Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

The Magic of Tidying

Recently I finally got round to reading Marie Kondo's self-professed life-changing book about tidying, 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying'. It had been waiting patiently on my To-Read list for such a long time and the time had arrived - I was ready and receptive. Subconsciously I had already started; having Kondo-ed many of my clothes drawers with her eponymous 'KonMari' method of folding and vertically stacking my clothes.

Sesame Crust Tuna Steak with Vegetable Ribbon Salad

I presume there are enough Christmas turkey recipes out there in cyberspace this week so here is something different. There is only one rule: do not overcook the tuna. Unless, of course, you like it that way! Happy Christmas to all x

P.S. Apologies about the photo quality: Real life dinner = Real life lighting!

P.P.S. This is the final recipe from a special three course anniversary dinner I prepared for a special someone. See Scallops and Chorizo for the starter and Anniversary Chocolate Pots for the dessert.

Lingonberry and Lemon Bliss Balls

It's the run up to Christmas which means festive foods aplenty. My birthday also coincides with this time of year so double the excuse for dietary indulgence. Unfortunately these past weeks have left me feeling saddened, full of anxiety and seriously lacking in seasonal cheer as we experienced a burglary. Worse still is the knowledge that we will never know the identity of the culprit - who indeed and most likely is someone we know.

These cheerful pink balls were made while I was ironically blissfully unaware of what was in store and I long for that feeling of being worry-free. I've been meaning to incorporate my recently discovered lingonberry powder into a recipe and simultaneously was after a fun way to brighten up my brithday cake. Lingonberries are tart, red berries similar to cranberries and are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C.

Roast Purple Kale with Lime Cashew Sauce

If you want to stumble across some of this delightful purple 'Buttonhole' kale, you could hunt it down in your local Waitrose store. It has a lovely mild, almost sweet flavour and looks really pretty to boot! Pair it with the zingy and creamy cashew sauce and you have a simple lunch or a beautiful side dish.

Raw Blueberry 'Cheese' Cake

In America a 'Pot Luck' is defined as 'a meal or party where each guest contributes a dish'. Here in the UK it is more likely interpreted as 'taking your chance that whatever is available will be good or acceptable'. Funnily, in this situation, both applied!

For the Christmas party of the parents in my daughter's class we were all tasked with bringing a dish. This alleviated the worry of identifying at least one safe food choice but at the same time raised a whole new concern about foisting my own dietary inaneness on others and potentially eliciting criticism and ridicule.

Raw Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake Balls

What to do when cake craving strikes but the internal tug of war between the inner clean-eating angel and wayward sugar fiend is in the midst of a civil war without end in sight? Step forward these no-bake cake balls.

Cumin Roast Delicata Squash with Celeriac Rice and Matcha Tahini Dressing

You would not believe how excited I was when I spotted a delicata squash in my local Waitrose! Almost as excited as I used to get when I found a Louboutin in my size at a sample sale - trust me; that is VERY excited!

Common as they are in the US they are still fairly hard to come by here in the UK where the butternut has a monopoly on the supermarket squash scene. The skin is edible - and looks oh so pretty sliced in the horizontal don't you think? Just make sure to wash it well and remove seeds.

Persimmon and Squash Autumn Slice

My children and I absolutely LOVE sharon fruit (aka persimmon). Recently, as I bit into a particularly ripe and delicious one I experienced what can only be described as a Proustian memory - the same taste, smell and texture shelved in a box decades old; the home I shared with my parents, sisters and brother; the way the sunset always cast a luminous orange glow across the red carpet (yes, it was hideous!) in the living room. It is distant yet close - like the family I now see so rarely: logistically distant but always in my heart...

Pear Watercress and Beetroot Salad

Autumn is here. Pears are abundant. Despite the colder weather I am clinging persistently to my lunchtime salads before they hibernate to make way for winter warmers. This autumnal bowl combines the sweetness of pears with earthy beetroot and crunchy pecans. The caperberries provide a little sharp and salty zing which is balanced out by the mellow creamy tahini dressing. And plenty of immune boosting nutrients and vitamin C in watercress to ward off those pesky colds.

