosting Big Lunch parties this year? If you’re inspired, you can register for a free Big Lunch pack containing invitations and posters, making it even easier to organise a get-together for your neighbours and build community spirit. You can find all the info you need here, check out the Facebook and Twitter pages, or call 0845 850 8181 to speak to someone from the team directly.
- 200 g rolled oats (~ 2 cups)
- 75 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1 cup when grated)
- 60 g grated mozzarella cheese (~ 1/2 cup)
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- Black pepper
- Oil for greasing
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Add the oats, cheeses, melted butter, eggs, and chives to a large bowl and season generously. Mix thoroughly.
Grease a metal tin measuring approximately 6x6 inches, or 6 mini loaf tins. Distribute the oat mixture evenly, and press it gently into the corners of the tin.
Place in the oven, and bake for around 25 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.
Either serve warm, or transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.