Tag Archive: 2017

29-year-old junior doctor declared MasterChef 2017 Champion

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“I’m from a big Pakistani family and we use food as a way of bringing everyone together.”

To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. This is most definitely the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life!Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed

Twenty-nine-year-old doctor, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, has become the MasterChef 2017 Champion, it was announced today, becoming the thirteenth amateur cook to claim the title.

Facing off competition from 63 other determined contestants, through seven gruelling weeks of culinary challenges and an exhilarating final cook-off, Saliha was awarded the MasterChef 2017 trophy by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

On her win, Saliha says: “I feel amazing right now, I can’t actually believe that this is true. I’m so happy that my cheekbones are hurting and I’m probably going to have a paracetamol for smile-induced fatigue!

“I’m a scientist, I’m not an artist, and this is pure creativity. To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. This is most definitely the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life!”

The emotional judges congratulated Saliha her on her win.

John Torode says: “Saliha is a class act. She’s walked in here and taken her food culture apart and put it back together in a modern and very exciting way. She always does something a little bit extra - something which always surprises us.”

On her winning menu, he said: “Those dishes sparkled. They were clean, crisp, refined and beautiful.”

Gregg Wallace says: “It’s East meets West and it is stunningly good.”

Speaking about the final and Saliha’s journey, Gregg says: “What an incredible cook and an incredible person. Saliha’s flavours were always outstanding, but when she translated those flavours into modern presentation there was no stopping her. Her food is simply stunning - beautiful art on a plate.”

Saliha fought her way from 64 amateur cooks through to the final week and, along with the other outstanding finalists, Steve Kielty (40) and Giovanna Ryan (29), was pushed to show the judges the skills, creative flair and perseverance needed to succeed at the highest level in the fierce final challenges.

In a punishing final week, MasterChef fans have seen Saliha cook for the American Ambassador under one of Britain’s best chef’s, Paul Ainsworth; embark on a culinary adventure to South Africa and take on three exceptional challenges - firstly mentored by one of South Africa’s most celebrated Reuben Riffel, then under British-born Luke Dale Roberts at the world-renowned The Test Kitchen restaurant and finally cooking for leading figures in Cape Town’s cultural and food community; and in the penultimate programme, cook for The Chef’s Table, overseen by one of the country’s most creative chefs, the two-Michelin starred, Sat Baines.

The final task was to prepare a three-course meal for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Saliha’s winning menu started with a Venison shami kebab with cashew and coriander green chutney, chana daal and a kachumbar salad - in memory of her grandmother’s house in Pakistan. Saliha’s main course was a Kashmiri style sous-vide duck breast, with crispy duck skin, freekeh wheatgrain, spiced with dried barberries, walnuts and coriander, a cherry chutney and a duck and cherry sauce. The final dish in Saliha’s menu was a Saffron rosewater and cardamom pannacotta, served with a deconstructed baklava (inspired by her childhood love of baklava), including candied pistachios, pistachio honeycomb, filo pastry shards and kumquats.

Saliha started cooking at a young age, influenced by her family, and also encouraged by her teacher. She explains: “I’m from a big Pakistani family and we use food as a way of bringing everyone together. I had very passionate grandmothers who cooked traditional Pakistani food and my mum is also an excellent cook. We love to feed people – it runs in our genes’’.

“I discovered my love for cooking in food technology lessons in year 7 at school. Then when I was 15, my Food Tech teacher entered me into the School Chef of the Year competition and I won it.”

On her reasons for entering MasterChef, Saliha says: “I’ve always seen food as a serious hobby but being a doctor means I don’t always have the time to fully engage in it. I entered the competition to challenge myself, and see what I was capable of.”

At the end of the competition, she looks back on her MasterChef experience: “Cooking for John and Gregg was a pleasure and a privilege and what I’ve taken from MasterChef has allowed me to take so much more confidence for the future.”

Saliha is a junior doctor, training to specialise in Gastroenterology. On balancing her job with her time on MasterChef, she explains: “I have a lot of support from my wonderful husband and family, who gave me the strength and encouragement to go through this incredible experience.

“I have great work colleagues, who swapped on-call shifts with me so I could attend the filming days. I feel like winning MasterChef was a team effort for us. It involved a lot of hard work and early starts - late nights cooking after 13-hour-long shifts, no holidays, no breaks, no sleep - but it was well worth it!”

