The LoveChefs' raw food workshops
In mid-May this year, just as the earth was warming from that long old winter, I gathered with five others to listen, watch, question and taste as Mark Mabon, one half of the fabulous raw LoveChef team, showed us how to make fun, easy, tasty and above all healthy dishes that would suit child, woman, other child and man... oh, and the odd relative: in-laws, cousins... and friends!
Being a group of mothers and grannies, we all wanted to know how to prepare tasty, energy-boosting food for ourselves, but also the kinds of foods that might appeal to a hungry kid after school. We wanted to learn how to give our bodies the optimum nutrition, but without spending a billion hours a day making it.
It was the perfect time of year to do a raw food workshop, as we were all eagerly anticipating the onset of early spring. Those first tender shoots of lettuce and nettles, then into broad beans, courgettes, tomatoes – all easy-to-grow vegetables in a garden, playground or allotment. Some, such as nettles you can simply to find on a walk around the neighbourhood.
Mark kicked off by showing us how to make nut milk. I know, I wasn’t expecting very much either.
I have wrestled with dairy products for many years, trying not to admit the sore throats, colds, fatigue and general low immunity were linked to my intake of cow, goat or sheep’s products. Finally eighteen months ago, I kicked dairy for good. Cheese, butter, cream – I found all these easy to avoid, but milk not so much. I like it in tea and coffee, and occasionally on cereal. I drank soya for a few months, but there are some questionable health and environmental issues around soya, so I moved to almond, quinoa, hemp, hazelnut – you name it I tried it. Nice though they were on their own, none of them were as good as dairy milk when it came to my needs. Moreover, they come in tetrapaks which are terribly difficult to recycle, and not at all biodegradable.
Nuts and seeds contain toxins, naturally occurring, to stop predators eating them. Soaking the nuts and seeds overnight removes the toxins, and in the morning you simply whiz them up with water, strain them, and you have yourself a tasty, creamy and completely perfect addition to any cuppa. It has changed my life. I now use the milk for breakfast smoothies, for making pancakes and nobody goes ‘eugh’ anymore (as they did if I used soya milk). Occasionally I offer nut milk to my guests, and some are readily converted.
Mark showed us how to make raw dips, the most delicious and rather grown up chocolate mousse, and some transformative salad dressings. These involve tahini, miso, sweet vinegars and salty seasonings, among other things, and really jazzed up steamed vegetable salads that we would be eating come winter (beetroot, carrot, butternut squash).
He also told us what equipment we could invest in to help bring raw dishes more easily into our lives, and where to buy the best ingredients.
But the most wonderful thing about the workshop was being able to tap into Mark’s encylopaedic knowledge about the effects of different foods on the body. To get a flavour, read his article, or, even better book yourself a course. I promise you, you will not be disappointed, and nor will you body.
At some point Mark has promised that he and his partner Charlotte’s combined knowledge will be available in a recipe book! Now THAT is worth waiting (and practising your raw) for.
Try the LoveChefs' recipes: raw berry cheesecake and stunning raw beetroot and sprouting sunflower seed dip
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