Monday, 14 September 2015

Cooks stand the heat and meet the challenge

Cooking doesn't get tougher than this!
Greg Wallace and John Torode's Masterchef catchphrase came to mind more than once on Saturday morning when the task for Happy House cookery club was to cook for 130, writes Auntie Libby.
For the first time, it wasn't just a taster dish for the group but lunch for the family that was the challenge.
And I got a glimpse of just what a fantastic job our cook  Auntie Phyllis does, day in day out, as she prepares meals for our hungry kids..
I had volunteered to show the group how to make a rich tomato sauce with lots of added vegetables to serve with spaghetti.
First hurdle, ordering the ingredients! When you are used to cooking for two, knowing just how much of everything to order is daunting, but thankfully Auntie Phyllis and Auntie Velma stepped up to the plate and sorted it all out for me.
How much spaghetti? 24 packets should do it!
So on Saturday at 9am with my team of kids, and valuable assistance from Papa Dave, teacher Mr Mdachi and Auntie Phyllis  we got to work.
First we  talked about what we were cooking, the ingredients and how they are good for your health and energy.
Then hands washed and aprons on, the kids, working in groups, got to work with enthusiasm, washing, peeling and chopping a mountain of carrots, onions, garlic, spinach, sweet potato, okra, peppers and bucketfuls of tomatoes! 
After starting off the tomato sauce on the gas stove, Auntie Phyllis lit the chico ovens in the outside kitchen, and as soon as the coals were hot enough she  transferred the surfuria, a huge cooking pot, to the now red hot fire.
With the onions and garlic cooked off, tomatoes, tomato paste, seasoning etc added, the sauce was soon bubbling away, while in a surfuria on the second chico oven the other vegetables were being cooked through gently.
By this time it was sweltering and I was melting, so was grateful that the kids wanted to take turns in stirring the pots with a spoon resembling a paddle.
Once the tomato sauce was cooked, it was taken into the main kitchen for blending before being added to the now cooked vegetables, with the spinach going in last.
By 1pm, with 24 packets of spaghetti cooked, it was time fr service, which was left to Auntie Phyllis and her team of Happy House helpers who know just how it's done and with the whole family seated and grace said, lunch was served.
My team of young cooks was amazing, as was Papa and their teacher, and they all deserve a pat on the back,  but my star of the day has to be Auntie Phyllis for keeping her cool and ensuring we got the job done!

Building a Bright Future

Please help us to finish, furnish, resource and staff our secondary school ready for opening in January 2016. We need a total of £25,000 to make this happen, but we are now 28% of the way there. This school will ensure that children like those who have found a home and safety at Happy House, and other kids from impoverished backgrounds have a chance to complete their schooling with an education of the highest standard. It is their only road out of poverty. To help please donate at