In partnership with Age UK Lambeth

Across November we joined forces with a group of brilliant women to talk, muse and write about all things food. Working with three brilliant storytellers across four weeks, we explored our memories and experiences of food, touching on everything from childhood discoveries to comfort food treats.

Each day the group were delivered a delicious hot lunch and a one-on-one doorstep performance all inspired by their favourite foods, and their memories of eating them.

Some of the beautiful stories and memories that were written and shared during those sessions can be found on this page, for all to enjoy.

Grab a cup of tea, settle in and enjoy reading.


Sally Pomme Clayton (Lead)
Nell Phoenix
Vergine Gulbenkian


Comfort Fabian
Phoebe Wagner

Kitchen Table Stories

-food for the body, food for the soul-

Childhood food

School Food by Lucia Daniels

The refectory table, nuns, black as crows, bent over grace
My fluted water glass at the ready,
To help wash down Friday’s fish balls.
With luck you’d be seated at a table with drawers,
into which, the offending ball could be slipped.
If not there, then popped in a pocket of your uniform.
Either way, the discarded food would lurk, gathering mould,
until fished out by the nuns, or our mum.

My Family Kitchen, 1955 by Hilda Castillo

I am in Rancho Quemado in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, in our family kitchen. It is a big wooden structure and I am standing in the middle near the two windows. At one window, I can see the four water tanks which filter water from the mains upstairs; these tanks also collect rain water for domestic use by the family. At the other window is the kitchen washing up area with the washing up bowl and the wooden drainer. Overlooking this, I can see the outside toilet or latrine straight ahead. To the left, I can see a small vegetable patch with sweet corn, herbs and beans soon to be harvested. There is also the outside yard with some live stocks with chicken and ducks chasing each other. In the distance is the Brazilian nut tree with sight of fruit – which I will eat in time. I can also see my father, Papa, hacking at a green banana tree so there will be food to eat later with something delicious to make a family meal. My mum, Tanty, will prepare these family meals with much love and passion.

Childhood Memories of Food by Sue Evangelou

A spoon of Malt Extract to keep our colds at bay,
Grannie’s shared yeast tablets at the start of every day.
Swollen tonsils, when a mug of Bovril was all that I could take,
sweetened condensed milk straight from the tin – better than any cake.
School dinners – slimy mash, overcooked cabbage but the gravy was good,
then choc crunch and custard or rice pudding with a dollop of jam for pud.
Dick Barton Special Agent with hot milk before going up to bed,
Yorkshire puddings until my tummy was bursting – enough said!
Pancakes sprinkled with sugar and an orange squeeze on Shrove Tuesday,
homemade lemonade when we danced around the maypole on the 1st of May.
Christmas dates and walnuts minced together in the sponge,
spaghetti hoops on toast now that I couldn’t get wrong.
The boiled eggs we drew faces on each Easter Sunday morning,
my chocolate Easter Egg consumed before next day was dawning.
For Parties – Full of Wind – evaporated milk and jelly beaten full of bubbles,
Heinz tomato soup topped with squares of bread guaranteed to ease all troubles.
Marmite sandwiches cut into dainty squares,
liquorice sticks dipped in sherbet to take away your cares.
Fizzy Dandelion and Burdock for a very special treat,
a plateful of crinkly chips was something hard to beat.
And so the list goes on and there could be so much more
as the memories keep flooding back through that newly opened door.

Story of the Pressure Pot, 1965/6 by Hilda Castillo

I am in Rancho in another family home, with my brother Edward, aka Eddy, in the wooden kitchen which is smaller than the first property. The radio is blazing out the death announcement which streams daily at 12 noon; we can always recognise a friend or family who have passed. My grandmother, Mama, will get her best hat ready for a wake/funeral again. I can hear Tommy our big cat purring and Zaza, the labrador barking loudly to be let in through the back door. Tanty is out visiting my second eldest sister, Norma, in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad. Florence, my older sister before me, tells Eddy and me,

“Do not touch the stove, I will cook later.”

