‘My confidence was really low and I hadn’t cooked for a long time’ Nina’s diet consisted of tinned fish, oatcakes and eggs. ‘I was in a cycle of not cooking and not eating well.’ Suffering from ill health, Nina has days when she doesn’t have the strength to cook, but the course has helped because she now has a selection of dishes she can ace, and knows how to pace herself, chopping onions (the Bags of Taste way) sitting down, and sometimes taking a break before moving on to complete a recipe.
‘I had no idea chopped onions could be frozen,’ she admits.
Her appetite is small but with the recipes providing two generous portions (for around £1) she knows that once she’s cooked, she has at least two more servings to store in the fridge or freezer for another day. ‘I realised through cooking how nourishing it is to have home cooked meals.’ Not only that, Nina calculates she’s saving £20 a week cooking for herself now.
Also, a good hot meal helps give her energy. Having the free bag of ingredients at the start of the course, with enough for more than six meals got Nina into the habit of cooking.
‘I had no idea how to chop an onion,’ she confessed. Her blunt knife didn’t help. ‘I’d never sharpened it before,’ she admits, but using the knife sharpener it now cuts through the toughest tomatoes: ‘it makes such a difference.’
And following the recipes brought unexpected results. Cooking the onions slowly to bring out the sweetness for the pasta sauce was a surprise: ‘I always thought onions were bitter.’
A couple of weeks after the course had finished she’d already cooked the ragu three times, becoming even more confident. Having never cooked pasta sauce before she now wouldn’t go back to buying a jar. Nina also appreciated the fact that the dishes are mostly one pot wonders. ‘Now I can see how people find cooking relaxing.’
After her success with the three recipes provided, Nina was keen to cook more. Her first follow on dish was sag aloo with a tin of potatoes she had to hand.
Nina appreciated the great value the recipes represent. ‘The course, made me realise what you can make with the £4 you would spend on a ready meal.’ The shopping guide, too, was a bonus.
‘I appreciated the support and encouragement in the group. The course has changed my life. I can confidently say I can cook now, when I didn’t before.’