Browsing Category


Featured/ Healthy desserts

Rhubarb and apple crumble

When it comes to indulgence, for me it’s about what choices you make. With this rhubarb and apple crumble recipe you can feel a lot better about your choice as it has minimal sugar. Also, it is jam packed with fruit.


This is an amazing recipe that takes little time to prepare and then you can sort of forget about it in the oven (for about 40-50 min depending on your oven). It caters for adults and children alike and with copious amounts of fruit and rather than a refined flour and full of butter topping this has a more interesting version: oats and nuts which get a delicious roasted flavour in the oven.

Late spring and early summer in Britain is the season of rhubarb, a vegetable with reddish edible stalks. Most recipes I found say to use fair amounts of sugar as the stalks a fairly sharp in taste but what I found with this recipe is that you actually you don’t really need to go overboard. By gently roasting it and adding the apple you will get enough sugar. When choosing rhubarb make sure you choose the most reddish stalks as the unripe ones contain high levels of antinutrients which interfere with the absorption of nutrients in our gut. From a vitamins and minerals perspective rhubarb contain few amounts which mainly will be lost through cooking, however, it also contains anthraquinones which have laxative properties.

The apple I used for this recipe is Royal Gala as this is still in season in the UK. When cooked Royal Gala holds its shape nicely and give a nice peachy flavour. Apples contain more fructose than glucose which make them the perfect choice in terms of desserts as it doesn’t shoot your blood sugar up.


Rhubarb and apple crumble

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 40min


  • 400g rhubarb
  • 500g apples (use British season – I used the last of Royal Gala season)
  • 1 ½ tbps coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 300g oat flakes or rolled oats blitzed a couple of seconds in a food processor
  • 120 g pistachios
  • 1 ½ tbsp honey
  • To serve
  • 200g coconut yogurt
  • 1 tbsp elderflower cordial



Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Wash the rhubarb and cut in 4cm strips. Wash the apples, don’t peel them as most of the good stuff is underneath (although some of it will be lost with cooking so be mindful of that) but it also saves times and gives a nice almost peach like texture. Royal Gala variety still holds its shape nicely once cooked. Cut them in 2cm chunks and discard the core.


In a pan put ½ tbsp of coconut oil (the oil will be hard but you will be melting it in the pan), 1 ½ tbsp honey, 2 tsp vanilla paste and 2 tsp of cinnamon powder and gently melt over a low heat. Pour the liquid on top of the apples and rhubarb and mix together well. Place in an oven proof dish.


Take the rest of 1tbsp coconut oil (again the hard one) place it in a pan and gently melt. Take of the heat and add the oats and mix well. Don’t worry if you think there isn’t enough oil. You don’t want the oats to be very heavy, but it’s more to help the oats achieve flavour in the oven. Add the pistachios and mix well again. Take the mixture and sprinkle over the fruits until well covered.


Bake in the oven at 160 degrees for a good 40-45 min or until you see the mixture bubbling and fruit breaking down (if you have a transparent oven dish) or you see the fruit juices bubbling in the corners of the mixture and the top is nicely browned but not burnt.

Featured/ Nutrition

Why is organic better for us

Top 10 dirty foods in the UK

As some of you may know I have sent quite a few emails and pester social media posts to ask you to nominate me for 2017 Boom Awards Organic Food Blogger category…and I will continue to ask you to nominate me…nominations close on 31st March so no excuses to put in a nomination right?

Anyway, these awards got me thinking…I didn’t ever write about eating organic foods and why is it better to eat organic versus conventional foods.

My journey to becoming organic?

I have been eating organic for 4 years now. In my About section I mentioned that my journey to health started when, 6 years ago I really wanted to lose weight, because I felt I lost my fitness, I lost my self esteem as I didn’t take care of myself. 2 years into my ambition to become my fittest I was really struggling because I was not really making any progress. Researching into the potential reason for why I was struggling to lose weight I came across loads of cases of people saying that when they detoxified their bodies they started to lose weight. So, jackpot…I said to myself I need to limit the intake of toxins. At the time there was not as much choice in terms of organic food and felt that going through the traditional retail channel (ie. Supermarket) will be quite expensive. And my path crossed with a small food box delivery service, going by the name of Abel and Cole. I loved the fact that I could get veggies that looked similar to the ones I used to buy in the markets from Romania. I mean veggies that were not polished to death, not in plastic bags and all looking exactly the same.