But we both want to learn to cook, so, while the cat is out, the mouse will play! We decided to make dahl with yellow lentils in the pressure pot. We prepare the ingredients including water: 3 handfuls of lentil; half an onion; 1 spring onion; Spanish thyme; salt and pepper to taste, and of course a small ripe bird pepper to give it punch. We put the pot on the stove. Eddy knew how to operate the Calor gas tank and so far so good. The pot comes to the boil and the pressure starts to steam and we are getting excited because it’s seems so easy and we are having such fun cooking without Tanty and Florence fussing. Well, there is all this steam and noise, so I tell Eddy, we have to lower the gas and take the pot to the sink and place it in a pot of cold water and then do Tanty’s trick to cool it down before opening the lid. Clever me had seen Tanty doing this so… here we go… put a spoon under the weight… but the steam was so strong and wow… the next thing… one almighty noise and the dahl is up in the air and hits the ceiling! We are both quaking, I in tears, Eddy, says,

“We got to switch off the stove.”

Anyway, we made a pact to tidy up the kitchen as quickly as we could so there will be no visible signs of our escapade. He promises not to tell and so did I, because this offence would certainly earned us a beating for disobedience and potential self-harm. To this day, we have kept our beaks shut! But somehow I think Mum knew. I am still scared of a pressure pot after that ordeal!!

Nigerian Jollof Rice by Yetunde Odularu

Happiness food – that all children love and is a joy for me too. This is fantastic to eat.


4 cups of rice
5 tablespoons of tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 onion sliced
1 tomato sliced
1 tablespoon seasoning powder
White pepper to taste
3 red bell peppers
3 plum tomatoes
2 scotch bonnets

For the sauce, blend together:

3 red bell peppers
3 plum tomatoes
2 scotch bonnets
1 onion (diced)


1. In a large pan, preheat the cooking oil. Once oil is hot, add onions (diced) and fry for 3 minutes till onions are soft.
2. Add the tomato paste, fry for 5 minutes, add bay leaves and let it cook in the tomato paste for 2 minutes.
3. Add the blended pepper and allow the pepper to cook until the water is dried and oil is seen floating on the fried pepper.
4. Season with thyme, curry powder, salt to taster and seasoning cubes. Leave to cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the rice until it is well coated with the sauce. Add chicken stock and cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to boil.
6. Once it starts boiling 3 minutes later, reduce heat to steam until the rice is done.
7. Turn off the heat and add sliced tomato and onions, stir and cover immediately to steam.
8. You can serve with plantain, chicken, vegetables or as desired.

Fostered Food by Dorothea Williams

Nanny Knight couldn’t cook. I mean she could put pots on the fire but her food did not taste nice. And, why oh why did she cook such huge amounts of food that I didn’t like! She was always annoyed with me because I used to spend a long time looking at the lakes of congealed lamb fat on my plate. The product of her “stews”. Long boiled breast of lamb with overboiled mush of carrots, turnips and potatoes. Yes, age 7, I would irritate her by lingering long at table. She would clip my lughole in order to speed up the torturous eating process. Oh, those huge ugly white chunks of fat slopes at the end of the breast of lamb. The cheapest cut in those days. What a struggle to tackle that fat for the little strip of meat clinging stubbornly to the rib underneath. Next to that inedible mass of boiled fat sat white heavy soggy dumplings, saturated in solid grease. I devised ways of ridding myself of that stuff that made me heave. I devised accidents. The bowl would “slip” and the dumpling could roll under the table when she wasn’t looking or was out of the tiny room in the 2 up, 2 down old Victorian terraced house in Hackney. We lived downstairs. No bathroom and an outside loo. Sometimes, when I remembered, I would craftily retrieve the plate liberated food, usually the dumpling from under the table to bin it. Another way was to squish and squash it into my socks and shoes. I was not allowed to leave the table until my plate was clear. Once I vomited and had to eat it. Then I vomited in my skirt and stood up. Then there was Nanny Knight’s version of Yorkshire pudding. That massive tray of heavy stodge that could stop a door! It replaced bread until it was finished. Sometimes there was a little relief to rid us of that stuff. Jam! Jam on that thick heaviness that pretended to be something noble.

