This recipe was meant to be up before Christmas but I got busy with Christmas preparations, cooking, spending time with family, socialising, reading my new books and simply lazying about…and yes eating far too many chocolate cherry liqueurs… my Christmas weakness.

In my defence, a jar of chutney is not just for Christmas. I like to have it with just all sort of foods. My favourite would be on top of veggie burgers, as a dip for potato (or sweet potato) wedges, with samosas or sweet corn fritters…My dad told me he recently used caramelised onion chutney as a base for a sauce. Not a bad idea at all.

I was scouring Christmas markets, tasting different chutneys but as impressed as I can be by the flavours I find it difficult to spend money on something I can make myself for a fraction of the price.

My chutney is the result of having too many red onions and some tomatoes that were about to turn and a secret stash of dates, these I used in place of sugar to add sweetness. Add as much or as little chilli as you want, I used two very spicy red chillies, they were hot enough to give the chutney a kick without being hard to handle.

This recipe made enough to fill a 1 litre jar. It will last in the fridge for couple of weeks after opening ( I am a daredevil and keep eating it even after the two weeks). With this amount be prepared to eat quite a bit of chutney or decant into smaller jars and share with friends.


Makes 1 litre (4 cups)

6 cups red onions, sliced (about 7 medium onions)
2tsp oil (rapeseed, rice bran or coconut)
2-4 red chillies (depends on your heat tolerance and strength of chillies), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbs tomato puree
5 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
10 regular dates, stones removed and chopped.
1/2 cup fruity vinegar (I used ikea’s lingonberry vinegar)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a medium large onion heat the oil and gently sauté the onions till very soft, this will take about 20minutes or longer, be patient with this step. Stir occasionally and taking care not to let them crisp up.
  • When the onions are soft add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil than reduce to simmer and cook slowly for about 30-40 minutes until the chutney is thick and jammy.
  • Put the hot chutney into a sterilised jar, let cool in the jar and store in the fridge afterwards.
  • I love it on top of veggie burgers or with potato (or sweet potato) wedges.

  • IMG_0712




My friend J is very religious about her kale smoothies, she has been having one every morning for a while now. This is of course a fabulous was to start a day. Last weekend she brought her smoothie to our college. On Sunday she didn’t quite manage to drink it all and by the end of the day it oxidised and resembled a very unpleasant stool sample (sorry - nutritionist joke...). It was a long day so anything to amuse ourselves with...

There is no doubt kale is the queen of vegetables and everyone should be enjoying it if not daily at least weekly. The message is finally getting through, according to an article in the Guardian supermarkets (M&S and Waitrose) are recording increase in sales of the super vegetable. Celebrities and celebrity chefs are finally promoting something worth promoting. Kale is nothing new, apparently it used to be one of the most popular vegetables is Europe before the war. Another thing we can learn from our ancestors.

No celebrity chef has to convince me, I love it. But what is the best way to eat your kale? Raw or cooked? I alternate between kale salads, smoothies, chips and cooked kale. Kale possesses immune system boosting properties, cooked or raw. Interestingly a 2011 study has shown that cooked"to death" kale (we are talking boiled for 30min) showed more immunostimulatory effects than the raw. No matter how you like your kale, it will do your body good. I love adding it into most of my vegetable stews, like the black eyed pea one I am sharing today.


Serves 4

1 onion, diced
1 celery, sliced thinly
1 carrot, diced into small dice
2 red peppers, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano (1 tbs fresh)
1 tsp dried thyme (2 tsp fresh)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tin tomatos
2 tins black eyed peas, rinsed
1 cup vegetable stock
4 cups of kale without stalks



  1. In a large saute pan (with lid) heat about 125ml (1/2 cup) water. Ass the vegetables and cook till softened and most of the water is cooked out.
  2. Add the spices, chipotle and tomato paste. Cook for about 1 min.
  3. Next add the tomatoes, black eyed peas and vegetable stock. Cook on low heat for about 20 adding water it the sauce thickens too much.
  4. Add the kale and cook for further 10 min stirring halfway through.
  5. Serve with brown rice or quinoa. If you have any on hand a swirl of cashew cream or chopped avocado will make a great topping.



What is your vice? One of my friends thinks that a day without a cake is not worth living, another one can’t relax without a glass of wine in the evening. My daughter cannot pass a cheese stall at a food fair without tasting it and my husband enjoys his weekend beer.

This weekend I made a lovely turmeric vegetable stew with coconut milk. According to one of Dr Greger’s videos ( , coconut milk has the same effect on our arteries as a hamburger. Pretty scary! Does this mean that coconut milk is my vice?

