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Cookery Class News

Don’t want to be labelled obese? Obey the labels!

Having put together a nutritional diet for an ‘abs’ program, there’s little I don’t know about food labelling.  Much of that is thanks to the in-depth research necessary to turn the diet used as the basis for the program from the haute cuisine status it held, whilst delivering exactly the same results, into a Supermarket own-label branded diet (in the majority).

In fact, if you were to lay out the majority of everyday foods on a table, I’d be able to give you a rough approximation of the make up of each ingredient, fats, carbs, protein and any vitamin and/or mineral content, including sodium. Once you get to that stage, you begin to take it for granted that everyone else, similarly conscious of what they’re feeding their bodies (you so very are what you eat), at least shows a passing interest in what the packaging says about the food within. But apparently not.

That ever-popular editorial Agricultural Economics has recently issued this year’s results of the National Health Interview Survey in the US. It highlighted, for me, three main instances that could be directly addressed to tackle the epidemic of obesity spreading the globe (not to mention far too many waistlines), upon the crest of which rides the ever-growing problem of type two diabetes, even in younger adults.

The first, and for the woman looking for a quick fix to tackle their weight loss issues, is perhaps the one that is simplest to implement, is that women who don’t read food labels are an average 9lbs heavier than their content-querying counterparts. That’s like half a stone and then some!

Secondly, the annual study suggests that those who continued their education after compulsory schooling were more likely to consult the food labels than those who’d quit as soon as they were able.

And tertiary – portion control. Quite simply, if you don’t know how many calories, grams of saturated fat or nutritional content each meal contains, how on earth can you begin to serve up healthy options for you and your family?

All of this suggests that the education about food we receive falls way short and it’s often up to us as adults to go out into the world and learn even the basics of nutritional content that will help us live our lives to the full and engender our children to do the same.

There is plenty of further reading on here under the ‘healthy eating‘ tag, but why not do something about learning how to cook healthy and nutritious food yourself? We offer many regional cookery courses for you to compare. Check them out and see where you can get a hold of your nearest healthy-eating cookery class to kick-start your metabolism, hence your life. It is that serious.

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Food and Ingredients News

Coffee good for the brain? I ought to be the next Einstein!

Good day, guys and girls. Thanks for rejoining us for this second exploratory post into the top ten brain foods as advised by The Cooking Academy. If you missed the first three choice ingredients in the list, you can find them on yesterday’s post, Foods that are naturally healthy for body, mind and soul, where we marvelled at how ingredients classed as healthy options for the body are also believed to have potent mind-boosting powers, too.

So, in total contrast, let’s start today with number four in the Cooking Academy’s list, and an inclusion that should make me the brightest spark against the night sky if its power is increment by volume, coffee! In fact, I know a few myth-shattering facts about their number four item so I’ll not wax lyrical about coffee here; we’ll save the detail for a future article. Suffice to know that its inclusion in the list, in its purest, served form, is based on its antioxidant qualities and ability to stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Ah, “in moderation”, it says. Boooooo!

5. Nuts! Another ingredient utilised positively by both body and mind. Ever feel relaxed when you sniff almonds? That’s because the neurotransmitters therein elevate your mood. Walnuts are a great food if you’re peckish before bedtime as they help with insomnia and many nuts, including the bog-standard peanut, include nutrients that boost mental clarity; the vast majority also contain healthy, natural fats in their oils, prolifically Omega 3.
6. Avocados – a fruit that has long been steered away from by dieters (in error) is good for the blood, believed to help reduce pressure and increase the flow to the brain, improving its function. The healthy fats in avocados are an ideal substitute for saturates in a calorie controlled diet, too.
7. Eggs – another much-maligned product and, whether your looking to lose weight through diet and training or want a sharper mind, eggs fit the bill. The choline therein is associate with the building blocks of memory function whilst the protein and healthy fats are the basis of building and protecting healthy muscle tissue. Boiled or poached eggs will not, as urban myth has it, rocket your cholesterol; even at two a day, the effect of their nutritious content can help balance your body’s relative levels.
8. Whole grain – mm, the jury’s out on this one as far as dieting goes, but I’m totally in favour of it, for reasons other than content. In the context of the brain, they contribute massively to a healthy circulation. Some nutritionists may warn against wholegrain bread as part of a heavy resistance training diet but, for me at least, the benefits the grain give as an intestinal hoover due to their high-fibre content far outweigh the reasons some trainers give for not incorporating it. The grains are also a source of healthy, natural fats you can include in your diet without necessarily having to think to hard about it.
9. Chocolate – okay, here’s the second and final item on the list that you wouldn’t find on a dieter’s main menu, the darker the better, up to the point where it gets too bitter. Above 70% for me and it’s pushing it, but the Cooking Academy’s author prefers 85% cocoa – ugh, that makes me shudder. But, dark/plain chocolate (again in moderation) contains high concentrations of antioxidants and has been proven to target focus – perfect for the freelance writer who may get distracted by World Golf Tour or his e-mail, for instance…time to visit Hotel Chocolat again, methinks. Milk chocolate, surprisingly, has benefits too, cutting down reaction time as well as improving memory function.
10. And finally, Broccoli. One of the great Superfoods and, in my humble opinion, second in the all-time list behind only blueberries. It helps improve memory, is saturated with vitamins, helps reduce the ageing process and also helps improve memory. Mm, quite.