Green & Pinks: Basil Lime Smoothie and Strawberry Chia Breakfast Bowl

When you can't decide what colour smoothie to have you can have both. Together. The basil, lime and lemongrass flavours are a refreshing wakeup call. They balance well with the subtly sweet strawberries and hydrating cucumber in the pink chia mix.

Scallops and Chorizo

Scallops were served as the starter at our wedding many moons ago so it only seemed fitting that they make another appearance at an anniversary dinner. This well-established combination of scallops with chorizo is one we've been making and eating for years, inspired originally by a recipe from Nigella Lawson's 'Nigella Express'.

Anniversary Chocolate Pots

Once upon a time, I ate dairy... AND gluten AND sugar aplenty! I remember once making this ludicrously rich and utterly decadent chocolate pudding for a dinner party.

Tahini Aubergine with Parsley and Pumpkin Seeds

This can be used both as a lovely vegetarian main or as a vegetable side. Feel free to substitute the pumpkin seeds for another seed and toast them if you have both time and a penchant for extra crunch. I love to eat mine alongside a big salad as a main or with a quick sautee of vegetables when the idea of washing a pan isn't too hard work! Lazy? Very!

Mango Coconut and Carrot Bliss Balls

Blissful in that they taste divinely creamy, sweet and deliciously treatlike. Also in that any child (or fussy grown up) will be blissfully ignorant that they are inadvertently consuming hidden carrots and antioxidant rich turmeric!

Paleo Beetroot and Artichoke Hummus

Never was there quite such a quandary on the spelling of a word than with 'hummus' - or is it 'houmous' or 'houmus', which I used in my previous two 'hummus/houmous/houmus' recipes and can be found here Lemon and Rosemary Artichoke Houmus and here Smoked Paprika and Porcini Artichoke Houmus.

Pumpkin Pie Hidden Vegetable Smoothie Bowl

Why I bothered to state the obvious about 'hidden vegetables' in the title is a mystery to me given I hide vegetables in every meal!

Sweet Potato Turkey Indian Spiced Patties

Over the busy summer holidays I have been trying to make meals that:
a) cater to the tastes of all members of the family (quite a tall order given the diversity of strong likes and dislikes;
b) require minimal fussing over a hob in the summer heat;
c) can be served cold straight from the fridge for efficient leftover lunches.

These little patties do just the job. despite the fragrant Indian spices they are not too spicy for the children (or husband) but flavourful enough to elicit a general consesus of approval. A winner in our household!

No-Bake Mini Matcha Sesame Doughnuts aka Donuts

Let me be very clear at the outset: aside from their shape these bear absolutely zero resemblance to the average doughnut! That's not to say they don't taste good but there is truly nothing worse than unmet expectations - spiralling into disappointment, frustration and potential anger... After all, this is the highly sensitive subject of doughnuts, people!

Fennel Peach and Cucumber Simple Summer Salad

I make so many variations of this salad in the summer. It is super quick to make, satisfyingly crunchy and fresh. Add or omit whatever salad bits you might have lurking in the fridge; as long as there is a juicy piece of seasonal stone fruit, the aromatic crisp crunch equivalent to fennel and the hydrating freshness of cucumber and mint! An effective #happinesshack is a big bowl of this salad in the warm sunshine; my little robin friend flitting by the cherry tree in the garden.... Summer days...

Blueberry Lemon Parsnip Dairy Free Cheesecake

A few weeks ago a fellow food blogger, Audrey Snowe aka The Unconventional Baker, who I admire immensely, instigated a little interactive Instagramming to encourage some social chitchat and engagement (albeit on a virtual level).

Sundried Tomato Pesto and Olive Mini Muffins

Handy as an 'on the go' breakfast, snack or lunch. Packed with protein and good fats from eggs, olives and walnuts; antioxidant rich sundried tomatoes and garlic; and anti inflammatory basil, these mini muffins are satisfyingly filling. The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy hint; bringing together the intense sundrenched tomato and olive flavours of the Mediterranean. Yum!

Peach Mint Avocado and Pistachio Salad with Trout and Moroccan Spiced Dressing

Juicy sweet peaches, fresh mint, creamy avocado, crunchy pistachios and earthy beetroot, topped with flakes of subtle pink trout. A perfect summer salad. Alternatively, leave out the fish and serve as a large side platter to accompany barbecues all season long...

