Albany cafe blog: Salad a history

Salad. For some this word conjures up images no more tantalizing than that of  leaves in a bowl. While we can’t vouch for all salads, we can vouch for the Albany’s! Check out this blog to find out more about this humble food and get some inspiration from our own recipes.

A potted history (it’s this sort of trivia that will help you win mastermind)


The word ‘salad’ comes from the Latin word ‘salata’. Romans were quite enthusiastic eaters of salads, and the Latin translates to ‘salted things/herbs’ (depending on who you ask) because originally the raw vegetables that made it up had a dressing of oil, vinegar or salt.



Salad then just stuck around in the culinary annals with minor changes through the years. Apparently in the US around the end of the 19th century,  tossed salads were considered too messy and for a time molded gelatin salads became popular!

Here are some of the Albany’s salads:
Autumnal Lentil Salad:

Ingredients: butternut squash, fine beans, lentils
Ingredients for the hot and sweet dressing: jalapenos, honey, lemon, provence herbs, olive oils

1.)  Roast the butternut squash and boil the lentils and fine beans
2.) Mix all the dressing ingredients together, hold fire on the jalapenos if you don’t like spicy things!

Moroccan Salad:

Ingredients: carrot, almonds, beetroot, cumin, coriander, orange

1.) Grate and peel the beetroot and carrot
2.) Chop oranges into small chunks
3.) Toast almond flakes in the oven until golden
4.) Mix the above together and add cumin powder, salt, pepper, almond flakes and chopped coriander


5 interesting facts about salad*

1.) Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.
2.) The ancient Greeks and Romans thought that eating lettuce helped you have a good night’s sleep.
3.) China is the largest spinach producer in the world as it is responsible for 90% of global production.
4.) Iceberg lettuces got their name from the way they were transported in old carriages with ice piled on top to help keep them fresh.
5.) Cucumbers have the highest water content of any vegetable.

*great for awkward silences over Christmas

Thanks for reading this blog, hopefully you come away from it with ideas for your own cooking and a greater general wisdom about all things salad! See you next week…








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Work Experience at the Albany by Kerlis Norbal (age 14)

For the past week I have been at the Albany for my work experience it has been amazing so far, I have been with the marketing team, Meet Me at The Albany, Development + Hires and Office Admin. The job that I have enjoyed the most so far is working with the marketing team because there has been so much to do from working out costs for different shows coming in, to making sure advertising is up to date from online to leaflets in cafes. Plus it’s just a different experience to just sitting at a desk all day.

 On the first day of my work experience I was with the marketing team all day. First we had a meeting about the different shows that where going to be available during the Christmas period. On the next day I was with the members of Meet Me at The Albany, this was a very different experience for me because I have never worked with older people, so it was kind of a new thing for me to take in, but they were really friendly and their singing skills were amazing. On Wednesday I was back with the marketing team in the morning, some of the staff had been out in the market area selling tickets for £1 for  the next season shows… it was very cold outside but I was able to get my hands on a hot chocolate which really warmed me up. After having my hot chocolate I was on balloon duty. I had to make sure that we did not run out of balloons to give out to the toddlers and babies. With every person we spoke to and every balloon we handed out I had to write it down for data.

 After my lunch break I was with the developing and booking/Hires team, it was very quiet working with them and I had quite a lot of typing to do with little time so not all of it got completed but I did my best. It was a very nice way to end my work day. On Thursday I started work at 12.30 because I finished later. When I got in, I began to work on my Arts Award which is very interesting and I cannot wait to finish it. I have so many different tasks to do which I really enjoy, so I can’t wait to see my end product. After my lunch break I continued doing my Arts Awards and also began watching dance videos for inspiration. When it was around 5:15 I left the Albany to go to TNG in Sydenham to help with an after school drama class, I did not get involved much as I did not know what to do. On the Friday I started at 1pm, so when I came I got straight to work with Senay who works as the head of admin, when I arrived they told me about what they do, and how what they do plays a big part of the marketing and development and hire team. After that I got given a bunch of papers that were already in order and I filed them away during my office admin time.

