May 2013



The house move is getting closer and closer, 7 days to go! Yesterday our lovely friends came to help us with the disaster zone that was our attic. Thank you!!! The day before (after watching The Croods with kids in the cinema) I sorted boxes of old cooking magazines. With all my books in boxes I resorted to couple of old Good Food magazines to read in my bath. There I came across a Valentines ( February 2008 issue) menu from the celebrity chef James Martin. The geek in me had to add up the calories, fat and protein of the romantic menu. Rather than romance you may expect a coronary...

Here are the results, per serving:
kcal - 2500
fat - 194g, sat fat - 70g
protein - 90g

Based on the British Nutrition Foundation RNI’s this meal contains over 500kcal, 124g of fat (50g sat) and about 50g more protein than an average women needs in a day (of course needs vary according to body shape, but trust me nobody needs 194g of fat!!!).

People tend to idolise TV chefs, they nearly posses superstar status. This gives them a lot of influence and they should be using it in a positive way. You may say the above meal is a celebration meal, only for special occasions. I agree, we do not make a three course meal every day. Still I think this is irresponsible. UK like the USA is experiencing obesity crisis, the health service is finding it hard to cope. We now have thirteen year old children having bariatric surgeries and their health suffers as a result of such intervention. This generation of children may die before their parents unless things change.

I would like to challenge TV chefs to create some healthy tasty meals, but from what you can read below, this may be near to impossible. When challenged, John Burton Race had a bit of a tantrum. By the way what does he call moderation???:

"It's a very good idea to watch your saturated fats," said John Burton Race, a Michelin-starred British chef whose recipes were evaluated by The Fat Panel. "But I would rather eat one spoon of full-fat cream ice cream than sit there with a gallon of unsweetened yogurt. I would rather eat these foods which are naughty but nice in moderation than try to look around for substitutes. It's just a pointless exercise."

And on he goes:

"It's ridiculous," said Race, pointing out that the panel harped on 100 grams of butter in his baked apple recipe, which also included dried fruits, nuts and the whole fresh apple."If you want something really indulgent, one of the lovely, rich things in life, have it in balance and moderation," Race said. "I'm sure that it won't kill you."

I will repeat Dr Esselstyn’s words again: “Moderation kills!” Chefs only get the message when faced with their own mortality. Maybe its time to start making changes sooner.

Read more at:


Yummy, spicy soup. No added oils just good fat from the walnuts.

Serves 4

1 onion, chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped (deseeded for milder soup)
120ml (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
750ml light vegetable stock
For the topping:
large handful of parsley
handful of walnuts

  1. In a medium sauce pan heat about 60ml (1/4cup water) and saute the onions, celery and chilli till soft. Add more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  2. Add the orange juice, butternut squash and vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for half an hour.
  4. While the soup is cooking chop together the parsley and walnuts.
  5. Serve the soup garnished with the parsley and walnut mix.




During my 100% raw food week I used half a bottle of olive oil, a whole cup, and about 3/4 cup coconut oil. Not something I would normally do. I am back to my low oil lifestyle now.

Last Sunday I had a sample of some lovely food from an Alkalising diet my friend is following and today another friend brought me some lemon and coconut muffins from her Ayurvedic diet. All very delicious! Yum yum! Aren’t friends who feed you the best kind?

Remember me saying I was fed up with salads last Friday? Well, it didn’t last that long. But having some cooked food has been lovely too. Especially pulses. That was one thing I really missed. I know you can have sprouted pulses on raw food diet but I just don’t like them... Sprouted seeds are yum but not sprouted chickpeas, they are not my cup of tea...

Inspired by my lunch at the Wheelwright Inn last weekend I decided to make a quick chickpea tagine for dinner tonight. Warming spices, veggies, chickpeas, tomatoes that were not getting any younger and of course some couscous. Perfect meal for this sudden change of weather. Yesterday we were enjoying gorgeous sunshine and today rain, rain and more rain. It is supposed to rain tomorrow again, I am glad to have some tagine leftovers waiting for me.



Serves 4

1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs tomato puree (paste)
4 tomatoes, chopped (skinned if you prefer)
2 courgettes (zucchini), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pepper (I had green), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 dried apricots, halved
1 tsp date syrup
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 tbs parsley or coriander, chopped
1 cup of couscous

  1. In a large lidded saute pan heat 60ml (1/4cup) water, add the onion and garlic and saute till soft. Add more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  2. Next add the spices and tomato puree, cook for half a minute and add the tomatoes. Add some water if the mixture is starting to stick.
  3. When the tomatoes start to break down add the courgettes, peppers, apricots, date syrup and chickpeas. Add 250ml (1 cup) of water.
  4. Cook gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce is rich and thickens.
  5. Prepare the couscous. 1 cup of couscous, 1 and 1/2 cup just boiled water (or vegetable stock), cover with cling film and let sit for 5 min.
  6. Serve the tagine with couscous garnished with chopped parsley or coriander.




Pub food can be a hit and miss, especially if you are wanting veggie food. There are always few options, the vegetarian lasagne, veggie burger and if you are really lucky a mushroom risotto. I do, therefore, approach pubs with caution,

Today, however, we found a gem. Beautiful old thatched pub, The Wheelwright Inn was inviting us in as we drove through a quaint village called Colyford in Devon. As always I went through the menu before I sat down (my mum-in-law and my son have already perched themselves at a table, no pressure on me right?). The menu looked very unlike most pubs, it was imaginative and modern, however the veggie options were all cheesy. I asked the very friendly waitress if a cheese-less option could be possible. She listened and went to discuss the matter with the chef. I do admit I was getting slightly nervous as it did take a bit longer than anticipated (glad he wasn’t the veggie hating Gordon Ramsey). To my relief he came up with couple of yummy sounding items.


