MARCH 2019

Making the zesty oat topped salmon on the Boost your Brain Power course in March

Making the zesty oat topped salmon on the Boost your Brain Power course in March

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Spring has sprung! Loving all the daffodils and tulips out, and my snowdrops in the garden look lovely. A city break to Lisbon was planned to break up the cold weather and get some some rays on my skin. Lisbon is very hilly and therefore lots of walking, taking in cultural sites and sampling the most wonderful seafood and Portuguese wines. Towards the end of March, I planned a dinner party for my friends with peppered mackerel pate with capers and one of my favourite recipes, Nigel Slater’s roasted duck. https://realfoodfans.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/nigel-slaters-roast-duck-with-potatoes-and-pancetta/

Not wanting to waste any foods, I had a delicious looking chocolate panetonne to use and hence made a bread and butter pudding. All a bit indulgent but great company, chats and the wine was flowing! And to finish off the month, a long walk followed by lunch at The Anglesea Arms nearby for Mother’s Day. http://www.angleseaarmspub.co.uk

WorkJoy

More KitchenJoy Vouchers being validated which resulted in Boost your Brain Power Course and Eating Vegan cookery classes.

NOTHS (Not on the High Street) launched a new partners day, which was very informative, giving us stats on more established partners sales to date and how we can promote our own courses on their site supported by their marketing and admin team. It was interesting to hear that only 2% of applicants are successful, so I feel very honoured and privileged. You can check me out on their site here:

https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/kitchenjoy

My friend Anna, a professional photographer came over to KitchenJoy to take a few up-to-date snaps of myself and my daughter for the website, with some action shots of me in the kitchen and by the live herb wall. It was a fun and productive day and I have already loaded new photos onto the website.

And last but not least, I did my stint on the panel at International Women’s Day at Wedlake Bell law firm in the city. I brought along my vegan raspberry, lemon & oat muffins, gluten-free goat’s cheese, chocolate chip & sea salt muffins + date and matcha tea energy balls. The panel chair asked us various questions on how we set up our business, the drawbacks, plus points and any challenging moments. How we have found being a female in the work place and if this has inhibited moving forward in our business in any way. There were about 100 clients invited and finally there was Q&A open to the floor. I hope I was inspiring to anyone who wanted to transition from a Corporate world to running their own business to discussing female empowerment. It was also great for networking as I met many other corporate companies and individuals who wanted to book tasting demo’s and cookery classes.

KitchenJoy

With more Vegan Courses booked in March and further bookings into April, the home made seitan is proving to be a success! I changed the dessert for the March courses, as I feel sometimes vegan desserts are top heavy on sugar which we are trying to reduce. Following on from the theme of Mongolian “beef” seitan, I decided to make a more Asian dessert to complement the main. It was Mango & brown rice pudding, poached in coconut milk and pureed mango stirred through - a great hit!

On the brain power course, I like to serve salmon if we have no vegetarians attending, to boost our Omega 3 intake, with a tasty oat, lemon zest & dill topping. Oats can improve cognitive performance and improve mental health and act as fuel to the brain and satisfy hunger, reducing the chance of a mid-day crash.

Recipe below.

Zesty Oat Topped Salmon Fillets with rainbow carrots

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

1 tbsp olive oil (and extra for salmon fillets)

1 heaped tbsp of rolled oats

1 tbsp of ground almonds

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon

150g rainbow carrots

1 tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 220c. Place carrots in a large bowl.  Add the oil, rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.   Lay the carrot on a lined flat baking tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove from the oven and place the salmon fillets on the tray.  Lightly brush the top of each salmon fillet with olive oil.

Mix the oats, almonds, dill and lemon zest.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the salmon fillets and pat down lightly to give a good coating.  Drizzle the lemon juice over.

Reduce the heat to 180c and bake the salmon and vegetables for approximately 15 minutes until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked through.



 
 

FEBRUARY 2019

Sampling the smoothie we made on anti-ageing skin nutrition course in February

Sampling the smoothie we made on anti-ageing skin nutrition course in February

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After surviving the long chilly January month, I thought it was time for a visit to Borough Market. This is one of my favourite foodie venues. I always like to try and share the French comte toasted sani, quite rich but such a treat and the best toasted cheese sandwich you will taste! Followed by Richard Haward’s oysters, these are truly the best oysters you will find in London. It is a family based business and they are farmed around the creeks of Mersea Island, Essex.

https://richardhawardsoysters.shop/

After picking up some fresh veggies for the forthcoming week and delicious cheeses with rosemary & garlic bread, I was all set for a sharing board to stay in later that evening.

