Online Fundraising

Our cooks and their recipes

Our generous cooks, who received protection here in Australia, have gifted their personal recipes for you to prepare. However, if you would like to alter the recipes or develop your own menu based on your own family’s background, you are welcome to do so.

Salwa & Mohammed

Salwa and Mohammed share their delicious Syrian recipes for you to enjoy.

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Uyen

Uyen welcomes you to enjoy Vietnamese recipes handed down from her mum.

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Ahmad

Ahmad invites you to re-create his Mesopotamian dishes from one of the oldest civilizations on earth.

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Salwa & Mohammed

“We are very happy when we cook. Good luck for all the people who are going to enjoy our traditional food.”


- Salwa & Mohammed

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See Salwa & Mohammed’s video

When we were in our lovely country, we used to think that we were the luckiest, happiest couple in the world. But the sweet honey became bitter, when the fiery, dirty war caught up in our dearest homeland. To save our lives, we found ourselves uprooted violently and harshly from our paradise and thrown far far away outside of our homeland leaving and losing everything: family, friends, all our belongings. Our business, our home and the orchard we cherished has been destroyed, it no longer stands.

We have been here in Australia for about four years, enjoying safety and peace, feeling the highest level of friendship and brotherhood with the Australian people. Now we can say and confirm that we are starting to restore our humanity: our character, recover our smiles, starting a new life with good, faithful friends, and a generous country.

We are here in Australia, enjoying our free will and freedom, as welcome guests receiving support and help that this generous country welcomes us, and the citizens here open their heart to us.

We are happy for you to cook dishes that are special to us. Please share with your family and friends and celebrate the freedom we can have in Australia.

Salwa and Mohammed

Uyen

“Some people say the pho is hard to cook but I think everybody can cook it at home.”


- Uyen

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See Uyen’s video

Hi everyone my name is Uyen, some people say Uyen very hard to say so they just say “Winnie”.

I come from Vietnam. Back in my home country, I would cook for all of my family, friends, church mates and many new friends. We would share in many things, joys and life’s tensions.

I came her 20 years ago. I am very happy here. I love Australia. Australia give a lot to us. We have got freedom and can do anything within the law because here we are human beings. In Vietnam a lot things are strict in the country. I escaped my country in 1993. We didn’t have any free religion, human rights and life.

So when I come here I think I am very lucky because around me a lot of people are very nice, they help everybody, they look after everyone. Even when we don’t know each other.

In Australia, it was hard to make a beginning. My application for protection was rejected but the ASRC lawyers helped me and after two years I got a refugee visa and working rights and started my life again.

Now I volunteer with the ASRC in the Foodbank twice a week and want to help all people. A lot of people seeking asylum don’t have anything. It’s very hard for them, like it was for me, when they aren’t allowed to work.

Every time when we cook, Vietnamese people love to cook pho because we love when people come to the house to eat something. My family love to eat pho for the weekend during the busy days to sit down together and talk.

Some people say the pho is hard to cook but I think everybody can cook it at home.

I am glad to share with you my family recipes because sharing food is one of my interests and this recipe is from my mum.

Thank you for supporting my new family, the ASRC. May you have your meal with happiness,loveliness and health.

Uyen

Ahmad

“All of the dishes I am offering remind me of my childhood, where I grew up in Iran near a lake where my mum’s family have lived for millennia.”


- Ahmad

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See Ahmad’s video, recounting fond memories of home.

The Mesopotamian civilization is one of the world’s earliest civilizations. I am very proud of my Mesopotamian culture and want to share our special, delicious food with you. All of the dishes I am offering remind me of my childhood, where I grew up in Iran near a lake where my mum’s family have lived for millennia.

As a child, we ate a lot of fresh fish, caught by my mum using a small net. The only kind of sweet treat I had when I was a young child was Mesopotamian Date Balls which I encourage you to make. My father grew four date trees on our property, taking much care to look after them. They were such a delight.

The eggplant dish reminds me of working on my uncle’s farm as a young boy, harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons. At lunchtime my Aunty would visit us and pan-fry slices of eggplant and tomato over coals to eat with freshly made flatbread. It was the best tasting food to enjoy out in the fields.

Sadly, in 2006 I had to flee from Iran into Syria as we were being persecuted for being part of the Arab Ahwaz minority ethnic group, persecution which continues in Iran today.

In Syria the UNHCR and Australian officials granted me refugee status. However, after a year of no further news from Australia, we started to worry. Our situation worsened when the Syrian government started working with Iranian officials to send us back. Scared of being forced to return, a friend and I paid a bus driver to take us to Amman, Jordan.

At the border we had to hide under the bus, supporting our body weight for an hour as we waited for guards to let the bus through.

At the Australian Embassy in Amman they checked our story and papers while outside Jordanian security guards waited for us. Despite having Australian visas ready to go, we had to be questioned by those guards. We expected this to take an hour.

We were blindfolded, taken away and questioned endlessly for 10 days. My friend and I were once again blindfolded, handcuffed and put in a car, unsure of where we were going. Finally the car stopped. I couldn’t believe it when I opened my eyes. We were at Queen Alia airport where we were handed over to a UNHCR official to go to Adelaide, Australia.

It was such an amazing feeling when I finally saw Australia from the window of the plane. Everything seemed so organized, clean and green. I started studying English and worked as a kitchen hand at the Adelaide Convention Centre for 4 years.

One day, sitting on a street bench, I met the woman who would become my wife. She encouraged me to study at the University of South Australia where I graduated with Honours in Australian Foreign Policy. Since then, we have lived in Brisbane and Melbourne and now we have a beautiful young son that I love to cook with.

My wife is helping me record all of the Mesopotamian dishes that I can recall so we can one day publish a book about the food that is so important to me. Being a part of Feast 4 Freedom is a great honour and I am so happy to share these dishes and my story with you. Thank you for your support.