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The cooking Journal
Let’s keep the planet alive – protect soil diversity
If the impact of lockdown has taught us anything, it is the importance of looking after our planet and ecosystem.   What happens in the Amazon rain forest directly affects us in a very short period of time, and whilst the Amazon may seem thousands of miles away, the impact of global warming has already had very real effects on our own climate and weather patterns here in the UK.

It’s world soil day today and in celebration to raise awareness we’ve planted over 1000 bee and wildlife-friendly bulbs here in our garden which will hopefully pop up in spring next year.  It’s part of our commitment to helping increase soil biodiversity which is essential to maintain a healthy ecosystem and what our own human well-being depends upon.   Furthermore, we now recycle all of our natural food waste into composting bins together with all leaf mulch to return the food and autumn leaf drop back to the earth in the most natural way possible.  It is part of our commitment to increasing biodiversity and in the process improving the wellness of our clients for the crops and herbs we use in our everyday classes.

Plants nurture a whole world of creatures in the soil, that in return feed and protect the plants. A diverse community of living organisms keeping the soil healthy and fertile. This extensive underground world constitutes soil biodiversity and determines the main biogeochemical processes that make life on Earth possible.

What is World Soil Day

#worldsoilday is celebrated annually on the 5th December and is a worldwide campaign to "Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity" and aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems around the world not just in our own area. The campaign also seeks to encourage governments, organisations, communities, and individuals around the world to proactively improve soil health in their local regions.

Did you know?

  • Soil is a living resource, home to more than 25% of our planet's biodiversity

  • It is estimated that only 1% of soil microorganism species are currently known compared to 80% of plant species

  • Up to 90% of living organisms live or spend part of their lifecycle in soils

  • Soil organisms can break down certain contaminants.


 
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Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dal
This pumpkin dal recipe is wonderfully seasonal, it's perfect for cold autumn nights served alongside pillowy rice, a dollop of youghurt and a sprinkle of coriander. You can easily swap the pumpkin for butternut squash just increase the cooking time if needed. Enjoy!
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The Mental Health Pandemic
Levels of anxiety and depression have been significantly elevated as people struggle with illness, isolations, and uncertainty.  Research is beginning to reveal the contours of the pandemic related mental health that many predicted.  
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The Three Sisters Planting System
This year as a result of lockdown I’ve been able to spend so much more time in the garden and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst doing some plant research, quite by chance I happened to come across a method of planting referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’.  It is a system of planting sweetcorn, beans, and squash together in close proximity. 
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Red Quinoa Bowl, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Peanuts and Miso Dressing
Full of slow-release energy goodness and packed with flavour. The quinoa forms the base of the salad, which is a great vehicle for any green or roasted root vegetable. You can substitute the sweet potato for baby carrots, parsnip or butternut squash and the broccoli can be swapped out for kale or swiss chard.
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Baking Conversion Chart
When cooking a recipe from an American cook book, or following a recipe from an American website, you’ll need a cups to grams converter, as the weights and measures used vary quite a bit from the metric measurements we use in the UK. We've put together a handy cheat sheet to print out and put on your fridge!
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Cottage Pie, Recipe for Donation
This recipe worked brilliantly for donation as it provided a warm comforting crowd pleaser to our NHS heroes. This is a great-value family meal and perfect for freezing and using at a later date when you want something quickly!
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Spiced Aubergine and Kidney Beans - Recipe for Donation
This recipe is the perfect for anyone trying to eat less meat. It's packed full of flavour, and nutrient dense. Perfect served with rice, flat breads and a dollop of yogurt!
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Carrot Cupcakes with a vanilla Cheesecake topping For Donation
We made these super yummy cupcakes as one of our recipes for donation to the NHS Hero's that are working so hard on the front line. We thought we'd share the recipe for you to enjoy at home as well.
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Rhubarb & Ginger Sponge Cake
April is the season for Rhubarb, so why not make the most of it and whip up this Rhubarb and Ginger Sponge Cake as a sweet treat with your afternoon cuppa!
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Healthy Comfort Food
Year on year it seems that the minute the nights start drawing in and the temperature drops by a notch or two most of us morph into emergency munching mode. An almost instinctive craving for carb heavy, dense foods grips all but the most stalwart and helps to add a few more pounds to those already gained over the festive period.
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Fancy a Cuppa? What Teas You Should Be Drinking Throughout The Day
According to the UK Tea & Infusions Association us Brits drink 100 million cups of tea a day, or 36 billion a year. In 2010 during the ad break for a dramatic Coronation Street episode the National Grid measured a power surge of 800 megawatts or 300,000 kettles turning on at once. So, suffice to say, we love our tea!
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The Cooking Academy Delivers 100 Cooked Meals for NHS Staff at Watford General Hospital
On Monday 30th March, Kumud delivered 100 cooked meals for the frontline NHS staff working in the COVID-19 wards at Watford General Hospital. Kumud and one of our teaching chefs Sarah Leary, volunteered their time to prepare and cook nutritious meals to keep the dedicated staff going on their long shifts.
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Too Stressed to Sleep?
In some walks of life talking about how busy we are is almost a badge of honour, an indication of your success, but there is a big difference between being super busy and chronically busy. The latter is just a recipe for disaster when you just feel terribly overwhelmed and constantly under fire. When you can’t escape from stress it can become a physical problem, and may lead to a range of health issues
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Top Tips for Working from Home
Whilst working from home it is important to keep some sort of routine; this will avoid us feeling stressed anxious and perhaps overwhelmed. Here are some simple steps you can incorporate into your daily routine to make sure you can stay focused.
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Hacks for Making your Food Last Longer
We've put together a few handy hacks to help make your food last longer. From how to store your fruits to how to handle your herbs!
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Mother's Day at Home- A Spanish Feast!
If your plan to go out this Mother's Day has been cancelled don't let it get in the way of celebrating together as a family. We've put together some delicious Spanish recipes that are bound to impress!
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Middle East Feast!
We've put together a selection of delicious Middle Eastern recipes that are bound to impress! Whether you try one of them of them or all of them, you can still celebrate at home with a spread of simple but tasty recipes!
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Banana Bread Smoothie
So this is the perfect smoothie for a happy tummy as bananas are also a digestive aid as well as a mood enhancer due to the serotonin they release in the brain.
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Green Goodness Smoothie- Avocado, Spinach, Mint and More!
This smoothie has it all - healthy fats from the avocado and nutritionally dense spinach with its remarkable abilities to restore energy, reduce oxidative stress and improve the quality of the blood. 
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