hemp seed



Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables, I especially love to make it into a soup. It pairs up beautifully with different fruits, veggies and spices. I love roasting it to concentrate its rich sweetness. I could eat a whole bowl of roasted butternut squash, especially with some chilli, lime and coriander dressing poured over it.

Nutritionists always talk about nutrient density. This means we look how much nutrition (nutrients) you get in relation to calories. Butternut squash is a nutrient rich vegetable containing only 40 calories per 100g but it delivers 6.6g of fibre (the average person in the UK gets about 12g per day, our palaeolithic ancestors ate around 100g per day), over 200% of your daily vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and a 1/4 of your vitamin C requirement. It also contains whole host of other vitamins and minerals however in much smaller quantities.


If I ask you to name omega 3 fatty acid sources you may say fish, flax seeds or walnuts. Did you know that vegetables also contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) better known as omega 3 fatty acid? Butternut squash will give you 24mg of ALA in 100g. Kale for example contains 180mg per 100g. OK these are not huge quantities but us plant based folk tend to eat lots of vegetables and can get quite important amount of omega 3 this way. I have added 1 Tbs of hemp seed to each portion of soup to add a further 1000mg of ALA . The required daily amount for ALA for an adult is about 1-2g.

Serves 2-4. I am greedy and don’t eat bread with my soups so I like my portions rather big. This will serve 4 as a starter, 3 as a main meal or 2 greedy ones.
For oil free version roast the butternut squash in a roasting dish that has been lined with parchment paper.

2 tsp coconut oil (divided)
1 medium size butternut squash
1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8 sage leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1/2 tsp ground dried chilli powder (I used Kashmiri chilli, Cayenne is also great)
1 tsp dried ginger powder
3-4 cups of vegetable stock (depending on the size of your squash)
a handful (1/3 cup) of cashews
lemon juice to taste

  • Preheat oven to 200C (fan oven).
  • Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Cut into large dice.
  • Place 1 tsp coconut oil into a roasting dish that will hold the butternut squash pieces in one layer. Place the roasting dish briefly into the oven to melt (about 1 min)
  • Next add the squash and roast for 40 min or till soft and caramelised.
  • In a medium sauce pan heat the other tsp of coconut oil (or use 60ml, 1/4 cup water). Add the sliced onion and cook till softened. Next add the garlic and sage, cook for further minute before adding the spices, cook these about 30seconds while stirring constantly.
  • Add the roasted squash and enough vegetable broth to cover the vegetables by 2cm (just under 1 inch). Cook for 20 min.
  • Puree the soup in a blender with the cashew nuts till smooth. Add lemon juice to taste.
  • Serve garnished with some sage leaves and hemp seeds.





The other day my son told me how a boy from his class bought a pack of biscuits for breakfast and brought it to school. My son was pretty pleased because his friend share the biscuits (and trans fats!) with his school mates.

My friend and I were talking about this over a nice lunch. We were trying to get our heads around how a 10 year old can be put in charge of buying his breakfast. I know he is not the only one, I hear stories of my son’s school friends buying extra large chocolate bars and cans of Red Bull before school.
We are both mum’s who understand how important good nutritions is for everybody, and especially growing kids. We can’t imagine being is a situation where we wouldn’t have anything in the house for kids to eat at breakfast. But there are households where this is the case, it is easier to give a child couple of quid and send them to a shop. I find that very sad. Especially since there has been a 4 fold increase in children treated in hospital for conditions linked to obesity.

My friend than talked about how her mum had knowledge about healthy eating without having access to the information we have today. The difference is she cooked, her mother cooked, her mother’s mother cooked. They passed the knowledge down the generations. Today the situation is different, many parents (I don’t want to blame the mum’s only) don’t cook, they look at the price and convenience when it comes to food not its nutritional value (healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive just look at http://agirlcalledjack.com/). Nutrition education at schools is not great, or dismissed by parents as rubbish. I did speak to someone who complained about school filling her daughters with rubbish and now she is refusing to even have a cake at home...

I have found, with my own kids, that it is not always easy to convince them to eat healthy. I know if I gave them money to buy their own breakfast they would walk out with a bar of chocolate or a croissant. And there are many things they refuse to eat. I still have the sweet potato hurdle to overcome. I do keep trying though... I came up with these sweet potato falafels hoping they might not realize... OK the colour gave the sweet potato away and than came the refusal but this will not stop me trying...

These can be also made into larger burgers, the mixture will make 6 burgers. They are also delicious cold the next day in a pitta bread with salad. They are yummy with a mango chutney.

1 large sweet potato
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten free oats for gluten free version)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 Tbs hemp seeds
2 Tbs of chickpea flour (if needed)

Makes 12


  1. First peel, cut into large pieces and steam the sweet potato till soft.
  2. In a food processor process the chickpeas, onion, garlic and oats and process till the ingredients are coming together. You may have to stop and scrape the mixture down from the sides.
  3. Tip the mixture into a bowl, add the drained cooked potatoes, cumin, coriander and the hemp seeds. You can also add couple tbs of fresh coriander (which I didn’t have on hand).
  4. Using your hands mix everything together while crushing the sweet potatoes.
  5. If the mixture is too sloppy you can add couple tablespoons of chickpea flour.
  6. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper. Make 12 - 16 falafels (I made 12 larger ones). The job will be easier if you wet your hands before shaping your falafels, the mix won’t stick to your hands. I find it I have to wet my hands every 3-4 falafels.
  7. Place the falafels on the baking sheet and bake at 180C for 20 minutes turning over half way through.