Saliha talks about her personal influences in cooking: “My passions include Pakistani food, Kashmiri cuisine, Persian and middle-eastern food and Mughal cooking. Tarla Dalal, Nigella Lawson, Cyrus Todiwala, Sabrina Ghayour, Atul Kochar and Greg Malouf have been my inspiration over the years. My most treasured cookbook - Rani, A Legacy of Recipes and Fables, given to me by my granddad.”

On her future plans, Saliha says: “My dream is to continue working as a doctor – and also to combine it with my other passion – food.

“I’m specialising in Gastroenterology and to be able to help patients through medicine and my food knowledge would be incredible.

‘I’d love to write cookbooks in my own style, as well as healthy eating cookbooks. I’d hope to be able to help drive the country towards healthier meals - and work on national campaigns to tackle obesity, particularly in children.”

Saliha grew up in Ickenham, Middlesex, and now lives in Watford with her husband, Dr. Usman Ahmed, and their two-year-old son, Aashir Ahmed.

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YOUR VOTE COUNTS! Get registered to vote for the General Elections

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Deadline to register to vote is 22nd May


People who plan to vote in next month’s General Election need to ensure they are registered to vote, if they are not already registered.

To register, people just need their date of birth and National Insurance Number. They can do this online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or they can contact their local Electoral Services.

The General Elections have been set for 8th June, when everyone has their chance to vote. But only those who are registered will receive a polling card and be eligible to vote. This needs to be done by Monday, 22nd May.

Being on the electoral register not only enables residents to vote in elections or referendums, but can also have a positive impact on individual’s credit ratings. When people apply for things like insurance, mobile phones or energy contracts, credit agencies check their address against the Electoral Register.

Not registering to vote, being registered to vote at an old address, or adding the wrong details on the electoral roll can mean people find it difficult to get insurance, loans or mortgages, access legal and accountancy services, open savings accounts or get a passport.

The Electoral Register can also affect applications for certain jobs, such as those within financial services.

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One million roadside fans watch epic 2017 Tour de Yorkshire finale

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A record one million fans turned out to watch the epic finale to the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire which saw Serge Pauwels claim the stage and overall victory.

Not since the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ has Yorkshire experienced such a huge figure on a single day of racing, and that bumper crowd on Sunday helped ensure the third edition was officially the biggest one yet with overall attendances rising from 2 million to 2.2 million year on year.

Entire communities turned out on the roadside to witness the peloton pass though as they traversed the 194.5km route from Bradford to Fox Valley, Sheffield.

Each of the day’s eight categorised climbs were also packed with masses of cheering, colourful and enthusiastic fans. The parcours was also lined with incredible, eye-catching land art as pictures of Yorkshire were beamed to a record 180 countries globally.

Spectators were treated to exciting action as well with Pauwels breaking clear on the tough concluding loop and he was joined by Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile before the race concluded in Stocksbridge.

The duo then pressed home their advantage with Pauwels leading Fraile over the finish line to seal the biggest victory of his career and a 1-2 for his team who also topped the Doncaster Sheffield Airport and FlyBe Team Classification. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Énergie) rounded out the podium six seconds later.

Those same three riders also claimed the top three positions on the General Classification with Pauwels taking the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire. Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won the Yorkshire Bank Points Classification, Dutchman Pieter Weening (Roompot–Nederlandse Loterij) sealed the Virgin Trains King of the Mountain prize, and fans on Twitter voted Dexter Gardias (Bike Channel Canyon) the Most Aggressive Rider sponsored by Dimension Data.

After the stage Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity was glowing as he reflected on another hugely successful Tour, and reserved special praise for the tremendous Yorkshire public who made 2017 another record-breaking year.

He said: “The last three days have been utterly unforgettable. I realise I keep saying it, but I could not be prouder of this great county we call home. One million roadside fans on a single day is a truly phenomenal figure and there are barely any week-long races in the sport that can command 2.2 million spectators, let alone a three-day event like ours.

“When I drove the route today there were smiling faces everywhere I looked and ‘The Yorkshire Terrier’ more than lived up to its billing as a stage to remember.

“I’d like to congratulate Serge on a hard-fought victory, and thank all the riders, partners and public who made this the best edition of the Tour de Yorkshire yet.”

