Lancaster based Syrian refugees create cookbook showcasing their food, families and culture

Four women from Lancaster are part of a group of 100 refugees across Lancashire who have spent one year creating a recipe book showcasing Syrian food, families and culture

By Nick Lakin
Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 11:20 am
Rima Al Rassas with her husband Fayez al Moteb with their two daughters.
Rima Al Rassas with her husband Fayez al Moteb with their two daughters.

Rima Al Rassas, Amina Al Hassan, Batoul Einja and Ibtisam Hadifeh developed the book with local artists, photographers and writers, including Lancaster-born film-maker Libby Burke Wilde.

Rima, 29, who arrived in Lancaster in 2017, and now works in Café Dolce, said: "We wanted to create this book as a way of giving something to the local people who have made us feel so welcome.

"When we have cooked food for our new friends and neighbours they have always asked us for our recipes, so we have decided to put all our favourite home-cooked recipes together for everyone to have.

Batoul Einja cooking Sambusak.

"I cannot wait to give this book to my friends."

As well as 60 recipes, the book includes memories from refugee families about life in Syria before the war.

Rebecca Joy Novell, Refugee Community Development Officer for Lancashire County Council said: "The aim of this project was not only to develop the skills and independence of refugee

women but to give the local community something fun and interactive to take home that could teach them about Syrian refugees."

Rima's qatayef - sweet cream pancakes

Batoul, 25, who is from the city of Idlib and arrived in Lancaster in 2017, said: "I participated in this book in order to inform people about my country’s culture.

"It was a really enjoyable project and I am proud of our team for what we have produced."

Following on from the book, Amina, 35, is working with The Global Village Café to deliver cooking masterclasses across Lancaster and Morecambe, to teach people how to make Syrian food.

These classes will hopefully be open to the public at the start of autumn, depending on social distancing restrictions.

The book's front cover.

"I am excited to teach others about meals from my beloved Syria," she said.

The book is called "A Taste Of Home: Home-cooked recipes from Syrian refugees living in the UK" and is available to buy now online.All money created from the book will be donated to charities which support the wellbeing of Syrian Refugees.

Ibtisam's Balouza - orange and cream dessert.
Amina Al Hassan with her husband Mohammad Al Ahmad and their four children.