If like me you love trying new food from around the world, you’ll love Refugee Action’s Big Night In next Saturday, 2nd May.
I’m inviting friends over to dine on a fabulous Syrian fattoush (mixed salad) followed by spicy mofatah (lamb stew) from Iran, with nutty ndolé from Cameroon and fragrant butternut squash curry from Sri Lanka on the side, a smoky chilli sauce from the Gambia and sweet date and walnut baklava for dessert.
Does that sound tempting? Yes? Why not hold your own ‘Big Night In’ and share these delicious dishes with your friends and family while helping refugees to start again and build safe, dignified and productive new lives.
How does Refugee Action’s ‘Big Night In’ work?
For a registration fee of just £10 (with all proceeds going straight to help refugees) Refugee Action’s event partner The Spicery will send you a box containing recipes, a set of superb spices, place cards and full instructions to cook this tasty three course meal (serving up to 8) that’s been developed by some very talented refugee chefs.
I’ve had the chance to try the dishes out in advance of the Big Night In and loved them all. My favourite was the coconut and butternut squash from Sri Lanka, pictured above (tip – I found it took a little longer to cook than suggested). While my sister seriously adored the mofatah (if the amount she ate is anything to go by).
It really was a superb meal and next Saturday people the length and breadth of the country will be sharing it with their friends and family. So why not join us?
Who are Refugee Action?
For the last thirty years, Refugee Action have been standing up for people who’ve fled persecution, violence and harassment. Every penny of your registration fee (plus any extra you raise on the night) will go directly to helping refugees and survivors of human rights abuses make a new start.
Refugee Action employs more than 200 people in the UK, working to make life better for those seeking safety. Many of them are refugees themselves. Plus hundreds of volunteers give their time to helping asylum seekers and refugees, teaching English, hosting fundraisers, befriending people struggling with loneliness and so much more.
above: Refugee Action’s chef Mahin prepares some of the featured dishes
Why I Support Refugee Action
When my grandparents fled from the war in China back in the 1930s with my father who was then just 9 years old, they arrived in England as penniless refugees. My grandfather was told his career as a deputy headmaster in China counted for nothing and he had to start a new career from scratch. Luckily for them they had friends and family here who could help them and of course my grandparents were born and grew up here. My Dad, however, was born and raised in Shanghai and knew little of England. He found it very hard settling in, especially at school where the other boys bullied him. You can read about their story here, Shanghai Part 1.
Can you imagine what it must be like to leave your homeland and all that is familiar, through no real choice of your own, and to arrive in a new, unfamiliar country with nothing in your pockets and no friends or family to offer support. A new culture. A new language. How daunting must that be?
Join me in celebrating a ‘Big Night In’
Find out more about the wonderful work of Refugee Action and register for your own Big Night In by visiting their website today.