The Elephant in the Kitchen: Cooking up a Storm at Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre


Image credit: Jalaikon

From the 26 – 30 October 2015, a diverse group of 12 women from Al-Hasaniya Moroccan 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, the group cooked a new dish; from a starter on Monday through to a delicious dessert on Thursday. On Friday the final day, the group prepared a feast with favourite dishes and exchanged stories of celebration.


Image credit: Jalaikon


Image credit: Jalaikon

Throughout the week,  cherished food memories and favourite recipes were shared, while the food being prepared included soda bread, sushi, an Asian salad, a Yemini fish rice dish, quiche and a sumptuous pistachio trifle.

On the last day, the group reflected on the experiences throughout the week. The women particularly enjoyed working with a professional chef and storyteller, and felt more confident in practising their English and also 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.


Image credit: Joanna Patulot

Irish Soda Bread Recipe:


Image credit: Joanna Patulot


  • 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 in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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