 SUNDAY THE BIG COMPETITION DAY, this day was one of the best. I went to a dance competition which I was asked to go to. My journey there was a bit difficult but once I got there everything was good. When I got there my friends had asked me to be in the solo dance competition so I agreed. I got into the final which really was a shocker for me…then they called out the numbers that where 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and then they called the last number for 1st place, and to my surprise I won the under 16 solo street dance competition. Which really was amazing, I was lost for words. Our dance teacher also came 1st in the teachers competition, one of the parents from Love2Dance also came first which was a surprise for her, so we were kind of in a winning streak. The Love2Dance crew came 2nd place in the under 16 group competition, and for our first ever competition I feel that we done very good and I cannot wait until next year.





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Albany cafe blog: Soup, both of the dancing and non-dancing variety

Today’s blog is all about soup the perfect, simple meal guaranteed to warm you up during these cold (sometimes even snowy) months…

Disco Soup

Sunday 10th December, 11.30am – 3.30pm. FREE 

What is Disco Soup? It’s when lots of people gather together and chop up surplus food and make it into a giant soup, generally while listening to music, and eat the product of their combined hard work.

Why do people do this (apart from a way of getting free soup)?  Here at the Albany we are committed to reducing food waste and, showing that with a bit of imagination you can turn leftovers into great meals rather than chucking them. We are also going to be raising money to support the Albany Gardening Club and Good Food Lewisham.

So pop in and join the fun, everyone is welcome and there should be enough soup for everyone!

Some winter warmers…

We’ve been busy making lots of soups over the past two weeks, here are some recipes for two of our favourites Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Soup and the classic Leek and Potato Soup.


*Both soups have the same base ingredients*

Sliced onion x 3
Sliced carrot x 5
Sliced celery x 1 bunch
Salt & Pepper

Then you need a pumpkin and some blue cheese OR some potato and leek. We cook to feed loads of people so scale down our amounts depending on your needs.

Method: Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Soup

1. Prep all the base vegetables
2. Roast the pumpkin until soft, then scoop out the insides
3. Fry off the base vegetables in olive oil and cook until soft
4. Blitz these soft vegetables into a liquid
5. Fill a pot full of water and add the pumpkin, season with salt and pepper and then cook until it reaches the required thickness.
6. Mix with the liquid vegetables, reduce it, then stir through some blue cheese.


Method: Leek and Potato Soup

1. Prep all the base vegetables
2. Fry off the base vegetables in olive oil and cook until soft
3. Blitz these soft vegetables into a liquid
4.  Fill a pot full of water and add the leek and potato, season with salt and pepper and then cook until soft
5. Mix with the liquid vegetables, reduce it, then stir through some blue cheese.
6. Enjoy with a nice chunk of bread and butter!


We hope we have managed to show you quite how simple making your own soup is, and how it is a meal that easily lends itself to using up all those pesky leftovers in the fridge! 

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Albany cafe blog: no good food should go to waste

Many of you have probably enjoyed a coffee and a bite to eat at the Albany Cafe, so we wanted to go behind-the-scenes and find out more about this hub of our community…

The eco-friendly secret behind a lot of our ingredients…

What you might not know about the Albany cafe is that one of our suppliers are Fare Share. What is Fare Share? It is a company who collects fresh, tasty and in-date food that is surplus in the food industry and redistributes it to charities and community groups at a low-price. Not only does this mean we have more money to spend on the community, but it also helps us to continue to be an eco-venue as we are ensuring that no good food is thrown away!

Why is the food surplus?

Food being surplus just means that it isn’t going to be sold, and this can happen for a number of reasons:

  1. Over-production (we wouldn’t want all those tasty biscuits to go to waste!)
  2. Labeling Errors (a cake by any other name would taste as sweet)
  3. A Short Shelf Life (no lettuce left behind!)

Ready-Steady Cook…

The quirky thing about being supplied by Fare Share is that you never know exactly what ingredients you are going to get. You state your preferences e.g. vegetables but you could end up with a carrot or an aubergine, whatever happens to be surplus.

Of course we do order from other suppliers, and we always have the vegetables we grow ourselves, but essentially our chef Brad is constantly having to think on his feet and come up with new and interesting recipes every week.

We want to share some of Brad’s recipes with you, so we have started this Albany cafe blog where we will be regularly posting new autumnal recipes for you to try out. So watch this space.