Matcha Cacao Nice Cream Cups

This cooling summer dessert is inspired by my Matcha-Maca-Cacao Tricolor Treats

It is super simple to make - no blender and only TWO core ingredients (plus a pinch of sea salt). The matcha and cacao add extra yumminess, colour and antioxidants but really, they're fabulous even without. Enjoy and make the most of the glorious summer sun  x

Turmeric and Coconut Cauliflower Steaks

This is a great meaty alternative for when vegan friends come for dinner. Serve alongside a rainbow of riced red cabbage and creamy ripe avocado before drizzling over a thick tahini dressing to bring it all together.

Cleansing White Peach and Matcha Green Tea Smoothie Bowl

This is a great way to start the day as the matcha provides a lovely morning boost, with some caffeine and, more importantly, plenty L-theanine (an amino acid reported to boost concentration). The anti-ageing, antioxidant and detoxifying benefits are just extras thrown in for good measure.

Lemon and Rosemary Artichoke 'Houmus'

This is a variation on my Smoked Paprika and Porcini Artichoke Houmous- all the creamy deliciousness of regular houmous but replacing the legumes with more nutrient dense veggies. This version has a zingy lemon freshness and fragrant notes of rosemary picked from the garden.

Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream

When I was little I often spent summers in Hong Kong. One of my most vivid food memories (and that is some feat given the quantity and variety of foods consumed per trip!) is the purple Ube flavoured ice cream. It was like nothing I'd ever seen here at home (and no, the blue bubblegum flavour ice lollies do not count). To think an actual real food had a colour as bright and fun as a Strawberry Shortcake cohort was mindbogglingly glorious!

Red Cabbage Fig and Pistachio Moroccan Salad

Summer is here (in theory)! My lovely husband has awoken the barbecue from its state of hibernation and I am looking forward to relaxing meals al fresco. Again, relaxing in theory owing to the cooking being passed baton-like to the man of the house! Except in reality, barbecues aren't just about throwing a bunch of meat on the barbecue while laughing with carefree abandon over a chilled Pimms. If only.

Apricot and Brazil Nut Cardamom Bliss Balls

The calming effect of rolling up a batch of bliss balls. These combine the tangy taste of unsweetened apricots (try to use unsulphured if possible even though the colour looks less pretty!) with the warmth of vanilla and cinnamon and an extra kick of aromatic spice from the complex flavour of cardamom.

Two Tone Beetroot Spiralised Salad

Aside from being beautiful with the two tone jewel shades without a single E number in sight, red and golden beets provide a subtle diversity in nutrients and flavour.

Raw Carrot Cake Squares

Though the general consensus of carrot cake is that it is healthy because it features a vegetable in its title, invariably this is just delusional and wishful thinking! However, all carrot cakes were not created equal...

Singapore Zoodles

As spicy or mild as you choose (add or remove chilli peppers/ seeds to taste), this dish was always a favourite growing up. Mum made it very spicy!

New York Post, Wednesday 4th May 2016!

One of my green smoothie bowls was pictured in a double page feature about smoothie bowls in the New York Post this week!

Matcha Bliss Balls

I created these for my little boy whose favourite colour is green and I wanted to surprise him with something (naturally) green on the top of his birthday cake. He also has a mini obsession with bliss balls (as do I)!

These are nut-free but work really well with pistachio nuts instead of the sunflower seeds if there are no nut allergies to be catered to. Pistachio nuts also add even more green vibrancy to the end result.

Water Chestnut Sushi Rolls

The ultimate carb and calorie free way to eat 'rice' is undoubtedly to blitz vegetable of choice into 'rice' like grains. Oftentimes blitzed up raw vegetables can be rather crumbly, rendering the process of making (and eating!) neat little sushi rolls a frustrating pastime.

Banana Brownie (Egg-free Nut-free Hidden Greens)

No sugar, no nuts, no eggs, no grains or gluten (obviously), no nasties. Contains hidden kale and spinach. And the best thing? The kids LOVE it!

Raw Banana Bread Cookie Dough Balls

Super simple little wholesome snack using a few kitchen staples.

These are especially useful for school snack boxes as they are nut-free - just make sure they don't get too warm!

