This isn’t an advert for Merchant Gourmet, but it could be. I just love their products. They sell the best puy lentils, my daughter’s favourite whole wheat giant couscous, their sundried tomatoes are full of flavour and not preserved in in oil. Every Christmas I buy their chestnuts and I even used their products in a gift basket for a friend’s birthday.

The latest product I spotted was a box of wheatberries. If you are wondering, wheatberries are the whole kernels of wheat that are milled into flour.They are similar to spelt or barley and can be used interchangeably in recipes. Wheatberries are high in fiber, about 6g per 1/4 cup, they are incredibly filling. They are chewy which makes them perfect food to practice mindful eating as it will you take a while to get through them. This is a good news because it means that you will probably end up eating less.

My wheatberries were paired up with some gorgeous green veggies and a dressing made out of oven roasted tomatoes and garlic. Isn’t it amazing how roasting tomatoes concentrates the flavour? This recipe has no fat added.



Serves 4

tomato dressing
6 medium tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic unpeeled
2 sprigs of thyme
Tbs of fresh oregano

200g (1cup) wheatberries
1 litre vegetable stock
8 runner beans
1 bunch of asparagus
1 courgette
couple handfuls of peas

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking dish with some baking paper. Halve the tomatoes and put into the baking dish, cut side up. Roast for 10min.
  2. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the tomatoes and roast for further 20min.
  3. Next cook the wheatberries in the vegetable stock. Mine took about 30min , just read the package instructions as you may have a different product.
  4. Prepare your vegetables. Slice the runner beans diagonally. Snap the woody end off the asparagus and cut them in half. Cut the courgette in half lengthways and slice diagonally.
  5. In a large saute pan heat about 125ml (1/2 cup) of vegetable stock. Add the beans, cover with lid and cook for 2 min. Next add the asparagus and cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 min (depending on thickness). Last add the courgettes and peas and cook for 1 min. Vegetables should be tender and all the liquid should be gone.
  6. For the sauce, place the tomatoes and garlic squeezed out of its skin in a food processor. Whizz up into a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add the chopped oregano.
  7. Mix the cooked wheatberries with your vegetables and serve with the dressing on the side.




During my last college lecture our amazing lecturer stated: ”You guys are freaks!”. No we don’t dress funny or behave in any unusual way. What she meant was that we eat differently than the norm (it was a compliment). And yes people see it as sort of a freakishness. She did say how awful that eating healthy has become some sort of a middle class whim. Norm it should be.

There are many responses I get when I mention my plant based diet. There are those who get very defensive, those who just state they could not be without meat and dairy. Very often I hear: I don’t really eat much meat myself”. I am happy to discuss my way of eating further or just leave it at that. Although I do have to bite my tongue sometimes. Like the time I heard a mother say, I buy the cheap sausages for my son, the gourmet ones are wasted on him. This kind of thing infuriates me, to think that children are given cheap c..p.

By now both of my kids being veggies have been widely accepted by their friends. My son had been asked a few questions throughout his school years so far. He had to explain what being vegetarian and vegan means. He had to reassure a friend that we do eat more than just lettuce. The other day I bought him a vegan pepperoni style snack sausage so he could take it to school in his lunch box to prove a point. And his friends actually thought it was delicious (I am surprised he shared). When I came to school for my weekly reading with his classmates one asked me what is a vegan. I explained. He than looked at me and said: “I went vegetarian once, it was the worst day of my life!” That made me laugh.

Last week my son had a chance to show my website to one of his friends. He reported to me that his friends reaction to pretty much all the pictures (apart from the chocolate pot and cake) was YUCK. I am sure he would say yuck to the chocolate cake if he knew it had pureed prunes in it... I know kids tend not to like anything unfamiliar but it is a shame. I guess we should all become freaks.

Gorgeous fresh produce doesn’t need much tinkering. We also had some marinated tofu on the side.

500g (1lb2oz) Jersey Royals or other small new potatoes
500g (1lb2oz) green asparagus, the thinner the better

Creamy chive sauce
280g (2 cups) of cashews
310ml (1 and 1/4 cup) water
juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
1 Tbs olive oil (optional)
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried onion powder
3 Tbs of chives, finely chop


  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least for 30min (or even overnight).
  2. First cook the potatoes, try to keep them whole if uniform size. Cut bigger ones in half. They should take about 15min. Test with a knife, there should be no resistance.
  3. When the potatoes have been cooking for about 10 min, start steaming the asparagus. Depending on the thickness this should take about 3min. Test with a knife the asparagus should be tender.
  4. Drain the cashews, put them into a blender with the 310ml of water, lemon, vinegar, olive oil, the onion powder and salt. Process until smooth. The consistency should be a bit runnier than mayonnaise.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the chives. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice.
  6. Serve the sauce alongside the potatoes and asparagus.