For their “Spice of Life” event, we worked with MHA to develop Indian and Jamaican-inspired dishes to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of their residents. Here we’ve shared the experience of the day as well as the recipes – we hope it inspires you.
A care home may not seem the natural place for the festive pageantry and intense flavours of India and Jamaica. Yet at MHA’s ‘Spice of Life’ event, their Herondale home in Birmingham was transformed with Bhangra dancers, aromatic spices and the trill of steel drums. Birmingham has a multi-ethnic make-up and now many of its older people reflect this. For these residents, traditional care home fare can be a huge change in diet. For MHA Chef Coach Peter Liptak, this creates both an obligation and an opportunity.
“Why not cook the dishes they’ve had at home or back in their home country?” Peter asks, talking outside the home on the day of the event.
The new dishes have also been a pleasure to try for residents from outside those communities. Peter’s ‘flavour layering’ approach is perfect for the older palate, livening up the dishes with seasoning beyond salt and pepper, including fresh herbs, citrus and spices. Menu design was both challenging and intriguing, with Peter working with residents’ families to reinterpret the food and flavours they enjoy, as well as with Unilever to create workable recipes for his chefs.
With multiple busy chef teams across many homes, he knew he had to simplify some of the dishes noting, “Where an original dish would have 20 ingredients, we’ve managed to cut it down to 10.”
Peter therefore employed Knorr pastes and bouillons to deliver the rich flavours of homemade curries “without sacrificing the taste or quality.”The residents couldn’t have responded better, with dancing to the drums, cleared plates and some asking for seconds and thirds.
You can recreate the dishes we developed with MHA in your care home. You’ll find recipes for two of the main dishes plus the three desserts served on the right hand side.