HOST A CHAR­ITY DINNER

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BBC Good Food - - Inside - @em­mafreud Good Food con­tribut­ing editor Emma Freud is a jour­nal­ist and broad­caster, di­rec­tor of Red Nose Day and a co-pre­sen­ter of Ra­dio Four’s Loose Ends.

Emma Freud gives it a try

When my el­dest son was six, he asked if he could help raise money for Red Nose Day, the char­ity co-founded by his dad. We sat him down with the fundrais­ing pack and tried to find an ac­tiv­ity that would suit him. ‘I’ve got it’, he said. ‘I’ll get spon­sored to eat only sweets for an en­tire day’. ‘I don’t think you’ve quite un­der­stood, Jake…’ I in­ter­jected. ‘No hon­estly, Mum, it’s fine. I don’t mind do­ing it – it’s for char­ity.’ He per­suaded var­i­ous god­par­ents to spon­sor him for the sac­ri­fice, and on the Satur­day be­fore Red Nose Day he ate a vast se­lec­tion of sweets for break­fast, elevenses, lunch and tea, un­til, just be­fore sup­per, he vom­ited most of them up again. The sweets cost £14, he raised £31 for Red Nose Day, and the bill for clean­ing the sofa came to £40. Tom Ker­ridge has a much bet­ter idea. He’s come up with a three-course menu to sup­port BBC Chil­dren in Need. It’s scal­able, so it can be used to cater a party where ev­ery­one pays a do­na­tion to at­tend, or as a gor­geous TV dinner while you watch the BBC One telethon on 16 Novem­ber. Either way, it’s win/win/win… you get a great meal cost­ing around £4 a head to raise money for BBC Chil­dren in Need’s im­por­tant pro­jects, and it’s so sim­ple to cook, you can rope in chil­dren as sous chefs. Charged with tri­alling the recipes, I asked Jake, now a fully grown adult de­spite his many nu­tri­tional mishaps, to help me cre­ate the feast. It went well.

Me: Son, will you help me cook some food for a TV party? Jake: No.

Me: Ac­tu­ally it wasn’t a ques­tion, it was the in­ter­rog­a­tive im­per­a­tive.

Jake: Still no.

Me: I will pay you half my fee for this col­umn to help me? Jake: Now you’re talk­ing… who gets the other half?

Me: Me – but I’m do­nat­ing my half to BBC Chil­dren in Need. Jake: Ex­cel­lent plan. I’m in. Me: And then I thought you could do­nate your half to BBC Chil­dren in Need too? Jake: Was that another in­ter­rog­a­tive im­per­a­tive? Me: You know me so well… The three-course feast fea­tures real chips with dip­ping sauces, chilli beef tacos, and salted toffee ice cream prof­iteroles. Most of the in­gre­di­ents we al­ready had – only the beef, beans and cab­bage had to be bought espe­cially. I put the brisket in the oven be­fore break­fast, so by the time we were aproned up and ready to cook at 6pm, it was al­ready ten­der enough to be pulled.

Jake cut up the pota­toes, I roasted them, he mixed the dip­ping sauces, I chopped the coleslaw, he baked the wraps into crispy taco shells, I made the prof­ite­role bat­ter, he moulded it into balls, I made the salted caramel, he filled the lit­tle buns with ice cream, I ti­died up, he watched me, I shouted at him to help, he re­fused. The process took two hours, and apart from the in­evitable wash­ing-up in­ci­dent, we only rowed twice: once when he said we couldn’t pos­si­bly cook prof­iteroles as an episode of the Bake Off showed that they’re dif­fi­cult to do, and once when he re­fused to ad­mit he was wrong about how com­pli­cated they were.

By the time we were ready to eat, nei­ther of us were hun­gry, which left more food for the five friends who had come over. The twice-cooked chips were un­sur­pris­ingly pop­u­lar, and the harissa dip the most ad­mired of the three. No­body be­lieved we’d made the prof­iteroles as they’d also seen that episode of the Bake Off. We spent around £30 and raised £60 for BBC Chil­dren in Need, which will help chil­dren’s lives all over the UK. Our ef­fort was part of the great Bri­tish tra­di­tion of us­ing food to raise money for im­por­tant causes. Macmil­lan Nurses made £27 mil­lion last year through cof­fee morn­ings, and hun­dreds of UK schools have self-pub­lished recipe books fea­tur­ing their pupils’ favourite meals. In Norfolk, a butcher named Ali Dent holds a char­ity con­test ev­ery year where par­tic­i­pants pay to eat a 4lb ham­burger in a bun the size of a bar stool. I once com­pered a ‘lick the melted choco­late off your part­ner’ race for Comic Re­lief. Maybe it’s time to bring back

All Sweets Day – I know one per­son who would be happy to do it.

No­body be­lieved we’d made the prof­iteroles our­selves as they’d all seen that episode of the Bake Off

Fancy host­ing your own party? Turn to p78 for Tom’s menu, and share your event at #Donate­fordinner

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