A TOP chef cooked up tasty and affordable meals after taking a leaf out of a new cookbook.
Dave Coulson, from Wingate, who made it through to the final of the BBC’s Masterchef competition, helped to launch the new East Durham Community Cookbook.
More than 50 volunteers contributed their favourite recipes in the project spearheaded by the East Durham Trust charity.
Users of six community centres and groups across East Durham worked on the project over the last five months, including Blackhall Community Centre, the Greenhills Centre in Wheatley Hill, and Shotton Community Centre.
Traditional recipes such as panacalty, Scotch broth and meat and dumplings, all feature in the book.
And working with the Cook for Life Health Improvement Team, they have been tweaked to be affordable and healthy.
Lindsey Wood, deputy manager of the East Durham Trust, said: “The team looked at reducing salt or using leaner cuts of meat and adding more vegetables to get your five a day.
“Our launch day has been really successful, there was not a free seat in the house.
“It has been really well received and the communities are pleased to have been involved.”
Dave cooked up spaghetti bolognese for just over a fiver with ingredients bought locally at the launch held at Blackhall Community Centre.
Certificates were also presented to cookbook participants.
Malcolm Fallow, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Research tells is that there is most certainly room to improve the diet of the local communities with an over-reliance on takeaway food and a general lack of awareness when it comes to cooking and food preparation.
“This project has tried to address this by sharing good practice and injecting some expert advice.
“There is no question that this initiative has led to improvements in local eating habits.
“I am also sure that those involved had a lot of fun in the process.”
The cookbook is available from the East Durham Trust, in Peterlee, and also through the community centres involved.
Malcolm also presented the findings of a research project, led by the trust, into how communities can play their part in helping to improve their diet.