Tag Archive for: chutney


Helping others to help themselves.

Summer has been and gone, and we are now leading up to the end of the year and all the frenzy that goes with it. For Accumul8 that means one major creative activity – the making and selling of the Accumul8 Preserves with a Purpose, which we make from surplus fruit donated by the community and then sell to raise money for Accumul8 to continue to do the good work that it does.

There is one chief preserve maker at the hostel, Levi, who helps every week to make the Accumul8 jams and chutneys. I am proud to say that Levi is paid by Accumul8, but even more proud that Levi now feels valued and is incentivised by the project and wants to build a future for himself.

He’s pictured helping to label the Accumul8 jams and chutneys, the “Preserves with a Purpose.”

Recently, Accumul8 were very kindly given space at Spitalfields Art Market to sell photographs taken by our group of photographers (who have been affected by homelessness) and who participated in this year’s workshops. It is always good to connect with the public and talk about our work and what we set out to achieve. It’s even better when the participants do this, it’s amazing for them to see their work on display, but even more so when they do the talking and selling as the reward goes far beyond the sale.

Sam talks to the public about his photographs, Spitalfields Art Market: October 2015

Sam talks to the public about his photographs, Spitalfields Art Market: October 2015

Sometimes, there are community heroes that want to help Accumul8. Sometimes it’s people that have some time or skills to share, or people living locally that have surplus fruit that they want to donate for the jams and chutneys, they are all very lovely and very appreciated (it would be impossible to run Accumul8 without this type of help) and my thanks to them is extensive. But today, my special thanks goes to a new business In Crouch End, Burgers@N8, a business that has decided to support Accumul8 and show that you can run a business, do good in the community and succeed! They are truly very lovely indeed and deserve every success. Thank you Burgers@N8 – we love you!x


This burger supports Accumul8!

The start of a new season

We have now started the Accumul8 season of photography workshops at the North London YMCA hostel, which will end with an exhibition of the hostel residents’ photographs at the Crouch End Festival in June.

Digital photography is a really effective creative medium to engage and inspire the residents. It allows them to explore and use their creativity, in a very non-judgmental way, but more importantly, puts them in charge and by doing so, increases their confidence, communication skills and sense of well-being. Also digital photography is instant and an activity that everyone can participate in, experiment with and enjoy.

This year, we are again working with Ravensbourne, the college that I work at, who have partnered with Accumul8 – thank you James and Lucy. The students on the access course will be assisting the photographer, Othello deSouza Hartley, who is leading the tuition for the sessions. What is special this year is that the residents will receive a university certificate in digital media (level 2) at the end of the project. This is going to be something very significant, as the residents have often not only suffered from destructive pasts that has triggered their homelessness, but also from poor and fragmented education which has hampered their abilities to progress into employment or other training. Hopefully, the Accumul8 project can inspire them to reconnect with education, relish their achievements and help them on their journey to a better future.

The photo shows Sylwia, an access student at Ravensbourne, helping TJ, a resident at the YMCA hostel, to understand about composition and framing an image.

photo (10)

Also, this week we are super proud to launch the Accumul8 Community Jam page on our website. This is a page where the community can participate and donate to the Accumul8 project by donating a preserves recipe. (Accumul8 and the residents make and sell preserves with surplus fruit to help pay for the Accumul8 creative workshops at the hostel). The aim of the Accumul8 Community Jam page is to help build awareness of Accumul8 and the work it does and hopefully, inspires a new audience to learn about sustainability, creativity, homelessness and the community.

We are even more proud that so many celebrity chefs and food writers have donated their preserves recipes to Accumul8. Talented, creative figures such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Mark Hix, Dan Doherty, Matthew Fort, Marjorie Paulson, Thane Prince, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, Pam Corbin, Sarah Randell, Valentine Warner, Olia Hercules, Ghillie James, Vivien Lloyd. Many thanks to all of them. Please donate your preserve recipe too and be part of Accumul8’s work to help the homeless get a better future.

What a week of Accumul8 wonder!

This past week has been a week of jam and chutney jubilation.

