Story: Adele Forrest and Davina Flaherty
Healthy eating has been on the menu at the Furnival as part of a new cookery course hosted by Laila Wragg.
The ten week course focuses on healthy eating around Middle Eastern foods; this covers Pakistani, Indian, Palestinian and even Mediterranean dishes. Laila hopes the course will teach her students that you can still eat well whilst being true to your culture. Laila said: “All the hints I give modify Middle Eastern food for healthy eating. For example we don’t use butter at all, we use a lot of fresh vegetables and salads are very important.”
Her students have been learning how to cook side dishes, mains and desserts but most importantly how to cook rice well. Laila added: “It is very important for our meals, never boil it, we wash it with warm water so all the carbohydrates are gone. All English students just boil rice so it is new to them.”
Inspiration for her recipes comes from her parents and being the eldest daughter Laila had to learn to cook from an early age and so would copy their cooking technique.
Azad Hamo, 35, travels from Barnsley to attend the course and has been impressing relatives with what he has learnt. He said: “So many things I didn’t know, I do the dishes the next day in my house for my family, they love it. One day I hope to be a chef.”
Julia Shergold, 42, of Pitsmoor, heard about the course through a friend, she said: “The sessions are great, not too complicated. I love spicy food and it’s good to find out which spices to put in dishes.” Mrs Shergold intends to try out her new cooking skills on her family, especially her daughter.
She added: “Laila’s recipe book is a great help too, it has great pictures, easy to follow recipes and helpful hints as you go along.”
At the end of the course the students will be presented with a certificate. The mayor will be there to congratulate them and will also be sampling the buffet of English and Arabic food that they will be creating.
The presentation took place on Monday, 12 November 6-8pm.
As the popularity of the healthy eating sessions continues, Laila is hoping to turn the Furnival into a café for all nationalities. The idea is that people in the community can come together to experience and enjoy Arabic, Afro-Caribbean, Palestine, and English foods.
If you are interested in learning Laila’s recipes, her book, “Healthy Eating the Middle Eastern way” is available to lend and buy at Burngreave library for £3.
The Furnival also offers help and advice for young people with a free programme by MEND. This is for 7-13 year olds and encourages young people to become fitter, healthier and happier.
It runs Monday 5-7pm and Saturday 11-1pm. To register call 0114 249 1626 or visit http://www.mendprogramme.org for more information.
With the success of projects like these, The Furnival are currently trying to get more projects started that focus on health and well being. This includes ideas for an ethnic minorities lunch club for elderly residents and lottery funding is also needed if plans for a Wellbeing Consortium are successful.
Robin Vaughn-Williams, 32, finance administrator said: “The idea around this is to get referrals from GP’s, for example if someone has heart problems or are obese they can be referred to the Consortium for help.”
It is not just health the Furnival can help with; they also work closely with the education authorities to help keep young people in schooling with the Cellar Space project.
This was set up by Di Lee in 1998 and runs on weekdays for children who have been suspended from secondary schools. The Cellar Space offers children who attend the opportunity to work towards the ASDAN awards, which are equivalent qualifications to GCSEs. There are three tutors for 30 children who teach literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, as well as practical skills such as cookery.
Funding for the Cellar Space has been helped by the Henry Smith Foundation and also from local schools who back their work wholeheartedly.
A new addition to the Cellar Space is the newly refurbished art therapy room. This is an area where the young people can enjoy using art as a form of expression. It is designed for children who find it difficult to verbalise their problems and so they can instead release their thoughts and feelings through art and design.
Projects which encourage young people to use their hands and imagination have proved successful and so now the Cellar Space have put in a bid to introduce a Craft Design Technology teacher.
They are also in search of a new caretaker to help maintain the building, and with all these new projects in the pipeline it seems like an exciting time to be part of The Furnival team.