In the news today: Google offered to buy Impossible Foods for 300million dollars! I admit this was the first time I heard about Impossible Foods, a company that produces plant based meat and cheese products that imitate the real stuff. $300mil may be hard to say not to, but Impossible Foods have done just that. With Bill Gates and Tony Fadell (Google) as their investors they are not short of funds. The prediction is, Impossible Foods will become a multi billion company.

Why is this story important? It is a proof that the desire for plant based foods is on the increase. This trend is quite evident locally here in Bristol. Several new veggie places have opened recently, more and more restaurants and food establishments offer vegan choices. More of my friends are eager to tell me about them reducing their meat intake. Even if this means having just two veggie meals a week, it is a step in the right direction for their health, for the planet, for the animals.

People who are new to eating vegetarian or vegan tend to reach for the type of product Impossible Foods are producing. I myself don’t always have time to make everything from scratch so there are always Good Life nut burgers lurking in my freezer for a quick midweek meal.

If you are having veggie sausages, burger or indeed vegan cheese sandwich why not try these with my homemade plum ketchup. It is a cross between a chutney, ketchup and Chinese plum sauce (without all the added nasties). Easy and quick to make. I have a real hankering after a vegan sausage sandwich with a bit of vegan mayo and some plum ketchup….


yield about 1 1/2 cups

2 1/2 cups plums, very ripe, halved, stones removed,
1 small red onion
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp all spice, pinch of nutmeg)
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or another chilli powder)
1/4 tsp crushed chilli flakes (optional)
80 ml water
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1-2 Tbs jaggery (depending on the sweetness of your plums)
2 Tbs sherry or red wine vinegar


  • Put all your ingredients into a medium size sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust sweetness, the amount of jaggery needed depends on the sweetness of your plums.
  • Place into a blender and blend till smooth. Alternatively pass through a fine sieve (this will yield less ketchup).
  • Pour into a clean (preferably sterilised) kilner (mason) jar. Cool and store in the refrigerator for about a week.
  • Serve with roasted tofu or tempeh, nut roasts, veggie sausages or burgers or in a vegan cheese sandwich.





In an ideal world I would have a large garden, preferably a forrest garden, full of delicious fruits and veggies waiting to be picked and turned into delicious dishes. The reality is different. My garden is a postage stamp size and my dog’s second name could be “the destroyer”. Unfortunately I have a list of plants that have succumbed to his digging, chewing or just simple stomping upon...(he is rather large). There was a blueberry bush, golden currant bush, strawberry plants, raspberry canes.... At least the red currant, Audrey Hepburn rose and my plum tree have survived his advances so far. My poor rosemary plant had a close call the other day...

Last Sunday morning I woke up before the predicted torrential rains started. Armed with a plastic bowl and a dining room chair I embarked on my plum harvest. I do hope my neighbours were still asleep and didn’t see me in my pyjamas balancing on the chair with a bowl in one hand... It must have been a sight. But I managed to pick all the plums before the rain and wind...

Even though plums are delicious on their own but I though I should try making them into a chinese spiced plum sauce free of the usual MSG and additives. The sauce went really well with grilled tofu skewers. Use any purple plums you can get your hands on. With plums being in season at the moment I am sure local farm shops and markets will be selling them cheap.



Serves 4, sauce yield -2 cups

the plum sauce:
440g/1 lb plums
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp chinese spice
2 Tbs coconut palm sugar
1 Mejdol date, chopped
2 Tbs rice vinegar
160ml (2/3c) water
pinch salt
2 tsp tamari or other soya sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

tofu skewers
500g (1lb 2 oz)
1 red pepper
4 small onions
half a pineapple


  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them first for at least 20min.
  2. To make the sauce put all the ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 min.
  4. Place the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth (take care when blending hot liquids - it could end up on the ceiling, I start with the lowest speed to prevent redecorating the kitchen)
  5. While the sauce is cooking, remove the tofu from its packaging and dry on some paper towels.
  6. Cut into large cubes. I had 24 pieces - 3 per skewer.
  7. Cut the pepper into large pieces. Quarter the onions. Cut off the pineapple skin and the core. Cut the pineapple into bite sized pieces.
  8. Thread the tofu, pepper, onion and pineapple onto skewers.
  9. Preheat the grill (broiler) and place the skewers under. Grill for about 5 min each side, or until the tofu, veggies and fruit start to caramelise.
  10. Serve with the sauce and some rice or noodles on the side.