My choice was a vegetable tagine with pearl couscous and my son decided to have the wild mushroom and potato burger. My husband fancied the sweet potato and feta fritters and my daughter had a cheese sandwich (grrr) and chips (fries). My mum-in-law, the only non veggie in the party, had a prawn sandwich.


All the dishes looked fantastic and tasted great, I was impressed the chef managed to turn out rather rich tasting tagine at such a short notice. Happiness all around and this for a good price too. It just comes to show that it never hurts to ask and if a chef has skill and imagination there is no mountain too high.


If you come to visit, bring some extra cash there are some lovely antiques and other little treasures to be found there. Unfortunately my husband didn’t share my love for the large black velvet bulldog. Maybe he may see its beauty next time we visit because we definitely will be back!

The Wheelwright Inn
Swan Hill Road
EX24 6QQ


100% RAW: DAY 7

100% RAW: DAY 7

Today I have reached the summit, I have raised the flag like a brave mountaineer. I feel a real sense of achievement.

My menu today was another, this time from the book, mango and spinach smoothie ( I do like my version better). For lunch a salad with pineapple with a dried pineapple dressing. Shame my pineapple wasn’t very ripe, sweet juicy pineapple would have made the salad much better. My dinner was very delicious olive and seed falafels, warm from the dehydrator and tahini sauce, with (yes you guessed it) another salad.


How do I rate my experience? I do have mixed feelings. Let’s look at the positives and negatives.
  • this plan was very very very expensive, all recipes were for four, some were easily scaled down but some like the quiche, almond bread, cookie bars I didn’t scale down and ended up with too many leftovers. I had to alter the plan so I didn’t create too much waste
  • time consuming, I don’t mind preparation and planning but I am not used to prepare 3 meals a day from a recipe, this can make it time consuming. Some recipes need 2 stints in a dehydrator, which means you better be available to do it, not a plan for anyone with a full time job. I had to do make myself a plan to make sure I soaked, dehydrated foods as needed
  • inconsistent portions, some were huge! The quiche served 6, the burgers on the other hand were so tiny I could have eaten all 4!
  • I do like salads, but by tonight’s dinner I felt I couldn’t eat another one!
  • unfortunately I didn’t get the renewed energy the plan promised, maybe I already have enough energy...


  • I tried lots of great new recipes that I might not have otherwise
  • I realised that cutting out wheat did not make me feel miraculously better (meaning I can happily eat bread and pasta and it is not the cause of my IBS)
  • I wasn’t hungry and had no cravings, not even for dark chocolate, proving how good this diet is for anyone who needs sugar balancing
  • raw food is going to stay but in mix with cooked, I realised that I do well on mixture of both. I am listening to my body to find a balance that suits me.
  • several people have told me I have lost weight, I shall hop on the scales tomorrow just to check (my smallest jeans felt really comfy)
  • I have loaded on lots of vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients, always a good thing
  • this gave me understanding of how difficult it is to follow a plan step by step and reinforced that change of lifestyle is the way to go


Would I do this again? I will happily do a long weekend the better way is to make raw food part of everyday, which I do most of the time. Some days only a hot bowl of soup and veggies sausages and mash will do for the day, and there is a place for that too. Today I went food shopping and bought some sweet potatoes and ginger in anticipation of a warming soothing dal. Eating 100% would make me miss out on some of the foods I love but this week has also been very inspirational. Raw food doesn’t just mean salads (there are loads of them) but there are some incredible dishes. I am planning a raw dinner party for friends to show off a bit. I think a raw chocolate cake will be on the menu. ROCK AND RAW!



This morning I made a smoothie (recipe below), my own concoction and later I realised it very close to the smoothie from my plan that I should be having tomorrow. I guess great minds think alike. With my smoothie I had a small piece of chia coconut bar. This one has been dividing the audience, my son loves it, my husband had a bite and handed it back and I am somewhere in between. At least they are filling and give a quick energy boost. The recipe made a big batch so I shall chow through.



Lunch, the last piece of the lovely asparagus quiche, with “all you can find in the fridge” salad sprinkled with some hemp seeds. Yum. While preparing the dinner I sneaked in some olives and capers. Dinner was fabulous tapenade stuffed marinated mushrooms, they spent some time in the dehydrator which made them rather moorish. Another salad on the side. This time some simple baby leaves, rocket, beetroot and avocado with a splash of balsamic. This was a surprisingly satisfying dinner.

Here is my morning smoothie recipe:


Makes 2 large glasses

flesh of 1 large mango
1 banana
3 handfuls of baby spinach
250ml (1 cup) coconut water
1/4 lime
1 tbs of ground flaxseed
handful of ice

1. Put in a blender and blend till smooth.


100% RAW: DAY 5

100% RAW: DAY 5

It is day 5 already. Time flies when you are busy preparing raw foods. Today breakfast was incredibly easy, a pomegranate, berry and banana smoothie. Good thing is both kids enjoyed it, the bad thing is I had a much smaller portion than anticipated. This left me scrambling for a few nuts later and an orange later.


Lunch, eaten outdoors in the beautiful sunshine, was a leftover quiche and salad. Afterwards I got busy with sorting out my pantry and found out I could feed a small country with my supplies. I do admit seeing all the different lentils I did get bit of a craving for a creamy spicy dal. Instead I made chia coconut and mango bars for tomorrow’s breakfast. It made loads! I may be taking samples to friends.

In the late afternoon I was feeling I couldn't face any more raw foods but the courgette and carrot pasta with pepper and walnut sauce was absolutely delicious. Any doubts were gone. The sauce would be perfect on regular pasta too. Another recipe that will become a staple. Yum yum.