Headway's Ethiopian Supper Club

Headway's Ethiopian Supper Club

Eat Hackney blogged about the wonderful work of Headway East London a few years back: you can read the post here. This day centre for people with acquired brain injuries remains a hub of artistic and culinary creativity. As well as physical therapy, the members (Headway's term for their service users) can garden, write, paint, chat and cook at the centre.

Headway's regular supper clubs are a steal at just £20 for a drink in the herb-filled garden by the canal, and a substantial meal inspired by one of their members. This time the inspiration came from Yoki, who is half Ethiopian, half Eritrean and comes to Headway two days a week. On the night Yoki was sadly ill and unable to attend, but kitchen coordinator Thomas and his team more than rose to the occasion, producing flavoursome spicy stews on a bed of tangy homemade injera, Ethiopian flat bread made with the tiny teff grain.

Readings by members from their new publication Matter highlighted the serious physical and mental issues facing brain injury sufferers, but the emphasis was on survival and enjoyment. A wonderful bonus was the menu, designed by Yoki and decorated with a colourful handprinted image of an African woman: something to treasure. Thanks for a lovely night Headway. 

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Kik wat

  • 250g yellow split peas
  • 1kg very finely minced (or food processed) onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • generous thumb of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder

Soak the yellow split peas in water overnight.

Fry the onion with a teaspoon or so of salt in a generous amount of olive oil for about half an hour, until cooked down and golden coloured.

Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a few more minutes. Add the turmeric and a teaspoon of salt. Wait three minutes and then throw in soaked split peas and a litre or so of water.

Cook until split peas are soft (about 40 minutes), adding more water as required.


  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • generous thumb of ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500g carrots, cut into chunky matchsticks
  • 300g green beans, topped and tailed

Fry the red onion with a teaspoon of salt in olive oil until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and cook off for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the turmeric. Throw in the carrots and fry for about five minutes before adding the green beans.

Cook until the beans are cooked through and the carrot is soft but still firm – about 10 minutes. You may need to add a touch of water to get to this stage.

Turmeric drink.jpg

Turmeric iced tea

Boil sliced ginger and fresh turmeric (about 5cm each) in a litre of water for a few minutes, then throw in a small bunch of mint and the juice of one lemon.

Add honey to taste and ice to cool.