When I think about coconut milk Thai food springs to mind. We all associate Thailand with green or red Thai curry, Thom Ka soup, or coconut milk desserts. Therefore I did some digging to find out about heart disease in Thailand. I came upon a brilliant overview which you can check out in full via the link at the end of this blog.

Thailand had become more industrialised and Westernised in the last 30 or so years, this has impacted on the way the Thais eat. From 1960 to 1995 the consumption of rice,cereals and tubers has gone down by about 1/3, fish and seafood stayed unchanged, however meat and poultry consumption has gone up by 4 fold, dairy was not used at all in 1960 by 1995 has become more prevalent. Veg and fruit was up (good news), but so were fats and oils from animals sources, whereas fats and oils from plant sources were down (coconut?). Consumption of sugar, as everywhere in the word, is on the way up too.

Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in Thailand since 1989, indeed non communicable diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity) have overtaken communicable diseases (transmittable). In Thailand, people are getting “Western” diseases due their diet and lifestyle change. To quote the report: "
Eating patterns have shifted from a traditional Asian diet – cereal- based and low-fat – to a more Westernised diet characterised by increased consumption of animal products, fats and sugars and decreasing consumption of complex carbohydrate foods.” Traditional diet high in carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and low in animal foods, and moderate in fish/seafood served the Thai’s well for centuries even with coconut milk being a major part.

I am not advocating using coconut milk daily, I use it in moderation (always with lots of veggies) perhaps once or twice a month, less than it is traditionally used in South East Asia and Pacific. I treat it as a vice and indulge rarely. As my lecturer once said, if you are going to eat the occasional piece of cake, make sure you enjoy it. I try to adhere to 90/10 and I make sure I don’t feel guilty about the 10%.

Note: If you are trying to loose weight or have a cardiovascular disease, it is best to stay away from coconut milk all together:)

Make sure to use black pepper when cooking with turmeric, it seems to awaken its anticancer power!

Serves 4

1 onion, chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1 cup vegetable stock
black pepper
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 large bunch of rainbow (or regular) Swiss chard
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tin of coconut milk (whole or reduced fat) or 1 1/3 cups of cashew nut milk
3 spring onions, finely chopped


  1. In a large lidded saute pan heat some water (1/3cup - 80ml) and add your onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently till softened.
  2. While these are cooking wash the Swiss chard. If you have large leaves, cut them away from the stalks. Cut the stalks into bite size pieces and shred the leaves. Keep them separate.
  3. Add your turmeric and black pepper to the onions. Stir around for a few seconds.
  4. Next add the stock, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard stalks and chickpeas.
  5. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Gently boil covered for about 10 min.
  6. After the 10 minutes add your Swiss chard greens and cook further 5 min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  7. Just before serving stir in the spring onions and lime juice to taste. (you can also add some fresh coriander - cilantro)
  8. Serve with flat breads, brown rice or rice noodles.




It would be near impossible not to get touched by the story of Stamatis Moratis that was published in the New York Times. This man’s incredible recovery from terminal lung cancer is just amazing. It is not an unexplainable miracle, this is the power of healthy food, absence of stress and being a part of community (and a bit of luck). Moving to the island of Ikaria is not practical for everyone however learning from the “Ikarian” life style would make a huge difference to anybody’s life.

The Ikarians stop and relax, socialize, don’t stress over not having much. They play dominos and drink wine. They centre their diet around plant based foods most of which they grow themselves. They live to a ripe old age without being plagued by the diseases most Westerners seem to suffer from.

Believe me I am inspired! Food? I have that covered, I do rather well in adhering to the whole foods plant based diet. Unlike the Ikarians I do not drink wine much at all. I don’t think it is wine that makes them live as long as they do. Having friends to share a glass of wine with is more important that the wine itself. A shared pot of green tea will surely do the same. Being around good friends is good for the soul and body.

And so is soup. This one has more Mexican influences than Ikarian but it does use their favourite staples, beans, potatoes and vegetables. My friend K shared it with me which made it taste even better. Make it today and share with a friend or a loved one.

Link to the original article:


I have grated the carrot, it thickens the soup and I like grated carrot in soups. You can just dice it if you wish.

Serves 4

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated (or finely chopped)
1 red pepper, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 larger potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tin of red kidney beans no salt added, drained
1 cup tomato passata
3 cups vegetable stock
2 large tortilla wraps
fresh coriander or spring onions for garnish
Optional : cashew cream made of 250ml (1 cup) of cashews and 180ml (3/4 cup) water

  1. In a large soup pan heat about 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and saute till softened. Add more water if the onion starts to stick.
  2. Next add the chilli, garlic, celery, grated carrot and red pepper to the onion and saute for about 5 min, adding more water if needed.
  3. When the vegetables have softened add the potato and spices. Cook about 1 min.
  4. Add the beans, passata and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20-30min until.
  5. While the soup is cooking preheat the oven to 200C. Cut each tortilla in 10 wedges, place on a baking tray and bake till crisped up, turn them over half way through. About 5-10 min. The tortilla wedges will start to brown at the edges.
  6. Serve the soup with the wedges on the side garnished with fresh coriander/spring onions and cashew cream if you wish. It is delicious without the cream too.