Thanks to the lovely and kind generosity of Crop Drop (a local community organic fruit and veg box scheme) we were given a huge bucket load of quinces. Now, quince can be seen as problematic, but not in Accumul8 land. So, a hearty Hola to our new flavour – Membrillo Quince and Cardamom Jam, sweet with a touch of sour, and a perfect friend and soulmate to cheese.

Next up, were very intense, very active chutney and jam making activities in order to replace our sold out, very popular, Apple Pie Jam, Apple, Rosewater and Cardamom Jam, and Morrocan Apple and Date Chutney. We managed to do about 20 jars of each in a morning’s session – fantastic! And we’re even getting jam technical with our new jam thermometer!



2013-12-13-07-24-531-1024x768Just check out our cool hats – very street, very desirable.

Saturday was the big Crouch End Festival Craft Fair – we’ve been working up to this one for quite a while, and it was good, very good! People really love the whole concept of Accumul8 and how it uses surplus fruit donated by the community, teaches the residents of North London YMCA cooking skills and inspires ownership and independence by selling the jams and chutneys to raise the funding for creative workshops, activities and equipment at the YMCA, with the ultimate goal of an exhibition of the residents’ work at The Crouch End Festival in June 2014. But most of all, people love and savour the sophisticated and delicious tastes of the Acccumul8 chutneys and jams! We sold well, went home tired and prepared for the next day’s selling at Hornsey Parish Church.

Monday saw the delivery of our first wholesale order to Manor House Development Trust, where the lovely Kristina ordered Accumul8 chutneys for their Christmas dinner. So, one great project supports another. One thing is for sure, through Accumul8, a whole world of wonderful people doing wonderful things has opened up to me and it is truly inspirational to see what is going on in the community around me, and which, shamefully, I was ignorant about until I started Accumul8.

And then on Tuesday I met up with Josh from Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Olam have funded Accumul8 and also, through their Community Fruit Tree initiative, supplied us with free apples, green tomatoes and pears which created the first batches of Accumul8 chutneys and jams. Tikkun Olam really are our seed funders! Josh and I discussed the project and possible ways of developing it using the skills and expertise of the community of New North London Synagogue.

Finally, to top it all, Accumul8 have been included on the UnLtd “Buying Social” website which has been set up to encourage people to buy products that are good and do good and have good social values. This was a complete surprise to us and a lovely way to end a very full and active week!

Hope you have a lovely festive break,


The church and chutneys.

Once the North London YMCA residents took on the challenge of raising their own money for an exhibition of their creative work and decided that making and selling chutneys would be the answer, we needed to find a kitchen that would allow us weekly access and be supportive of what we wanted to do.

The Holy Innocents Church on Tottenham Lane in Crouch End came up trumps.

We used their kitchen on Fridays and, even though it was small, it became the epicentre of our chutney empire and many a good chutney was concocted there! The YMCA staff and church employees that work at the church would pop their heads round the kitchen door and ask us about the week’s recipe and what we were cooking. The place was full of the spicy and sweet smells of Accumul8’s chutneys and it was the start of the Accumul8 chutney journey.

This morning, it came full circle and I went to sell the Accumul8 chutneys at the church. Father Tim and the Holy Innocents community loved the chutneys and most of all, what was great was to get such a positive response to the project and the work it does.

Thankyou Holy Innocents Church for being so supportive and enthusiastic about Accumul8 and we hope you enjoy your chutneys!

We have lift off!

This weekend was the culmination of alot of hard work, preparation and organisation – it was the first selling of Accumul8 chutneys and jams. So, off to market we went (well, a church hall actually). With the car all packed up with the fruits of our labours we were ready to face the world of commerce, start telling people about Accumul8, get them to taste our work and actually begin to sell our chutneys and jams.


– You can fit alot into an electric car!

And here is the Accumul8 stand at the point when it is about to stop being a plan and start being a commercial product that is on sale to the public.


Residents from the NLYMCA came to help and there was a real sense of pride in seeing their hard work turned into a desirable product that people wanted to buy.