Was truly spoilt for Valentine’s Day! I just love white flowers, so instead of the traditional red roses, was presented with 12 white roses, which looked stunning. My partner surprised me with a hotel stay over in Greenwich, a great part of London and went to The Guildford Arms, which was awarded best dining pub of the year 2018 for a wonderful gastronomical menu.

http://www.theguildfordarms.co.uk/

It was my friend Cindy’s big birthday, so I made her a triple layer chocolate cake smothered in ganache icing to celebrate! What a party with cake and fizz !

My girlfriend, Jen came over who is vegetarian, I had the opportunity to try out some new Indian dishes as I know she loves Indian food. I made coconut lentil dahl from Melissa Hemsley who I follow and always has inspiring healthy recipes, and a filo pastry samosa pie of potato, squash & peas.

It seems like we had a mini heat wave in February, how amazing was that! But I have been a little under the weather with a chest infection so I do not believe in working out when your body is trying to fight a virus. Just been taking a few walks along the river in Chiswick and around Chiswick House to make the most of the winter sun. I have been consuming lots of green smoothies and kefir to boost my immune system, along with my favourite sunshine shot, a cocktail of freshly squeezed orange juice, dash of lemon juice, grated fresh turmeric and grated fresh ginger. Its strong and zingy but I love it and its such a good tonic ! Also having a few sneaky relaxes in my garden and noticed the snowdrops are out, which I planted last year around the tree trunk, how gorgeous they look in the sunlight in February!

WorkJoy

Wow, lots of courses getting booked up, as I sold KitchenJoy Gift Vouchers over the Christmas period, and now they are all coming through.

Launched a new course of anti-ageing skin nutrition and also ran another Vegan + No sugar course too.

I have a partnership with As Nature Intended (ANI) which means KitchenJoy advertising ANI’s organic raw ingredients which I use to demonstrate a couple of dishes at their Chiswick store. This was a tasting demo of roasted carrot hummus and chocolate beetroot brownies, both prepared earlier in my cookery school. It is a great way of marketing for KitchenJoy and also promoting the school locally, as ANI are only a few minutes away on Chiswick High Road.

The second event was a live demo at ANI’s flagship store in Marble Arch, ticketed sales to a live audience where I demonstrated pea, za’atar & feta fritters, plus courgette kofta’s in coconut sauce. I partnered with Jackie Lynch, a nutritionist & we have worked together on some courses at KitchenJoy in 2018 and plan more this coming year. This combination works well, as while I am cooking, Jackie will be giving in depth discussions on the nutritional value of each food type. The audience then sample the foods that have been cooked.

Not on the High Street (NOTHS) came along to KitchenJoy to see what we were made of and to finalise our partnership which is very exciting! I will now be featured in their “experiences” food section on line and already this month some NOTHS customers have bought KitchenJoy vouchers! Bring it on……

And last but not least, a leading city law firm has nominated me as a panelist of 3, for Women’s International Day on 7th March. This is beyond exciting and have been busy prepping some KitchenJoy breakfast recipes to showcase to the audience of 70. . I am planning two different types of breakfast muffins and some energy balls. A conference call was booked to discuss KitchenJoy challenges and motivation for the upcoming event.

KitchenJoy

Just made the most delicious dessert on vegan cookery class, a sticky toffee pear pudding where the pears are inserted into the wet sponge standing up, looks very impressive when it comes out of the oven with the pears sticking out!

Onto other desserts, I made sweet potato brownies on the No Sugar course, a healthy brownie that also features a vegetable. A superfood vegetable that’s a major source of vitamin C. I know sounds too good to be true. They were seriously indulgent, rich and fudgy and slightly firm inside but still quite gooey. A healthy brownie recipe without the sugar rush. Hello, Sweet Potato Brownies!

