‘Wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m still learning, same as you.’ – Safiya Robinson, Founder and creator of SisterWomanVegan
On the 3rd February, Safiya Robinson, creator of SisterWomanVegan, came to the University of Roehampton to explore wellness through food and share her knowledge about cooking and the healing properties it can have.
SisterWomanVegan is a plant based social enterprise exploring how food can affect the mind, body and soul. Safiya is also a mental health activist and encourages healing through natural and wholesome food inspired by her black heritage.
In collaboration with the University’s sustainability programme ‘Growhampton’, Safiya led a cooking workshop, teaching students to create a serotonin-boosting brunch alternative using a variety of plant based and vegan produce.
For a lot of students cooking can be both daunting and time consuming, especially when trying to maintain a nutritious and sustainable diet. Safiya’s mission is to equip everybody with the knowledge and skills needed to create delicious and nourishing food that makes them feel good. She believes that food isn’t just fuel, it’s one of life’s joys and should be celebrated.
At the cooking workshop, Safiya spoke so passionately about SisterWomanVegan and all of the brand’s aspirations. It was clear that first and foremost she wanted us to have fun and leave the session with a clear mind and a full tummy.
There was no recipe to follow – We weren’t even sure of what we were making as we were making it! Safiya explained that she likes to avoid the constraints and expectations of instructions as it allows us to be free to use our senses and create the perfect dish.
Laid out in front of us on the workbench were large bowls of mushrooms, spinach leaves, sweet potatoes, spring onions and smaller bowl of spices including paprika, cumin, garlic as well as nutritional yeast.
We began by peeling and slicing the sweet potatoes. Half were to be boiled to make potato hash and the other half were to be seasoned with olive oil and spices and left to crisp up in the oven. Next we chopped and fried the mushrooms with the garlic, adding the spinach towards the end to wilt.
Using chickpea flour, spices, nutritional yeast and vegetable stock we were told to whisk up a savoury pancake batter. At this point, we began to realise what our serotonin-boosting brunch was going to be!
After making the pancakes, we stacked them high with the garlic mushrooms, spinach and spiced sweet potato and finished off with a drizzle of hot pepper sauce to give our brunch a kick.
As we all sat down together to eat, we could all agree that we felt so enlightened about cooking with natural produce and the flavours that could be created from just a few ingredients. Safiya talked us through the nutritional benefits of the meal we had created, it was full of protein, iron and vitamin d, and it tasted great too!
I left the class feeling really inspired to take the skills we had learnt and begin experimenting with different ingredients and flavours in my own kitchen. It was great fun cooking with my SisterWomanVegan and I would love to again in the future!