September and October have been a hive of activity at the Lewes
Community Kitchen, with the Vital Skills hands on cookery workshops.
These workshops, which will continue throughout November and December, are open to everyone and are a brilliant way to broaden your cookery horizons at a bargain price! Robin Van Crevald, otherwise known as Community Chef (www.communitychef.org.uk) and founder of the Lewes Community Kitchen, has been leading the way with the Vital Skills series, with help from Fresh Feasts and Cashew Catering (www.cashewcatering.co.uk) - the world's best vegan catering company by the way!
This Friday, Fresh Feasts ran a workshop on food and mood, with 8 lovely ladies from various parts of Sussex. We had a fantastic morning, discussing the connection between food and mood and it was interesting to hear from all the participants how they felt their own food choices affects their moods. This was followed by a hands on cookery session, where we prepared some lovely autumnal dishes including aduki bean and squash stew, quinoa squash burgers with coriander and sunflower seed pesto and a beautiful seasonal crumble using local apples, pears and berries.
The connection between food and mood is such a fascinating area, affecting all of us on a daily basis. It is a 2 way relationship, in the sense that the food we eat affects the way we think, feel and behave; for example food affects our blood sugar levels, with associated changes in mood and energy, and on the flip side, the way that we feel affects the foods we choose to eat. For example, if we feel sad, low or tired, we might choose to drink a coffee or eat some chocolate, as we inherently know these foods give us a lift. Only a temporary lift, mind you, and the trouble is, making the wrong choices on a regular basis leads to trouble, including mood swings, poor health and often disease. So, our aim is to make the right food choices and select foods, which balance our moods and our health. This isn't always easy but the more familiar we become with making the right choices, the more balanced we feel and the less likely we are to want to eat foods which have a more roller-coaster like effect on the body.
So, check out the Community Chef website for details of more exciting workshops. Fresh Feasts will running a natural desserts class in December and this will be a great opportunity to learn how to make some delicious, guilt free treats for Christmas
The warming, soothing nature of this stew makes it the perfect autumn dish. It is highly nutritious comfort food, which helps us to warm, soothe and comfort. The advantage of eating this sort of comfort food, as opposed to pizza or chocolate, is that it leaves the body feeling satisfied and balanced. Do an experiment at home and try eating this dish one evening and pizza another, and see what you notice!
1 Tblsp sesame oil1 onion diced3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 red chilli chopped fine
3 cups Butternut Squash cut into chunks
2 tins aduki beans
2 cups water
Dash of shoyu
Sprinkle of sea salt
Handful of fresh coriander chopped
Method: Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cinnamon, coriander and chilli and sauté for a minute or two. Add the squash and stir well, coating it in the spices. Add the water and simmer until the squash is soft – approx 10-15 mins. Add the aduki beans and allow to simmer until the stew is thick and creamy, with most the liquid absorbed. Add shoyu to taste and mix through the coriander, saving some to sprinkle over at the end. Serve with short grain brown rice or another wholegrain of your choice.
Tip! Including sweet vegetables such as squash in your meals will help to reduce sweet cravings and regulate blood sugar levels.