Had a private birthday party for 8 girlies, was such fun! It was the same format as the standard KitchenJoy cookery classes, being interactive but they brought their own wine. We made a chicken tagine, which has no added oil and the aubergines are marinated and cooked in soy sauce, with lots of yummy ingredients such as dates which make this dish very tasty. It is from the Happy Pear twins book, take a peak !

https://thehappypear.ie/recipe/moroccan-tagine/

I just LOVE listening to my podcasts whilst trying out new recipes for the cookery classes and Russell Brand was interviewing the Happy Pear boys which really is worth listening to, from their childhood & travels, to setting up their dream business, very inspirational and funny!

https://www.russellbrand.com/podcast/063-being-good-men-with-the-happy-pear/

It was great to launch the anti-ageing skin nutrition course starting with a glowing skin smoothie as per the photo above and recipe below. Avocado is high in fatty acids for moisturising the skin and mango rich in beta carotene - a wonderful source of skin healing anti -oxidants and flax seeds for their omega 3 benefits to minimise rashes, skin irritation and inflammation.

Here is the recipe for the smoothie:

Glowing skin smoothie
Serves 1
200ml almond milk
½ mango
Few spinach leaves
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp maca powder
½ avocado
Few brazil nuts

Place all ingredients in a blender, pour and enjoy!

 
 

VEGANUARY 2019

seitan.png

SocialJoy

After a fabulous Christmas and New Year in Dubai, soaking up the sun and a little Middle Eastern culture, it was time to return to the chilly English January. Really couldn’t wait to feel healthy after the festive season and do a cleanse. This involved lots of fresh veggie smoothies with an extra boost of milk thistle to detox my liver and flax seeds for extra omega 3 intake. By not going out as much in January, a bit of hibernating in front of the log fire, which also means some good quality sleep. Part of my relaxation process is to listen to a 20 minute meditation on line to unwind before bed time. I also find it beneficial to try and eat my evening dinner by 6pm so I can incorporate some intermittent fasting for a longer period overnight. Along with hitting the gym hard with Hiit classes, but mixed up with yoga & stretch & tone all made me feel rejuvenated to move forward into 2019!

I cycled to Kew Gardens, always a joy to walk round this spectacular space only a few miles from where I live. Especially to see the new vast Victorian greenhouse which has recently opened.

WorkJoy

Wow! Lots of Courses to bring in the new year! Well it is Veganuary, and busy prepping and trying out new recipes is always fun. Starting with the delicious Bosh Boys Vegan Chilli, you really must buy their book on all inspiring easy to follow vegan dishes at home.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-5519071/Bosh-nosh-Ultimate-chilli.html

Also on the calendar was the No Sugar course, which again is a great start to cut down and reduce your refined sugar intake for the new year.

I was invited for a radio interview at Brookland’s radio station in Weybridge, Surrey. It was a women’s hour programme, and there were 3 entrepreneurial speakers who had recently set up their businesses. The radio presenter interviewed me on why I set up KitchenJoy, from my passion of running the cookery school to the offering of healthy classes. I found it very exhilarating and was asked what foods a teenager could eat for acne, to calming foods for sleeping. If you want to catch up with KitchenJoy’s radio interview, here it is!


https://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk/latestpodcasts.html

KitchenJoy

It was great to launch the new No Sugar Course and incorporate natural sugars into our diet to show clients that we can still have a balanced diet and to understand balancing blood sugar levels. This course started with a plant based smoothie with pineapple, banana and spinach leaves, to show you can get some natural sugars from fruit, yet it was balanced out with greens and maca powder plus walnuts for additional nutritional value. The main course was baked salmon with miso glaze which was a mix of maple syrup, mirin, soy, miso paste and sesame oil. It’s very simple but so delicious and my ethos is to create recipes which are easy for my clients to replicate at home.

With many vegan courses booked in January, it was good to mix up and experiment with new ideas. My friend James, gave me an easy to follow seitan recipe which was a winner! There are many ways to cook the seitan but I think steaming it seems the most effective and tasty! Once you have your base seitan, this will keep in the fridge for about one week, you can use this to make a number of dishes such as the photo above which is Mongolian stir fry. The seitan is perfect for absorbing strong flavours, so with soy, chilli, garlic, ginger & chinese five spice, this enhances the seitan and it really does taste like meat! Here is my favourite seitan recipe:

Mongolian seitan ‘beef’

Ingredients for Basic Homemade Seitan

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp blackened seasoning   
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 and 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is softened slightly.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is softened and fragrant. Add the paprika to the pan, stir, and cook for 60 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the onion & garlic mixture, including oil, to a blender or food processor. Add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, soy sauce if using, chickpea flour, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten, then stir until evenly combined. Once stirred, use your hands to knead the mixture until it becomes firm and a little bit springy, about 2 minutes. Do note that this will feel wetter and moister than many other seitan recipes, due to the fact that we are steaming it rather than boiling it. The dough will be quite loose and moist, so this won't feel similar to kneading bread.