So, thanks to Kumud Ghandi who originally complied this list for The Cooking Academy and I hope you’ve enjoyed my expansion on the original theme, incorporating snippets on the bodily benefits as well as the brain power you’ll now exhibit by incorporating these ingredients into your diet – even if it’s not a healthy one, by inclusion of these natural food stuffs, you may well turn a corner there, too.

Some of the ingredients may not be the easiest to incorporate into the weekly cook/shop – why not check out our hand-picked cookery courses to see if those courses we are rating as offering the best value at your time of reading this (we do acid-test them, so the individual cookery schools we feature often rotate) offer a nutrition/healthy cookery class you can draw upon for inspiration?

Got a comment? We’d love to hear from you.

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Food and Ingredients News

Foods that are naturally healthy for body, mind and soul

Readers and followers of cookerycourses.co.uk over the last year will have picked up little hints and tips that, as much as we cover food in general on this website, my heart beats with a passion for healthy eating.

I’m not talking processed ready meals to fit nicely into a points program to reduce/maintain weight – if that’s your idea of how to cook healthy and nutritious food, then me and you need to have a little chat. I’m talking about taking nature’s own goodness and deriving nutrition out body can actually do something proactive with. Not just satisfy a hunger, but develop your body the way nature intended us to be.

One of the key factors to being able to lose weight and keep it off is having a mind capable of dealing with the fact that, in order to be your best you have (probably) got to go through a life-changing process. Where many people fail is that there is not focused enough to determine the truth in that or retain the will power to help realise any targets, dreams and goals you set yourself to become a healthier, slimmer more active and attractive person.

Whilst there is a profusion of differing ways purported to help your body online, there’s a lot less about how we can fuel our mind to make it perform at it’s sharpest. So, today and tomorrow, we’re going to look at just that based upon an article in The Cooking Academy this weekend entitled Top 10 Brain Foods.

1. Blueberries – this little star deserves a medal! Not only is it one of many a fitness trainers’ recommended Superfoods, now it’s being recognised as a key ingredient to help with cognitive performance. It’s widespread mind-issue tackling functions and ability to burn more calories than are included in its indigo, squishy body are not the only powers the blueberry has, either. According to it, it can help reduce the impact of free radicals through its high antioxidant content and can help reduce the signs of ageing. No wonder they’re about a pound for a vacuum pack of ten in the supermarket!
2. Salmon – it’s amazing how many of the foods commonly accepted to help the body reach its optimum are also accredited with helping your brain do the same. Whilst tuna is high in essential Omega-3 too, the helpful oil found in salmon is a much purer derivative. Both contain high levels of protein, too and, according this new research salmon promotes the growth of healthy brain tissue as well as staving off many of the symptoms and causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Linseed – these little seed pellets are dense with ALA and, when released, the healthy fat boosts performance of the cerebral cortex. This particular segment of our cerebrum is responsible for sensitivity and touch and without its function, sight, smell, sound and nervous reaction would be severely dampened. Linseed is also extremely helpful in weightloss, helping to keep the intestinal tract clean, allowing you to derive the maximum amount of nutrition from the food you eat, staving off starvation that little bit longer.

Okay, those are three good starters, beneficial to both body and mind. And, of course, for your ever-loving soul, if you share this knowledge with friends, family and anyone who you think could benefit from a change in their diet.  Join me tomorrow when we’ll look at the final seven selections and how they can bring us to the peak of physical and mental conditioning.

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cookerycourses.co.uk recipes Food and Ingredients

Celebrate National Cherry Day with a summer fruit crumble

Article original posted July 16th, but those nasty little gremlins pinched it.

