Chefs Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke, co-founders of Life Kitchen, a not-for-profit cookery school, have recently released a new cookbook for cancer patients. The cookbook contains 15 recipes that are designed to overcome the loss of taste experienced by some chemo patients during treatment. The duo were inspired to launch Life Kitchen six years ago after both losing their mothers to cancer. Ryan says “I was my mother’s carer from the ages of 18 to 20. I saw what she went through and how depressing it was for her to lose her sense of taste.”
There are three key ingredients which help to boost flavour in recipes – miso paste, spring onions and garam masala. “Miso paste is the most important,” Ryan says. “Put it in everything as it is umami rich. Umami rich foods have a special talent. When they are on the tongue, they not only stimulate the umami receptor they knock on the door of all the other receptors and ask them to work harder. When you have more umami rich food, you’re getting more sweet bitter tastes. That’s why umami is this golden elixir. We try and get it in every dish as it can really lifts food to new levels. Spring onions give great texture as well as adding interest and flavour to whatever they accompany and garam masala warming spice blend adds depth and excitement to dishes with just a pinch added here and there.”
Each recipe is cost effective and created with the current cost of living crisis in mind. Examples include Swedish-style meatballs using everyday supermarket ingredients and costing £2.96 per serving for two, or a spicy bean quesadilla for 97p each.
The team have partnered with cancer charity Big C to produce the recipe book and it can be downloaded free of charge here or you can puchase a hardcopy for a nominal fee.