How Fare Share is helping others in our community…

Not only has Fare Share benefited us, it has also been helping other worthwhile causes in Deptford. The Deptford Park School Breakfast Club is also supplied by Fare Share, who want to make sure all children have the brain-food they need to perform well no matter what their financial situation. To find out more:

…So now you know that quiche isn’t just a tasty quiche it’s an Albany-eco-friendly-community-helping-brain-child-of-Brad-quiche! Yum.

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Chatting about Frost Fest with the Albany Young Creatives Sheyamali Sudesh




Thanks to the Albany Young Creatives, the magic of the legendary frost fayres will return to London on Saturday, December 2nd at Deptford Lounge with Frost Fest. Read the interview we had with Young Creatives member, Sheyamali Sudesh, to find out more about the event and the experience she has gained from planning the festival.


What was your inspiration for the festival?

The history of Deptford and London. Looking back on a place and celebrating the activities that took place there in the past is magical. It is exactly what is needed for a Winter Festival.

How does Young Creatives differ from anything you’ve done before?

I have been thrown in to the deep end – I have never programmed, project managed and helped out with marketing all at once – and especially not for a festival! I am learning so much in a short amount of time.

What have you personally gained learned from this experience so far and what do you think you will learn?

I have learnt how to work in a team that has a very diverse range of backgrounds and levels of experience in events management.

I have learnt about budgeting and things to think about before allocating money to different causes.

How will being involved have an impact on your future plans?

I hope to gain paid experience (and a job!) at galleries or theatres.

Tell us about the event you are organising?

It is a winter themed festival called ‘Frost Fest’, exploring the frost fayres that took place on the frozen river Thames between the 17th and 19th century. We are jealous of the people that put on and attended the events – so we thought we would put on our own.


Don’t miss your chance to attend Frost Fest on December 2nd from 11am to 4pm for live performances, delicious treats, craft workshops and guaranteed festive fun!





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COMPETITION: Create Your Own Elephant Story!

Frost fest.jpg


On Saturday December 2nd Deptford Lounge is hosting the Frost Fest, a special reimagining of the historic frost fayres that entertained London during the frosty winters of the ‘Little Ice Age’ between the 16th and 19th centuries. The fayres took place on the River Thames, which would be covered in ice up to several feet thick in some places. All kinds of merrymaking would occur at these winter festivals, but one particularly fabulous display was the exhibition of performing animals. The circus was actually born on the ice at these fayres, with Chipperfield’s dating back to the Great Frost of 1684.


As the years went by people became more daring, the spectacles more fantastic and the performing animals more crazy. One frosty day in 1814 a live elephant was brought onto the ice! Now the weight of this particular elephant isn’t recorded, but to give you some idea an average African bush elephant weighs somewhere between 3 and 7 tonnes. And one of these was actually walking on the Thames! No one knew where he’d come from, but that didn’t matter. The elephant was the star of the show. People from all over the city came to dance, laugh and celebrate with the animal.


No one could have known it at the time, but the fayre of 1814 was to be the last festival held on the frozen Thames ever, for the river never froze again. The elephant has gone down in London legend, marking a special moment during the festive period as everyone stopped what they were doing to come together and celebrate the surreal and the magical.


And now the elephant is returning for the Deptford Frost Fest!


Come along to our magical modern imagining of the classic frost fayre for lots of live entertainment, arts and crafts and festive refreshments, as well as the chance to meet the Frost Fest elephant!


In honour of its legendary background, we want you to create the elephant’s story: where did the elephant come from? How did it get to be in central London? What was it doing at a frost fayre and what adventures did it get up to in London? Make up a name for it and tell us what its hobbies are – the wackier the better! We’ll pick a winner which will be brought to life in a special performance on the day and will win the creator 2 free tickets to any spring 2018 show at The Albany theatre in Deptford. See below for how to enter.


How to enter the Frost Fest Elephant Story Competition:

Simply fill out this form – and that’s it! Get creative, we’ll see you on the ice.


P.S. There are also black and white Frost Fest leaflets hanging out at Deptford Lounge – colour one in and post it in the box to be entered into a raffle for 2 free tickets to any spring 2018 show at The Albany theatre in Deptford. All entries will receive a small prize.




