Tag Archives: vegan

A Vegan & Vegetarian Culinary Experience Of London.

My husband and I were lucky enough to be given an amazing Christmas present from my sister-in-law Suzanna which consisted of a two night break in London including flights and accommodation with the biggest bonus of all, babysitting included, yippee! 
Having lived in London for the majority of my 20’s, London is a city close to my heart and I have many fond memories of living and working there. I couldn’t wait to get back.

Having time to yourselves as a couple after having children  is somewhat elusive. Life becomes much busier. Weekends of socialising with friends, reading and free time is replaced with numerous children’s activities so to say I was giddy with excitement is an understatement. 

Hot on my hit list of things to do was to sample the food at The Mae Deli, or as its affectionately know by her followers, Ella’s Deli. Ella cured herself of a medical condition through a whole-food-plant-based diet and has become an international sensation in the health food and business world. 

Having followed Ella for a number of years on social media, walking through the the doors of the deli seemed familiar even though it was my first visit! 

So much of the food displayed on the counters, the menu choices, the juices, smoothies and energy bites appealed so much to me that I virtually couldn’t decide! I finally settled on an açai bowl with fruit, while my husband had the porridge with fruit compote, coconut shavings and nut butter.

As expected not only was the food delicious but I felt great after eating it. No bloating or lethargy. 

We also took two of the energy bites to go which were the perfect pick-me-up while strolling through the streets of London that afternoon. 

Onwards to Selfridges and to my husband’s misfortune we entered through the doors of the food hall. A wonderland of food awaited from Livias Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites, samples of matcha tea, decadent dark chocolates and a vast array of superfoods. Heaven! 

I also desperately wanted to sample the food at the Hemsley + Hemsley café but my husband dragged me away! 

Part of our gift was a three course lunch in a vegetarian Michelin recommended restaurant Vanilla Black. To my delight they also had a full vegan menu which I opted for. It’s not often you get to sample Michelain vegan food! 

The food was delicious from the olive oil (which was from Greece apparently, I had to ask the waitress!) to the rosé, the dessert was moreish but my favourite was the starter. 

The main, a mushroom dish had interesting flavour combinations which I hadn’t tried before and it was my husband’s favourite course. 

Finally the dessert as expected didn’t disappoint and it’s impressive how a dairy-free dessert can taste so delicious. Reflective of the talent and imagination of the chef. (And check out how flash the plate is 🙌🏻) 

With bellies full we ventured onto Covent Garden. Here we stumbled upon Marcus Wearing’s restaurant Tredwells. Being inquisitive I examined the menu on display.  Interestingly there were numerous vegan options. Starters of harissa glazed aubergines, mains of courgette and spelt fritters to mushroom ravioli and a dessert of virtuous chocolate brownie with coconut youghurt sounded more than tempting. One for our next visit. . .

The following morning before our flight we enjoyed a delicious brunch in a local pub. A green juice, americano and smashed avocado on sourdough brought this brilliant weekend in London to an end. Till next time. . . 

A Dressing for Green Vegetables

If you try to get your daily intake of greens but find it a challenge this is a simple way to make green vegetables very tasty. A daily green vegetable juice can be a fantastic way to gain the nutritional benefits from green vegetables, but I know this is not available to everyone. The idea of a spinach or kale smoothie for breakfast is not everyone’s cup-of-tea so I have the simplest recipe to dress up vegetables prepared in the traditional way. . . steamed with evening dinner! No juicers, blenders or dehydrators here! A good old fashioned steamer. With this simple dressing, regular broccoli, asparagus and green beans are transformed and you could find yourself devouring large bowls of green goodness. I hope you enjoy. 


2 tbsp tamari

1-2 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 garlic clove – crushed

sprinkle of crushed chilli flakes

grating of fresh ginger- optional


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over your choosen green steamed vegetables. 

Here’s the juicy bit. . . . 

