New charity recipe book celebrates the special dishes of Lancaster people coping with cancer and bereavement

Food lovers can broaden their culinary horizons with a new charity cookbook packed with recipes that evoke special memories for local people affected by cancer and bereavement.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 3:45 pm
Irini Tzortzoglou with the Masterchef trophy.

Next month, CancerCare will publish Extra Helpings, a 200-page collection of recipes contributed by the charity’s clients, staff and volunteers and which have a unique significance to them, whether the favourite of a loved one or a comfort food that helped them during a particularly tough time

The project is being supported by the 2019 winner of the BBC MasterChef programme Irini Tzortzoglou, who has written the foreword and contributed several recipes to the book.

She is also hosting a launch event at Leighton Hall near Carnforth next month, where she will give a talk about her career in food and experiences on MasterChef.

The Extra Helpings book in aid of CancerCare.

Irini, who lives in Cartmel near Grange-over-Sands, said: “I feel so honoured to have been asked to contribute to this book. Cancer touches so many of us and our loved ones and CancerCare does wonderful work in so many different areas and deserves our gratitude, help and support.

"By buying the book you can help support thousands of people across our area who have been left devastated by a cancer diagnosis or grief.”  

Extra Helpings features a broad range of dishes and one of the contributors is Kath Jones from Bolton-le-Sands who submitted a recipe for Bakewell Tart, which was her dad Leslie’s favourite dessert.

Kath’s family were supported by CancerCare when Leslie was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct and following his death in March 2020.

Sarah Drake's lemon drizzle cake.

Leslie, his wife Jan, Kath and her brother Dave all received counselling to help them cope with what was a very difficult time for them as a family, and Kath said talking therapy helped them all immensely during last year’s covid lockdown.

Kath said: “Living with someone you love so dearly and knowing they are going to become very poorly and lose their life is extremely scary, overwhelming and it changes your life in every way.

"Having the help of the wonderful counsellors and volunteers to help families during this time is invaluable. We are so very grateful for the support they gave us to help us all through it.”

Another contributor is Sarah Drake, CancerCare’s Development and Engagement Officer, who also received therapy at the charity when she underwent treatment for breast cancer several years ago.

A Caribbean lamb and rice recipe from the book.

“In the weeks after my surgery and during six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, I needed a distraction, and at the suggestion of my oncology nurse, my husband Simon bought me a cake mixer which was to become my ‘chemo carrot’, a treat for after each session of chemo," she said.

"So I baked, and baked, for my friends, family and my oncology and breast unit team. I loved making them treats to tell them how much I was thankful to them."

The charity’s fundraising efforts have been hit by the pandemic and many of the mass participation events it relies on to bring in the money it needs were cancelled over the last 18 months.

CancerCare Chief Executive Alison Stainthorpe said: “We are immensely proud of the book and it is wonderful example of how creative we have had to be to bring in the money we need to keep the charity going.

Irini Tzortzoglou.

"It costs around £142,000 each month to support people coping with cancer and bereavement from our centres in Lancaster, Morecambe, Kendal and Barrow.

“Putting it together has been a fantastic community effort not just from our staff and clients but also local businesses such as the team at Bakehouse Born and Bread in Ulverston who used their expert skills to cook and photograph many of the dishes to give the book a really professional look.”

Tickets for the launch event at Leighton Hall on October 24 are on sale now and the ticket price includes a signed copy of the book. Click here for details.

A cottage pie recipe from the book.
Beef Bourguignon features in the book.