Hello, I am Zeenat

I was born in Kenya to a Sikh Family. Both my parents were from India. I lived in Africa till the age of 8 and then in India till age 11 and moved to London. I got married at a young age to a Pakistani man. I had 6 children (I lost 2) and I have 2 grandchildren, we are a loving close-nit family.

My working background is nursing and alternative therapies. I have qualifications in Swedish massage, Baby massage and child development, Indian head massage and Laughter Yoga. I have recently delivered workshops in Lambeth for laughter yoga and Indian cooking.

I didn’t learn to cook from my mum as I was the youngest and a bit spoilt. However I used to watch my mum and sisters cook, when I got married I started to cook. I had some recipes in my head from watching my mum cook. Once I had children I started to cook more often and learnt from family and friends , there was no YouTube or internet to learn from. It was good to learn face to face, as there was real human touch and connection. I wanted to raise my children on good, healthy home cooked meals, using fresh ingredients.

A drawing by : Sophie Herxeimer form Elephant in the kitchen project

My dishes are combination of Indian and Pakistani recipes, they are both very similar. Pakistani dishes are predominately meat and Indian dishes are vegetarian. I grind most of the spices at home, so I know what I am putting into the food I eat. My children have learnt cooking in the same way and have good healthy eating habits and now my grandchildren are being raised on good nutritional food as well.

Indian dishes don’t need to be cooked with a lot of oils, fats, over powering hot chillies or too many spices. Spices should enhance the flavours and add nutrition and aromas. Good home cooking can nourish your mind, body and soul.

I have started to grow my own produce to be more sustainable and have learnt new skills. I didn’t know much about gardening until i started volunteering at Loughbourough Farm four years ago. Check it out https://loughboroughjunction.org , here I learnt a lot and adapted it to my own garden. This year I got really good harvest, Peas, beetroots, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Broadband, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage.

I love picking from my garden and cooking it straight away. Everything tastes so good. Loughborough Farm has also supported me in developing my Laughter and cooking projects. Volunteering can lead to so many other things. Watch out for more recopies with produce from my garden. I try to source my ingredients locally as much as possible.

I have cooked for my local community in Lambeth as Guest chef at The Platform www.the platformcafe.org

I have cooked for fundraising events at Loughborough Farm on Loughborough Rd, London SW9 7AH. This is a volunteer run farm. Im quite famous here for my delicious Pakoras ( they a similar to Onion Bajis)

I have also delivered cooking sessions for parents and children with Healthy Living platform www.healtylivingplatform.org I have cooked dishes from surplus produce donated by companies in the community, as well as buying from local shops.

I hope to inspire you all with delicious and nutritious recipes.

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