While it’s still summer, and we’ve had a few cherries on top of the icing on the cake at the Olympics – six golds in one day, yesterday; stunning or what? – why not celebrate with this stunning recipe for fruit crumble, starring my favourite fruit of them all, the humble British cherry.

Today is National Cherry Day, did you know? No, I didn’t know we had one, either, but hey-ho, there you go. In order that no one’s opportunity passes by to pop their cherry dish into either a crumble, clafoutis or bun in the oven, we’re going to bring you the second in our series of recipes here on cookerycourses.co.uk.

There is the opportunity to make a clafoutis on the Great British Chefs blog, but as this website is aimed at those wanting to learn to cook, I’ve got a good idea that the majority of people picking up on this post, if they’re ought like me, couldn’t find their way to making a stimulating clafoutis even if they had a map. There is, however, another decent little recipe for a summer fruit crumble, the star ingredient of which is indeed the Great British cherry. Hurrah!

The good thing about this recipe is that for sweetness, it draws mainly on the natural sugars found within the fruits themselves, contains fibre in the oats and wholemeal flour, protein in the hazelnuts and Chia seeds contain even more omega-3 per gram than salmon.  What’s more, all of the fruits are blessed with their own antioxidant qualities, helping to rejuvenate your skin and lower your ldl cholesterol. Bonus! Combine all of that with the essential fatty acids (mono- and polyunsaturates) that feature more heavily than the saturates and you have to ask: who said desserts couldn’t be delicious yet also be healthy eating? What’s more, its sooo simple to make, it’s child’s play.

A dessert healthy, tasty and good for you? Get away!

So, herewith, the ingredients. For the fruits, we have 400gm of cherries, 125gm each of blueberries and raspberries and 200gm of strawberries. Remember to wash them all well. The cherries need to be stoned and, quartered, the strawberries sliced similarly. The raspberries are to be halved and the blueberries left whole. This will make the base, along with one teaspoon of chia seeds and 100ml of water.

For the crumble, a 100gm of each of the following: porridge oats, wholemeal flour (sieved to retain the bran – we don’t need that), hazelnuts (coarsely chopped in a food processor) and melted butter. Also, 75gm of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of chia seeds.

In an 11″ flan dish (approx.), layer the fruit, squishing it down gently until something like level, but not entirely spirit-level flat. Add the water and then sprinkle the teaspoon of chia seeds across the top.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°c).

Everything else but the butter, tip into a mixing bowl. That’s the chopped hazelnuts, tsp of chia seeds, cinnamon, oats, sugar and flour. Mix together with hands, then pour over the melted butter. Grab yourself a wooden spoon and combine; you should have a mixture that looks like clusters, which you can then layer over the top of the fruit. Don’t worry if it doesn’t entirely cover the fruit – there should be chunks jutting through like a rocky desert landscape.

Place the flan dish on a baking tray in the middle of the preheated oven for about half an hour – the mixture should have begun to brown and the cherries and berries bubbling through the crumble by then – if not, leave a little while longer until they’ve done so.

The fruit will remain hot for some time, so be careful; custard is my fave with this dessert but you can temper the heat by serving it with ice-cream or – if you’re ultra-healthy – yoghurt will make a decent accompaniment, too.

So, now you can at least enjoy National Cherry Day, even if the summer has been a little bit of a let down, to date.

 

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cookerycourses.co.uk recipes News

The first recipe on cookery courses – pasta n peppers

As promised, today we experiment with a first for cookerycourses.co.uk – recipes! It seems strange that we write so much about the food industry, yet offer nothing in the way of healthy option eating. Or any type of cuisine you could just log on to our website and cook, for that matter.

Today, we’re going to start with a simple fusilli dish, which appeals to not only lovers of Italian food or those who like a quick snack with a bit of a bite, but also to vegetarians. In the same vein that Jermaine Jackson sang we don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time, you don’t necessarily need to eat meat to have a good meal. My experience is that you are much more satisfied when you do indulge in both, but hey-ho, each to their own.

For basic ingredients you need two large peppers, red, yellow or green; you’ll find most supermarkets sell them in a traffic-light pack, one of each; if you’ve got a death-wish or cast iron stomach, you could even use all three. For oil, virgin olive oil is best (obviously taking Jermaine at his word), of which you’ll need one tbsp.

