Monday, March 14, 2011


Children have a very profound effect on your life as many of you will know. You suddenly become very aware of children and seem to become more tolerant and sympathetic (not always of course) I remember going to Edinburgh with friends for the weekend without the kids, on the plane there were several families with crying children. The kids cried all the way but it did not bother me in the slightest because the children were not mine.

Similarly any delay at an airport or somewhere else is no longer a problem if you are not with children because you are so used to having no time, that you are able to occupy yourself easily.

Children bring joy, worry, anger, frustration, laughter and lack of sleep all rolled into one. They represent the future and you start thinking much more about your own future when they come around. Children represent probably the most vunerable group in our society and their welfare should be high on the agenda of any civilised society.

Every year we give away hundreds of pounds worth vouchers to various charities across Brighton and Sussex. These are all deserving charities but this year we thought we should concentrate on one charity in particular and try to make a big difference.

The Rockinghorse appeal was set up by a very forward thinking Doctor by the name of Dr Trevor Mann in 1968, the baby unit at the Royal Alexandra Childrens Hospital bears his name today. Dr Mann recognised that new expensive technology was needed in order to offer children the excellent standards of care that they deserve. Brighton was one of the first places to have a ventilator designed to breathe for tiny and premature babies, who may not have previously survived. Doctors were also able to carry out pioneering research into new areas of medicine such as neonatal care and oncology.

In 2006 Rockinghorse launched a £1 million appeal to help fund the new Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and since then they have worked hard to raise funds to provide equipment for needy and sick children.

Gingerman’s aim is to raise initially £7500 to help fund the new children’s A&E department at the royal Alex. I recently visited the children’s hospital and was very moved by what I saw and impressed by the passion and dedication shown by the nurses on duty. It all came to a head when I saw the bedrooms for sick children. There were two windows set into the wall, one normal height and one set about two feet from the floor. The lower window was so sick children could look out of the window while in bed. It takes a lot to move me to tears but the level of thought and consideration in this simple addition did just that.

The new A&E department will be vital in enabling doctors and nurses to evaluate children as soon as they come into hospital. Speed is of the essence when dealing with children because they deteriorate very quickly. At the moment children arriving at hospital go straight to the A&E Department. There they have to wait with all the other patients in order to be seen. You can only imagine what they see in the A&E department of a busy hospital on a Friday or Saturday night. The new kids A&E department will enable specialist doctors to treat sick and injured children quickly in an environment suitable for their needs.

We will arrange a number of fund raising events throughout the year with the hope of supporting this wonderful local charity and making a difference to sick children. Find out more here

One of the things we will be doing to support other people raising funds for Rockinghorse is to create 'high-energy boosting' dish across two of our venues, for all marathon runners supporting Rockinghorse, in the week leading up to the Brighton Marathon 4th-9th April 2011 .

Marathon Pasta

Potato and Wild Garlic Gnocchi with Pancetta, Brocoli, Kalamata olives and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4 or 2 hungry people

For the Gnocchi

500g dry mash potato (cook potatoes in their skins)

150g pasta flour

1 egg

Small handful fresh wild garlic chopped

Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and roll into small bite sized balls, flatten the balls a little with a fork and place in boiling water with a little olive oil. Lift the gnocchi out gently when they rise to the surface and place in cold water. Drain and set aside.

1 head of broccoli cut into florets and blanched until just passed al dente

200g diced pancetta

6 Kalamata olives (chopped roughly)

1 clove garlic chopped

30g toasted pumpkin seeds

30g grated parmesan or more if you prefer

Olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

Knob of butter

Fry the pancetta in a little oil until brown, lift out of the pan leaving the oil behind. In the oil gently fry the gnocchi until golden on both sides. Add the broccoli, butter, pancetta and olives and warm through. Add the lemon juice and season, making sure not to add too much salt due to the pancetta. Serve and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and parmesan.

Please note this dish would work well with freshly cooked spaghetti