The Chinese are lapping up Geordie cuisine from a new bilingual cookbook which is supporting blind and partially-sighted orphans in Shanghai.
Blyth ex-pats Dot and David Jenkinson are behind the best-seller which includes home-spun favourites like roast beef dinner, corned beef hash and sausage rolls.
Called Secrets from Dot’s Kitchen, its publication costs were met by David’s employers, Gateshead-based Sevcon, with sale proceeds going to the Shining Star orphanage.
Dot said: “We needed to find a way to maintain support for Shining Star and came up with the idea of a fundraising cookbook with a difference.
“It’s gone down well with both the ex-pats and the Chinese, and is raising money for a fantastic cause in the process.”
Dot was inspired to compile the cookbook after being touched by the plight of the children in an orphanage supported by Chinese church charity Mifan Mama.
Mifan Mama – which means rice mother – was set up by ex-pats Julie and Tony Martens in 2009 and now fundraises and supports a number of orphanages across China.
Last June Mifan Mama opened a home for blind and partially-sighed orphans called Shining Star in Shanghai.
Dot, a chef by trade, previously worked for the army and Newcastle University before emigrating to Shanghai with husband David and says one of the biggest frustrations in China is the lack of any decent cooking facilities.
She said: “Most kitchens only have a two-ring hob and a microwave. We purchased a small bench top oven and my challenge was to then try and produce popular UK, comfort food.
“One of the best things that foreigners like about it, apart from sampling the tastes of the UK, is its dual language.
“A lot of people have what the Chinese call an ‘ayi’ (housekeeper). The ayi will do most of the domestic chores including the cooking but normally do not have great understanding of English.”
David, a quality assurance engineer for Sevcon in China, said: “Julie, Dot and the Mifan Mama group decided help was needed for these children, and the idea hit the drawing board.
“Finally the vision was realised in June 2012, when the Shining Star residential foster home for blind and partially sighted orphans opened in suburban Shanghai.
“Whatever is in the child’s future, Shining Star aims to give them the best preparation possible through a personal development plan for each child.
“Early in the start-up of Shining Star, Dot made it clear that she would like to maintain ongoing support for the project and came up with the great cookbook suggestion.”
Julie added: “It was at this point that Sevcon stepped up again, and generously agreed to sponsor the costs of printing so all proceeds could go to the Shining Star.”
Sevcon has stepped in to help the Mifan Mama on a previous occasion by paying for the lifesaving treatment for a five-year-old child in a Chinese orphanage.
Julie added: “Several of the orphanage children were identified as having life-threatening conditions, and funds were raised for surgeries for them.
“Sevcon generously led the way with a generous donation to help with one of the children’s life-saving heart surgeries, the little girl is now in good health and living in a newly built orphanage facility run by the local government.”
Matt Boyle, president and chief executive of Sevcon, said: “We were delighted to help David and Dot in their efforts to support these youngsters.”
Dot and David are both in their 50s and left their Blyth home and moved to China four years ago. Their daughter still lives in Blyth.