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Cooking up a Storm! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Siobhan Harding   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 12:40

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Preparing Chicken Rogan Josh at the Healthy Cooking and Living Course in Cregagh Youth & Community Centre

Last week we visited the Phoenix Men’s Group at their Healthy Cooking and Living course in the Cregagh Youth & Community Centre. This is the men’s third week on the course and they were making a spicy Chicken Rogan Josh. The men have already made wheaten bread and chilli con carne and this week they are tackling fish pie!!

The tutor for the course is Mike Gaston who was taught to cook by his grandfather at a young age. Mike said: “I love working with men and teaching them how to cook. The men genuinely want to learn and apply their learning when they get home so by the next class they are all telling me what they have tried to make themselves!” Mike says that there is a lot of wonderment from the men about cooking and they really want to understand the reasons why things are done in certain ways.

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A lesson in relaxed cooking!!

What was immediately evident from the men on the course was their relaxed attitude and sense of enjoyment in the class. This was not a stressful kitchen environment!!

Listening to the men talking while they were cooking showed just how much they enjoyed the class. They chatted about how they had adapted the recipes they had tried in the class so far. Wheaten bread with dates and apricots sounds good!!

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Tutor for the course Mike Gaston tasting the curry and giving the men some advice about the recipe

Once the cooking was done the men had a chance to sample their cooking together. The men talked tactics for making their dish more or less spicy when they make it themselves at home! By the end of the class everyone was well fed, the plates were empty and the kitchen was spotless. A lesson in relaxed and enjoyable cooking with a plate of deliciously spicy Rogan Josh at the end!

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Eating the spoils and then doing the washing up!!

This week another group of men are starting their Healthy Cooking and Living course also in Cregagh Youth & Community Centre. This men’s group was started about ten years ago and involves men aged 50 plus from the local Cregagh area. The group meets once a week and was set up to help alleviate isolation in men. The co-ordinator of this men’s group is Gerald Murphy. Gerald heard Man Matters after attending a Men’s Sheds Event which was organised by the project. Following the event Dawn Lord from Man Matters met with the group to talk about the courses available through the project. So far the men’s group have completed the Social History and Digital Photography, Introduction to IT and Healthy Cooking courses through Man Matters. Due to demand they are about to start another group of men on the second Healthy Cooking and Living course this week.

Gerald said that the feedback he has received from the men about the Man Matters courses has all been very positive the men have thoroughly enjoyed all the courses and they have all learned something! The men are all looking forward to start their Healthy Cooking and Living course and there are a number of widowers in the group so the course will be especially beneficial for them.”