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Ever wondered what 360° sound is like?


We sat down with Warsnare ahead of his live show at The Albany.

Ahead of Warsnare’s debut live show ‘Warchestra 360°’ at the Albany Theatre on November 24th we managed to catch up with Deptford’s Daniel Potter for a little chinwag!


Being a native South East Londoner, and holding your debut live with us at The Albany is a truly local affair. How does it feel to performing a show that must be very important to you so close to home?

 I have pretty much always lived in SE London.  I’ve studied here, I’ve partied here, organised gigs here, culturally, socially and politically it is such an incredible place.  I used to organise rock gigs here as a teenager, drum and bass nights as a slightly older teenager and as an adult I have organised concerts, electronic music raves and the Trailer TV which was a weekly electronic music broadcast/party in a disused lorry trailer next to the Deptford Creek where we previously used to interview artists, play their videos and have them perform to us and an enthusiastic audience inside the trailer.  Although very much under threat from gentrification there are loads of cool little venues that support independent music whether live or DJ’s.  We have incredible creative educational institutions very close by such as Goldsmiths and Trinity Laban that attract some of the most talented artists from around the world and smaller but equally as important music charities like The Midi Music Company that give incredible support to local emerging artists.  The Deptford X festival happened recently including some awesome sound installations very close to my house and there are lots of other events like this.  When organising a gig, I will always consider doing it locally first, the area is literally exploding with art and living on Deptford High Street I really feel like I am in the epicentre of it all and it is very inspiring.  I’ve been to some great gigs at the Albany over the years, I remember going to see theatre shows there as a child, it is also literally a stones throw from my house and I am working with local artists and lifelong friends on this project so it feels very special indeed!


Tell us a bit about some of the other live collaborators taking part in the performance?

 The musicians performing the album on the night include some very good lifelong friends of mine,  Charlie Stark and Vienna Shilling are great locals singer/songwriters who you need to check out for their own personal projects.  I’m privileged to be close to such talented singers and I can’t wait for you to hear their voices spatialised live on the 360° system.  Charlie Stark recently released an incredible EP called UFO. Check out his entertaining new UFO video (  Alison D’Souza and Tristan Horne are playing the string parts on Viola and Cello.  They actually recorded and co-wrote most of the string parts on the album itself so it is perfect to have them involved in the performance, as well as being top class professional musicians they bring some really creative ideas to the project and are able to do pretty much anything when it comes to string playing.  Ben Hartley will be playing the percussion parts,  I’ve taught music alongside him for a few years and always wanted to work with him in some sort of way and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  He is a very diverse musician, he can improvise where needed and  recreate material from the album will precision accuracy too.  Vocalists Kate Tempest and Laura Lopes also feature on the album but unfortunately can’t make the gig as they’ll be abroad but we will be performing the tracks they are on and spatialising their studio vocals on the 360°.  As well as working closely with Tom from C&R to spatialise the album in 360 we have an extremely talented mixed media visual artist Jake Strickland producing some very interesting visuals where he’ll be hanging displays between the speakers surrounding the audience using Raspberry Pies.



For those of us who don’t know, can you explain what 3D sound is?

The term basically refers to audio technology that allows sound designers and composers create fully immersive sonic environments by placing and moving sound anywhere around 360 sphere. It is most often used in VR, video games and 360 video to construct realistic soundscapes. Most people will have experienced some form of surround sound at the cinema.



How are you using 3D audio in your live show?

I have been working with immersive audio specialists Call & Response at their ambisonic studio in South London to mix my stereo album into full 3D audio. If you think that most music people listen to is in stereo, so two loudspeakers or headphones. The mix engineer can place sound either to the left, right or centre of a stereo image.

For this gig we are going to have 29 loudspeakers arranged in a dome that is over 10 metre in diameter. This means I can place sound pretty much anywhere I want. It adds a whole new compositional layer. We’re also using live string players, percussion and keys. The live sound will also be moved around the sphere.

Warchestra 360 is the live performance version of Warsnare’s forthcoming album on Infinite Machine, out in Feb 2018.


Warsnare plays the Albany on Friday 24 November at 7.30pm. Book tickets here.


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