Now and then, glorious expectation of better eating when Nanny Knight would send me to Chatsworth Rd, near Clapton Pond, to bring home fish and chips, usually skate – it was the cheapest fish on offer. The nice woman serving knew me, cos I was the only black child around at that time. She always smiled so warmly with a “Hello Lovely”. She never allowed me to stand in the queue and would serve me promptly, double wrapping the dinner in newspaper so that it would stay hot on the walk home. Once she asked me, “Where do you live, lovely?” “Daubeney Rd,” I answered. “Ooh that’s a way,” and she gave me a gherkin to munch on the long walk home. “Remember, don’t talk to strangers,” she would counsel especially on those cold dark winter evenings.
Another great relief, foodwise, was when we had simple huge, long baked jacket potatoes with vinegar and Stork margarine. Soft inside and crunchy skins on the outside. No butter for Nanny Knight. She was a widow. Her husband had “gone” in the war and she was used to making do. She grew up with beef dripping. Marg was her new luxury. My brother and I used to relish cutting and balancing doorsteps of wonkily cut bread on a thin poker, and kneel together to toast the bread against the fire guard of a gently glowing hearth. The guard formed little patterns of square grids on the bread as it browned producing that smoky scent of open fired toast. The dollop of dripping magically melted down into the little toasted mattress, crisp on the outside and warm, soft and fluffy inside. Sometimes we had soft flavoursome paste spread which came in little jars, on our special proudly toasty toast. In over 60 years, I have never again tasted toast like that. My brother and I preferred the fatty beef dripping floating on the top of the pretty heavy pottery jar where dripping was stored, and Nanny Knight spooned lumps of the wobbly brown beef jelly from under the fat in the dripping jar. It was a pretty heavy pottery jar which women had in their kitchens in those days, in the 50s, to collect and store the precious multi purpose liquid from the roast beef pan. Dripping! The cooking agent of the day. It made cakes, pastry, it fried and roasted foods. The jelly made stock and gravy. That occasional little piece of roast beef continued to supply its condiment long after its service to a guest or special occasion. Many, many years later, I discovered gourmet Yorkshire pudding’s light fluffy batter which could magically morph into a Toad in the Hole. I still don’t like dumplings except fried Jamaican ones.

Family Food by Dorothea Williams

One day, my mother’s sister collected us from our foster Nanny Knight to a big house in All Soul’s Avenue in Willesden. I never again ate food that made me heave or did not like. We entered food paradise. Aunty could not only turn a trick in the kitchen, she had married a diplomat. This opened our taste corridor to international world cuisine in the 60s. Diplomats wives socialised and shared their food and recipes. Meanwhile the food in our house was Creole based from Sierra Leone.

Aunty Amy! Ace cook! by Dorothea Williams

Aunty Amy! Ace Cook!
Nanny Knight’s nice friend, Aunty Amy,
had a soft
subtle way with pastry.
Her jam tarts, light, fluffy, crumbly.
Her sausage rolls to savour, meaty herby flavour,
one could never do, she gladly offered two.
What a treat, a palate’s delight,
when we left Mandeville road, well stuffed at night.

Comfort food

Food in the Mood by Hilda Castillo

When I am feeling the cold, I like to grab a bowl of hot dahl soup which helps to warm my soul. I always have a spicy curry too and of course my daily hot beverage of tea, coffee and sometimes chocolate and mint.
After all these years of being in the UK, I still get bouts of home sick ness when I yearn for my roots so, I will indulge in fish broth and think about my mum, Tanty talking about brain food. I will also seek out the local Caribbean shop where Debbie serves a wicked vegetable or boneless chicken roti and I ask her for a bit of her hot chilli pepper – yummy. I will also cook my own version of callaloo with crab claws and think about being on the beach in Tobago where the food venders serve crab and dumpling when you come out of that warm, breaking waves, for a rest.
When I am in a hurry, like trying to get to church in the morning, I eat on the run with my toast, butter and marmalade and a flask with hot tea and milk, and head for the car to be on time.
Sharing food with my family is a treat because I love to cook for them but we will have my late husband’s favourite which was ackee and salt fish, and food such as green bananas, yam and sweet potatoes – this is a Jamaican must have – or stewed chicken and rice and peas with kidney beans and coconut milk. I also give them corn beef hash with lots of fried onions and wedges of potatoes served with plain white rice. My memory of this food I cherish as a student nurse in digs when I was short of money but had great fun cooking and sharing with my best friends. We still boast about surviving the hungry days of our career.
When I am feeling sick, I always have chicken soup because Tanty said it cured ‘all illnesses’ and I swear it works every time, the boys and my sibling also follow this family tradition.
I enjoy most food but I do not share these: mango chow with salt and pepper; pineapple with salt and chilli pepper, and tamarind balls and dark chocolate. I keep a secret stock at all times! An English habit I have acquired over the years is to have fish, mushy peas and chips, when I occasionally have a picnic in my car with my secret a bottle of ketchup and quench my thirst with a cold bitter shandy. I am known to duck and dive in the car if I spot a noisy neighbour!! And this is very naughty – and Earl, my husband had tried to ban me – but I have been known and am still doing this – going to bed with a piece of cheese hoping the mouse does not hear me!!