As a parent I have an incredible urge to protect my children from all the bad things that happen it the world. On the other hand I do believe that knowledge is power. Macmillan Cancer Support have conducted a survey of 500 children aged 9-16 to find how much they knew about cancer. They found out that children in the UK are lacking cancer knowledge, for example 97% didn’t know that sunburn causes cancer, and a small number (4%) believe that a person can contract cancer from another person.

This made me conduct a survey of my own. My kids know quite a lot, they are aware that alcohol, smoking, high red meat consumption, sunburn and also obesity increase chances of contracting cancer. They can explain that cancer is caused by rogue cells dividing uncontrollably. They can also name several vegetables that offer the best protection against cancer. My son said concluded: “Of course we know quite a bit, we live with you!”

Unfortunately it is not only me sharing my acquired knowledge that makes them more informed than the average, sadly their Grandad died from cancer last summer. They, like many children today, have experienced the impact cancer can have on a person’s life. Not only children but most adults find cancer extremely frightening, but knowing what lifestyle changes can reduce our risk of getting this disease can be empowering.

You couldn’t do better than adding the fantastic kale to your diet. Kale contains isothiocyanates which induce cancer destroying enzymes and inhibitors of carcinogenesis. Unfortunately these amazing facts don’t necessarily mean kids are going to love the rather acquired taste of this green leafy vegetable. Made into koftas, however, kale is transformed into a child friendly meal. Lycopene rich spiced tomato sauce complements these koftas perfectly, enhancing the anticancer properties of this dish even further.



Can be oil free.

Serves 4


Kale Koftas
200g (1/2lb) shredded kale (tough stalks removed)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
50g (1/2cup) walnuts
60g (1/2cup) cashews
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs tahini sauce
2 Tbs gram flour
(you will need 8 skewers)

Spiced Tomato and Apricot Sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Tbs tomato puree
1 Medjol date, chopped
8 dried apricots, quartered
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tins of tomatoes


  1. First make the koftas.
  2. If using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them in water for half an hour.
  3. Steam the kale for 5 min or until wilted. Cool the kale down.
  4. In a small frying pan heat the 2 teaspoons of oil and gently fry the onions until well caramelized. (You can saute the onions in water for oil free version, they will not get caramelized the same way though)
  5. In a food processor combine the kale, onion, garlic, walnuts, cashews, spices, lemon juice, tahini and gram flour. Process till all well combined with some texture still remaining.(I prefer to pulse the mixture so I can keep an eye on it)
  6. Divide the mixture into 8. Mold each mound of the mixture around a skewer into a kofta shape. Place onto a aluminium foil lined baking tray. Chill in a fridge for half an hour.
  7. While the koftas are resting start on your sauce.
  8. In a medium sauce pan heat 60ml (1/4cup) water and add the onions and garlic. Cook until tender.
  9. Next add the tomato puree and cook for about a minute.
  10. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently till ready to serve.
  11. Preheat the grill (broiler) and cook the koftas for about 3 minutes on each side.
  12. If you prefer a smooth sauce blend it in a blender.
  13. Serve the koftas (they slip of the skewer easily) with the sauce alongside some veggies and couscous.




Kids were watching “Are You Being Framed” this evening. They were laughing at the clips of the falls involving roller blades and skateboards. It made me think how peculiar we humans are. We are quite happy to put ourselves in danger of falling off boards on wheels, throwing ourselves off bridges tied to a springy rope or indeed swimming with sharks. Maybe we need an adrenalin rush that we used to experience in our distant past. Do we need a new thrill since that eat or be eaten threat is not with us anymore?

Do I dare to compare the way we eat to the dangers that adrenalin junkies may put themselves through? I am sure that anybody jumping out of an airplane knows their parachute may not open on the way down and only a handful of people will take the risk. On the other hand, most of us know that certain foods are simply bad for us. They can be disease causing and therefore life threatening. Unlike the unopened parachute the damage from a bad diet can take a while before it is obvious.

It is not only junk (processed foods high in sugar, trans fats, saturate fats, additives...) that can cause the damage, large amounts of red meat or dairy foods are not ideal either. It is possible to get used to eating a rubbish diet and feeling all right (it may be that you don’t know any better), but once you start eating clean, unadulterated food you sure notice a difference. You will especially feel the impact if you overdo it on the junk after eating healthy for a while.

