Our first cultural exchange event took place in Leyland in September. It was a day full of vibrancy, food, chatting and fun. It brought together people from Syria, Libya, Lancashire, Egypt, Poland, Pakistan, Sudan and the Caribbean along with groups from The Princes Trust, The Base community centre, Age Concern, Disability Equality and Progress Futures. You could learn to sign, do arts and crafts or make models from balloons. There was food and drinks to taste, headdresses to try, henna art and hand massage. During the day we had entertainment from a young lady called Grace who sang and played the ukulele and a performance from The U3A UkeLeylanders, this all added to the fantastic party atmosphere.

It was a positive, friendly and welcoming event. Everyone who was there had an amazing day. Stallholders and visitors alike asked if we would be holding the event again in 2020 saying ‘this is the sort of event we need to bring communities together.’ So watch this space for information on Cultural Exchange 2020. If you, a friend or a local group would like to get involved in the future contact us on 03333 204555 or email community@progressgroup.org.uk

The following recipe was cooked by Abi Rasool, who was one of the stallholders at the event: Tangy chickpeas recipe Makes four small portions This is a very versatile meal, made with store cupboard ingredients for a day when you want to stay in and make a quick, simple, wholesome meal. You can use all the ingredients listed or pick and choose according to what you have available.


  • 1 tin chickpeas (400g) ½ onion – chopped roughly
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds A few curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste available from most Indian shops
  • 1 teaspoon gram flour or cornflour as a thickener
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil A handful of coriander leaves chopped up Garlic, salt, pepper and chili powder to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


Make a tamarind sauce by mixing the tamarind paste with 1 cup of hot water - move to one side until needed.

Add the mustard seeds to a heavybased pan and leave on a medium heat, moving around for a few minutes until you can smell the aroma of the seeds and they start to pop.

Move the pan from the heat and add the curry leaves, oil and chopped onion.

Leave the onions to sauté for a few minutes then add the spices, sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and garlic if using.

Braise the mixture until the aroma of the spices rises.

Add the chickpeas (drain the water first), salt, tamarind sauce and sugar.

Cover, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

Throw in the chopped coriander leaves and serve. This recipe has been sourced from www.aromatic-cookery.co.uk