A Magical Transformation by Lucia Daniels

I awake to the sound of your sizzling chatter
Hear the raking of the hearth and the whistling kettle
Then a clink of rings, as pan
as if with magic,
transforms your naked rawness
into a divine cooked breakfast

Home for Easter by Sue Evangelou

Definition of comfort food: food that provides consolation or a feeling of well being typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home baking.

I awake late, Mum has left me to sleep.
Soft light seeps through the curtains, I’ll get up and peep.
The panes are all misty and cold to my touch,
lambs prance in the frosty field enjoying their life so much.
Cocooning myself in Dad’s old dressing gown,
there’s a whiff of his pipe as I make my way down.
Down to the kitchen, a blood hound on the scent,
I smell baking and mixed spices, the delight to augment.
Mum’s looking quite pink wrapped in her multi coloured layers,
she’s making a surprise and I’ve caught her unawares.
The oak table is littered with ingredients but, no, not for a cake,
it’s Good Friday morning and there’s something special to bake.
She takes up her thick gloves and opens the oven door,
and a trayful of golden hot cross buns are brought to the fore,
emblazoned with white crosses we can’t wait to start to eat.
The halved buns drip with Welsh butter as we go to take a seat.
We draw up the old leather wing chairs, me in Mum’s and Mum in what was Dad’s,
And gaze contently at the crackling coal fire – so much better than any rads!
Easter in North Wales can be very nippy and snow has even been known,
but this doesn’t matter because I’ve made the long journey home.
I’m home, I’m cosy and about to bite into my oozing bun,
what could be more comforting, thank you, my one in a million Mum.

Celebration food

Before Christmas at Granny’s by Lucia Daniels

A small steamy kitchen under the eaves
Bare tree tops waiving beyond the parapet outside
Where red squirrels come, flicking their tails, looking for treats
Inside, a white enamel bread bin sits on the table,
gradually filling with currants, sugar, dates and candied peel.
Rose has started the Christmas cake.
In go eggs and allspice, then ‘heave-ho’ she hands me a big wooden spoon, long as my arm.
I stir the mix, nibbling it as I go, while Rose goes to the window and throws Christmas nuts to the squirrels below

Lighting the Xmas Pudding by Maureen Thomas

Preparation – it would have been made with left over fruit when making the Xmas cake, around October, and steamed for ages. We used to put 6d and 3d coins in, then 20ps. The front room was decorated with tree and lights, Xmas cards and table cloth and serviettes. After dinner we would re-heat the pudding in a pressure cooker, we would have also made brandy butter and bought cream and ice cream. We would clear a space and everyone would be sitting round for the arrival of the pudding. I would usually bring in the pudding, dishes, spoons and accompaniments. My son would get some brandy and warm it in a large spoon over a candle then as he poured it over the pudding he would light it. My daughter would be ready to turn off the lights and with cameras try to catch the moment. Of course often it wasn’t quite right and we would heat more brandy and relight! Everyone Ooohhd and Aaahhd! Then the usual bickering over size of slice, who wants what with it and if you have got too much brandy butter. However there was always enough. Many sounds of enjoyment and comments on the taste/ quality of the pudding. “Anyone want a cup of tea?” Then sitting down feeling totally stuffed and watching a film, children playing with new toys, and then playing games

The New Year’s Day Meal by Sue Evangelou

It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re working hard and fast,
as Clive James sums up the year that’s very nearly past.
Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, onions are peeled and all set,
the leg of lamb is bathed in oil and garlic with rosemary for remembrance and yet,
I think I’ll add some thyme for courage as this meal can be trial,
a New Year’s feast for the family requires a good deal of style.

Now flour, butter, nutmeg, sugar, eggs, orange juice and rind,
make the New Year’s Vasilopita when they’re all combined.
Chopped and diced fruit is plunged in passion fruit juice to preserve,
sherry trifle assembled in a bowl, whipping cream held in reserve.

