Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

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Everyone has a right to learn how to cook: Kaleyard Community Kitchen

"Everyone has a right to learn how to cook” says Sumayya Usmani, the founder of Kaleyard Cook School and Kitchen, Glasgow’s first non-profit social enterprise cook school. Sumayya is a cook and writer who made Glasgow her home in 2015, having changed career from the law and moved up from London. She writes about the food of Pakistan, she grew up in Karachi, and has published two books (full of her memories of sitting under the tamarind tree in her Grandmother’s garden, and of the flavours and recipes she remembered from her childhood.

She wanted to open a cook school to help people cook from instinct – the andaza of Pakistani cookery, where all the senses are involved in creating a dish – with flavour being sensed and felt rather than exact measurements being followed.

But she wanted it to be more than just teaching people recipes, she wanted it to be about community and gathering around food. She wanted it to be about the power of food to heal, unite and inspire. As someone who had felt the pull of Pakistani food more once she had left Pakistan she understood the importance of food as a centre to culture, identity and a feeling of belonging. Cooking, eating, sharing.

So the Kaleyard Cook School and Kitchen was set up in 2018 as a community interest company – first as a pop up, and then when it became clear that the idea needed a physical space, in the Toryglen

Community Base in Prospecthill Circus, two miles south of Glasgow’s City Centre. There Sumayya and others host a range of masterclasses – teaching a wide range of cuisines, from Indonesian to Middle Eastern alongside Pakistani – which in turn fund community classes, cookery teaching in schools and special events.

It is a positive circle – the way food brings people together, combats social isolation, can help combat food poverty and health inequalities by giving people the skills to cook cost effective, seasonal, nutritious food.

When I spoke to Sumayya for this piece we were in the middle of the first lockdown – she was trying to raise money for the rent, to keep some income coming in, by cooking takeaway meals in her home kitchen and delivering them locally.

You can find out about all Kaleyard’s future cookery classes, meals and events by following the link here. If you'd like to try Sumayya's recipe for Attock Chana Rijai, click here.

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This weekend the valleys were full of mist - great screeds of it swelling up as the afternoon lengthened and the air cooled.⁠⠀
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This is a rescue horse who now lives a couple of fields down - if I happen to be passing his gate around 4, he is up  stretching his over it, looking for friendly scratches and food. ⁠⠀
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A perfect time keeper.
It doesn't take much . . . . ⁠⠀
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These stems were picked in the five minute walk from the house to the Studio.⁠⠀
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A teasel head, some rusty dock seeds, a bleached shell of columbine, bright rose hips.⁠⠀
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None looked very promising outside but indoors, tucked into test tubes, they look wonderful.⁠⠀
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As they would in bottles . . . .⁠⠀
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The rose hips are the last of the berries to go from the hedges - the birds strip everything else as soon as it gets cold, the elders and rowans first, then the haws.⁠⠀
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Inspired by their bright longevity I have ordered a small clutch of rosa moyesii 'Geranium' - with their spectacular bottle shaped hips - to make an informal hedge down by the airstream.⁠⠀
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My plan is to plant them amongst crab apples to keep back the dull green march of the Scots broom. ⁠⠀
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I have honeysuckle in mind too.⁠⠀
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This is the Studio - nestled into the dip of the valley, surrounded by wild meadow and trees.⁠⠀
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At this time of year it is a cosy den, the stove lit, the fabrics piled up around me.⁠⠀
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Today I am finishing off some large embroidered wool cushions and sending out lots of craft kits in the post.
This was taken last week when we had snow. You can see Dixie’s dachshund toy abandoned in a drift.
A winding path, a bare tree reaching up, blue sky above ribbons of mist, patches of scruffy frost in the rough grass.⁠⠀
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I have walked this road more days than not this year.⁠⠀
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It never gets old.
I said I wasn't going to make a wreath this year.⁠⠀
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But then I saw one @talenamaria made on behalf of @jamjarflowers for the @papier Instagram feed and I was smitten.  The glorious mess of the hedgerow encapsulated in a twiggy ring.⁠⠀
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The birch twigs from further down the grid were still in the hall  and I had some dried hydrangeas left over . . . .⁠⠀
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(I also say I never watch video tutorials as I get distracted too easily and find that they are often too long - but Talena's is good and short and easy to watch and follow.)
A snowy gate, photographed last week, snow piled up on rungs and branches.⁠ ⠀
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I loved how the field on the other side was completely untouched. ⠀
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A fresh sheet of paper. ⠀
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A new week. ⠀
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If you want to make a little wool tree like this one the step by step instructions are now on my website - www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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If you want it to look exactly like this one, you can also buy a kit with all the bits to make three trees ⁠⠀
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I first made these trees for a Country Living Fair in Glasgow back in the mid 2000s - raiding my button box for the decoration and dyeing old blankets for the wool. ⁠⠀
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Sometimes I still see the trees from that generation appear on people's Christmas windowsills and it makes me very happy.
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At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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