Yesterday was a last day of summer holidays and I took my kids to the cinema and out for a lunch. I do let them choose what they want when we are out and my son went for a portion of mac and cheese with tortilla chips crumbled over the top. The only redeeming feature was the fresh tomato salsa that adorned the dish. He hasn’t had mac and cheese for a long time and to be honest he loved it. His tummy? Not so much. We got home and he started to feel the effects. Pain, nausea, bloating. It was very uncharacteristic for him not to eat anything for dinner! He has learnt a lesson and even if he makes a similar choice again, I will be able to remind him how such food made him feel... Hopefully he may just prefer this pasta recipe instead.


serves 4

1 onion, chopped quite finely
1 large stick of celery, chopped quite finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, chopped into 1cm pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped thyme
1 Tbs tomato puree (paste)
120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
2 tins of tomatoes or 900ml jar (3 and 1/2 cups) of passata
400 g whole wheat (or gluten free) pasta
parsley or basil


  1. In a large saute pan heat about 60ml (1/4 cup) of water.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic and pepper and saute till softened. Add more water if vegetables start to stick.
  3. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and tomato puree.
  4. Cook for about a minute before adding red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.
  5. Next add the tomatoes and let simmer on low heat for about half an hour.
  6. Cook the pasta and add to the tomato sauce.
  7. Serve garnished with parsley or basil.




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





I have a confession to make, two days ago I slipped, I succumbed to the lure of a very evil Danish. I could blame it on my friend who encouraged me with: “Go on have one”, but I only have myself to blame. If it was the best Danish I ever had I could forgive myself bit more easily. I hated it, it tasted greasy, too sweet and left me feeling disappointed and guilty.

Is this what having a fling with an ex-boyfriend feels like? You know the guy who treated you bad and somehow you succumb to his charm and it turns out he still is a jerk only to make you feel even worse. No I have never had a fling with an ex or an emotional attachment to Danishes or other pastries but I have realised that some things are best left in the past.

Many vegetarians have returned to eating meat after having
the one alluring bacon sandwich (never my thing). Derailments happen but that doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your hard work. Just live and learn, and forgive yourself. I learned that the Danish didn’t taste the way I thought it would. As I said in one of my blogs before, things you used to eat start tasting too sweet, greasy, heavy and rich after you change your diet for the better. That is a good thing, because it is likely to mean that you will start craving healthy vibrant food that will leave you feeling great.

If you need something sweet there are always dates. In my today’s recipe I used them as a sweetener in a quick chutney (meaning no jars, storing and maturing...). Believe me it is perfect with many things. Imagine falafels in a pitta bread, veggie burger, sausages, in a wrap with cauliflower and potato curry, maybe even just on its own or in a hummus sandwich. The possibilities are endless.



2 very large carrots (roughly 250g, about 9oz), grated
2 tsp grated ginger
4 Medjol dates, stones removed and chopped
1 tsp prepared tamarind paste
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (habanero), left whole, pierced with a knife
2/3 cups fresh apple juice (shop bought not from concentrate is fine)
2/3 cups water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1 Tbs sweet freedom syrup (or agave, maple syrup)
handful of raisins

  1. In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients except the raisins.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 45min. Remove the scotch bonnet pepper after half and hour. (Leave it in if you want a spicier chutney.)
  3. Add the raisins and simmer for further 15 min until the carrots are soft, dates have melted into the chutney and pretty much all the liquid is gone.
  4. Keep the chutney in a fridge for a few days.



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.




Today I have spent many hours correlating information for my college assignment. It was a painfully slow process but I think I made giant steps toward being able to finish this paper within next few days. Phew!

Therefore not many words left in my head ... short post me thinks :) No matter what is happening a person must be fed and nourished and days like these; rain, more rain and intellectual (man! took me a while to spell intellectual) stimulation or should I say exhaustion; one needs comfort food.

To you I present BANGERS AND MASH WITH GRAVY! Vegan style. There are many steps to this recipe but only because you are making the sausages, mash and gravy. Luckily sausages can be made ahead and will look after themselves in the oven quite happily. This will give you time to concentrate on the mash and gravy and maybe even some green veggies on the side. Start cooking onions halfway through the fridge time of the sausages, they do take a long time to become gorgeously soft. I ran out of olives but had an olive puree which worked great.