A quick toast at midnight and then it’s time for rest,
we’ve done all we can for now, we tried our very best.
Next morning we’re up early and keep a steady pace,
will we make the deadline? Will we win the race?
Oven crammed to bursting – we’re really short of space!
Trays get changed at intervals, others to replace.
Kyriacos makes his salad for which he is renowned,
the leg of lamb roasts slowly, that’s best we’ve always found.
Cyprus tates turn golden while basking in the heat,
gravy simmers on the hob – Bisto and juices from the meat.
Dolmades from of a couple of tins – the secret’s safe with me,
aubergine, courgette and toms make tava, though some may not agree.
The doorbell sounds. Kalos Orisate! Welcome to everyone.
Chronia Polla! Many years to you. Now it’s time to have some fun.
The hungry twelve take seats around the food laden table,
fill your plates, come back for more, eat as much as you are able.
Crackers are pulled, paper crowns donned and riddles read out loud.
We look at the contented faces and really feel quite proud.
The Vasilopita is cut in squares. Who will get the lucky coin this year?
Whoever it is, we wish EVERYONE good health and a life full of cheer.

Christmas at Home by Lucia Daniels

My mother loved Christmas.
She’d be mince pie-making in the kitchen
wrapping presents in secret places
Gradually looking more frazzled as the big day approached.
My father hated Xmas.
It couldn’t pass without a drama, like
him lobbing our turkey out of the window on Christmas Eve
Or bowling a carafe along the kitchen floor, on Christmas morning
After the first glass of wine, or three, had been reached.
Or the time he threw his tea into the fireplace, cup and all
Builder’s brew and smashed china hissing in the coals
All because the dog escaped, just before the Queen’s speech

The Seven Angles Day By Diana Wee

This is a Chinese myth, girls of this century have no knowledge of, and even if they are aware they wouldn’t believe in such silly tales. It’s a tale about the seven sisters who had gone through very difficult lives, hence these Seven Angles
had promised to help all the females on earth for more easier lives. In the 60s most young Chinese girls would look forward to the 7th day of the 7th moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. Previous to that date, the girls in the neighbourhood would form a club to get all the necessities for the celebration or each individual bring her own things. All the new things to bring are:

1. Cosmetics – face cream, powder base, powder, a bottle of water, lipstick, eye makeup, shampoo, hair oil, a little mirror and comb.
2. Hand cream, soap and some handkerchiefs.
3. Then comes the fruits and flowers of seven different kinds.
4. Each girl will bring seven types of sweets if they can afford or make a cake.
5. Some girls bring a blouse or t-shirt.

At 7pm on the 7th day of the 7th moon the celebration begins, each girl will get her turn to pray with burning joss sticks in hand, and offer her offerings to the Seven Angles, asking the Angles to bestow her with beauty, intelligence, grace and good luck, and to be blessed with a good suitor or a rich future husband. The celebration ends at 11pm. After the celebration each one will collect her offerings to bring home, hoping the cosmetics, the hair products will enhance her looks, the fruits, sweets and cakes will purify her body, the flowers she will use in her bath to emerge with beautiful complexion and the t-shirt brings her good luck. This offering celebration is repeated yearly and the girls believe in their hearts that the Angles do answer their prayers.

Sorrel Drink, Hilda’s Caribbean Festive Food by Hilda Castillo

Sorrel is served at most festive times like Christmas, Easter, and birthdays and even funerals. In the Caribbean, it is grown between the pigeon peas crop. It is sometimes referred to as Jamaican Sorrel. It is the common name given to the sepals of a Hibiscus plant called Roselle or Hibiscus Sabdariffa. However, there is also a green vegetable called sorrel. It is then harvested and the petals picked from the seed, the petals are dried and stored in plastic bags. There is also a white sorrel which my father, Papa planted – this version is silky and smooth like a special/unique white wine.


1 packet of sorrel- can be bought in Caribbean/ Indian food shop
1lb brown/white sugar
10 cloves
I large piece of ginger
1 large crock pot with a lid
¼ bottle of red wine—e.g. VP Medium
3-4 litres of cold water
4 glass bottles with screw lids

Preparation time over 2 days – 5 hours

Day 1:
Put water in crock pot and bring to boil.
Add the dry sorrel from the packet.
Put in the cloves.
Add the peeled ginger which you will crush with a mallet.
Leave to simmer for about a further 30 minutes.
Switch off the stove and leave to ‘set’ overnight.