If you want to go posh, opt for a couple of shallots or one large onion if you’re you’re going the diner route – whichever way, they need to be finely chopped. A clove of garlic is best nutritionally, but a level teaspoon of garlic powder will do for the recipe just as well; likewise, a teaspoon dried chillies, crushed is preferred, but a good teaspoon of chilli powder will suffice.

I’m sure half of these online food stores print recipes that incorporate exotic ingredients just so that people will buy more of their range (and part with more of their cash); often, a common alternative is just as effective and has little or no effect on the outcome of the flavour of the dish.  Dare I say, even improves it, as our taste buds are more used to the common-or-garden ingredients.

100ml of vegetable stock is next, followed by 125gm of sun-dried tomatoes (for economy, these tend to be sold in 100gm containers, so a splodge (technical term) of tomato puree added will work out more cost effective. A couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar completes the mix, and then add the pasta of your choice – if we’re sticking to a fusilli dish, it had better be fusilli, but conchiglie is just as cool.

From thereon in, the method’s plain sailing. If you want the softish texture for the peppers, you can whack them in the oven on Gas Mark 8 for a half an hour and then peel the skin off when cooled or if you’re not that fussed, slice and dice into them into half-inch chunks and soften them in a frying pan with the oil, along with the shallots/onions as your first operation.

Pop a pan of water on for the pasta – at what point you put the fusilli/conchiglie in will depend upon what the instructions on the packet, but familiarise yourself with the rest of this recipe, liaise with the pasta instructions and coincide the two to finish simultaneously.

Once you’re happy with the texture of your vegetables, add the garlic and chilli with approximately a third of the stock and simmer for another five minutes. If you’ve roasted and peeled the peppers, now’s the time to put them in, as is it time for the sun-dried tomatoes and the balance of stock.

After they’ve been cooked for ten minutes, add the vinegar for about a minute, by which time it should all have reduced to a fine sauce mix.

If you’ve got it right, you can now drain the pasta and stir it in with the sauce mix and, hey-presto, you’re done in next to no time.

Based on sharing this meal between four, it will deliver approximately 500 calories, 12gm of sugars, less than 1gm of saturated from the 12gm of fat in all, which means there is plenty of good fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated) in there to help lower cholesterol and, despite popular misconception, increase your healthy fat intake, which is good for you!  And finally, a serving contains  only a quarter of a gram of salt, so is excellent for those conscious of healthy eating.

So there you go – our first recipe. Please, enjoy, share and give us some feedback. Happy days!

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Cookery Courses News

A recipe for success on cookerycourses.co.uk

Do you know what we’re missing here on cookerycourses.co.uk?

It’s something so blindingly obvious but, in our urge to bring you the best news and trends from the world of food, fine dining and, more importantly where to go and learn to cook it, we’ve not brought a single recipe to you in all of that time.

Yes, we may have pontificated about the strides being made in the hospitality trade to overhaul the restaurant and pub trade menus to incorporate modern thinking about what’s healthy and their attempts to deliver just that.

We may have raved about the number of vegetarian cookery courses and the rise in the number of eateries where you can now go and be sure that the vegetables have not been prepared on the same kitchen work surface as a slab of meat.

In more recent times our focus on food recycling and the work that featured not-for-profit organisations like FoodCycle are doing to give young people experience of working in teams, learning to cook using fresh ingredients and fight food poverty in needy communities has received welcome comments from our readership.

And, of course, no decent site about food would overlook the struggle the Western World is fighting against obesity, derived from generations opting for a Big Mac, Kentucky or microwaved ‘healthy’ meal instead of preparing their own lunches from fresh ingredients.

What we’ve not done, in all this time, is offer recipes of our own – Lord knows, there are enough of them out there for us to adapt to our own special theme.

But what many recipes don’t do is give you the calorific and nutritional breakdown of what goes into each meal Yes, they give you the prep time, ingredients and method, but not a lot about what good the meal does you.

So don’t be surprised to find a few quick, easy recipes popping up between our news articles, starting tomorrow with an Aldo Zilli classic.

See you then.

oh – and a big p.s. – if there are any classics that you would like to see covered that you have cooked time and again or would like to try but you are not sure about what the meal constitutes in the way of calories, nutrition or how far they go towards your five-a-day, please feel free to drop a line in the comment box, below, and we will endeavour to bring you a recipe with the break-down of nutrition to go alongside.

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Cookery Courses News

Food Recycling will grow by teaching others better values

In the final article of this week’s topic, food recycling/food poverty, we visit one of the country’s most established organisations in that field, the Food AWARE Community Interest Company, associated with campaigns such as Healthy Start and its ongoing support of Love Food Hate Waste and the UK charitable outfit Chernobyl Children.