Tamari is a much less processed form of soy sauce. Soy sauce, soy products and soya are highly processed and not necessarily a healthy vegan or vegetarian  protein source. It is also gluten free. This is good news for coeliacs or if you are trying to reduce the amount of gluten in your diet. Gluten can be an irritant on the lining of the digestive tract and can reduce its efficiency and the absorption of nutrients, for some people. 

Shepherdless Pie




I can’t believe the Summer is over and Autumn is here! I have to say that Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. Autumnal weather means cosy knits, oversized scarfs and knee boots. My wardrobe is definitely suited to this time of year. Fashion aside, warming stews, pies, curries and one- pot wonders spring to mind too. Traditional cottage and shepherd’s pies are off the menu for me so I was lucky enough to indulge in some recipie creating one Saturday afternoon. I’m thrilled with the result. The beef or lamb is replaced with puy lentils. As lentils are bland when cooked alone, and have marginal amounts of fat which give meat and dairy a lot of their flavour, I’ve added sauces, wine and vegetables to make this as comforting as its meat cousin. I hope you enjoy x

Portion – 4

Prep -45 mins

Cooking – 1 hour


• 700g rooster potatoes peeled  and roughly chopped

• 1 sweet potato  peeled and chopped

• 300g puy lentils -rinsed

• 15 sun dried tomatoes -diced.

• 3 carrots peeled and finely -diced

• 2 sticks of celery washed and finely  diced 

• 1 medium onion peeled and diced

• 2 bay leaves

• Dash of Worcester sauce

• 1 tomato chopped

• Splash of red wine

• Salt & pepper

•2 tbsp tomato purée 

. Vegetable stock or bouillon.

.  Knob of non dairy butter and a splash of dairy free milk

Place the prepared potatoes into a pot of boiling water. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked. Drain and mash to a smooth consistency with the butter and milk.

• Pop the lentils into a pot with the required amount of water, ( approx 1.2L), the bay leaves and chopped tomato. Add ground pepper and 1 tsp of vegetable stock or bouillon and cook according to the instructions, usually boil for 10 minutes and simmer for 30. 

• Put the onion, carrots and celery into a heavy bottomed pot with some oil or/and a splash of water. Season.  Allow the vegetables to sweat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Once cooked keep the lid on but take off the heat. 

• Once the lentils are cooked add the wine and worchester sauce. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes so the alcohol is cooked off. If the consistency is slightly dry, add a little more stock. Remove the bay leaves.

• Next add the chopped sundried tomatoes and tomato purée to the lentil mixture. 

• combine the lentils with the onion, carrot and celery pot and mix well. Taste and add seasoning.

Pre heat oven to 180C

• Spread the mash on top of the lentil mixture and pop in the oven for 10- 15 mins. 

• If your making a crusty cheese topping sprinkle on top and place into an oven on ‘oven and grill setting’ until bubbling. Serve. 

Here’s the juicy bit . . . 


 I love cooking with lentils. Red split and puy are the variety I tend to cook with most often. Add lentils to soups, use them to make dahls or they are very useful as a substitute for meat, as in this dish. Lentils are versatile and easy to cook with. 

Lentils are a great source of fibre which helps keep our digestive systems working efficiently. I can’t stress enough, how the health of ones’ digestive system, is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. If your digestive system is sluggish, inflamed or unwell it will impact on its ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Not absorbing the nutrients can lead to a deficiency in some areas and you not feeling your best. 

Adequate amounts of fibre are necessary for digestive health. To loosely categorise, fibre is divided into soluble and insoluble fibre. 

Soluble fibre helps you feel full longer thereby  reducing hunger pangs. It slows down gastric emptying and therefore helps to stabilise blood sugar. Research also shows that soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol. 

Insoluble fibre is like a sweeping brush for your digestive tract! It remains virtually intact until it reaches your large intestine and thereby helps move food through your system and prevent constipation. Excreting waste products regularly helps prevents toxic build in your gut which could otherwise be passed into your blood system and potentially lead to numerous conditions. 

