The cooking Journal
6 Health Benefits of Chocolate
Great news for those with a sweet tooth, eating chocolate can be healthy. You can finally indulge in your favourite snack guilt-free. However, there’s a catch!

Well of course, there has to be a catch, for me it’s a good one – ‘that it has to be dark chocolate’ and the higher the cacao percentage the better. And also, it’s healthier if you stick to eating just two to three pieces a day. But apart from that, fill your boots.

It can help you lose weight

Chocolate doesn’t have to be a reason for weight gain believes neuroscientist Will Clower. In his book Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight, he explains how eating a piece of dark chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after a meal can cut your appetite by an impressive 50 percent. According to Clower, this is because chocolate triggers the hormones that tell your brain “I’m full.” However, remember that this applies to cacao-rich dark chocolate only. Milk chocolate would raise your blood sugar levels and leave you craving the stuff even more.

It gives you brain power

Chocoholics are the smartest people around. Or at least they should be, thanks to the flavanol content of the snack. Teamed with reports that it also helps to improve blood flow to the brain, it appears that dark chocolate makes excellent brain food. So much so, that researchers have even put its properties to the test with Alzheimer's patients. In a trial published by Nature Neuroscience, it was discovered that “high-flavanol intervention was found to enhance dentate gyrus (DG) function” - DG being the region of the brain in which “function declines in association with human aging.” Although the study explains, while the flavanols have the potential to perhaps aid those with Alzheimer's, it can’t prevent the disease entirely.

It promotes gorgeous skin

Flavonoids are pretty powerful. Without you realising, they get to work on your skin, acting as a filter to harmful UV rays and protecting you against sun damage. That’s not to say you should skimp on the sunscreen - always apply when out in sunlight. What’s more, as we know all too well, dark chocolate is a great stress reliever, which also helps keep the skin young, fresh and fine-line free.

It’s nature’s tastiest medicine

Dark chocolate is an illness-battling all-rounder, with evidence to suggest that its high antioxidant content has the potential to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve blood flow. It’s believed that the flavanols found in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium (the lining of the arteries) to produce nitric oxide, which in turn relaxes the arteries and as a result, lower blood pressure. This relaxing effect may be minimal, but every little helps.

It gives you an energy boost

If you’re trying to drink less coffee but struggle to get through the day without your caffeine hit, dark chocolate could be the answer - there is 43mg of caffeine per every 100g. A recent study from London’s Kingston University also suggests that dark chocolate could be useful for athletes. Thanks to dark chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow (and in turn, carry oxygen to the muscles at a faster rate), those involved within the project were able to cycle further and faster. Skip energy bars and try a little dark chocolate.

It makes you happy – the best reason of all

Science agrees that chocolate makes you happy, and not just because it tastes amazing. There are chemical components within chocolate that make it irresistible, such as phenylethylamine - an organic compound that when released in the body stimulates a similar feeling to that of falling in love. It also acts as an antidepressant when combined with the dopamine that exists naturally in the brain. Along with its theobromine and tryptophan content (other properties of chocolate that promote happiness and stimulate a natural, albeit weak, high in the body); it’s easy to see why chocolate is considered a certified mood booster.

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The Well-being Revolution

The well-being revolution is truly underway and continued research and analysis backs up what we already know; building a happier, healthier, more connected workforce delivers excellent results for everyone.


In our corporate wellness programmes we offer a range of workshops and seminars about the science of food, manage eating habits, and diet management designed to positively impact physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Our fun and engaging sessions cover topics ranging from sleep, nutrition to energy levels and can be tailored to your requirements.


We will coach your employees to improve their planning skills for better diet management to improve overall health. We recommend starting with your executive teams to identify their most pressing nutritional and well-being needs and assist them to set and reach their health and wellbeing goals. This philosophy can then be championed right across the organisation to create change across the board with demonstrable benefits


CSR is critical to core business values and sharing those goals to enable employees to participate will develop a strong sense of community within the organisation. With our extensive experience of CSR objectives and implementation we will help to fulfil and deliver your CSR commitments.

If you would like to more about our wellness corporate solutions please contact:

Francesca Yates on 01923 778880, alternatively email her on
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Cacao and Date Bliss Balls
These raw bliss balls are an excellent substitute for a sweet treat. Even without added sugar, they still pack a punch! The dates and almonds provide protein, whilst the chia seeds provide iron and omega 3. The cacao balls can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days – if you can resist eating them all in one go! Bliss, without the guilt! We hope you enjoy.


175g pitted dates

140g ground almonds

35g cocoa powder

30g desiccated coconut

2 tbsp chia seeds

100g coconut oil

1tsp water

Chopped pistachios, desiccated coconut, cacao powder or anything else you would like to roll the balls in.