What does organic mean?


  • An organic crop means that farmers are prohibited to use syhthetic chemical fertilisers (like N, KCl, superphosphate) and instead use organic fertilisers (manure, composts), use of legume crops in rotation (to increase soil N levels which is important for the plans to grow). I like to call these the old school of doing things, like my grandma used to do;
  • However, organic standards permit the use of certain plant or microbial extract and/or mineral (Cu and S based);
  • Organic crops tend to grow more slowly, and produce more of what scientists call secondary plant metabolites (ie. antioxidants, minerals);
  • However this also means that it’s not as reliable as conventional farming because if a pest was to hit if the crop is not able to “defend” itself then most likely the crop will be lost…and no mouths to feed;


  • Because of it being a highly regulated industry all organic foods are fully traceable so you will know where every ingredient comes from;
    – Hydrogenated fats and controversial artificial food colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards;


  • Crops are not modified genetically or animals are not fed GM foods;


  • Antibiotics are banned. Farm animals account for almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU and these are passed down to us through the food chain (Source: Soil Association, 2017);


  •  Organic animals must have access to pasture (when weather and ground conditions permit) and are truly free range;
  • Must have plenty of space – which helps to reduce stress and disease;
  • Graze and forage naturally on organic pasture (grasses and other crops) where only natural fertilisers are used and pesticides are severely restricted;

What is the current evidence around the benefits of organic food

There has always been a lot of controversy around the benefits of eating organic but there is a growing body of evidence now to suggest eating organic is beneficial for our health.
The key benefits to organic foods are:

  • The higher content of vitamins and minerals in organic food;
  • The negative impact of pesticides to health;
  • There are ecological and ethical grounds for supporting organic farming, which may be beneficial for supporting organic farming, which may be beneficial for soil health, water quality and the health of farmworkers and their families (Source: Mark F. McCarty, James J. DiNicolantonio, 2014).

1. Higher content of vitamins and minerals
A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in February 2017 has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and a higher concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants than conventionally produced products.

Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function. Western European diets are recognised as being too low in these fatty acids and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends we should double our intake.

Results from several mother and child cohort studies linking organic milk, dairy product and vegetable consumption to a reduced risk of certain diseases. This included reduced risks of eczema in babies.
In another study also published in British Journal of Nutrition in 2014 showed there are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops, and contained less pesticides and less of the toxic metal cadmium, which is naturally occurring in the soil.
The concentrations of a range of antioxidants were found to be substantially higher in organic crops:

  •  Phenolic acid 19% higher
  • Flavanones 69% higher
  • Stilbenes 28% higher
  • Flavones 26% higher
  • Flavonols 50% Higher
  • Anthocyanins 51% higher

These have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease (CVD – cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and certain cancers in dietary interventions and epidemiological studies. A recent meta-analysis has reported that a 10mg/d increase in flavonoid intake is associated with a 5% reduction in cardiovascular disease. However the same study did not find that there was a significant increase in certain vitamins and minerals. What you will have to remember is that these are really big studies, done across many years to be able to assess significant differences in accordance with action standards set by researching agencies. This is why sometimes I am frustrated by the constant need to demonstrate something. Some of these studies were conducted in 2009 and at the time the results were not the same. It took another 8 years of researching to be able to then conclude what sometimes for me feels the obvious…food grown properly and taken care of should in theory be better for you…as I always used to say to my mum: “your food tastes a lot better when you make it with passion and love”:).

2. Negative impact of pesticides on health
In the same study the frequency of occurance of pesticides residues was 4 times higher in conventional crops (mainly in fruits vs vegetables) and there were higher concentrations of toxic metal cadmium (48% higher) in conventional crops.

The higher NO3 and NO2 (both synthetic pesticides) concentrations in conventional crops is also nutritionally not desired as they have been described to be risk factors for stomach cancer and methaemoglobinaemia in humans. Greater accumulation of cadmium is associated with reduced fertility in both men and women.