Day 2:
Wash your bottles thoroughly with soapy water and rinse them.
Add warm cooled water to each bottle to sterilise them including the lids.
Put the bottles to drain on a clean paper towel.
Add the sugar to the sorrel mix and taste for sweetness to your likeness – add more as necessary.
Now strain the sorrel with a clean tea towel/strainer into another clean crock pot/mixing bowl.
Check for taste – it does not need to be too sweet
Now add your red wine and that’s fine.
However, if you want to give it more zing add 5 capfuls of White Rum of your choice – Bajan, Trini or Jamaican.
Now have a sample/taste. Serve chilled/ice cubes.
Bottle your sorrel using a clean funnel and add a few cloves and crushed ginger.
Wipe the bottles, add clear labels of date made and store in a cool place

Fried Rice Recipe by Yetunde Odularu

This is an all time useful recipe for parties. I love it.


2 cups cooked rice
1 cup mixed vegetable – carrots, sweet peas, sweet corn and green beans
1 cup onion (diced)
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup chicken stock
1 stock cube
3 tablespoons oil (for frying)
Salt to taste


1. Add the parboiled rice to the stock and cook until the water is dried up. Keep checking so it doesn’t become too soft.
2). Preheat the oil in a pan, throw in the onions and fry for a minute or two. Add the mixed vegetables and seasonings (thyme, curry, salt and stock cube).
3. Throw in rice and stir-fry for about 3 to 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and serve.

Change and food

Food Memories by Penny Savage

Mum’s overcooked Sunday lunches
Saturday pocket money munchies
Home made cakes
A three layer Victoria Sandwich
Filled with cream and homemade jam.
Discovering Italian pasta
A first taste of curry (Vesta!)
Sherry at Christmas and maybe wine
That special bottle of Mateus Rose
Turned later to a candle holder.
For sophistication Cordon Bleu recipes
Then Elizabeth David.
London with world flavours
Of the East and European dishes galore
Seventies cocktail were the fashion.
Children came in the eighties
Baking bread not always a success
Birthday parties in the park
That special home made cake trying to
Look like the picture in the book.
Lockdown meant creative cooking
Sharing results with friends and
Family in the garden or front door.
Oh I long to sit down around a table
Once again face to face.

Changing Cooking Traditions by Lucia Daniels

In the late 40s and early 50s, food was still dictated by ration books. At home it was staple and simple, bolstered by fish and chips, jellied eels and whelks for a treat.
As the 50s progressed, my mother’s food inspiration was the cookery writer Constance Spry, creator of Coronation Chicken, in celebration of the crowning of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. With its mildly curried sauce, the dish was considered the height of exotic sophistication.
Then came the 60s and we went rustic with Elizabeth David’s ‘French Country Cooking’ – all olives, aubergines, garlic and thyme. By the end of the decade there was a cavalcade of choice: Indian, Italian, Chinese take-aways – the world was our oyster, or so it seemed. But we hadn’t seen anything yet…
By the time I left home in the early 70s, there was more choice than ever, presented via magazines and tv chefs, galloping and gourmeting their way round the world. My old cookery book is full of my notes, plus friends’ favourites – all well thumbed and slightly sticky. Some pages needing peeling apart before you could begin to peel and prepare the actual ingredients.
Now I look online for quick recipes or just draw them down from my head. The recipe book now seems like a quaint relic of the past, but leafing through it again, I smile at the memories it brings back – above all, my mother’s adapted Constance Spry Coronation Chicken.

Christmas Cake Over The Years by Maureen Thomas

We used to use a traditional English recipe- like my mum’s cake. When I got married and had children, I saw how my mother-in-law used to mince and soak the dried fruit and use lots of alcohol! I had tasted the traditional Caribbean rich fruit cake at weddings/celebrations and I knew I liked it. As the years went by, I adapted my recipe to include the soaking method and more spices.
My children, and then grandchildren, would be involved in helping stir the cake and ‘make a wish’. As the family got bigger the cake did too, and the mixture was too heavy to stir and turn into the baking tin, so grown children helped with that.
By 2009 the recipe became Maureen/Jade’s (my eldest granddaughter) Xmas cake. She has helped more each year, until this one (because of the pandemic). Every couple of years we adapt, maybe change size of cake, or from ounces to grams, as easier when buying the ingredients.
I shall pass on these bits of paper to Jade and hope that she will continue the tradition.

Moin Moin (Bean Pudding) by Yetunde Odularu

This was the best food of my late husband, the REV. James Odularu, and is in his memory.


