The cooking Journal
Pumpkin Cake

A delicious recipe - not just for Halloween!


220 g flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

115 ml vegetable oil

170 g sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

200 g pumpkin puree


Cooking Instructions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease a Bundt tin.

  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into a large bowl and stir together.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined (dont over-mix) then fold in the pumpkin purée.

  5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 25-35 minutes knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  6. Leave to cool and the serve.

#halloween #pumpkin #pumpkincake #pumpkinrecipes

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Cheese, Spinach and Onion Scones
Cheese, Onion, Spinach Scones

Makes 5




100g wholemeal flour

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch white pepper

100g mature grated cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

2 spring onions, chopped finely

125g fresh spinach, chopped

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

40 ml skimmed milk

½ tsp paprika

1 tsp English mustard powder

¼ tsp salt



  1. Preheat oven 180°C/gas 4

  2. Place a large baking sheet into the oven.

  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and pepper together, add the spinach and spring onion then sprinkle grated cheese into the mixture to distribute it evenly.

  4. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the oil and half the milk, mix together and add the remaining milk until you have a soft but firm dough.

  5. Lightly flour a surface and gently roll the dough 2cm thick. Cut out scones with a medium cutter and then place on the hot oven tray. Pull together any scraps and roll out again to get an extra couple of scones.

  6. Glaze the tops with the extra milk and sprinkle a little cheese and paprika (if using) on the top of each scone.

  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

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Water & Wellbeing
We all know how important it is to drink water, for some of us it takes a little pushing to get the right daily intake.  Whilst we are often tempted to brush off the effects of dehydration, it can lead to significant body changes both externally and visually as well as to our internal body functions.  Some of the more latent impacts will happen over a period of time and therefore less noticeable.   However long term, dehydration is very bad for your health and could become a trigger for, depression, diabetes, skin conditions and worse still other more toxic diseases.  Whilst it may seem somewhat dramatic, dehydration is a very dangerous and life threatening condition.  In time of sickness dehydration can literally lead to death so ensuring you are also hydrated is really important.

Symptoms of dehydration

Some of the more immediate and obvious signs of dehydration can be dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, constipation, tiredness, irritation.

If your body doesn’t have the fluid to remove waste then it will begin to develop and harbour toxins, this can lead to a number of health problems such as slowing down your metabolism which will lead to gaining weight.   Most commonly dehydration is often mistaken as hunger as so we will reach for something to eat instead of something to drink, which will eventually lead to weight gain, actually more quickly than you think.

Dehydration will also have a significant impact on digestion.  If your body is not digesting the nutrients you eat through food then your immune system will be weakened over a period of time, since the nutrients are not being absorbed by the body into the blood.  Furthermore water is essential to breaking down the sugar in our food.  If you continuously remain dehydrated your blood sugar levels will become unbalanced and could lead to diabetes.  Our nutritional class is a brilliant way to learn more about the correct types of foods we should be consuming, simultaneously with appropriate water consumption.

Medium term Symptoms

Dehydration will affect your concentration levels, and as that begins to build up this will begin to impact on your mood and irritability, leading to anxiety and then poor sleep patterns as the anxiety continues in your rest time.

You may also begin to see physical changes, dark circles around the eyes and possibly sunken eyes.  Your skin will become dry and shrivelled, as it is lacking water.  Water provides elasticity to skin and so your skin will age more quickly – leading to wrinkles or psoriasis.

Lack of water in muscles and cell system will lead to muscle cramp and joint ache.

The long term effects of not drinking enough water will be much more impactful, and potentially led to brain swelling, heat related injury (the body essentially burning up), a seizure, Kidney failure, Hypovolemic Shock, and potentially leading to a coma and death.

The role of water in exercising

If you’re a gym bunny, lifting weights or doing high intensity training, then during your training sessions are making much more demands on your nervous system, blood and energy levels than you might imagine.

When you exercise if you don’t have enough water in your system then your body temperature will rise and your sweat glands will swell, in a desperate cry for water. Blood is made up of 50% water, which is why the blood that is being used to transport oxygen and the nutrients to the muscles will be diverted, in order that your muscles get what they need.  If the muscles don’t get the water through the blood it will result in a poor workout.

Furthermore, when we sweat we lose a lot of important salts and electrolytes, for example sodium, potassium and calcium ions. These minerals are essential to allow healthy cell communication and will affect how your muscles contract, so replacing the salts/electrolytes is critical.

