Manchester Action on Street Health (M.A.S.H) is a fantastic charity that provide free and confidential support for woman who sex work in Greater Manchester. They promote personal safety whist offering choice, support and empowerment to individuals. As they are a charity they rely heavily on volunteers in supporting the woman on all levels.
A good friend of mine Felicity has been volunteering with the charity for over a year and has been assigned as a Healthy Living Support Worker. She has been wanting to provide nutritious meals for the woman at the centre as she believes, as I do, that eating well is a big part of good health. When Felicity told me about the centre I was very keen to go down and lend a hand.
Good food can warm the soul and I wanted to help so last week I had to great pleasure of heading down to M.A.S.H in the city centre to do some cooking. I wanted to make something that had lots of goodness in it, was comfort food and was filling. For some of the ladies this is their only decent meal.
I decided to make Chicken Tortellini broth, this is a brilliant winter warmer on a drizzly grey day in Manchester and has so much goodness with all the peas,carrots and spinach. I have scaled down the recipe for the blog ( this serves 4)
Unfortunalty for security reasons I could not be there to serve the food for the woman, but a reliable source (Felicity) told me that it went down very well. She said she “had never seen so many smiles on so many face” Great Soul Food.
The centre has a wonderful, vibrant, safe feel to it. There is a light and spacious communal area for everyone to use with an open plan kitchen. There are cabinets with beautiful hand made jewellery in, art work covers the walls and one wall of the kitchen is covered with individually designed tiles. All of these have been created by the ladies who use the centre, helping to give them focus and empowerment. This could not be done without the help of the volunteers and the donations recieved. Please take a little time to check out their website and donate.
They are a great charity doing great things for some of the most vulnerable ladies on the streets.
Chicken and Tortellini Broth
1 Whole Chicken
1 White Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
150g Frozen Peas
2 Sticks Celery
250g Tortellini (which ever flavour you prefer)
1 Big bunch fresh Parsley
1 tsp Thyme
Pesto – 2 big tablespoons
Fry the onions and celery in a little oil in a large soup pot, on medium heat for five minutes until soft.
Add whole chicken, garlic, thyme and stock (enough to cover the chicken.
Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked
Take the chicken out of the stock and remove the flesh from the bone. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Whlst you are shredding the chicken, add the carrots to the stock and bring back to the boil
Add the peas, lemon juice, tortellini pasta and chicken to the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 4 -5 minutes until pasta is cooked, ensuring the chicken is piping hot and pasta is cooked
Add the spinach, pesto and fresh parsley and bring back to the boil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with generous amounts of parmesan cheese