Beans (brown) ½ cups
Salt to taste
Palm oil or vegetable oil ¼ cup
3 hard boiled eggs
¾ cup cooked minced fish
1 red bell pepper
1 habanero/scotch bonnet


1. Soak the beans for 1 hour (more or less) and peel until skin falls out.
2.Pour the beans in the blender and add twice as much water as the beans (by volume) blend the beans for 3-4 seconds per time and repeat this for 3-4 times. Remember to blend together with the red pepper, habanero and onion. Blend to the smoothest consistency ever.
3. Combine the blended mixture with the remaining ingredients except the boiled eggs.
4. Spray or oil the container that you will be using then pour in the mixture and cover it with a lid or seal with foil paper.
5. Line the base of the pot you will be using with foil paper and anything you deem fit. This is to prevent the moin moin from burning.
6. Arrange the moin moin inside the pot and cook till done. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the quantity of the moin moin mixture in each container.
7. Remove from heat and serve.
8. Insert a tooth pick into the middle of the moin moin to check if it’s ready. The tooth pick should come out fairly clean and not moist.

My Recipe for Comfort and Joy by Lucia Daniels

Take equal parts:
Sun and nature
Mix all the ingredients together in a large garden
Add a generous pinch of laughter
Top with music as garnish.
Serve with tea (or something a bit stronger).

Groundnuts or Peanuts – Call It What You Like by Grace Richardson

Groundnuts or peanuts are grown in different parts of the world. When I was growing up peanut was mostly used in preparing soup. In Ghana we call it groundnut soup. As I grown up I have come to realised that in some countries it is referred to peanut stew. A number of countries round the world eat or use peanuts in preparing some of their dishes. Ghana has a vast variety of nutritious dishes which varies from region to region, as the culture is diverse. Peanut soup or stew is one of the popular dish in Sub-Sahara Africa.
When growing up the most popular use of groundnuts was for making soup, although there was a lot work involved. Mothers or women worked tirelessly before preparing a pot of groundnuts soup for her family. Due to the nature of my father’s job, I had the privilege of experiencing life in different villages, towns and cities. Peanut soup was delicious, nutritious, versatile and enjoyable. As I grew up I came to understand why it was only cooked on special occasions as it was hard work. It took a lot of time in preparing it and that put a lot of mothers off. Despite the hours of work involved in cooking it, was my favourite soup. It can be served with a variety of side dishes such as rice ball (omo tuo), boiled rice, boiled or mashed puna yam, fufu, banku, kenkey and konkonte but my favourite is when it’s served with rice balls (omo tuo). To make it more nutritious one can be creative by serving it with other cooked vegetables for example: aubergine; okra; garden eggs; boiled black eye beans, etc.
During my childhood preparing groundnuts meant going through a number of processes which was hard work. Groundnut soup was only served on special occasions. However as technology improved, it has simplified the process and its now easier to make than before. I am pleased to add that this is no longer the case. The groundnuts were cultivated and harvested by local farmers – which was the families. Groundnut production was fully organic with no fertilizers or insecticide. Farming was a family affair where children of school age contributed to this effort as part of their livelihood. During school term times children joined the adults to work on farms on Saturdays and from Monday through to Saturdays on school holidays. Sundays were rest days from farming. In some villages Fridays were market days where farmers harvest their produce to sell at the markets. In some areas, Fridays were seen as forbidden days and farmers only went to the farm to harvest their crops to sell in the market. Children were seen as part of the community and were fully involved in preparing the land for growing crops, turning the crops e.g. getting rid of weeds to ensure good or better growing crops. As far as I can remember no fertilisers were used. There was no irrigation either and farmer relied on the weather conditions or nature. For example when the rains fail it resulted in poor harvest. Farmers also used their experience and knowledge and decided which crop was suitable for the soil for a particular area.
I remember my grandparents, planting a variety of vegetables and fruits from peppers, coco yams, plantains, garden eggs, tomatoes, oranges, sugar cane etc. as well as the wonderful groundnuts. Other crops such as cocoa, cola nuts, grape fruits etc. were cultivated for commercial purposes. The planting of the
groundnuts takes between four to five months to mature. Initially the soil is prepared by flaking and then forming mould with hoes. The seeds are then nursed making sure there was adequate spacing between each seed. Should the weather be favourable, the crops began to grow. This is followed by flowering, and when the leaves turn yellow that was the indication that harvesting time was up. On average each stem can produce about forty or more pods. It is in the harvesting of the groundnuts that children become actively involved in due to the bending and pulling the stems from the soil. This is not a job for adults with back or hip problems. When groundnuts are harvested it’s washed several times to get rid of the soil. As I child I was actively involved in planting as well as harvesting. After washing it is then spread out to dry in the sun on specially mounted large tables during the day then collected and taken indoors when the sun sets. Woe unto any farmer who dries their groundnuts on mats on the ground, the chickens, goats and sheep would be thanking them for free snacks.
Before all the harvested peanuts dry in their husks, we had other ways of eating and enjoying it. We would sometimes boil some in the husk (monkey nuts). When it cools down, the children in the household and sometimes the adults would join for an evening feast of groundnuts. A few hours after we have finished our evening meal, the boiled groundnuts were served in a large bowl and placed in the centre of the compound. With a burning oil lamp, both adults and children would sit on stools or benches in a circle and help ourselves to the nuts. That time was full of fun and excitement. Everyone ate to their hearts content. We used fingers to break the shells and eat the nuts inside. The younger children who were not strong enough to remove the shell between their thumb and index finger, used their teeth to crack it. The best part of those evenings were the times when the adults would narrate what we referred to as Kweku Ananse or (spider) stories. On occasions where adults had other important things to do such as church meeting or other community engagements and could not join the children, the older children or the youth narrated either Kweku Ananse stories, proverbs or riddles. This experience was always fun as we voted or debated on what to do. The child or young person who came up with the best riddle that no one could solve was crowned the winner.
When the groundnuts have been dried in the sun for weeks (monkey nuts), the next stage is the shelling (removing the husks). This was also seen as a family event where both adults and children came together at sunset and remove the shell. I saw this period as nice bonding time, as in those days primary school children were not given any homework. In those days I enjoyed school work being completed during the period in school. As a result, children came home from school relieved and stress free. Childhood was indeed full. We played lots of games with moon light, singing, board games like Ludo, snake and ladders, “oware” etc
My understanding as to why groundnut soup used to be cooked only on special occasions was the amount of work involved, from the dry nuts to peanut butter or paste. When I was growing up, the stages were:- first pan roast the shelled dry groundnut; let it cool down; remove the cover or thin layer; pound it in a specially made wooden mortar and pestle, and then grind on a specially carved household stone. Thanks to modern food processing techniques, preparing of groundnuts or peanut butter is simple and easy. Peanut butter is delicious. It can be used as a spread on toast either crunchy or smooth, in recipes for preparing soups, stews, as savoury or sweet snacks. Groundnuts or peanuts are very nutritious and rich in oil. The down side is that groundnuts or peanuts is not suitable for people with nut allergy.

