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The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Inspiration'

Mush-Shrooms
Mushrooms have been eaten and used medicinally for thousands of years, all around the world. Ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms to be plants of immortality and recognized them as a gift from the god Osiris. They valued mushrooms so highly, only the royals were allowed to consume them; commoners were forbidden to touch, much less eat them. Today, mushrooms are growing in popularity worldwide due to their nutritional properties and versatile uses in the kitchen.But what makes mushrooms so special? Are they good for the environment too?
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My Favourite Herbs for Christmas
I do a lot of cooking over Christmas, usually for family and friends, cooking from scratch and feeding the 5000….  I love it of course and I like the fact that I have time to add my favourite ingredients even if it means nipping out to the garden to find my herbs, often buried in leaves from the autumn fall and sometimes frost or snow, even if it is somewhat chilli!  At this time of year, I feel that whilst I want to achieve great flavours, I also want to ensure I’m using ingredients that have nutritional value to protect us over the cold winter months. Here are some of my favourite herbs for cooking over Christmas.
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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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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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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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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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That Old New Year’s Chestnut
For the first time in a long time I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year, not because I have achieved everything, I have set out to do, but rather because I haven’t! Instead, I gave myself a good talking to in a quiet, calm and positive manner about all the things I have achieved and reflected on how I achieved them (essentially with dogged determination and utter willpower).
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10 foods than can cause inflammation in the body and 10 that fight it
Most people tend to think of inflammation in terms of external signs: swelling, bruising, redness, heat and so on, like when you stub your toe, that immediate pain you feel is the body working in action to help fix whatever just happened. It is a normal and effective response that facilitates healing.Unfortunately, chronic inflammation is a different story and can be caused by diet, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, pollution, and lack of sleep. It can be seen in those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, coeliac disease, and irritable bowel disease. It can also play a part in asthma and diabetes.On occasions, weight gain can also be attributable to inflammation as inflammation in the body makes our weight control hormone (leptin) to be less effective, which therefore causes weight gain. Thus, the two often come hand in hand.
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The Hidden Jewels in our Hedgerows and Woodlands
It may be frosty but it's still technically autumn, this year seems to be speeding by? Although the nights are drawing in I do love the misty moisty mornings which herald this season of plenty.As the leaves continue to change colour from green through to glorious hues of red, orange and russet there’s nothing nicer than pulling on a pair of sturdy boots and going for a long walk, kicking up the leaves as you go. Of course a bit of bracing exercise tends to stimulate the appetite and makes one look forward to the comforting dishes that are characteristic of this time of year.
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The Preservation Society
It was good old William Shakespeare who coined the phrase “in a pickle” and it is certainly true that pickling, preserving and fermenting are some of the oldest methods of food preservation. These processes fell out of favour with the advent of mass refrigeration but have now firmly wormed their way back into fashion. All things bacterial and vinegary have sloughed off their slightly fusty image and have become super cool.
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The Rise and Rise of Sourdough
One of my great weaknesses is my love of bread, in any shape or form. A particular favourite is sourdough which is fortuitous as this delicious bread seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance. Apparently we can’t get enough of it and practically every artisanal bakery from here to John O’Groats is offering their own range of sourdough loaves to meet this increasing demand.
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Why you Should Switch to Plant-Based Milk
If you have ever thought about switching up your everyday cows’ milk in your coffee or cereal, then now is the time! Founded by Plant-Based News in 2017, this campaign has proved popular in helping people switch to plant-based milk alternatives. From soya to rice, cashews to coconut there’s so many options to choose from.
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Deal or No Deal- How Will We Eat Post Brexit?
Many of us bang the drum for eating seasonally and buying locally. When we exit the EU on 31st January 2020 it’s highly possible that we will have no choice in this as food importation may be affected- at least in the short term. As a nation we rely heavily on imported produce, according to a recent Government white paper (“Brexit: food prices and availability”) over 40% of our food is imported throughout the year rising to a whopping 70% during March.
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Cooking by Degrees
It won’t be long before September rolls around again and a new batch of students will be wending their way to their chosen University. In these upcoming weeks there are multitude of things to think about but it is fundamentally important not to let the subject of what you’re going to eat throughout the term slide down the list.
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Foraging for the first time and our top tips!
If you are curios about what food nature has to offer but are unsure where to start, then we have some simple tips to set you on your way into the world of foraging.
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A Waste of Thyme?
The effects of climate change have long been a concern of mine, particularly in the arena of food wastage and I’ve been hugely inspired by the young Swedish environmentalist, Greta Thunberg with her call to arms highlighting the imminent dangers of global warming. According to a YouGov poll in June 2019, public concern about the environment has soared to record levels in the UK since Thunberg “pierced the bubble of denial”. Thanks to vociferous campaigners such as Thunberg there can be few amongst us who have been left unaware of the challenges we all face from climate change and I feel strongly that through my role at The Cooking Academy it behoves me to encourage people to make the small changes that I know can bring long term benefits.
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