Food Revolution Day 2013 - The 'Last Night's Leftovers' lunch

There was a time when everyone knew how to cook, cooking skills used to be passed down from generation to generation but somewhere in the last decades it all went terribly wrong.

There are now millions of people who struggle to cook up a basic meal. If we don't take action now, soon there will be a generation without cooking skills and no knowledge to pass on to their children. It is of vital importance to our health and those of our children to eat well as obesity is spreading like a plague. But it's not only for our health but for community and family spirit, to sit down to enjoy a meal together and talk, to exchange recipes and to keep our food traditions which are historically and important alive.

Jamie Oliver says: “Food Revolution Day is all about people power.
I was amazed and massively inspired by our first global day of action last year. 
For me, this is one day for us all to get together and shout about the importance of food education and the need to share and pass on food knowledge and cooking skills. This is an opportunity to build better relationships with great food, whether that’s through hosting a big event like a farmers’ market or a small dinner for your mates and cooking everything from scratch. It’s about giving people
the knowledge and confidence to  cook using fresh ingredients and to make better choices about what they feed themselves and their families.

For last years Food Revolution a bunch of my food blogger friends and I joined forces for an online 'local food' potluck dinner. We all brought a dish to the virtual table that was local and sustainable. I brought mussels and Belgian fries - remember not to call them French ;)

This year I'm focusing on the workspace as we spend most of our time there. I myself tend to take my lunch box to work containing mostly the leftovers from dinner the night before or a quick spelt or couscous salad. Next to breakfast lunch is the most import meal of the day. It is to provide us with fuel for the work day. 

Inspired by my own lunchbox I came up with the idea of cooking everyone a 'Last Night's Leftovers' lunch pack. 

Madeira cake to get you through the busy days

For years I thought Madeira cake was made with the fortified wine Madeira, I thought it was the English equivalent to an Italian Vin Santo cake, which is in fact made adding the Vin Santo.
Madeira cake is a closed textured cake that was designed in the 19th century to accompany a glass of Madeira and other sweet wines. It was a cake for the upper class, people who could afford to bake a dry crumbly cake that doesn't keep well and had to be enjoyed with a drink of some kind and best within two days before it would get too dry.
Precision and plenty of beating is required to achieve that close crumbly texture. You have to be a patient cook and the ingredients used must be of the best possible quality.

Nourishing Stout and Oat Drink

My mother always told me she and my grandmother loved drinking a Trappist beer when they were breastfeeding, she said that it was nurturing for new moms and that in the old days the nurses would actually bring a beer to the mothers to stimulate the lactation process.
But it isn't just a myth, if a nursing mother drinks a good old pint of beer, the yeast and hops in it will help increase her milk supply. Hops are also calming, so good for the new mom. Brewers yeast is also taken as a supplement to boost the milk supply by mothers who do not enjoy the taste of a lovely beer.

Trappist is a Belgian beer but I think Stout is the prefect beer for this recipe as I've heard stories about mothers receiving a Stout when they have given birth, a Nourishing Stout would have been better but sadly those haven't been brewed commercially for decades. Milk Stout is called that way because it used to contain lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Lactose doesn't only add sweetness to the beer, it also adds calories which is why together with the yeast and hops in the beer it was given to lactating mothers. Although Milk and Nourishing Stouts only became popular after the First World War, the usage of lactose and the mentioning or illustrating of it on the beer labels was forbidden after the Second World War due to rationing.

The only surviving Milk Stout is Mackeson's, I came across it by accident when I was at Tesco's a few months ago, the can still shows a milk churn that has been Mackeson's trademark since it was first brewed in 1907 at the Mackeson's brewery in Hythe, Kent. Mackeson's is now brewed by InBev so I doubt that there is still any lactose in the beer today.

As I am creating this concoction for my friend and fellow blogger Zita who gave birth to a healthy little boy a few hours ago, I am going to make it as nutritious as I can.