  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften

  2. Whilst the dates are softening, add the ground almonds, cocoa powder, coconut, chia seeds, and coconut oil to a blender and mix until smooth consistency,

  3. Add the dates and a teaspoon of water and mix again. Ensure all dates are blended and there are no chunks.

  4. Pinch the mixture to ensure it holds together, using a generous teaspoon at a time, roll into bite size balls.

  5. Roll the balls into a topping of your choice, we used chopped pistachios, desiccated coconut and cacao powder.

  6. Store in the fridge and enjoy.

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Sales and Marketing Assistant
We have an exciting opportunity to work here at The Cooking Academy! We are a unique and growing organisation who specialise in running cookery classes and corporate events teaching individuals how to cook in a creative and enjoyable way!  We are seeking to recruit a dynamic, high calibre Sales & Marketing Assistant to join our team.

Based in Rickmansworth, this role will work closely with the Managing Director to deliver the sales & marketing plan and deliver corporate events to the client base and develop new business opportunities.

The Sales and Marketing Assistant will be responsible for but not limited to;

  • Drive sales opportunities for cookery classes through the website and customer database.

  • Engage with customers and prospective buyers through all social media channels on a daily basis.

  • Use the customer database to increase sales through verticals marketing programmes.

  • Work with corporate sales on all events to provide event management administrative support.

  • Event manage client booked events in both consumer and corporate sales and manage the operational delivery of events, meet and greet clients, check in, front of house.

  • Manage pre and post event client administration, organising client requirements to ensure 100% accuracy of client and delegate information.

  • Find suitable venues and partners to hold cookery events.

  • Create post event videos and photos to share with clients and use in promotion material.

  • Organise staff for corporate events, manage timings and supply support information.

  • Develop ideas and create offers for highly targeted marketing campaigns focused on the corporate market for team building, hospitality and client relationship building events.

  • Attend customer events as required to ensure continuity of client relations.

  • Initiate and develop ideas for lead generation & marketing.

To be considered for this role you must be able to demonstrate;

  • Previous experience in a busy target driven sales environment.

  • Previous exposure to marketing and sales administration

  • Knowledge of using all social media platforms and experience maintaining accounts from a business perspective

  • A passionate belief in health food and cooking

  • Excellent communication skills and written and oral grammar

  • Strong attention to detail

  • Due to the company location, access to your own vehicle is essential for a daily commute

In return the company will offer a competitive benefits package, made up of a competitive salary and the opportunity to earn a bonus with OTE, free on-site parking, career development and a friendly positive office environment.

Job Type: Full-time

Competitive salary


  • Secondary education (required)

License or certification:

  • Drivers licence - a car essential (required)

Please send your CV to
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Tropical Smoothie
Tropical Smoothie

Breakfast time can be such a rush and it’s all too easy to grab something convenient on the way to work, such as a muffin.  The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) and Action on Sugar conducted research into blueberry muffins available on the high street. Shockingly, over 61% contained over six teaspoons of sugar. The recommended daily allowance is 30g which is about seven teaspoons!  In other words, one muffin takes uses up almost all of you your daily recommended amount of sugar.

To help combat the breakfast dash we have made a Tropical Smoothie, full of antioxidants and vitamins. The spinach in this smoothie really ramps up the nutritional benefits. Spinach is full of folate, iron, potassium, calcium and vitamins A, B2, C and K. Iron is fantastic for boosting brain power, so this recipe is great for anyone who’s revising for their exams or in a demanding job.

You can prep a weeks’ worth of smoothie and freeze them in ziplock bags. Once frozen, simply place the ingredients in your blender add the milk and water and blend before heading out. Or if you’re really pressed for time (or just want that extra few minutes in bed!) then you could even blend the smoothie the night before and keep in the fridge until morning.



25g spinach

100ml milk of your choice

125ml water

200g pineapple or mango (frozen is fine)

½ banana sliced into chunks

1 tsp ground linseed

1 tsp honey (only use if your spinach is a little bitter)


  1. Place the spinach, milk, water, pineapple or mango, banana and ground linseed into your blender. Blend until smooth.

  2. Taste the smoothie, if you feel it needs the honey add it to the blender and blend again.

  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

  4. To freeze for future use, place all the ingredients (whole not blended!) except the honey into a ziplock bag and place in the freezer. This can be kept for up to 3 months.

Food for Thought:

  • Bananas are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, and vitamin B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of your body and your health. They are also an immediate energy booster.

  • Pineapple can boost the immune system, and respiratory health, aiding digestion, strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, curing coughs and colds, and weight loss.  If you feel like a sweet treatEat pineapple chunks instead of a chocolate bar for a sweet treat.

  • Mango is full of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, A and C. They are rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and copper, and they are one of the best sources beta-carotene. These powerful antioxidants have the power to neutralize free radicals throughout the body fighting heart diseases, premature aging and cancers.

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