Prepare boiling water and a steamer. Be sure to add plenty of water since this will be steaming for one hour. Form the dough into a vaguely log shape and then roll it up tightly in a piece of foil, twisting the ends tightly. Depending on the size and shape of your steamer, you may need to separate it into two pieces.

Once the water is boiling, steam the wrapped gluten dough for 1 hour, carefully flipping it over halfway through

Let the cooked seitan cool to room temperature, then unwrap it and place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. For best results, slice the seitan as needed for recipes rather than pre-slicing it. The homemade seitan in log form will keep in the fridge for up to a week. 

Ingredients

For the Mongolian beef-less sauce:

2 tsp vegetable oil 
1/2 tsp minced or grated ginger
3 cloves minced or grated garlic
1/3 tsp Chinese five spice
1/3 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 cup  soy sauce 
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water

For the crisped seitan:

1 and 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 lb homemade seitan (or use store-bought seitan), cut into 1-inch slices

For serving:

Toasted sesame seeds 
Sliced spring onions

To make the sauce:

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic; stir constantly. After 30 seconds, add the five spice, and red pepper flakes, and cook for about one minute.

Add the soy sauce and coconut sugar and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer until the coconut sugar is dissolved and slightly reduced, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water, then add it to the pan and stir. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the sauce becomes glossy and thickened slightly. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and keep simmering gently until ready to add to the seitan.

To make the seitan and finish the vegan Mongolian beef:

In a pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the seitan and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisped around the edges.

Reduce the heat to low and add the sauce to the pan. Stir to coat all of the seitan pieces, and continue cooking until the sauce has adhered to the seitan. Remove from the heat and serve hot, with rice and/or vegetables of choice, and garnished with sesame seeds and spring onions if using.

Serve with quinoa

ENJOY !

 
 

Bringing Joy into the kitchen

I have always had a great passion for food, cooking and entertaining – as my friends put it ‘bringing Joy into the kitchen!’. Despite numerous jobs in a corporate environment I felt that something was always bringing me back to my love for health, nutrition and sharing knowledge. After a significant career break in 2013, I took some time travelling. Working in Swaziland I was able to detach myself from the London bubble and came back with a new perspective on what I wanted to achieve in my life going forward. 

I am a dreamer! And had many different ideas and plans for setting up something I could call my own, but it was only when I was on holiday with my daughter in Tuscany last summer that KitchenJoy really came to fruition. Although I am not classically trained, I have been cooking for friends, family and loved ones almost all my life!

We did some brain storming (over many glasses of rosé!) and couldn’t believe that we had not come up with this idea before! Now what to do next…all the planning.  I wanted to create something within my Chiswick house, so I could share my home with people. In January 2017, an Architect and Construction Engineer came in to prepare plans to extend the existing kitchen further into the garden, and knock down some internal walls.   

Despite some headaches, sweat and tears associated with all redevelopments (finding out the foundations were not deep enough and the existing downstairs loo was crumbling away from the outside wall in – argh!) I could finally see the shape coming together a new kitchen emerging!

I wanted to incorporate my personality into the kitchen-  keeping it quirky, edgy, contemporary and homely, whilst finishing it with an overall industrial look as a backdrop to the business.  When the final stainless steel units were assembled and the appliances installed, things were looking up. The final stage of the fresh concrete worktops laid were literally the icing on the cake!

I hunted around to incorporate bits from all over – buddhas from Africa, hand blown glass light bulbs from the UK, handmade island, bespoke dining table from Surrey, antique dresser from France. The kitchen really is an amalgamation of old and new, each part with its own story (I always have a story!). I am still excitedly waiting on the live wall to arrive!

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey of creating KitchenJoy and quite a journey it has been – though this is only really the beginning! I am so excited to start sharing my passion with others and invite people into my home to share my experience and knowledge of cooking and nourishing your body to support a healthy, yet delicious lifestyle.