With support from the Golborne councillors and City Living, Local Life, The Nour Festival teamed up with Al-Hasaniya to cook up a storm and share stories over great food. Thanks to Ines Tercio for the article below and to Jalaikon for the fantastic pictures. If you would like to hear more about Nour, check out their blog.

From the 26th to the 30th October 2015, a diverse group of 12 women from Al-Hasaniya Morroccan Women’s Centre, worked alongside chef Mike Knowlden and storyteller Surya Turner to exchange recipes and cook new dishes from around the world.

Each day, we cooked a new dish, beginning with a starter on Monday and ending with a delicious dessert on Thursday. On Friday 30th October we prepared a feast with some of our favourite dishes and exchanged stories of celebration.  Throughout the week we cooked soda bread, sushi, an Asian salad, a Yemini fish rice dish, quiche and a sumptuous pistachio trifle. We also exchanged our most cherished food memories and wrote down our favourite recipes.  On the last day, we reflected on what we had learnt throughout the week.

The women particularly enjoyed working with a professional chef and storyteller, and felt they gained more confidence in practicing English and gained new ideas on how to cook new healthy and fresh dishes. They also loved learning about different cultures and getting to know other local ladies from places like Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Eritrea, Syria and Lebanon.

And for a flavour of the food the women cooked up at Al-Hasaniya, grab your baking gloves and try out this Irish Soda Bread recipe…


250g plain white flour

250g plain wholemeal flour

100g porridge oats

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

25g butter, cut in pieces

500ml buttermilk or yoghurt & milk


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently. Now shape it into a flat, round loaf.

Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross on the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.