Serves 4

For the bangers (sausages)
130g (1 cup ) of cashews
3 spring onions (scallions)
very large handful of parsley
1 roasted pepper (from a jar is fine)
1 heaped tsp black olive puree (or about 6 kalamata olives)
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
70g (1 cup ) breadcrumbs

For the mash
8 medium potatoes
1 Tbs dairy free spread (I used pure) or 1 Tbs olive oil - can be left out
375ml (1 and 1/2 cups) Kara milk (drinking coconut milk not tinned coconut milk, or any other dairy free milk)
salt to taste

For the gravy
1 extra large onion (the bigger the better)
1 Tbs olive oil
125ml (1/2 cup) Marsala wine
2 cups of veggie stock
1 tsp of ketjup manis or dark soya sauce
2 Tbs water + 1 heaped tsp of corn flour (corn starch)

  1. Make the sausages. In a food processor grind the cashew nuts. Some should be very fine some still retain texture. Put into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a food processor finely chop the spring onions and parsley.
  3. Add the pepper to the food processor and pulse couple of times.
  4. Add the black olive puree (olives) and beans. Pulse till mixed together but not smooth. You want a texture of a coarse pate.
  5. Put into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Next add the cashews and breadcrumbs. Mix well together.
  7. Shape the mixture into 8 sausages. The mixture is quite sticky, wetting your hands will make the job easier.
  8. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  10. Next thinly slice the onion.
  11. In a medium frying pan heat the 1 Tbs of olive oil and start sauteing the onions. On a very low heat cook them until tender and start to caramelise. This will take about 20-30 min, stir occasionally.
  12. Place the sausages on top a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 min or until golden brown, turning carefully halfway through.
  13. While the sausages are baking, peel the potatoes and boil till tender. About 15-20 min.
  14. When the onions are tender, raise the heat and add the Marsala wine. Let reduce till nearly all liquid is evaporated and the onions are dark and sticky.
  15. Add the stock, soya sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the cornflour/water paste. Let it thicken.
  16. Drain the potatoes. Mash the potatoes first (you can use a potato ricer). Heat the Kara milk and add together with the dairy free spread into the potatoes. Mash together and season.
  17. Now everything should be ready to serve. Enjoy!



What a beautiful day! On my way to pick up kids from school the temperature reached 19.5C, pretty good for March 23rd in UK! And the weekend forecast is looking great too. You could call it barbecue weather.

Maybe that’s what possessed me to make a batch of barbecue sauce. Or it could have been the cooking show I watched yesterday. American diner, disclosing (in part only) their signature sauce. Lots of white sugar went into that one. That made me think I could do better, I didn’t add (directly) any refined sugar into my sauce. At the same time it made me think how many everyday food products have hidden added sugar. One such food is ketjap manis that I used in this sauce.

We (our household) enjoy ketjap manis, the wonderful Asian soya based sauce. It is rich, sweet and full of flavour making it perfect in stir-fries or as a marinade for tofu. Unfortunately the sweetness comes (of course) from palm sugar. There are few kinds, I would expect the palm sugar in my ketjap manis is more likely to be the date palm sugar which is made from the sap of date palm. Coconut palm sugar is made form the buds of coconut tree flowers, how romantic. Interestingly the vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier uses coconut palm sugar in his recipes. Apparently coconut palm sugar has more micronutrients ( than other sweeteners but I still believe the less you use the better.

Barbecue sauce must have a degree sweetness and I decided to use my trusty dates to achieve this. They melt into the sauce lending it their gorgeous rich sweet flavour without the sauce being too “datey”. Smoked paprika adds some gorgeous smokey aroma that is so typical in an American style barbecue sauce. You can choose either hot or sweet smoked paprika. I went for the sweet one to entice my kids to eat it. I am glad to say they enjoyed it, but I would have prefered bit more of a kick. I guess next time I will make 2 different batches!


If you don’t have any ketjap manis you can use dark soya sauce, or just use the 1/4 cup of light soya sauce and add an extra date. This is not an exact science just trust your taste buds.

Makes about 1 litre (4 cups)

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
3 Tbs tomato puree
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
375 ml (1 and 1/2 cups) of water
60ml (1/4 cup) ketjap manis
60ml (1/4 cup) light soya sauce
60ml (1/4 cup) apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs Mushroom ketchup (or veggie Worcestershire sauce)
5 Medjol dates, stones removed

  1. In a large saucepan heat 60ml (1/4cup) water. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute till soft adding more water it the vegetables start to stick.
  2. Add the thyme, cumin, paprika and tomato puree. Cook for about one minute.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes, water, ketjap manis,soya sauce, vinegar, Mushroom ketchup and dates.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
  5. Remove the thyme stalks and pour the sauce into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  6. Store in the fridge for couple of weeks or freeze in batches.