So in order to get the best perfomance your body need to be fully hydrate during exercise and hot weather.

The role of Isotonic Drinks

Isotonic drinks such a Lucozade, Powerade, Iso plus, contain electrolytes and carbohydrates. So when you are doing a heavy work out or engaging in strenuous activity, other secondary bodily functions such as digestion often temporarily ‘close down’.

Since Isotonic drinks contain small amounts of glucose they are an alternative to eating food,  such as a banana let’s say, and so they a quick and light way to give your body a quick boost of ‘food’ it needs to keep going.  So by taking a sip, (I emphasize sip) every so often you’ll avoid the heavy energy crash during or at the end of your workout.

Electrolytes also contain essential salts as well as carbohydrates so replenishing your salt levels after a heavy workout is essential.  A quick sip or two will help to maintain the cell function and prevent dehydration. Coconut water is also a very rich source of potassium which can prevent dehydration after exercise or hot weather.  Coconut water (not to be confused with coconut milk or oil) is significantly lower in calories than isotonic drinks as it is low in Carbohydrates and sodium so won’t help to give you an energy burst you may need.

Isotonic drinks can be expensive so making your own is advisable simply by making up a rich dilute of squash drink and adding a pinch of salt to it.


#drinkingwater #nutrition #corporatenutrition #healthylifestyle #healthylife #healthyliving
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Aloo Keema Recipe
A brilliant recipe for spicy lamb mince! For more Indian spiced dishes, why not attend our Indian Cookery Classes...



500g minced lamb

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 cardamom pods

1 giant black cardamom

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp roasted ground cumin

1 tsp hot chilli powder

½ tsp garam masala

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

2 medium sized potatoes cut into chunks

200 g chopped tinned tomatoes

8 strands of fresh coriander

200 ml hot water

1 tsp lemon juice


Cooking Instructions:


  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pan, when hot add the whole dry spices; cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, giant cardamom.  Sizzle for a few seconds then add the onions and fry, stirring for a few minutes until their just turning brown.

  2. Add the tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat until the water has evaporated and the oil is separating.

  3. Now add the minced lamb, use the back of the wooden spoon to break down the morsels of meat to prevent it from being lumpy.

  4. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and salt.  Stir well to ensure the spices blend into the lamb and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on the saucepan.

  5. Add the potatoes and the water to the pan stir well, cover with the lid and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

  6. Remove from the heat, garnish with the freshly chopped coriander and lemon juice and serve with chapattis or naan bread.


Cooks tip 1:  The potatoes can be optional and omitted if preferred, however the flavour of the potatoes cooked in the meat is very tasty.

Cooks tip 2:  If you want a very thick consistency reduce the level of water.
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Bacon & Gruyère Cheese Tart with Spring Onions & Thyme


For the pastry

250g plain flour

140g cold butter, diced into small pieces

2 egg yolks mixed with 3-4 tbsp ice cold water

Pinch of salt


For the filling
15g butter
6 very thin rashers smoked streaky bacon
6 spring onions, finely sliced
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
250ml double cream
4 eggs
75g grated gruyère
30g grated parmesan


Preparation instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. First make the pastry. Pulse the flour, salt and cubed butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and turn into a mixing bowl.

  2. Add 2tbsp and 2 tsp of the egg and water mixture and draw into the crumb with a round bladed knife to create large flakes, bring the pastry together with your hands and form it into a round flat circle. Roll out the pastry and lay it across a 23cm flan tin, pressing the dough well into the corners, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm.

  3. Cover the pastry with baking paper and baking beans, and bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return the tart case to the oven for five minutes longer, until pale golden and sandy to the touch.

  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden on both sides, then remove and drain on kitchen paper.

  5. Add the spring onions and thyme to the same pan, and cook for a few minutes, until the onions have softened, then take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.

  6. Whisk the cream until slightly thickened, then whisk in the eggs and gruyère. Season the mix with only a little salt as the cheese and bacon are quite salty and a sprinkling of white pepper.

  7. Break the bacon pieces into halves or thirds, and lay these and the onion mixture over the base of the tart. Pour in the egg mixture so it fills the tart case right up to the edge, and scatter over the parmesan.

  8. Put the tart on an oven tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top and set with just a slight wobble in the middle. Leave to cool and firm up a little before serving.

#tartrecipes #baconrecipes #baking #cheeserecipes #worklunch# lunchideas
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