5 March 2013

GUEST BLOG: Fun with food!

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Last Thursday (28 February) saw the first of the second block of “What Do You Want To Cook?” sessions at Benchill Primary School in Wythenshawe, where parents and children cook together, then eat together afterwards as a group. We had a lovely group - some were already booked on the list, but others were invited as they left an after-school meeting, and we were delighted they could join us at such short notice.   

On the menu was vegetable curry with rotis (chapatti). Everyone took part in cutting and chopping onions, garlic, courgettes, sweet peppers and aubergines - all such different colours, textures, smells and tastes. We started the cooking off by frying onions with cumin seeds then added chopped garlic and grated ginger – the lovely smells wafting down the corridor had many heads popping round the door asking what was going on!  The youngest in the group, aged just three, was munching away on fresh green peppers, and it was great to see such a healthy snack following nursery school. 

While the vegetables cooked in the wok, tinned chopped tomatoes were added to the mix along with fresh red chillies and dried spices: cumin, turmeric, salt, paprika, garam masala and red chilli flakes. The colour and aroma was wonderful and it looked so appetising, far better than a takeaway from a shop, and so quick, easy and inexpensive to make.

Harjinder demonstrated how to make rotis using flour and water and said she had been making them since childhood. She told everyone that another traditional way of cooking rotis in the Punjab is in a clay pot - a tandoor - and she said that many villages had a communal tandoor for everyone could to make use of.  It was great to hear about this communal social cooking - it's what ‘Cracking Good Food’ is all about!

The dough was divided up so both adults and children could take turns kneading and rolling their chapattis - there was some handy work with the rolling pins, then everyone had a go flipping the dough from hand to hand to remove excess flour and make the flatbreads slightly larger and thinner. Next they were cooked on a hot tava and we watched them change colour as they cooked, Harjinder showing how to tap down the hot air bubbles with a tea towel. Everyone did a fantastic job and should be proud of themselves.

The curry was dished up and many helpings were had. There wasn't a morsel left, and we were delighted to see such great appetites and enjoyment of the wonderful food everyone had prepared together. 

Recipe sheets along with a special spice list were given out with a breakdown of the cost of this meal. Everyone was encouraged to make the rotis again at home and photograph them so they can be exhibited on the cooking room wall next week, so we look forward to seeing them next week and hearing stories of parents and children cooking healthy, nutritional, cheap, colourful meals from scratch again at home. 

There are more photographs from this community event on our Facebook page.

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