Recent study showing that high level of certain types of pesticides may contribute to the increasing incidence of food allergies in westernised societies (Jerschow E, McGinn AP, de Vos G, et al, 2012, Dichlorophenol containing pesticides and allergies, results from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2006).

There is a growing body of evidence that highlights a positive association between certain types of cancer and exposure to pesticides and contaminants in epidemiological studies (Alavanja MCR, Ross MK & Bonner MR, 2013, Increased cancer burden amongst pesticides applicators and other due to pesticides exposure; Alavanja MCR, Ross MK, 2012, Occupational pesticide exposures and cancer risk: a review; Lebailly P, Niez E & Baldi I, 2007, Epidemiological data on the relationship between cancer and pesticides; Nasterlack M, 2007, Pesticides and childhood cancer: an update).

Top dirty foods

By dirty foods I mean foods that are most frequently found with pesticides. In the UK there is a government body who’s job is to test foods in the UK against pesticides used. They check for residues of pesticides above the reporting level, pesticides above the MRL level (maximum residue level set by the EU) and traces of multiple pesticides residues.

There is still scientific controversy about the safety of some currently permitted pesticides even at levels below MRL and complex mixtures of pesticides as safety testing of pesticide mixtures is currently not required as part of the regulatory pesticide approval process. But again, I will make my point around the frustration of having to have endless data to demonstrate something which for me instinctively feels rights. If all our food is tempered with pesticides, and we live a stressful life in a polluted area, with our bodies less effective to detoxify then why do we need to allow ourselves to eat low quality food. They take samples of different foods from across the UK from British supermarkets to form a representative sample. However, not every year they take all available fruits and veg. Not sure if this driven by money they have available to spend on the research.
According to the latest annual report (2015)Pesticide Residues Monitoring Results in the UK 58.39% of samples contained residues at or below the MRL. 5.05% of samples contained residues over the MRL. I have taken the annual report because it takes into consideration a much wider variety of foods. The list of offenders is below presented in the order of most frequently found with pesticides above the reporting levels. However it is missing some ingredients like strawberries and tomatoes which we frequently consume.

  1. Wheat (96% of samples have been found to contain pesticides above the reporting level)
  2. Blackberries (95%)
  3. Pears (94%)
  4. Pineapple (92%)
  5. Brussel sprouts (76%)
  6. Mango (73%)
  7. Apples (67%)
  8. Salad (63%)
  9. Beans in pods (62%)
  10. Celery (60%)
  11. Peppers (60%)
  12. Chilli (54%)
  13. Radish (54%)
  14. Melon 53%
  15. Potatoes 53%
  16. Blueberries 46%
  17. Aubergine/Courgette 44%
  18. Okra 41%
  19. Broccoli 32%
  20. Peas 24%
  21. Ginger 15%

Top 5 foods with pesticides

The committee has also a quarterly reporting and according to the latest report (Q3’16). In this case the Top 10 is:

  1. Grapes (100%)
  2. Peaches (98%)
  3. Apricots (97%)
  4. Strawberry (96%)
  5. Apple (92%)
  6. Pears (83%)
  7. Beans in pods (58%)
  8. Tomatoes/Okra (56%)
  9. Peppers (47%)
  10. Leek (35%)

Given the big picture, lots of experts say that, from a health perspective, what you eat matters more than whether you choose organic or conventional. However, considering that the current environment where we live we are exposed to stress and pollution which we cannot really avoid and the fact that we don’t always have the time to exercise I believe that at least something we can control is the food we eat and maximise the level of nutrients we get.

One important point to conclude on…not all organic food is great food. You still have fairly processed foods that are organic but contain for example emulsifiers, disguised sugars (brown rice malt, concentrated grape juice). It took a few chemical process to get to these ingredients. Also, just because those blueberries are organic but come from Chile doesn’t make them great. Fresh foods lose a lot of their nutrients from the moment they are picked. Now think about how long they have been transported, how long have they been on shelf before they get into our mouth. I have always been a promoter of eating locally and organic because this means you eat in season and you maximise the level of nutrients you get in a day and age where quality of air, soil and water it’s not at it’s best.


