6 July 2012

GUEST BLOG: Packed with flavour

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Friday 29 June was the last of a series of four sessions helping women in two hostels in Withington learn how to prepare and cook healthy meals on a budget. 

On today’s menu was a chicken and vegetable stir-fry with crispy seaweed, plus no-bake cheesecake.

We started off by preparing the cheesecake which just needed chilling in the fridge instead of baking in the oven.  Digestive biscuits were put in a bowl and  bashed into crumbs with the end of a rolling pin then melted butter was added to make the base, and this was placed in the bottom of a ramekin dish. Cream cheese and grated lime zest were mixed together and sliced strawberries and chopped fresh basil leaves were left to infuse for the topping.

Crispy seaweed is made from de-stalking large cabbage leaves, rolling them up tightly then slicing thinly to make strips. These were then washed, drained and fried with sesame seeds in a hot wok. The strips of cabbage darken and shrink to form a crispy seaweed dish.

Chicken was sliced and chopped into chunks and fried in a hot wok to brown and seal, adding honey to glaze and sweeten it. Red and green peppers were cut into chunks, garlic was squashed and chopped to release the juices, and Kim demonstrated how to make pretty flower-shaped carrot slices, then these, along with broccoli florets, fresh chilli, grated ginger, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and boiled and drained wholewheat noodles were added to the wok.

The feast was now ready to eat – a perfect combination of flavours in every mouthful. Lemon zesty sweet honey chicken mixed with vegetables and noodles was lovely, followed by a heavenly cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries and fresh basil.

Goody bags were given out containing a mix of ingredients to help the participants repeat some dishes in their own time. The bags (pictured)  included a bottle of lemon juice, red onion, garlic, fresh ginger, bunch of fresh coriander, a carrot, and recipe sheets. The participants will be awarded framed certificates from the sessions they have attended and in the near future, a cookery book with recipes, photographs and input/comments from the last four weeks will be produced. What an enjoyable course with a rich array of dishes over the weeks - what a shame there isn’t a fifth!

There are lots more photos from this session on our Facebook page.

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