It was really a very rewarding experience for everyone- the NLYMCA residents, the customers and myself! The local Lib Dem MP, Lynne Featherstone, came to visit and make a purchase (she was very taken with Shawn’s selling and promotion of Accumul8!),


and, to balance this, Catherine West, the Labour candidate for the area, also came along to support us. And lots of members of the public, apple givers, jam jar givers and lovers of chutney came to visit and purchase, united in helping Accumul8 to prosper and grow!

Thankyou to everyone who showed their enthusiasm, wanted to know more about Accumul8 and made a purchase. Every single penny goes to help the Accumul8 attendees fund the materials and equipment for an exhibition of their creative work at The Crouch End Festival in June 2014.

And, so, even though, it has been a tiring weekend, it has been a brilliant one for everyone involved with Accumul8. From little acorns…..

Our first jar of chutney

Please welcome to the world the first, fully labelled, lid covered Accumul8 jar of chutney!




The Earl Haig Hall comes up trumps!

Twitter is a strange beast sometimes, and sometimes you get that little asterisk on that little blue birdy and it turns into something lovely.

The Earl Haig Hall on Elder Avenue, Crouch End, is about to reopen as a social club and they want to sell Accumul8 chutneys and jams. What’s more they have brilliantly offered to be the Accumul8 Jam Jar Drop Off Point.

So please bring your empty jam jars  (we’d love it more is they are washed and without labels) to the Earl Haig Hall Jam Jar Drop Off Point any day from 31.10 (which is their grand opening) from 4pm.





Branding, MP’s in a pub and an apple education.

On Thursday evening, the wonderful James Bridgman, who is a fellow co-director of The Crouch End Festival, came and met with Accumul8 attendees at the YMCA to help work out the branding and identity for the project. It was really interesting to discuss the “personality” of Accumul8, the message we wanted to convey and how we wanted to communicate that visually with our audience.

So, after an evening of looking and comparing various looks for the Accumul8 brand, we can now tick off the typeface, colours, text and image for our labels and, eventual, website. Accumul8 even has a strapline now – “Preserves With A Purpose”, which is pretty neat I think! More work to do, but we are definitely on our way!

Friday was cook, cook, cook with 24 jars of apple. pear and lemon chutney being made. One of which was given to Lynne Featherstone, the local MP, who asked to meet with me to find out more about Accumul8 and how it is helping the YMCA residents gain skills, confidence and routes back into employment. As she said, “It’s a win, win, win project”. Indeed it is, thankyou to the ever supportive David Winskill who made this meeting happen. And most importantly, I found out that our local MP’s office is above The Three Compasses pub on Hornsey High Street – pints and politics for all?

And another great big thank you must go to Transition Crouch End and Urban Harvest who organised a really inspiring celebration of all things Apple at their Apple Day –  whoever thought I’d be so interested and obsessed with the number of things that you can do with apples… I came away from The Apple Day with a bounty of cooking apples and the opportunity to sell Accumul8’s chutneys and jams at their Green Christmas Fair on Saturday 30th November at Hornsey Vale Community Centre, Mayfield Road (as well as witnessing people attempting to peel the longest apple peel). Bumper bonus!

Yippee – we’re in chutney-making business!

Yesterday, Daniel, Garfield and I spent the afternoon making green tomato, apple and ginger chutney. It was a mammoth adventure of chopping, weighing, cooking, stirring and potting. All done in a military (ish) fashion, with a few jokes and no major disasters.

Daniel has become an expert in chopping (but not onions) and Garfield has excelled in his washing and clearing up skills, really, he has an exceptional, and much admired, skill in making the kitchen look spik and span after our cooking escapades.

But, what’s more exciting, (is there anything more exciting than chutney?, I hear you ask…) is that today we sold our first two jars of chutney! Yippee!! My Crouch End Festival friend, Amanda, came over for coffee and came away with a jar of spicy apple chutney and a jar of green tomato and ginger chutney.

chutney stirring

Congratulations Amanda – you are Accumul8’s first ever customer! (Let’s hope the first of very many!)