By: Hana Kotb
As her first solo project as a member of the Royal family, the Duchess of Sussex is creating a charity cookbook to help the community affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Duchess has been quietly visiting the Hubb Community Kitchen since January, praising the benefits of women cooking together and sharing her own fond memories of family meals. She’s been working on this project for months.
The cookbook includes over 50 recipes from women affected by the Grenfell fire, and it is aimed on raising £250,000 to not only keep the kitchen open full time buy to encouraging others to find solace in “the universal need to connect, nurture, and commune through food” as well. It will be launched by the Duchess at Kensington Palace on tomorrow on Thursday, September 20, where guests including her husband will gather to eat food from the women of Hubb, Arabic for “love”.
This project marks a new phase for the Royal Foundation, which has added “women and girls” to its list of key campaigning areas. The Duchess had visited the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in January, seven months after watching the Grenfell disaster unfold on television, and when she asked how she could help, she immediately found herself wrapped in an apron and washing rice for lunch. This communal kitchen was founded in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire to allow women without their own kitchens to prepare fresh food for their families, friends and neighbours.
In a foreword, the duchess stated, “Melding cultural identities under a shared roof, it creates a space to feel a sense of normalcy – in its simplest form, the universal need to connect, nurture, and commune through food, through crisis or joy – something we can all relate to. Through this charitable endeavour, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive.”
Describing her cookbook, the Duchess said, “This cookbook is a celebration of life, community and the impact of coming together.Our hope is that within these pages you will find new recipes and family favourites that you can enjoy in your own homes, because these recipes aren’t simply meals; they are stories of family, love, of survival and of connection.
“From a Thanksgiving supper to a Shabbat dinner or a Sunday roast, the meals that bring us together are the meals that allow us to grow, to listen, to engage and to be present.
“We invite you to do the same, together, in your home, communities and beyond.”
Here’s one of our favorite recipes from the cookbook!
AYSHA BORA’S Kuku Paka
(Coconut Chicken Curry)
-1 large chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, excess skin trimmed away
-1 large ripe tomato roughly chopped
-1 onion, quartered
-15g fresh root ginger, peeled
-4 garlic cloves, peeled
-6 serrano chillies, stems removed and de-seeded (use fewer if you prefer milder curries)
-2 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp ground turmeric
-2 tbsp coconut oil
-2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
-3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and halved
-juice of ½ lemon
-salt and pepper
-10g fresh coriander chopped, to garnish
-Rice, chapatis or flatbreads, to serve
- Score each piece of the chicken in two or three places, slicing about1cm into the meat.
- Put the tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric and some salt and pepper into a food processor and blend to a rough paste.
- Rub one third of the paste all over the chicken,into the cuts and under the skin; reserve the rest of the mixture.
- Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours.
- Preheat the grill to the highest setting, and line a large baking tin with foil.
- In a large pan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat; add the remaining paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until all of the moisture evaporates.
- Increase the heat slightly and cook for 3–5 minutes until the paste is thick and dark.
- Add the coconut milk and simmer for 25–30 minutes until the sauce is thick.
- Meanwhile, put the marinated chicken, skin side up, in the lined baking tin and grill for 15 minutes, until well coloured and charred, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5 minutes to make sure it is cooked through.
- Stir the chicken and any juices into the curry pan, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes until the flavours have combined.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the boiled eggs and the lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with rice, chapatis or flatbreads.