Pret A Manger - Homelessness

*'The Pret Foundation Trust has a simple goal - to alleviate poverty in the UK by helping break the cycle of homelessness.'



I have looked up to Pret from the moment they announced giving away any unsold & unused foods at the end of each day, to feed the homeless. Many a times, I have witnessed little Pret vans park up at Pret stores; the drivers going in and collecting all unconsumed foods, on their way to set charities.

In recent years, I have also noticed and bought Christmas meals & drinks marked 'the Christmas special' that donate as much as 50 pence each towards homeless charities; my favorites being their Christmas lunch sandwich and Brie & Cranberry baguette!

As homelessness is something close to my heart, I felt I wanted to know the facts about the little snippets I saw of Pret and after doing a bit of research, below is what I have found The Pret Foundation Trust actually does.

The Simon Hargraves Apprenticeship Scheme.

Named after a trustee of the Pret Foundation Trust, who sadly passed away from Cancer in 2009, aged 41. 

I, like many, am saddened by the homelessness I witness and again, like many, I try to do my bit. I do some fundraising amongst other things and in my life, I have spoken to many homeless people and heard their needs. Therefore, I can hand on heart praise Pret A Manger because they look at the whole picture. They understand that merely giving the homeless food or even shelter is not enough. There are people out there in desperate need of psychological help and life skills as well as the basics of food, shelter and clothing. 

The Simon Hargraves Apprenticeship Scheme provides the following:

* Access to accommodation
* A clothing Allowance
* Mentoring
* Counselling
* Training to get a job within the Pret business

The Scheme has offered over 330 places since it first started in 2008, and two thirds have graduated and become full-time team members in Pret's shops and offices.

The Pret Charity Run

The idea which made me respect Pret a Manger for giving food to the people who need it, each and every day, instead of merely binning their unused foods. The fact that UK shops throw away approximately 1.7m tonnes of food a year, makes this act something not to snigger at! This idea has now been caught on and used by other companies such as Tescos.

GrassRoots Charities

The Pret Foundation Trust supports over 40 charities throughout the United Kingdom, within the communities local to their stores.
This year, as well as donating money, they have provided everything from showers, sleeping bags, to food shopping and chefs.


If the above hasn't impressed you yet, in Winter 2015, when all companies were marketing like crazy for Christmas, Pret A Manger decided to donate their entire Christmas digital marketing budget to charity!

Go Pret!

Clive Schlee @Cliveschlee Sep 12
Thanks for sharing this with me, Raha. It’s wonderfully written and we appreciate your support.

New Potato and Asparagus Salad



I found this salad recipe by Jane Akers in 'Country Homes'. I almost always change recipes slightly, make my own variation or take from two different sources that compliment. However, I followed this recipe to a T and I am soo glad I did. It's really superb.

This salad is truly scrumptious and super filling. One can eat it as a meal in itself, served with some French Baguette, or as Jane says you can make more of a main meal of it by adding grilled chicken, steak or crispy bacon pieces.  I served it as a side, accompanied with some grilled seabream!



Serves 4:

Ingredients:

300g (10oz) Jersey potatoes or new potatoes
600ml (1 Pint) hot vegetable stock
200g (70oz) Fresh asparagus tips, trimmed
150g (50oz) Fresh or frozen broad beans (I used fresh)
100g (4oz) Goats' Cheese (I always use Capricorn Cheese, pictured below)
Approximately 12 small, fresh mint leaves


For The Dressing:

2 tbspoons Olive oil
4 Spring onions, trimmed and sliced

What to do:

Halve or slice the potatoes, put them in a large pan with the hot stock and let simmer for 9-10 minutes.
Add the asparagus and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the stock has reduced to a glaze. Drain the vegetables carefully into a serving bowl.

To make the dressing; warm the olive oil in a small pan, add the spring onions and cook for about 1 minute, until just beginning to wilt.

Pour the warm dressing into the bowl with vegetables and use your hands to coat them in oil. Break off small pieces of the goats' cheese and dot them on the top of the salad along with the mint.

Jane says to serve immediately and I agree, especially for the 'just melting' goats cheese- that part is excitingly delicous!

Enjoy!





Stuffed Bell Peppers

*Vegan 

As a young teenager, my mother used to send me to the local newsagent to pick up her order of Bon Appetit magazines. My mother is a fantastic cook, the star of her Cordon Bleu Class; so for her to order and save these magazines told me they must be quite superior.
Now, as an adult, I have acquired most of my mom's collection, trying the recipes every chance I get.
I had to make my first vegan meal for a vegan guest of ours and this recipe was one of many for the evening! It is taken from the 1995 edition of 'The Mediterranean - a Delicious Voyage of ' and proved to be a delicious success!



Serves 8:


Ingredients:

8 medium-size green bell peppers
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts (*I added 4 tablespoons)
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 canned crushed tomatoes with added puree (*I added 1/2 a tube of puree)
1/4 cup dried currants ( *I added 1 cup & 1/2 of currants)
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 ground allspice

What to do:


Preheat oven to 350F

Oil the glass baking dish (13x9x2 inch).
Cut 1 inch off stem end of peppers and reserve for caps. Remove seeds from peppers. Put aside.


Heat oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add your onions and pine nuts, stir until onions are translucent. This will take about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add rice, stir for 5 minutes. Add water, tomatoes, puree, currants, mint, dill, salt and allspice.
Cover to simmer until liquid is absorbed. This will take about 25-30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

Now, fill each pepper with 1/2 cup of rice. Top with reserved caps. Place in prepared dish. Oil large piece of foil. Cover dish with foil.
Bake until peppers are tender, about 1 hour (no more).

*I have altered the amount of some ingredients (shown) and changed the preparation method slightly, as it seemed to work better for me this way.

A guaranteed mouth- waterer!

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