Sep 2015



There are not many things that get a teenage boy out of the bed on a weekend morning. Trust me I know. You can’t imagine my surprise when I heard his rather hasty steps down the stairs one Saturday morning. The reason? My rather loud announcement: Chia Pudding is ready!!! Yep he loves it!

Chia seeds maybe tiny but they pack a lot of nutritional value. Just one ounce (28g, about 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds delivers 4g of protein, 11g of fibre (the average UK intake is around 12g of fibre per day!!!). You also get 18% of your daily calcium, 30% of manganese, 30-50% of magnesium and 27% of phospohorus. Chia seeds also contain decent amounts of Zinc and Vitamins B3, B1 and B2. And don’t forget the omega 3 fatty acids, 4915mg in those 2 tablespons (omega 6 - 1620mg). Omega 3 to omega 6 in perfect ratio!

When soaked in liquid the outer layer of chia seeds forms a gel. 1tbs of chia (whole or ground) soaked in 3 Tbs a water for 15min is a great egg replacement in baking. This gelling property is what makes these seeds perfect for a pudding. Yes, your pudding will look a bit like frog spawn but it does taste delicious.

I like to top my pudding with berries. I tend to use frozen berries (because they are always in my freezer) and let them defrost. This creates a berry sauce that mixes through the pudding for a great fruity zing. You can leave your fruits to defrost in the fridge overnight, but if like me you tend to forget, you can just put them into a small bowl and sit it into a large bowl of hot (tap hot) water. The berries will defrost while the pudding sits.

While you wait for your pudding to thicken you can contemplate on how in 15 minutes you will tuck into a breakfast that can lower triglycerides, lower bad cholesterol, increase the good one, help reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation…and best of all it is called a pudding!!!


serves 3 (or 1 portion for me 2 portions for the teenager)

300ml of almond milk
1 mejdol date or 1 tbs maple syrup
6 Tbs chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
berry topping:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries

  • Combine berries in a bowl, cover with lid and let defrost overnight. Or place into a small bowl. Sit the small bowl into a large bowl filled with tap hot water, let sit till needed. Stir to help release the juices.
  • If using the medjol date, place the milk and mejdol date in a blender and blend till smooth and pour into a medium bowl. If using the maple syrup just stir into the milk in a medium bowl.
  • Add the vanilla and all the chia seeds.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes, stir from time to time to prevent clumps forming.
  • When pudding has thickened, divide between bowls and top with the defrosted food and the sauce they have created.





There is a big anti legume movement out there, yes I am talking about the Paleo diet. But did the Paleo man eat beans, peas or lentils? Apparently there is accumulating evidence that legumes were eaten by the Paleo humans. You can read more here:

We have been consuming pulses for a long time. As I found out from Wikki, traces of production of lentils have been found in Punjab dating circa 3300BC. Similarly dried pea seeds have been discovered in a Swiss Village dating back to Stone Age. We have done rather well eating beans for millennia. Pulses certainly aren’t responsible for our world wide health crisis.

In India dal is a daily staple. I remember reading an article by a couple or travellers who spent some time in a village in the Himalayas. As Westerners, spoilt by choice, they got slightly fed up by the daily dal and chapati combo. Clearly dal is the main source of protein in the largely vegetarian India.

Beans feature strongly in cuisines around the world. They were traditionally the poor man staple. I own a cookbook of historic recipes from a mountain region in my home country and the biggest section is the bean/lentil one.

There is a massive drive to eat clean, eat natural, eat traditional. Can it get more traditional than hoummus, ful medames, cassoulett, black beans and rice or dal? I think not. And as some of the latest studies are confirming the phytate’s (anti-nutrient in pulses) have anticancer abilities I am keeping them on my menu.

More on phytates:


Make sure you season the dal well, it makes a world of difference to the taste.
Serves 4

1 cup red lentils
4 large tomatoes chopped or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 inch ginger, grated
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli
4 cups vegetable stock (I use Marigold vegan stock powder)
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
spray of oil
1 tsp garam masala
fresh coriander to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • In a large sauce pan combine the red lentils, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fenugreek and Kashmiri chilli.
  • Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the lentils are soft and falling apart. Check for seasoning.
  • While the dal soup is cooking, place the potatoes and onion into a roasting dish that will hold the potato in a single layer. Add the garam masala and spray lightly with oil. Toss to coat. Roast for 25-30 min until the potatoes are tender.
  • Serve in a bowl topped with the roasted potatoes and onions. Garnish with fresh coriander.