Some people get excited by the latest gadgets on the market or the latest Twilight saga movie. I get excited by food. I have been known to jump with excitement in ethnic food shops when I stumbled upon a tin of full medames or a pack of green tea noodles. I know my husband is dreading that my meeting with a friend tomorrow is in a cafe adjacent to a health food shop. He knows I shall return with yet another interesting ingredient (or two or three...).

No surprise that I nearly bursted with excitement when I found out Riverford was now offering a tomatillo salsa kit with their veg box delivery. The first time I had tomatillo salsa was in a restaurant in the USA and fell in love with it. Some tastes are hard to forget. Couple years ago I discovered a fantastic local Mexican shop Otomi where I buy my jars of tomatillo salsa. They do taste great but tend to contain a bit too much salt. Now armed with fresh tomatillos I finally have the opportunity to make my own.


My tomatillo kit arrived yesterday, there were tomatillos (of course), fresh coriander, red onions, garlic, green chillies and a lovely juicy lime. There is nothing more satisfying than having a bowl of beautiful tangy spiciness ready to be used as a dip or sauce after just minutes of preparation. Tonight we used the salsa on top of some refried bean tacos and I am already excited about finishing the rest tomorrow. Avocado wrap with tomatillo salsa sounds just divine. Or dip for some homemade tortilla chips? Black bean burgers? How about tofu scramble? Or I may just have to take my spoon to it....Yum.

Somehow I think I should order another tomatillo kit for next week....


Makes about 2 cups

400g (just under a pound) of tomatillos
1 medium (I had 2 small) red onion
1 -2 green chillies (serrano or jalapenos are great)
squeeze of lime
a bunch of coriander (cilantro)


  1. First remove the papery outer skins from the tomatillos. Wash the tomatillos.
  2. Pierce each tomatillo with a tip of your knife and put them on a aluminium foil lined baking tray.
  3. Place the tomatillos under a grill (broiler), grill about 2 min, turn over and grill for another 2-3 min. The skin will start blistering and tomatillos should soften. Take care not to burn them. Let the tomatillos cool down.
  4. In a food processor chop the onion and the seeded chilli (chillies) pepper.
  5. Next add the tomatillos, coriander and a squeeze of lime (to taste). Season with salt if you wish.
  6. Serve at room temperature





After surrendering to a few mince pies and chocolates over the festive period it is time indeed to get back on track. Not that I couldn’t do with losing a few pounds but the mission is to feel great on the outside and keep the 10 trillion cells inside happy and functioning to their full potential. And yes I want to enjoy the food I eat too, because eating is what many people say I live for.

So here is my first recipe on the Plant Strong Living blog. It could only be an aubergine dish, it is inspired loosely by one I ate at a sushi restaurant in London. I did ask for the recipe but the waiter informed me that the sauce comes from Japan... not a very detailed description. I believe that my version is great, if only judging from the swiftness with which it always seems to disappear.


For an oil free version, steam the aubergines. This recipes serves 4 if part of a Japanese style meal. On its own 2. For a more substantial meal toss with some cooked cooled soba noodles for a fabulous noodle salad. The chiili pepper can be omitted for a milder version of the dish.

Make sure your aubergines are cooked well, they should be squishy with no give to a fork. Undercooked aubergine is just plain nasty and quite undigestible.


2 medium aubergines, cut into 2-3cm cubes
1 tbs of oil (olive or rapeseed)
2 heaped Tbs brown rice miso
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
4 Tbs mirin
1tsp agave nectar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 red chili pepper, sliced (for less heat deseed and finely chopped)
2 Tbs sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the aubergine in a roasting dish or a baking sheet with edges, large enough to the aubergine pieces in a single layer. Drizzle the oil over the aubergine, using your hands toss the aubergines in the oil until all pieces coated.
  2. Roast the aubergine in the oven for about 25 min till starting to brown and the aubergine pieces are soft and squishy when pressed. Let the aubergine cool down.
  3. For the dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the miso, vinegar, mirin and garlic. If too thick thin it out the dressing with a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Place the aubergine into a bowl and pour dressing over the aubergine, making sure all pieces are well coated.
  5. Next add the spring onions and chile pepper. Toss together.
  6. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and serve.

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