In itself, it is likewise a not-for-profit organisation and, in a similar vein to FoodCycle, our main topic on cookerycourses.co.uk this week, it relies on a combination of discarded food and volunteers but has had a little longer to establish itself and supports projects mainly in the north across Yorkshire and Humber.

What makes Food AWARE’s modus operandi ideal as the basis for a cookery course, amongst other aspects that we’ve dwelt upon using FoodCycle as an example through the week, is its focus on getting 5-a-day ingredients to those who may otherwise see no nutritious food on their plate.

This fits in perfectly with the amount of younger families that may be a) struggling to keep up with mortgage payments and therefore their budget for food is not as healthy as the diet they would prefer to eat and b) even if they did have fresh produce on their kitchen work surface, they would hardly know what to do with it, having been brought up on convenience food. It’s stating the obvious, but there is a very real need to address both.

As well as supporting many charitable organisations and community and church-led programs in the north, Food AWARE has a close affinity with Love Food Hate Waste, part of the wastewatch.org.uk scheme that has already committed to developing a 5-year diet program to encourage healthy eating, better for society as a whole – and thus the environment – and not only to get people to actually eat more wisely but have a very real appreciation of why the food they’re eating has both sustainable and planet-friendly values as well as delivering an overall more nutritious diet.

In summary of this week’s articles, all of the key issues are being addressed by organisations that are not in it for profit, which is great, but also limits their expansion and reaching a wider, more appreciative audience.

It needs more of the recognised food outlets, cookery courses and big brands to get behind these outfits to redistribute the food, yes, but in a way that people can learn to support themselves. These charities can then concentrate on growth, reducing the food surplus mountain and tackle poor nutrition in the less well-off regions of the country.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week and learnt as much as I have; here are the links to the other four articles, just in case you missed any:
1. Monday
2. Tuesday
3. Wednesday
4. Thursday

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Food and Ingredients News

Unilever to instigate UK healthy eating out campaign

Although the UK is still officially a fair way behind the U.S. in the obesity stakes, our rise in overweight children and adults alike is very much a cause for concern. As things stand, a quarter of our adult population are clinically obese – compare that with one report that suggests that by as soon as the year 2030 90% of Americans will top the scales over and above regulatory guidelines, and you see just how bad the problem is.

Although celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have tried to instil healthy eating practise through school menus, little will change until one of the global conglomerates jump ship and decides it really is time to start educating the world that ‘we are what we eat’ by example. And as they don’t come much bigger than Unilever, we may well be at the dawn of a bright new day in nutrition for healthy living.

Lisa Faulkner, Celebrity Masterchef winner, has been chosen to spearhead the Unilever Food Solutions Ambu-lunch campaign. The initiative has been launched to cut half a billion calories from the UK’s eat-out menus. In theory, they have deduced that by slashing just 24 calories per meal will go a long way to resolving the obesity issue.

As such, Lisa Faulkner will be out and about in the Ambu-lunch itself, starting with the launch of its healthy eating campaign outside the Houses of Parliament (where it is rumoured the Secretary for Health has been invited to hop on board the pimped up ambulance) before setting off around the country driving home the campaign’s message to eateries, catering colleges and cookery courses.

Choosing Lisa Faulkner, a veritable champion of the healthy eating cause, was a stroke of genius by Unilever, a move instigated by their most up-to-date World Menu Report 3 that suggests over fifty percent of consumers crave healthier options on the pub and restaurant menus across the nation.

The report, tagged ‘Seductive Nutrition’, revealed exactly what improvements customers want to see. The answers were not only an eye-opener as to how clued up customers are, but also by how far the hospitality trade was second-guessing – and missing – its target audience’s tastes. In descending order, here’s what the UK public want to see more of on their menus (a must-see for all cookery schools who are looking for their next promotions):
• A wider choice and greater serving of vegetables
• Portion control adjusted down to recommended calorific sizes
• Less fat used in cooking and on served meat (now, that’s bad, see – everybody needs good fat – that’s where media have blinded the market it seeks to control)
• Fresh ingredients over frozen
• A reduction of calories (hence the launch of Ambu-lunch, one would suggest)
• And finally, grilled food over fried

In an attempt to bolster interest, chefs who sign up for the deal have access to all sorts of online information produced by Unilever, like healthier options for individual ingredients, calorific calculators and portion sizing to name a few, all designed so that taste isn’t impacted. No doubt, healthy eating in the UK just took one giant leap in the right direction.

