23 October 2012

GUEST BLOG: Hearty types

By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE

Autumn was on the menu on Monday for our Food Futures session at Wythenshawe Community Church as we were cooking up some seasonal colours and flavours. Kim had a wonderfully simple recipe for stew and dumplings that she also adapted into a pie using the same ingredients.

Most of our participants would be using what they learned to show others how they could cook healthy but cheap food and without too much difficulty. Kim wanted to show that adaptation was the key and that even if you didn't have specialised cooking equipment you weren't scuppered - there may be something else in your kitchen that you could use or even just do without. For instance, a rolling pin could be made out of a bottle (Kim suggested a wine bottle...!) and today we actually used a metal flask. Also not having scales needn't be an issue as you can just read the weight on a packet then divide the amounts to get an approximate weight. Some recipes do not need complete accuracy, and luckily that applied to our dumpling pastry.

Kim was making good use of seasonal vegetables and used carrot, sweet potato and beetroot. The colours were just gorgeous and so autumnal too plus the health benefits derived from having such an array of coloured foods in your diet are fantastic! No oil was used in the stew, in fact the only fat was some veggie marge used in the dumplings and pie crust so you could just have the stew should you want to go down the ultra-healthy route. Also Kim didn't use any salt so this is also healthy in that respect too.

Kim explained that although this version was following a veggie recipe, it could be adapted by just adding almost any meat. Beef or lamb or chicken thighs would be ideal slow cooked in the stew. Also different veggies could be used should you not be able to get these ones or if you just preferred others.

We sat down to a hearty and colourful lunch and there were many comments on just how simple it was to prepare - even the dumplings and pie crust were very easy and quick to do. A few people also said they were definitely going to make it for themselves later that day - brilliant! We fed 12 people with plenty to spare and Kim had only spent £13 on ingredients so this without a doubt demonstrates how you can cook a no-fuss, healthy and cheap meal... and did I mention that it tasted delicious too?

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