Lentils and all plant based foods contain fibre, whereas dairy and meat contain none. So remember, to keep your gut gleaming, stomach singing and your intestines insanely happy, aim for a plant based whole food diet! 

Lunch Bowl


Here’s another great speedy lunch. Most of us don’t have much time to prepare delicious & nutritious lunches due to hectic schedules. Whether in the office, at home with children or on the go most people would ideally like something satisfying which also gives us a boost of energy and carries us through the afternoon. This lunch bowl is ideal as a packed lunch for work. It’s easily stored in a tubberware container and convenient to pop into your bag . Once the rice is cooked you simply add the other ingredients and mix together. 



  • 80-100 g brown rice
  • 1 small avocado, flesh scooped out and chopped into cubes
  • Small handful of rocket
  • 4-6 sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 4-6 fresh cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1/8 red onion diced 
  • 1/4 cucumber cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 carton or tin of kidney beans, rinsed well. 


Cook the brown rice as instructed. This usually takes 20 minutes. 

When cooked add all the other ingredients and mix well. DONE!!! 


Here’s the juicy bit. . . .

BPA is an industrial chemical that is found in many products including the lining of tins of canned foods. It is linked to many ailments from heart problems, cancer and ADHD. 

It is important to rinse tinned foods like beans prior to cooking to help reduce the amount of this chemical that we ingest . BPA from tins can leach into the food so rinsing the beans helps reduce the amount of this chemical. 

It’s best to rinse the beans until all the foam is gone. Then soak the beans in water and rinse again before adding to your dish. It might seem like a lot of extra work but it easily becomes a habit. 

I buy tesco organic chickpeas and kidney beans from cartons and try to avoid tins. At 99c they are not too expensive. 

1 Comment

Vegetable curry


I love a good curry. It’s real comfort food. The flavours of all these different spices cooked together are delicious and warming. Ideally I like my curry to be medium to hot in spice heat. This curry is mild to medium so adjust the chilli according to how you like yours. It takes about 45 mins prep so its a good meal for a Friday or Saturday night when you might be able to spend a little bit of time cooking. 

Once all the ingredients are in the pot you can chill back and wait until everything is cooked and the flavours developed. 


  • 450g butternut squash, wash, leave  skin on & cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 small carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 2 courgettes, washed & sliced
  • 1 red pepper, wash & diced into about 16 chunks 
  • 2 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can water ( use the tomatoe can and fill with water once the tomatoes are emptied into the curry pot)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 sachets creamed coconut melted in warm water
  • Brown rice 80g – 100g per portion.
  • Coconut oil 1 tbsp


  • Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat. 
  • Once melted add the ginger and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and fry for 1-2 minutes until you can smell their aromas. 
  • Next add the squash and carrots and stir into the spices for a minute or two.   
  •  Add the pepper and courgettes next and again stir all the vegetables and spices together.                                         
  • Empty in the can of chopped tomatoes and then the water.     
  • Next add the turmeric, chilli flakes, cayenne, ground cumin and coriander.      
  • Warm the sachets of creamed coconut in warm water. Once melted open and squeeze into the curry pot.                     
  • Bring to the boil then simmer with lid on for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.                             
  • Check the harder vegetables ie carrots  and squash after an hour to see if they are cooked to your liking. Add seasoning at this stage too.                        
  • Finally cook the rice to the packets instructions ( usually 20 minutes) and you’re ready to serve! 

Here’s the juicy bit. . . 



When cooking or ordering a curry try to choose a healthier option. A tomato based curry is better than a creamy curry.  Kormas and masalas are best avoided as they contain significant amounts of cream. Cream is full of saturated fats, high in calories and not good news for cholesterol levels.

A tomato based curry is a much healthier choice. Tomatoes have numerous health benefits. They contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is a nutrient that is  more easily absorbed after cooking. Blanching tomatoes in hot water for a couple of minutes is sufficient to aid lycopene absorption but cooking them for 15 – 30 minutes greatly increases its bioavailability. This is an important nutrient for men and prostate health. Research has shown that lycopene is beneficial for men with enlarged prostates.