Dry January – week 1


Happy New Year! Fingers and toes crossed that this year is much improved for you all.

Still, with so much uncertainty I’m avoiding big bold new year’s resolutions. Phrases like “travel more” or “spend more time with friends and family” and I just hear a grotty “mwahahhah” from the gremlin that is Covid-19. But I am going to do dry January. Simply because I’ve not done it before, and I’m curious to see if it has any benefits on my mood and health more generally. I’m also really keen to try some of the non-alcoholic drinks on offer…and it’s a good excuse to revisit some recipes from our book!

First hurdle

When does it officially start? If you go by the stroke of midnight on the 1st of Jan then I have failed, I was definitely double-parked at that point with a glass of fizz and a brandy, ‘hic’. Spent mostly under a duvet, the rest of the 1st was unsurprisingly a lot easier to abstain. With the 2nd being a bank holiday I just fancied a glass of fizz. I know, that might make me sound slightly ridiculous but there we are. So I popped down the shop and bought myself a bottle of appletiser. Yes, it’s just sparkling apple juice, but served well chilled in a champagne coupe, it’s not that far off that first super-sweet sip of not particularly posh Prosecco – just what I was after! I thought it needed something extra though, something to kick the sweetness down just one notch so I took a strip of lemon zest, twisted it over the glass so plenty of the lemony oils spritzed in, then dropped it into the drink. It worked! Super simple, inexpensive but felt v. fancy.

Healthy Resolutions

Cooking, Recipes

Ahoy there team!
How are the New Year’s Resolutions going? I can’t even remember what mine were and it’s only just the end of February! If you’re still on a health kick, nice work! Whether you’re doing it to shed a few seasonal pounds, avoid foods which aggravate your system or alleviate an underlying health issue it’s always difficult to break old habits and stick to new ones.

In this blog post I wanted to write a recipe for some of my favourite people who are on a strict plant-based and whole-food diet. The recipe I’ve chosen is for bulgur wheat and salsa wraps which really super easy are great for sharing. They’re based on fajitas but instead of sour cream I’ve used tahini sauce and instead of cheese there are tasty toasted pumpkin seeds. Use shop bought whole wheat tortillas or make them yourself from whole grain spelt flour.

Spelt Flour Wraps

Bulgur Wheat and Fruit Salsa Wraps

The process of piling in as much of each of the fillings as you like is fun and I hope feels more like a treat and less like a diet food.


1 red chili
1 apple
2 tangerines or other small oranges
Small bunch of coriander
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

1) Finely chop the chili, apple, tangerines and coriander and put everything into a large bowl or serving dish.
2) Pour over the lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper.
3) Stir well and put into the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Bulghur Wheat

Bulgur Wheat
4) Put 1 cup of bulgur in a heatproof bowl.
5) Add 1.5 cups of boiling water, cover and leave for 15-20mins or until all the water has been absorbed

Tahini Sauce

Tahini Sauce
3 teaspoons light tahini paste
6 teaspoons of water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

6) Mix the tahini and water together until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream. Add the cumin and stir well, add a splash more water if needed.

Lettuce, Pumpkin Seeds, Lemon and Avocado

To serve
1 little gem lettuce (shredded)
1-2 Ripe Avocados (sliced)
Lemon wedges
Pumpkin seeds (toasted)

7) Load up your own wraps and dig in!     Help Yourselves!

DinnerAdding Lettuce Ready to roll Finished Wraps More SalsaDesserts are often off the menu when you’re trying to stick to a healthy plan, but I’d find them super hard to give up entirely.
My favourite discovery is this banana ice cream, it’s made with blended, frozen bananas and that’s it! Genius! It really does end up like a premium ice cream but with the calorie count of, well…a banana!
And it doesn’t end there. Missing pastry? Try using ripe avocado instead of butter in your shortcrust recipes. Ok, so it doesn’t come out as crisp and rich but it’s not half bad. I made a sweet potato pie with avocado pastry recently and served it with banana ice cream and a cheeky drizzle of maple syrup! Yummers!

Sweet Potato Pie

I would absolutely love to hear from you about healthy eating and special diets. What foods are you currently avoiding? Send me a message in the comments box or via the contact page and I may be able to write a brand new recipe for you too.

Have a super weekend x

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year!

Have you recovered? Are the resolutions in full swing? What are they? I’ve gone for the following challenging three:

• learn French
• get fit
• blog once a week

Stop laughing please, I am fully aware that they sound almost impossible, but what else am I going to do in 2013?
Last year had so much hype and press (with all those Jubilympics) that 2013 has turned up as a bit of a surprise; so some tough resolutions is surely the least we can do.

So far I haven’t made a start on the first 2 (excuse alert) as my French language CDs and jogging bottoms are in London and I am in Nottinghamshire until the weekend. I have, however made a start on the final resolution; to blog once a week and in a wild, yet rare display of organisation I have planned a whole year of weekly blog posts and this is the first one!
This little blue book is full of blog post themes and their deadline, with a small space underneath for notes. The themes you can look forward to this year (you lucky things!) include “Breakfasts” in March, “Melons” in August and “Bay Leaves” in November!

After my resolutions were committed to paper it was time to revel in the last few hours of 2012.
It all started out very sensibly, Richard and I had a lovely dinner at our friend Tom’s house. Tom made the main course; a Jamie Oliver menu of rack of lamb, hummus, flat breads, couscous and harissa yoghurt.

In return we brought a Delia Smith style crumble with some festive trimmings. I love crumble but sometimes serving it with a sea of custard or a slab of ice cream isn’t snazzy enough for a dinner party, and anyway, why should the turkey get all the fuss?

Trimmings for Apple Crumble:

1) Berry Cream:
Gently heat the contents of a 300g punnet of frozen mixed berries with 2 tablespoons of water until simmering. Pass the fruit through a sieve and leave to cool. Whip 300ml of double cream and fold in the fruit purée. Sweeten to taste with a little icing sugar and refrigerate until needed.

2) Whisky and Ginger Jellies:
Put 3 leaves of gelatine into a bowl of cold water to soften. Mix together 300ml of Whisky and Ginger Beer (the ratio is up to you). Put a little of the cocktail into a saucepan with the gelatine and heat (stirring continuously) until dissolved. Add the rest of the whisky and ginger to the gelatine mixture, stir and pour into a shallow dish. Leave to set in the fridge and then cut into squares.

3) White Chocolate Florentines:
Line a baking tray with foil and set aside. Melt 100g of white chocolate and drop small spoonfuls of it onto the foil and spread out a little to form small discs. Before it sets top each one with a few nuts or pieces of dried fruit. Leave somewhere cool and dry to set hard before peeling them from the foil to serve.

All the trimmings can be made the night before or if you feel like rushing around the kitchen like headless chickens (as we did) you can make everything whilst the crumble cooks and cools.


After our huge dinner we still had time to join a party and bungle the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne at the top of our merry voices!