Stage and race winner Serge Pauwels said: “I’ve cycled all around the world and my favourite three crowds are for the Classics in Belgium, those in the Basque Country, and here in Yorkshire.

“The support today was incredible. Over the winter my team wanted me to take part in the Tour de Romandie to warm up for the Tour de France but I said no, I want to do the Tour of Yorkshire.

"I can’t believe I’ve won here. This is my first professional victory and I am a little surprised with myself because usually I prefer longer climbs. Today’s stage lent itself to a really explosive rider and there were no moments of respite.

“Today’s stage was comparable to Liège-Bastogne-Liège but with perhaps even more people on the roadside.”

 


 

Brief Stage Result

1 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 4:57:47

2 Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data

3 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:06

4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team

5 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:08

6 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin

7 Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis

8 Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport

9 Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb

10 Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:23

 


 

Final Standings

1 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 11:53:04

2 Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data 0:00:06

3 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:07

4 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:18

5 Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis 0:00:20

6 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin

7 Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport

8 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky

9 Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb

10 Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:35

 


 

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Sikh New Year celebrated with vibrancy: Thousands turn out for Bradford’s annual Vaisakhi parade

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PANJ PYARE: The 'Five Beloved' of Sikh history - is symbolised here by five members of the modern Khalsa as they lead the procession (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi

PANJ PYARE: The 'Five Beloved' of Sikh history - is symbolised here by five members of the modern Khalsa as they lead the procession (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi

Hundreds of thousands of Sikhs across Britain celebrated Vaisakhi over the Easter weekend and marked the day with impressive holy parades throughout the country.

The annual festival is one of the most sacred days in the Sikh calendar and marks the creation of the Khalsa - the Sikh order into which all followers are baptised or initiated, something which is held dearly to the 300 million Sikhs worldwide.

In Bradford on Saturday 15th April, thousands turned out as per their annual commitment to put on a spectacular display of colour and pride to rejoice the Sikh new year from Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara. The procession takes a number of hours merging with people from other temples in the city as it goes along.

Dressed in orange, worshippers made their way through Bradford to celebrate the harvest festival, which traditionally begins with tea and traditional Asian breakfast of chickpeas, chapattis, samosas and Karah-prashad.

SIKH PRIDE: For Sikhs, Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community and belonging. Here the Nishan Sahib is cleaned by Jeet Kalsi and other members of the congregation (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi)

SIKH PRIDE: For Sikhs, Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community and belonging. Here the Nishan Sahib is cleaned by Jeet Kalsi and other members of the congregation (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi)

Jag Kalsi explains: “After breakfast, the congregation sits in the Diwan hall for prayers following which we prepare for the parade.

“If you’re not familiar with the parade, all the temples get together in Bradford and we walk from temple to temple, which takes around four hours. It’s quite an extensive walk.

“We prepared the outside area for the massive parade. Local businesses donate food, snacks, drinks and crisps for people to enjoy and get refuelled.

“The parade is a much-enjoyed spectacle for people of all faiths and we always have lovely comments from non-Sikh people. It’s always such a fantastic feeling being part of such a vibrant festival.”

COMMITTED: Crowds of Sikhs walked for up to four hours from temple to temple (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi)

COMMITTED: Crowds of Sikhs walked for up to four hours from temple to temple (Photo credit: Jag Kalsi)


The Five Ks

The Five Ks are the articles of faith that Sikhs wear as ordered by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Most Sikhs wear one or more of the articles but only Sikhs who have taken amrit - a ritual analogous to baptism, wear all. They include:

  • Kesh - Ushorn long hair, which is protected by a dastaar, or turban. The dastaar is worn by men and some women to cover their long hair. But most women keep their hair long and uncovered, except for when entering a gurdwara
  • Kangha - a small wooden comb meant to keep the hair combed twice a day
  • Kara - an iron bangle to be worn on the hand used most
  • Kachera - a specific undergarment for men and women
  • Kirpan - a short dagger

 

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12-sided spectacular: New pound coin for a New Year!

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HOLOGRAPHIC WONDER: The new pound coin will be impossible to counterfeit thanks to cutting-edge technology

HOLOGRAPHIC WONDER: The new pound coin will be impossible to counterfeit thanks to cutting-edge technology

The current £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over 30 years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters.

