Welcome to our cultural cook-alongs

Loughborough children’s centreOur cultural cook-alongs are now taking place in REAL LIFE! Register to come along to our sessions and spend time socialising and cooking with other parents while your babies get to know each other too.

Each week our sessions are run by a different parent and/or Food Ambassador  who will get you chopping, stirring, seasoning and tasting their chosen recipe. All the ingredients and equipment will be provided – just come along with your baby (pregnant families welcome too). Bring a Tupperware box to take home any leftovers once you’ve all enjoyed lunch together. It’s relaxed and fun, no cooking skills required. We encourage a different parent to run the session each week, so there is the chance for 

A recent session saw Food Ambassador Isata from Sierra Leone show us how to make a healthy coconut brown rice with chickpeas, served with a delicious fresh salad of lightly cooked broccoli and sugar snaps with tomato and avocado. Everyone loved it, including the babies!

These cook-along sessions started during lockdown, with HLP members celebrating their favourite home-cooked vegetarian dishes online. The idea was kicked off by Shemeika and Issa, who wanted to show us how to cook the Jamaican food they love to eat with their four children. Shemeika cooked and Issa filmed for a live feed to YouTube. We loved seeing Issa’s appreciation of his wife’s cooking as he tucked into ‘hard food’ such as dumplings, yam and plantain, served with spicy callaloo.

More cook-alongs followed for Black History Month in October 2020, with members from Caribbean and African communities sharing their healthy recipes. We then started running ‘cultural cook-alongs’ via Zoom, with contributions from HLP members of Ghanian, Nigerian, Jamaican, Indian and Peruvian descent, to name but a few.

HLP member Preeti’s chickpea flour pancakes (besan ka chilla) with spicy potatoes (indori aloo) were one highlight. Preeti is from Madhya Pradesh, a central state in India, and has lived in the UK for five years. She started attending sessions with Healthy Living Platform when she had her twin girls, then trained to be a HLP food ambassador. Preeti liked being able to connect and cook with other families during lockdown and also used the food delivery service after her husband had developed Covid symptoms and they were stuck in the house.

Of her own cook-along session, Preeti says, ’I chose a recipe that had lots of familiar ingredients, that were easy to find, and which are all very nutritious. I was a bit nervous just before it started, and because English is not my first language it was difficult also, but it went well and everybody seemed to enjoy my food!’

HLP member, Emma,  from Lambeth attended all of the online cook-along sessions. She wanted to learn how to make healthy dishes for her family, and loved the chance to ‘hear stories from so many of the cultures that are the fabric of my local community’. As a new mum, she really appreciated being able to cook along from home and learned lots of new skills. She told us: ‘I have been inspired to cook with new foods and ingredients, and I’ve learnt some fantastic tips that will stay with me for life. For example, adding more lemon instead of salt to a dish has been a game-changer!

See the events section on our website for more details of our cultural cook-alongs. We have them currently taking place at Loughborough children’s centre. Coming up in November 2021 we will be running them at Jubilee and St Stephen’s Children’s centre.  Email info@healthylivingplatform.org for more information.