Family cooking during half term activity session

Family cooking during half term activity session

Allenton Big Local continues to fund cookery courses delivered by Nacro Osmaston Family Project. The courses help parents to increase their knowledge of food and the health benefits of cooking simple meals that cost very little. The sessions increase parental confidence and healthy eating and encourage families to try new foods. The course also gives them the know-how to adapt recipes to suit their own family’s tastes.

At the end of the course each parent receives a booklet that has been put together with some of the recipes from the course and some handy tips on cooking and staying healthy.

During the half term activity session Nacro delivered the Allenton Big Local funded cookery course in a large room at Osmaston/Allenton Children’s centre. The room was split in half: in one side parents cooked spaghetti bolognaise and in the other half of the room children made fruit yoghurt pots. At the end of the session everyone sat together and enjoyed the food that they had prepared.

Here are a few of the comments from parents who attended the latest course:

“I learned to do my own sauce.” 

“Learning how to cook different recipes and socialising was really good.”

“It taught me how to cook from scratch rather than using jars.”

“I have really enjoyed cooking. Thank you for your support.” 

“The course has helped me to save money and also to cook healthy food that the kids will eat.”

And here’s the recipe they used to make spaghetti bolognaise:



  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g sliced mushrooms
  •  1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 300ml cold water
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 375g to 450g of dried spaghetti (depending on how hungry you are)
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat a large non-stick pan on the hob and add the mince, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, cook the ingredients on a medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the mince is no longer pink and the vegetables are beginning to brown.

2. Now add the mushrooms and cook in with the mince and other vegetables for a further 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the ingredients and stir in well. Next, add the tomatoes and tomato puree.

4. Crumble the stock cube into 300ml of cold water, stir and then pour into the pan.

5. Add the mixed herbs and the pepper and stir thoroughly until the ingredients begin to bubble. Reduce to a low heat and simmer the ingredients gently for a further 30 to 40 minutes, with the pan uncovered.

6. In another large saucepan, bring a panful of salted water to the boil. Once boiling, add the spaghetti to the water and push it down with a wooden spoon to separate the strands of pasta. Cook for the number of minutes recommended on the packet.

7. As the spaghetti cooks, turn up the heat under the Bolognese sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced and the sauce thickens. Make sure to stir regularly. Season with salt and pepper if required.

8. Once cooked, drain the spaghetti in a colander and divide it onto plates or bowls.

9. Spoon the Bolognese sauce onto the top of the spaghetti. To make this dish extra tasty, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top (sparingly) just before serving.

The children who made the fruit pots said:

“I thought the fruit pots were really yummy.”

“I had lots of fun chopping the fruit and then eating it.”

“I really liked the kiwi fruit. I’d never tried it before.”

“The fruit was nice put I don’t like that yogurt stuff.”

“It was really good fun. I want to do it again next time.”

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