Courgetti Meatballs with Speedy Squash-Mato Sauce

Weekday family friendly easy meals always come in useful. Save any leftover meatballs and serve cold with a salad the next day or in a lunchbox. If you have plenty of time then feel free to slowly simmer a more in-depth flavoured tomato sauce but this Squash-Mato Sauce is a quick and healthy 5 minute option. I serve them on raw spiralised courgette but any spiralised or mixed sauteed vegetable will do just fine.

Chocolate Nut Butter Easter Eggs

These are adapted from my Guilt-Free Chocolate Recipe

A little bit of fun for the Easter festivities without having to suffer any ill effects of sugar, dairy or gluten. I like my chocolate bitter and happily enjoy it without any sweetener but feel free to sweeten to taste with a little maple syrup or honey. To make these nut-free, try subbing the almond butter for tahini mixed with a little maple syrup or honey or use sunflower or pumpkin seed butter. Happy Easter x

Matcha Mint Green Protein Bowl

Another day another smoothie bowl! A perfect way to get in your 5 a day or simply a little pick me up snack or breakfast bowl. Never a wrong time for a bowl of green goodness. Cleansing, refreshing, vitamin packed and satisfyingly protein-rich. Have a good day x

This recipe was created for the lovely people over at  Creative Nature Superfoods where you can get 10% discount on any of their products using code IMPAL10.

Sweet Potato, Chocolate & Chia No Bake Cake

Be still my beating heart... I kid you not, I needed to exert an extraordinary level of self-restraint not to eat the entire contents of the food processor prior to this mix making its way into the cake tin. It exudes a dangerously Voldermort-esque allure! And when it came to slathering over the creamy top onto the base I may have accidentally on purpose left more than a generous amount at the bottom of the bowl for licking out - cook's prerogative and all that. Shhh - don't tell my kids! Mooohaha!

Creamy Celeriac and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Lunch in a flash for when the day is cold and the body is craving something warm, creamy, nourishing and comforting. Quite simply throw everything in a pot, boil, blend, enjoy.

Beetroot Pancakes with Blueberries and Fruit Compote

So many festivities requiring a complimentary foodstuff to celebrate and commemorate with this week! After yesterday's Chinese New Year dish I am going to share this pancake recipe I actually created last summer. It's interesting looking at my photos from just over half a year ago - still being the complete amateur photographer that I am, taking all my photos on my ipad with my untrained eye, I'm not sure I'd have styled them quite this way now, nor used the same angles and positioning. Life eh? Ever evolving... Happy Shrove Tuesday x

Chicken with Cordyceps Militaris and Pak Choi

Happy Chinese New Year of the Monkey! Given there is nothing more in keeping with Chinese celebrations than eating I thought it apt to post a Chinese dish - something very typical of what my mum might make at home.

Not wanting to impose impossible to source ingredients on anyone, this dish is perfectly yummy substituting the cordycep militaris (a fungus used widely in Chinese medicine and cooking) with any conventional mushroom eg shiitake. I know my mum would actually recommend adding in a small handful of cloud ear fungus to this dish but I think one obscure ingredient per recipe may be sufficient!

Carrot and Apricot Spiced Smoothie Bowl ('The Orange One')

Affectionately known as The Orange One, this has hints of carrot cake about it, with the cinnamon and spices. The apricots lend a slightly more tart flavour making it perfect as a refreshing breakfast wake-up.

Beetroot and Red Cabbage Cumin Soup

Deeply comforting with its rich scent of cumin together with the bold colour and flavour of sweet roasted beetroot, this antioxidant packed soup is delightfully delicious.

Macadamia Nut Superfood Fudge

Consider this a warning - this is a highly addictive substance. In some circles it could be considered a banned foodstuff in light of its ability to incite overindulgence!

Massaged Kale and Kelp Noodle Salad

Kelp noodles are still a new discovery for me but it makes  a nice change from courgette (vegetable) noodles as the texture has much more bite and is slightly crunchy. It amazes me that they are raw, gluten free, low carb and basically made from seaweed and water.

Another Birthday Cake and Simple Chocolate Frosting

Let me cut to the chase: this was my birthday cake. And a rather significant birthday at that! Which basically meant I had free rein to incorporate all my favourite things - and felt absolutely no obligation to include the things that aren't. Yay!

P.S. Best wishes for 2016 - may it be filled with happiness, health and much joy!