Breakfast/ Featured

Dairy free and gluten free berry boost smoothie bowl

Berry Boost Smoothie Bowl

I said this before but breakfast is my favourite time of the day. Even if I wake up at 10 am (which has not happened in a while!!) or it takes me a while to have a meal in the morning I will not skip this! It’s just too enjoyable.
The way I make this enjoyable and exciting is by having variety! Breakfast can be boring if you eat porridge every day…so here are some breakfast ideas to have every morning which you can easily fit with your work schedule.

Dairy free and gluten free Berry Boost Smoothie Bowl – I promise you it takes 2 min to do so you shouldn’t pull the excuse of no time :). More recipes to come with different flavours. So what is a smoothie bowl? It’s basically a thick smoothie (doh! I know) which is a lot more filling than a normal drink. Also because everything is blitzed together it means it’s pretty easy to digest and perfect for on the go as well when there is little time and sometimes we forget to put attention and focus on what and how we eat. This berry boost smoothie bowl has a beautiful dark purple colour which you will fall in love with.The colour comes from maqui berries, usually found in Chile and they look pretty similar to elderberries. You can buy this powder in health food shops  and must warn you it does come at a hefty price,  as most branded “healthy” foods. The dark purple colour is a sign of flavonoids content in maqui berries with some articles saying it has one of the highest contents of these beneficial antioxidants (Fredes et all, 2014) but the actual impact of these on human health has been less researched. I do prefer however to add flavonoids into my diet as much as I can versus eating a piece of cake:).
Porridge and to make it interesting slice some banana, add some seeds (whatever you have in the cupboard or whatever you find in the work café if you are lucky enough to have one and sprinkle some cinnamon. I tend to take a banana with me and cinnamon I can find in the work restaurant or borrow from the coffee counter ;).
Sourdough with sliced avocado and chilli for a extra kick of capsaicin to get your metabolism going. The way to make this work when you need to rush out of the door? Prepare the ingredients a night before: slice of sourdough, half of avocado, sliced chilli (should take you 3 min) and when at work pop the slice of sourdough in the work’s toaster (hopefully most of work places should have one), use a spoon to take the flesh of avocado out, season with salt, and pop the chilli slices on top. DONE!
Bircher musli with seeds and fruits (5 min prep). Best to do the night before (just before you brush your teeth or while you cook dinner even better). In a jar or whatever smaller container you have (jar just looks prettier and remember you do eat with you eyes just as much you eat with your mouth) take 4 tbps of oats, add 2tbps of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame, whatever you have is fine), dried fruits (raisins, currants, untreated cranberries or cherries, again whatever you have in the cupboard) and/or frozen fruits (berries work the best) add juice from half of orange, 1 tbps of yogurt and add pure almond milk so you cover all ingredients. Mix well and leave overnight in the fridge. Don’t forget to take it with you in the morning. Enjoy on the train, at your desk or if you like to eat before you leave for work in the comfort of your own house.
It’s Friday!! If you have the benefit of working from home go freestyle with scrambled eggs on rye toast topped with coriander or parsley or any other herb you like if you fall in the proportion of people that hate coriander (WHY?? It tastes delicious!) for a flavour boost and some added vitamins and beneficial oils. If you do have to go to work (I already feel sorry for you) and at least you are lucky to have a café at work then you can always take a slice of rye toast with you and some herbs and just opt for the work scrambled eggs.

Smoked salmon with avocado on sourdough with a side of watercress or spinach.
It’s pancake day!! Try these delicious recipes. Or grate an apple or a pair in the normal pancake batter for another twist in the classic. Top with maple syrup and cinnamon.
With these options you do:
Get variety in your diet and therefore different nutrients;
It helps lower your intake of dairy;
You get a good source of protein;
It helps you get different types of carbohydrates into your diet;

Dairy free and gluten free berry boost smoothie bowl

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 2 min


  • 1 ripe banana or if you don’t like banana change for 1 avocado (this is mainly for consistency rather than flavour)
  • 1 large handful of walnuts (you can choose whatever nuts you have in your cupboard but walnuts have a nice flavour)
  • Small handful pumpkin seeds
  • Handful frozen berries
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • A few mint leaves and extra to decorate
  • 1 tbps maqui powder
  • Half a cup of pure almond milk (I used Rude Health)



Place all ingredients in a blender (I use Nutribullet because it blends everything really smoothly and doesn’t take too much space in my small kitchen but any blender you have should be fine). Blitz for 1 min or so or until everything is smooth.