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Cookery Class News

Infants and parents keen on cookery classes at Norfolk school

If there’s going to be a school curriculum that incorporates cookery classes for year one and two pupils, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the school is based in Delia Smith’s neck of the woods in Norfolk.

In an age where many young families have literally no idea how to cook from fresh ingredients after a generation has been subjected to ‘healthy’ ready meals, this can only be good news for the future of the country. And that’s not being over dramatic; obesity in the young and ignorance of culinary and nutritional values is a a growing problem that, if not addressed now, will have serious implications for future generations.

So why has this school, namely Costessey Infant School, accepted the gauntlet of allowing youngsters into the kitchen, then additionally inviting the parents along afterwards to sample what their little darlings have learnt in the cookery classes?

Let’s Get Cooking Lottery funding kick-started the project

Wednesday mornings at the school have never been the same since, in 2008, the school accepted National Lottery funding as part of the “Let’s Get Cooking” project in an attempt to correct the well-publicised deviance from the straight and narrow of children’s diets. But it’s not only the youngsters at school who benefit from the cookery courses.

According to head teacher Rosemary Kett, the cooking lessons undertaken by the pupils have a knock-on effect upon the parents, who may or may not fall into the category as outlined above. And it seems to be having the desired effect. The school also runs cookery classes after school hours, which are equally as popular and places are filled very quickly. As no one likes remembering what they learn at school, Costessey has also got its own cook book featuring many of the recipes that make up the cookery classes.

Over the four years that the classes have been running, hundreds of pupils have benefited from the experience of Mrs Kett and volunteers like Jill Lamb who regularly help out, indeed, like a lamb to the slaughter one would think. But not so.

As well as learning the basics of cooking and table manners it would appear that the lessons learnt are carried forth into junior school, too. Last year, Costessey Juniors won the Norfolk Healthy Schools award before this year achieving the national standard of the same accolade. Indeed, even if parents are unsure of what constitutes a healthy packed lunch, there are links to such information on their website, namely www.eatwell.gov.uk and www.food.gov.uk.

As all the above parties involved from Colman’s country are eager to make healthy eating such a large part of growing up, I suppose you could say they’re as keen as mustard. Mmm, let’s hope my webmaster doesn’t send me a dijon letter after that little classic, eh?

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Cookery Courses News

More than just a cookery course from Arthritis Ireland

Let’s Cook! is a brand new venture being brought to the people of Galway by celebrity chef Stuart O’Keefe and is a program of free cookery courses designed to help those with Arthritis indulge in a passion they once enjoyed but now find difficult to do.

The initiative was the brainchild of Arthritis Ireland, who developed the course based on results from a healthy eating survey carried out amongst its members to see what troubled them the most about getting the right food inside them when it comes to tackling the kitchen. Relief from the pain of Arthritis is aided by quality nutrition; the problem is that, following the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, cooking fresh meals three times a day is not just a chore but a nightmare. Oh, yes – I know. (did I sound like Eric Burden, then?)

Abbott, the healthcare company, have also got involved with the cookery course, which will take place in the form of free work shops. With so much input, this particular venture will not be all about the cooking, which is what the participants of the survey suggest they need as more than a third (35%) often opted for off-the-shelf ready meals.

Further studies have shown that three quarters of those suffering with arthritis, especially when the weather’s a touch on the damp side (when isn’t it in the British Isles?) and joints become inflamed and swollen, find that just the act of cooking – let alone going to the extent of getting out to fetch the fresh ingredients daily – is a painful trial. Indeed, more than half (54%) say that regular cooking is just a no-no.

So as well as bespoke recipes prepared for the cookery course attendees, there will also be lessons in what foods can best deliver the nutrients a body needs to perform at its optimum, even with chronic conditions such as arthritis. There will also be demonstrations and instruction in the range of utensils available to sufferers to make the kitchen experience a lot more pleasant.

Science has helped develop nifty little gadgets to transfer the weight of heavy pots and pans, took the labour out of opening tins and can literally do the cutting, chopping and dicing of fresh meat and vegetables without putting unnecessary strain on those joints that ache like billy-oh when asked to do too much. Many such products will be incorporated in the cookery classes, the first of which will be on Monday 21st May at The Carlton on the Dublin Road, Galway.

I wonder if Ryan Air have got any cheap return flights – it’s a free cookery course and my nan was from Waterford…