Indulge in the rich tapestry of autumn flavours as we embark on a culinary journey with Andy Price, Founder and Project Manager of the Veterans Hub Weymouth & Portland CIC. Discover heart warming stories through Andy’s lens, where love for local, seasonal food intertwines seamlessly with tales of resilience and community.
A Tribute in Action
At the heart of Armed Forces Veterans’ Hubs is the commitment to offer veterans a warm and inviting sanctuary. More than just physical spaces, these hubs serve as a testament to gratitude and respect for those who have selflessly served our nation, connecting veterans with organisations poised to provide crucial advice and support as they navigate post-service life.
Here, veterans find a space to come together and share experiences, by creating an atmosphere of motivation and encouragement that forge connections that go beyond their years in service.
Situated in the heart of Wyke Regis in Weymouth, the Veterans Hub Weymouth & Portland CIC is a grassroots project that was primarily created to support armed forces veterans, their families, and those still serving, in a community that has strong ties to the military.
Andy says, “What the Hub has become is a community asset that serves everyone, bringing together people from all walks of life in a safe and relaxed environment that promotes the kind of community cohesion that is rare to find these days”.
At the centre of the project is a Café, run by volunteers and veterans, managed by Julie Naylor, a baking genius.
This vibrant and bustling community Café is a hive of activity, with no two days being the same, where people can relax with one of the best coffees in town; a blend created in conjunction with a local coffee supplier, before indulging themselves in one of the mouth-watering home-made cakes that has seen cake lovers travel from all over the county to try.
It’s not just about the cakes though; Julie and her team have created an amazing menu, filled with scrumptious and healthy home-made goodness, many of the ingredients locally sourced. Whether it’s one of the handmade burgers infused with an assortment of flavours, the almost world-famous chili-con-carne, or one of their seasonal dishes such as this month’s Spicy Pumpkin soup, food lovers are in for a treat every time.
Offering Blue Light/veteran discount, a pay-it-forward option, and open Monday to Saturday from 10am-4pm, this hidden community gem welcomes everyone, is affordable, and a place where people meet friends that they never knew they had.
You can find the café at: 114 Portland Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9AD – where you will be assured of a warm welcome.
Try the Veterans Hub Spiced Pumpkin Soup Recipe!
- 1 Large Pumpkin
- 2 Onions (diced)
- 3 Celery Stalks (chopped)
- 2 Carrots (diced and optional)
- 3 Cloves of crushed Garlic
- 1 tsp ground Cayenne Pepper
- 1 ½ tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried Coriander
- 1 litre of Vegetable stock
- Juice of one Lemon
- Handful of fresh, chopped, coriander.
- Salt & Pepper for seasoning
- Olive oil
- Deseed the pumpkin and cut into large chunks, leaving the skin on
- Place roughly 1kg of pumpkin into a roasting tray, drizzle in olive oil, and season well. Any excess pumpkin can be frozen ready for your next batch.
- Bake in the over for one hour at 180 (fan assisted), turning halfway through.
- Once ready it should be soft and caramelized, including the skin. Remove from oven and set to one side.
- In a large pan, soften the diced onions and chopped celery in some olive oil over a medium heat, for about 15 minutes. If using carrots, add at this stage.
- Add the crushed garlic.
- Add the cayenne pepper, cumin powder, and dried coriander to the mix and stir on a low heat for two minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat.
- Slowly add the roasted pumpkin, carefully blending with a stick blender, until you end up with a thick soup.
- Add the lemon juice and fresh coriander before blending again.
- Season to taste
- If the soup is too thick, then add some more vegetable stock