Scoop out the content into a bowl. It should be pretty thick (the consistency of thick yogurt) holding on the spoon. Level out with the spoon or just give your bowl a few shakes. As we usually eat with the eyes and not just with the mouth decorate as you wish. Here I have used a few drops of coconut yogurt loosened with a few tbsp of almond milk (if you are not dairy intolerant than using normal yogurt works just as fine). Take a cake tester or a toothpick and run swirls through the thick smoothie making sure you run through the middle of your yogurt blobs. Add small leaves of mint and a few leftover frozen berries and it’s done.

Breakfast/ Featured/ Quick meals

Squash and Turmeric Pancakes

Savoury pancakes

It’s pancake day!! That time of the year when Nutella sales are going through the rough. Last year I posted one of my favourite pancake recipes  with wonderful ricotta cheese. This time I decided to go the opposite way and share with you guys savoury pancakes. It uses a British favourite veggie, squash with it’s beautiful nutty and sweet flesh. To give this a kick I am using beautiful turmeric root.

About half of squash’s carbohydrates are complex in nature as well as high in fibre. Turmeric is known for it’s content in curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore beneficial for arthritis, cardiovascular health and diabetes. Curcumin is better absorbed in the presence of oil and heating it slightly aids absorption.



Pumpking and Turmeric Pancakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 min


  • ¼ of grated butternut squash
  • 3 cm turmeric root
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of sprouted buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toppings
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 eggs



Grate the squash in a food processor as this will take seconds. Now fit the food processor with an S blade and add all ingredients. Blitz for 3 min until all ingredients combined and you get a bit of air in the batter.


Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a pan. Take 2 tbps of the mixture and carefully move them around in a 10 cm wide circle. After 1 min move onto the other side and cook for a further min.


If the mushrooms are small quarter them or slice them. In the same pan you cooked the pancakes, add a tsp of olive oil, the mushrooms, the sliced garlic and quartered tomatoes. Constantly move the ingredients in the pan. You want these gently cooked not fried.


Stack 3 pancakes on top of each other on a plate. Put the mushrooms and tomatoes around the pancakes. In the same pan crack an egg. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook on low heat for about 1 min or until egg white has set but the yolk is still moving. Pop the egg on top.

Featured/ Healthy desserts

Impress your loved ones with these Red Velvet Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

I might be a bit late for Valentine’s Day but I am sure you’ve heard that everyday should be Valentine’s day…and I agree. But I do like to celebrate Valentine’s day just because it offers a bit of an excuse or forces you to do something special. Not to say that I do something special for my loved one only once a year.

So, what could be more special than chocolate…I would say red velvet chocolate truffles. This recipe is something you can enjoy not just with the loved one but also for special occasions with friends and family. It is dairy free, no added refined sugar but definitely not indulgent free. I love desserts, but as I previously wrote in one of my blog post, sugar is not the best friend of your body. I have a balanced view on diet but for me balance means 80% good and 20% indulgent and if I choose indulgence I tend to go for the high quality ingredients and it needs to be something I really really love. So rather than having a processed cake bought from the supermarket lathered in artificial preservatives and loaded with sugar I prefer to choose a home made (including restaurant made) favourite dessert (I love home made sticky toffee pudding or chocolate puddings) or I come up with recipes which are not as bad for you. Red velvet chocolate truffles is one of these recipes.

I recommend using min 70% dark chocolate which means you are limiting the amount of sugar and it also feels a lot more chocolaty (desired for truffles). This recipe doesn’t have dairy (which means you are limiting the oestrogen that comes with it) however it does contain coconut oil and coconut milk which contain saturated fat in high proportion. There is a lot of debate around the health benefits of coconut vs dairy and the debate is not really settled. As a short summary coconut contains high proportion of lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid) which can also be found in breast milk, palm kernel oil, certain nuts and in small amounts in cow’s and goat’s milk. It was believed that lauric acid mainly increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (or the “good” cholesterol) (source: Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB,  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2oo3) . The same study also concluded that the effects of the lauric acid on heart disease are uncertain. The reason behind this is there are multiple factors affecting heart disease which cannot be studied in isolation. I still consider any dessert a treat and I believe these should be consumed in moderation. One potential added benefit of these red velvet chocolate truffles is the addition of the raspberry powder. Not only you get the bright colour but because the raspberries have been freeze dried means that in theory if the raspberries are of good quality (organically grown) it should have preserved most of the benefits of raspberries.

