Birmingham’s first cook book goes on sale

Recipes to aid community group.

A first-of-its-kind cook book celebrating the rich diversity of Birmingham’s colourful food heritage is to be launched next weekend.

The unique book features 18 delicious recipes for Afro-Caribbean, Algerian, Afghani, Chinese, English, Gambian, Indian, Irish and Pakistani-inspired dishes, all from people living in the city.

Produced by Bournville Village Trust’s Phoenix Hall community centre, the book is part of the national £5million Near Neighbours project which aims to bring different communities closer together.

Recipes include Afghani dish Chappali kebabs, Gambian dish Benachin Jollof rice and Irish favourites Boxty (potato cake) and Champ (mashed potatoes and chopped scallions).
The book will be launched at a community event, with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Ray Hassall, at Phoenix Hall, Towpath Close, Bordesley Village, on Saturday 24th October.

Shabnam Mughal, Community Development Officer at Bournville Village Trust, said: “This project has managed to bring people together from different communities, giving them a sense of accomplishment and breaking down barriers through the love of food. It’s been a great achievement and is allowing people to take family recipes, handed down through generations, to try for themselves in the comfort of their own homes.

“I would like to thank Near Neighbours, the cook book contributors and everyone else who has supported this initiative.”

Priyanka Maulik, whose recipes for Doi-Maach (a fish & yoghurt curry) and a Payesh (a type of rice pudding) are published in the book, said: “It has been a delight and honour to have shared my family recipes in this cook book along with people from different corners of the world who live here and have so generously shared their cuisine and a slice of their culture with us.”

Tim Burton-Jones, Communication Officer at Near Neighbours, said: “Near Neighbours is all about bringing people together and building up new and positive friendships. This group has developed a fantastic way to bring together their community and we are proud to be a part of this. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the diversity of this community.”

The community event will take place from 10.30am-3pm and is free to enter. It will include live cooking and food tasting, face-painting and mehndi. Some activities may incur a small charge.

All proceeds from the sale of the book, which will be available to buy for a special price of £4.50 at the launch, will go back into providing community services.