Chopping Club

Lunches, cooked and eaten together in the library, have always been an important part of our programme.  Growing from one of our first projects by artists Fairland Collective, these lunches are communally prepared and cooked in one pot, always in the library itself. Everyone chops, so everyone has made lunch for everyone else. One pot has been known to produce three courses, or a feast for 80 people, though we often just make soup.

We are building up a larder of pickles, preserves and cordials for future meals, and a collection of recipes shared by local cooks and artists, which are available to be photocopied from Bootle Library or downloaded below. We serve food in bowls made by library users with Fairland Collective, and always make use of other tableware that has been made in the library: tablecloths, menus, or a table runner embroidered by our Stitch Club.

Food connects us to a each other, and to a network of local growers and producers in Sefton. We try and use local produce where possible, and take occasional foraging trips along the canal. Community gardens share surplus produce for lunch menus, and beehives at Formby and Bootle Libraries provide local honey.

Chopping Club is led by artists Niamh Riordan and Gregory Herbert, and a throng of Human Library volunteers. We often welcome guest artists to cook with us, share recipes or menus, or simply introduce their work to us around the table.

Recipe Collection

An ongoing collection of some of the recipes that we have cooked together over the years.

Past Events

Apr 2020

Simple, adaptable store cupboard recipes, including Greg’s favourite one pan eggs

May 2020

Cooking with dandelions, writing about dandelions, hosted by Niamh Riordan and Gregory Herbert, with contributions from guest artist Rachel Pimm.

Watch the slideshow.

Download the PDF

Flower Fritters Recipe

Handful dandelion flowers per person, trimmed
1 egg
250ml/ 1 cup any milk
125g/1 cup any flour
1tsp baking powder
Plenty of oil for frying
(you can re-use this)

Add in suggestions: If sweet: 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon. If savoury : salt, pepper,  spices or herbs of choice

To serve: If sweet: granulated sugar to roll hot fritters in. If savoury: a dipping sauce – eg soy sauce+ sesame oil + pinch sugar…Or mayo!

Pre-heat around 5cm oil in a saucepan or wok. If oil starts smoking turn it down, it’s too hot. You can check that the temperature is right by test- frying a small blob of batter – you want it to sink down about halfway in the oil and then immediately float up to the top. If it sinks to the bottom your oil is too cold. If it rises to the surface straight away – too hot. 

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients except flowers together, including any add ins (see ingredients list)

Dip the flowers in the batter 4-5 at a time

Fry in batches. Fry flower side down, then flip over – it should only take a minute on each side for them to puff up, crispy and golden.

Drain on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel and, if they are sweet, whilst hot, dip in your coating of choice.