Theo, or T-Rex to his family and friends, moved to Melbourne from Dublin about 9 years ago, and has spent most of his time in the West. The genuineness and diversity make it feel like home for Theo, and being part of The Welcome Dinner Project (TWDP) is a natural fit after working with Brimbank Council in the Harmony in Our Neighbourhood Program.
“I was hooked from the first Welcome Dinner that I went to. It’s such a beautifully simple concept: people coming together to share stories, laughs and food, leaving with full bellies, full hearts and the joy of meaningful connection. I really feel like I have gotten a lot more out of The Welcome Dinner Project than I have put in – I’ve met some awesome people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’ve eaten some pretty tasty food along the way!”
Theo’s go-to for TWDP dinners is a Thai chicken mince curry, his mum’s roti, a zesty apple coleslaw, finished with a tiramisu for dessert
“The roti is a little special – it’s my mum’s recipe, and some of my fondest memories as a child (and adult) involve me hovering around the kitchen waiting for mum to sneak the first roti hot off the stove to me so that I could "check if they were okay"! And then there’s the tiramisu. Oh boy, that tiramisu. It’s (my fiancee) Bridê’s family’s favourite sweet treat, and is pretty much a staple at birthdays and special occasions”.
Get Theo’s recipes for your own tasty meal:
Thai chicken mince curry
A little bit of peanut oil
1 diced red onion
1 tablespoon of finely chopped lemongrass
1 finely chopped red chilli
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
500g chicken mince
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 cup of basil leaves
1/2 cup of peanuts
Any and as many veggies as you like! I normally add in a couple of celery stalks, some carrots, some green beans and a capsicum, all roughly chopped.
Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, and cook the onion, lemongrass, chilli, ginger and garlic until the delicious smell fills your kitchen (usually about a minute or two). I normally add the veggies in at this point, letting them cook for a few minutes before adding in the chicken.
Once the chicken is cooked through (usually a bit more than 5 minutes), add in the curry paste and stir for a minute or two. Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and sugar together in a cup and pour it in, stirring it for another minute or two.
Add in the peanuts, stir in the basil, and serve with rice, roti or noodles.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 cup of water
Some cooking oil
Pour the salt into the cup of water and give it a good mix. Place the flour in a bowl and slowly add in the salt water. Mix it together into a dough, and knead it until it becomes smooth (not too sticky/gooey).
Flour or oil down your rolling surface. Separate the dough into palm-sized balls, and then using a rolling pin slowly flatten them out into discs the size of a side plate (about 15-20cm, or as big as you want them!), and flip them a couple of times like a pizza. Brush them with the oil
Grease a pan with oil and cook until they're golden brown (about 1 or 2 mins each side)
1/2 red cabbage chopped roughly
1 carrot, sliced thinly
A few spring onions, chopped finely
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 cucumber sliced thinly
1 or 2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
The juice of a lemon or 2
1 or 2 tablespoons of mayo (depending on how indulgent you feel)
1 chilli finely diced (if you want a bit of heat)
A handful of chopped up coriander
Mix it all together in a big bowl and enjoy!
2 cups strong black coffee
1/2 cup marsala
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup caster sugar
300ml lightly whipped thickened cream
1 large packet of sponge fingers (savoiardi bickies)
Some cocoa for dusting
Pour the coffee and marsala into a shallow dish and leave it somewhere out of the way.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until it becomes pale and thick. Add the mascarpone and whipped cream, and mix it gently until it's just combined.
Beat the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Use a big metal spoon to gently fold the eggwhites into the mascarpone mixture.
Dip as many biscuits into the coffee mixture to cover the base of whatever size dish you are using (a 20cm round one is a good size), then cover the biscuits with one-third of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat these layers 2 times and finish up with the cream. Then cover it up with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When you're ready for dessert, dust it with as much cocoa as your heart desires and serve it up.