Recipe for Hope and Happiness by Maureen Thomas

1. Gratitude
2. Kindness
3. Love
4. Understanding
Each morning say thank you.
Show kindness to others (it will return to you).
Be understanding and non-judgemental to others and your self.
Love conquers all.
Mix well, bake slowly and eat every day!

“What is your hope for the world?” by Dorothea Williams

Earth’s creamed space!
Rich, lush, thickening plain to luxury.
Take it from there, to lighten the dull and velvet the tasty.
The base for ice, and poured, oh! so nice!
Splash a simple soup, and soothe the sharp sauce,
trickle hot choc and scramble with egg,
Tart the quiche and shake shake a rude cocktail,
smooth fruity mousse, fool, and layer the syllabub.
Turn a true custard, oh do trifle a sponge
and let it run free, to express any coffee.
So, with joyful intent and marvellous glee,
lug the mammoth mixer to Earth’s needy centre,
the giant whisk too, pray, let it enter.
Pour and pour more, half in our bowl,
no need to fill, as cream knows to double.
Churn it awhile, and then to full speed,
and, as is its nature, a foodie’s real need
churn, churn lighter and lighter, such a delighter,
the puffed fluffy cloud
whipped faster and faster,
so quiet, not loud
to escape at speed
as it’s wont to do.
Splatter the whole earth, including you.
Every soul, speckled, splashed
and forced to confront, this light, whipped flick, fondant floss,
a quick lick, like a Nike tick
white white wonder, as drifting snow
instant angel delight, a really great drift
look up to sky, and how now you know
that souls longing for peace and all that peace brings.
Savour the the truth, the lush, plush marsh mellow feast,
The dawn of beauty rises east,
nourished, by the pure milk gift of life,
sucked from Mother Nature’s full breast, as you know.
But pity the now poor ludicrously slow,
they will be clotted, soured and low.

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