19 July 2013

GUEST BLOG: Getting out in the garden

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

I can't think of a more idyllic place to hold an outdoor communal cooking session than Hulme Community Garden Centre. What a delight to be in such beautiful surroundings in the Manchester summer sunshine, with plants all around bursting with flowers and vegetables, colour and fragrances, and with a multitude of special spaces and benches tucked away down pathways and under arches - it's just a stunning space, a stone's throw from Manchester City Centre.

Wednesday 17 July was a training day for Food Futures, a Growing Manchester Networking Event, and Cracking Good Food ran a session in the late afternoon sunshine. Tables were set up outside so the participants could prepare sit together in a sociable, friendly environment and discuss food issues while preparing the ingredients for courgette bhajis, stir-fried beet tops and seasonal greens with a yoghurt and tahini dip. The table was laden with fresh, locally sourced produce, rich in colour, flavour and aroma, with the addition of fresh garlic from the Community Gardens themselves.

The courgettes for the bhajis were grated, and such a wonderful green juice was squeezed out of them - a health drink right there, full of goodness. The batter was made from gram flour and water whisked together, then spices, garlic, red onion, herbs, salt and the grated courgettes were stirred in, ready for cooking in a wok of oil. Beetroot tops and stalks and rainbow chard were shredded and mixed with sliced red onions, garlic, sesame seeds, vegetable oil and a splash of soy sauce to make the stir-fry. The yoghurt and tahini dip (which can also be used as a salad dressing) was made from plain greek yoghurt, tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, crushed garlic, olive oil and sea salt.

All tasted delicious and the different dishes complemented each other well for a healthy, fresh, flavour-filled, colourful feast.

We'll be posting some photos from this event on our Facebook page very soon.

If you'd like to discuss requirements for your organisation, please visit our website for more details on bespoke sessions.

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