By Jacklin Kwan
A GROUP of Saddleworth friends hope to serve up some much-needed funds for the hospitality sector thanks to their lockdown-inspired cookbook.
Chris and Amanda Moat, along with four close friends, have written ‘QuaranDine With Us’ to share their recipes as well as donate money to charity Hospitality Action.
During the pandemic, the friends decided to embrace the situation so rather than see the lockdowns as a barrier to socialising, they used it as a catalyst to dine together via Zoom.
Chris explained: “Every few weeks we would take it in turns to pick a recipe for a given course.
“The recipes were shared across the group and we cooked each other’s choices, creating wonderful three-course meals.”
Their journey has been captured in their book, with recipes ranging from Spanish paella to Australian pavlova – offering an international culinary experience despite current travel limitations.
The recipes are simple but exceedingly tasty, and best of all they can be used for any dinner party – lockdown or not.
Chris revealed that the couple’s favourite recipe is bhel puri, an Indian savoury snack made from crisp puffed rice, vegetables and tangy tamarind sauce.
“I think we could have all just eaten mounds of this,” he said. “It’s quite simple to make and incredibly tasty.”
Proceeds from the book will go to Hospitality Action, a charity devoted to help businesses in the sector that have been impacted by Covid-19.
The group chose to support the charity as they love socialising. Amanda and Chris say they often go to restaurants and attempt to recreate dishes at home.
And although they do not come from a professional culinary background, their experience running local craft distillery Kin Spirits gives them great insights into how herbs, spices and other flavours react in combination and under heat.
The book also includes jokes and laughter, conveying the group’s efforts to keep their sense of humour during lockdown.
Amanda said: “Most of the preparation can be done ahead of the meal, with the emphasis on quickly serving so we can put the focus on enjoying each other’s company.
“This book captures the moments and the recipes – hugs were virtual but banter and friendships are as real as they come.
“Socialising with friends over Zoom has been great but we also want to make a contribution to the hospitality sector so it can return in the best shape possible.
“Sharing our recipes and fun-loving banter was the obvious thing to do with all royalties going to Hospitality Action.”
Readers can buy the book from Amazon where it is available in electronic format for £1.50 or in paperback for £15.
They can also donate directly at www.hospitalityaction.org.uk