Red Velvet Chocolate Truffles

Red Velvet Chocolate Truffles

Print Recipe
Serves: 20 Cooking Time: 15 min


  • 300g min 70% dark chocolate
  • 3 tsp coconut oil
  • 250ml light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3 tbps amaretto
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 heap tbps of raspberry powder



Break the chocolate into smaller pieces by bashing the chocolate to the kitchen worktop (the chocolate still needs to be in the packaging). Place the chocolate pieces into a bowl and add 3 tsp of coconut oil.


Open the can of light coconut milk and carefully scrape the harden paste and place in a pan. Add 4/5 tpsb of the liquid and this in total should be around 250ml. The rest of the liquid you can use it for a smoothie so do not throw it away. Gently heat the mixture until all dissolved into a liquid, but do not bring to boil. Pour the coconut milk on to chocolate and carefully mix together. Be careful not to stir too quickly as the mixture could split. So take your time…this will take a couple of good minutes. If the mixture is loosing heat and you find the chocolate hasn’t melted completely pop it onto a pan with simmering water for a minute, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Mix together until the entire chocolate has melted and you have a smooth mixture, very much like a chocolate cream (the consistency of custard).


Add the vanilla paste, pinch of salt and the amaretto and mix.


The mixture is too runny to create truffles so leave the mixture to harden in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. If you are too impatient (which I can completely understand when you have a bowl full of chocolate sauce:) ) then you can dip strawberries in….just as nice!


When the mixture has set, you can either presented at the table and let everyone scoop their own truffles and then dunk them into the raspberry powder or if you have waiting overnight or for quite a while you will find the mixture might have set quite hard so then you can just scoop out and mould truffles with your hands and then roll them in the raspberry powder. Don't worry if you feel the mixture is too hard to mould. With the heat from your hands it will become more malleable. I have to worn you though that your hands will be properly chocolately, and of the end I will not blame you if you start licking your hands :).

Featured/ Mains

What to do when there is a shortage of vegetables

British Winter Salad

One the biggest news across the media in the last week was the shortages of vegetables on the UK market due to unpredictable weather in the southern parts of Europe where some of the vegetables come from (broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, rocket, courgettes, aubergines have been affected). While these veggies are incredibly good for you, I have always been of the opinion that eating from the land around you might be a much better way to ensure you get the right level of nutrients, supporting your local economy and being mindful of adding to the carbon emissions by flying or driving all of these vegetables from across the sea. A while back I wrote about the power of eating in season which I still think it’s a relevant read.

There is nothing wrong with British veggies and you might be saving some pounds as well by choosing from the local surroundings. And if you thought that there isn’t that much variety I think you might be wrong. Below it’s a selection of what is currently in season as well as some ideas of how you could use them.

Kale benefits

Cabbage benefits





Add to this list leeks, mushrooms, potatoes and swede. All of these in season this winter.

For this time I’ve put together a salad which you can do either for dinner or for lunch.

British Winter Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes


  • 5 parsnips
  • 5 beetroots
  • A bunch of cavolo nero or kale
  • 1 cup of giant cous cous
  • ½ cup of quinoa
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Bunch of mint
  • Half of red chilli
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 handfuls of olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Juice and zest from a lemon
  • ½ tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tbps balsamic vinegar



Pre-heat the oven at 180° C. Wash the parsnips and beetroots thoroughly ensuring you get any grit out from the ridges. I usually do not peel vegetables (it saves time as well as most of the nutrients are just underneath the skin) but if your parsnips are really wrinkly and difficult to get all the dirt out then peel them. Cut them in 1 cm thick rondels. Lay the vegetables on a roasting tray, separating the beetroot from the parsnip. In 2 separate small bowl mix the Dijon mustard, with some honey and a 2 tbsp olive oil in one and another 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbps balsamic vinegar. Mix well and using a brush, brush the honey mixture on top of parsnips and the balsamic vinegar mixture on the beetroot. Stick in the pre-heated oven and roast for 40 min. Cutting the veg in fairly thin pieces will ensure a shorter time for cooking.