Approximately one in thirty £1 coins in circulation is a fake and that is why the Royal Mint are introducing a new, highly secure coin on 28th March this year, to reduce the costs of counterfeits to businesses and the taxpayer.

The new pound coin will be the most secure coin in the world as it has a number of features that make it much more difficult to counterfeit.

Following the introduction of the coin, there will be a six month period when the current £1 coin and the new £1 coin are in circulation at the same time.  The current £1 coin will be demonetised on 15th October 2017.

For starters, it will have 12 sides, making it a distinctive shape that is instantly recognisable, even by touch.

The coin will be ‘bimetallic’ i.e. made of two metals. The outer ring will be gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring will be silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).

When the coin is seen from different angles, it will display an image like a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’. Micro-lettering, milled edges and a hidden high security feature will also be built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.

The coin’s design reflects the United Kingdom’s heritage and superb craftsmanship. Made by The Royal Mint – the coin will be produced using cutting-edge technology, developed in South Wales.

Featuring a new design that shows the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet, it was created by David Pearce who won a public design competition at the age of 15.

The fifth coinage portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, designed by Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, will also feature on the coin.

If you have any further queries please email: newonepoundcoin@royalmint.com

 

Important dates

 


October 2016 to 27 March 2017

Preparing for the new £1 coin

 

  • Check whether you operate equipment that handles the £1 coin.
  • Contact your equipment supplier to find out if you need adaptations or replacements and by when.
  • Make the changes to your coin handling equipment.
  • Train your staff on the features of the new £1 coin.
  • Consider any changes to your cash handling processes e.g. counting, storing and banking during the co-circulation period.

 

28 March to 15 October 2017

Co-circulation period

 

  • You can accept both coins from your customers.
  • Your equipment may be able to accept or dispense both £1 coins or just one. Please check with your equipment suppliers.
  • You will need to tell your customers which coins your equipment can accept.
  • You should make arrangements with your bank or cash in transit (CIT) provider to return the current £1 coin and new £1 coin in separate packaging.

 

16 October 2017 onwards

Demonetisation

 

  • All your coin handling equipment should be able to accept the new £1 coin.
  • You are under no obligation to accept the round £1 coin from your customers and you should not distribute the round £1 coin.
  • The round £1 coin can continue to be deposited into a customer’s account at most high street banks and the Post Office.*

 

*check with your bank for more details, including deposit limits.

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Welcome to Twenty Sevenclean: Seasonal spritz brings out the best of the community

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BRIGHTENING THE STREETS: The Hi-Vis army were seen across Huddersfield, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster

BRIGHTENING THE STREETS: The Hi-Vis army were seen across Huddersfield, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster

It may have been a wet and windy start to the New Year yet that did not deter a host of young volunteers hitting the streets on 1st January for a huge community clean-up.

Youth from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) pounded the pavements across Yorkshire as part of the ‘Big Street Clean’ project.

Armed with brooms, bin bags and litter pickers, the group spent hours collecting litter and removing debris from areas in Huddersfield, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster.

CLEAN TEAM: The Big Street Clean project was organised and carried out by volunteers

CLEAN TEAM: The Big Street Clean project was organised and carried out by volunteers

Nadeem Ahmad, AMYA Regional Youth Leader for Yorkshire was amongst those busy at work in Sheffield and praised all the volunteers who gave up their own time to take part in the initiative.

He said: “Our members have enjoyed living across Yorkshire for decades, so any opportunity to help our local community is much welcome.

“Cleaning the streets of Sheffield also presents us with an opportunity to become better Muslims as cleanliness is an integral part of our faith.”

Prior to brightening up the streets and green spaces, the group carried out their communal prayers for a prosperous 2017.

Nadeem added that helping the community is an integral part of their faith.

“We are peace loving British Muslims and will continue to do all we can to serve our local community as best we can and wherever there is a need,” he said.

It is not the first time that the local group have organised such an initiative with clean-up operations taking place across the country in recent times.

The campaign is one of many charitable and community initiatives carried out by the AMYA across the winter break.

The group also organised blood donation sessions, charity collections, Children's hospital and Nursing home visits, and homeless feeding sessions.

TEAM EFFORT: Litter pickers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association were out in force on New Years Day

TEAM EFFORT: Litter pickers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association were out in force on New Years Day

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