The residents of two retirement housing schemes in Rochford have been cooking up a storm thanks to the slow-burning success of a cookery course.
The seated sessions have been causing a stir among participants, including one 104-year-old and others with limited mobility and dexterity.
The aim is to improve culinary skills and promote the importance of healthy eating in older age.
With fresh ingredients provided, the session-leader demonstrates how to prepare seasonal specials including homemade casseroles and stews.
Advice on meal planning, batch cooking and freezing is also on offer, to help reduce food waste and costs.
Residents return to their flats to switch on their slow cooker for up to six hours, using no more electricity than a light bulb, before serving up their delicious dishes.
One resident said: “I now see how easy it is to cook for two days in a row using the slow cooker. It’s more economical that way and I spend less time cooking.
“With winter coming I’m looking forward to using my cooker more.”
Clare Mitchell, community cookery leader at Radish Cookery, added: “An important aim of the course is to reduce the consumption of convenience and ready meals, which can contain a lot of salt and sugar.
“We highlight the use of seasonal produce and build confidence in cookery to help people to make healthy food choices.”
Sarah Alderton, health improvement officer at Rochford District Council, commented: “This fantastic initiative demonstrates how easy and enjoyable it is to produce healthy meals from scratch, with minimal preparation and washing up.
“It provides an opportunity for residents to try new recipes using different foods, helping them to achieve a varied, well-balanced diet.”
Chris Silvey, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “We hope this course will offer our residents a cost effective solution to meal times and provide an important opportunity for them to socialise.”
On completion of the course, participants keep the slow cooker they have been using and are given a booklet which includes easy recipes to follow and basic nutrition tips for older age.
For more information about Radish Cookery courses please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project is part-funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.