Aug 2013



We are enjoying last few days of summer holidays. In just a few days kids will be back to school and we will all have to get back into a routine. I have been trying hard to persuade the kids to go to bed earlier but I have yet to be successful. At least I have ironed and labeled uniforms, got new lunchboxes, school bags... I am ready (ish).

Our holiday in the Czech Republic was fabulous, friends, family and good food. I think we all gained weight... Unfortunately restaurants outside of Prague are still not quite aware what a meatless dish may be... Under vegetarian food you can find ham, bacon, tuna... I guess, in some people's eyes, meat is a piece of a cow not cubes of ham...In a restaurant with a rather extensive menu I found pretty much nothing, the only meatless salad had anchovies in the dressing. I was ready to just eat side-dishes but the waiter assured me they can cook some veggie meals. And then my daughter ended up with bacon in her spinach gnocchi dish! Grrrr!!! Long way to go...

Luckily we had loads of lush home cooked food provided by my lovely friend :) Blueberries in a salad? Genius! Even my Dad stepped up to the stove and managed to prepare (with his girlfriend’s help) a great meatless/cheeseless feast (that was hard for him indeed). I just felt we never stopped eating! I was in a permanent state of fullness.

Coming back to the UK meant getting back into routine and kind of detoxing. Fridge is full of delicious veggies. How happy I was to see that kale is now officially in season!!! No more horrible chopped supermarket kale! Proper gorgeous rich leaves are in the fridge! I made my first kale chip batch in months! And managed to get my friend and her daughter hooked on them. She even wants to pay me to make kale chips for her!!! Yes, they are that good!

Here is a quick bean recipe that will surely become a staple. I have used a tablespoon of oil to gently cook the garlic and rosemary, but it can be easily made oil free too. I went for some sweet paprika that I bought in the Czech Republic but a hot one would be equally great (if you don’t have a daughter who hates anything spicy!). To make this recipe extra quick I used roasted peppers from a jar, but if you want to roast your own go ahead. The dish went down really well, but that may be down to kids wanting to got play outside after dinner.


These beans are great with a chunk of whole grain or rye bread, quinoa, brown rice or as a topping for a jacket potato. They work equally well as a part of a mezze type meal (or bits and bobs as we call it).

Serves 4

1 Tbs of rapeseed (canola) oil or 60ml (1/4 cup) of water or veggie stock
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp sweet (or hot) paprika
1 Tbs tomato puree
2 roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup of water (or vegetable stock)
2 tins butter beans, drained and rinsed

  1. Gently heat the oil (or water). Add the garlic and rosemary and cook till garlic softens.
  2. Next add the paprika and gently cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomato puree and cook for about 1 min, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and a pinch of salt. Cook gently for about 15-30mins.
  5. Enjoy!




Last week we stopped at my favourite Mexican shop Otomi. They carry Mexican mirrors, Luchador costumes, tortilla presses but mainly some lush Mexican ingredients. I usually stock up on some tomatillo salsa and chipotle peppers there. This time I also grabbed some fresh corn tortillas (like Otomi on Facebook and they will let you know when these are in stock). Kids also tried a Mexican sweet, ground peanuts with icing sugar pressed into a patty. To my surprise they found it way to sweet!

The corn tortillas became an integral part of our Sunday morning brunch, they became the perfect vessel to hold my tofu scramble. I did regret not having any avocados to go on top of my creation. Avocados never seem to last in our house :) The scramble turned out great, I could have eaten the lot myself.

I used some chipotle sauce from Otomi to spice up the scramble but a fresh red chilli or any hot sauce will be great too. My 1 Tbs was a bit conservative since I am feeding kids. If you like it hot add some more. I spiced mine up with some spicy tomato salsa. A nice platter of tropical fruits on the side and you can really feel the Mexican sunshine coming into the dining room...


serves 4

1 small onion
1 small yellow or red pepper
1 celery stick
1 tomato
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp oregano
300g (10oz) tofu
1 tbs chipotle sauce
1/2 - 1Tbs Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
fresh coriander
8 corn tortillas
salsa to serve


  1. Chop the onion, celery, pepper and tomato into small dice.
  2. In a medium frying pan heat about 60ml (1/4 cup) water. Add the onion, celery and pepper. Cook till softened for about 10min, adding more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  3. Next add the tomato, cook for couple of minutes till starting to break down.
  4. Add the spices and cook for a minute.
  5. While the mixture is cooking crumble the tofu.
  6. Add tofu, chipotle sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos to the pan and mix well together.
  7. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring to combine all the flavours, and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  8. Lastly add the yeast flakes, stir to combine.
  9. Heat your tortillas in a hot dry frying pan.
  10. Fill the tortillas with tofu scramble, top with coriander and salsa. Enjoy!




Few years ago I read an article written by a mum who decided to take all electronic devices away from her kids during their summer holidays. She was astounded how quickly they started to entertain themselves (surprisingly no boredom). I am not as brave as this mum, but I have been setting limits on the screen time. I do it anyway, but during school holidays there are hours to fill unlike during school year.

It has been great to see, that on the days when we don’t have plans to go out, kids have found ways to enjoy themselves. We’ve had endless diving into the paddling pool to fish out toys, tennis rackets came out of their hibernation (my son spent three hand blistering hours bashing the ball against the house on one day), we had bobbing for toys in the kitchen sink (= flood) and numerous (very loud) games of UNO. Star Wars Lego has been spread all over my son’s floor (I forgot how painful stepping on a lego brick can be). My daughter has started her own “all about the human body” book and has put together numerous dance shows for me to watch. The best thing, they have been spending a lot time together without much bickering. The dreaded words "I am bored" haven't been heard much either.

The point is kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves when the push the button entertainment is taken away. It is noisier but happier without TV, Xbox or ipad. It is also healthier. And to fuel them I have made these anytime bars. I call them anytime bars because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack and they are also perfectly portable to take to picnics. They are rather open to variations, just swap the nuts and dried fruits for whatever you happen to have in your pantry :)



makes 10 -12 bars

1 cup porridge oats
1 cup spelt flour
1 banana
4 Mejdol dates
1/2 cup of non dairy milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, finely diced

  1. First combine the oats and spelt flour in a large bowl.
  2. In a blender combine the banana, Medjol dates and the non dairy milk. Blend till smooth. Add to the flour/oat mixture.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Spread the mix into a baking paper lined 10x6 (15x25cm) baking dish, press down firmly. Bake in 180C oven for 30-40 min or until golden brown on the top.
  5. Let the bake cool down, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in an air tight container for up to 4 days.