While the veggies are cooking put the coriander, mint, lemon juice, red chilli and a few generous glugs of olive oil in a food processor and blitz until liquid.


Half way through put the cous cous and quinoa in a pan and cover 2 inch on top with salted boiling water. Cook for 20 min. In the last 5 min of cooking cut the cavolo nero or kale and put in a steamer or colander on top of the pan cooking the grains.


Cook the eggs for 7 min tops, to ensure the yolk in still gooey. While the eggs are cooking assemble the salad. Mix the coriander, mint dressing with the drained grains. Mix through the veggies (parsnips, beetroot and cavolo nero) and the halved, destoned olives. Crumble the feta cheese on top and lay the halved cooked eggs on top.

Breakfast/ Featured/ Quick meals

Shakshuka – My Mediterranean twist


Ok…if you are familiar with shakshuka, I know the first thing on your mind will be – why? Why change a recipe by giving a North African dish a Mediterranean twist? Well…I would say because I think it’s worth it! Just give it a try and you will feel transported back to sunny shores and the smell of vineyards in Tuscany on a cold wintery day.

Shaskuka is a dish with eggs poached in a tomato and chilli sauce spiced with cumin, for those that did not have the pleasure to try it before.

This is the perfect dish for breakfast, lunch or brunch served along side a slice of sourdough to dunk in the rich tomato sauce. A perfect addition is a salad of whatever leaves you have in the fridge to add a few extra vitamins and minerals.


Shakshuka has also beneficial nutrients. Tomatoes are an amazing source of lycopene when cooked (actually it increases 5 or 6 times vs eating them raw, however you lose the betacarotene and vitamin C which are unstable with heat). It is not just easier but also better to use canned tomatoes in this dish. Let’s face it…the best tomatoes are in Italy (I don’t care if you disagree with me!) and they also are in season in summer. I’ve talked about eggs before so to reiterate, eggs are a complete protein. A bit of a quiz question for you: how many essential amino acids do eggs contain? ANSWER: 8. There are 25 types of animo-acids (molecules which form proteins) which combined make different kinds of protein and there are 8 essential amino-acids and the rest are semi-essential. 30g of egg protein provide 28g of usable protein so you can see how important it is to make eggs part if your diet.

So, let’s get cooking.


Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 15 min


  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ of red pepper
  • ½ red chilli
  • A few springs of rosemary
  • A few springs of basil
  • 5 black olives
  • Can of chopped organic tomatoes
  • 1 tbps balsamic vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • Parmesan
  • 1 spring onion to decorate



Heat a small oven proof pan with 1 tbps of olive oil. If you have a cast iron pan use that as the taste of the overall dish is much better (cast iron disperses the heat more evenly than other materials so the flavour tends to intensify quicker – there you go, some science for you). Slice the onion and garlic and to the pan, stirring until it softens. Add the sliced chilli (leave the seeds for a gentle kick), sliced pepper and chopped rosemary and stir until the peppers start to soften (around 3 min). This base creates the flavours.


Pre-heat the oven at 200° Celsius.


Now, add the can of chopped tomatoes, the bay leaf and the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and the pitted olives. Don’t worry if what you have are not pitted olives, just gently slice the flesh from around the stone. I know you might turn an eyebrow when I say adding balsamic vinegar but believe me, this intensifies the tomato flavour, making it even more tomatoey. Season with salt and pepper and let the tomatoes simmer for 5 min to allow all of these flavours to merge together. You don’t want this to just taste of acidic tomatoes. So a of patience will go a long way fir the perfect breakfast/brunch/lunch.


After 5 min, add the chopped basil to the tomatoes and make 2 small wells in the tomato sauce with a spoon. Crack open 2 eggs in the wells. Add a few shavings of parmesan and pop the pan in the oven for 3 min or until the eggs have just set when you give the pan a gentle shake. Don’t worry if you think the whites are not cooked…the residual heat from the pan will continue to cook the eggs but you will thank me for soft yolks. YUM YUM! Just decorate with chopped spring onion for an extra layer of texture and flavour.