Asian Soba Veggie Bowl

I never appreciated Asian food until I moved to Europe. I also never appreciated the Sun shining all year round, and that for 22 years I’d evaded the “winter blues” – a term I thought was exaggerated lol!

Being in the Northern hemisphere has made me realise how much I need warm weather and food bursting with flavour and spice.

As Autumn descends on us and the skies turn a permanent shade of grey, the Asian in me is coming alive. You will find me using generous sprinkles of chilli and squirts of sriracha sauce on EVERYTHING!

Here’s a recipe I came across on Cookie and Kate. It has everything I love – sugar snap peas, soba noodles and sriracha. I adapted it to include soy beans, red pepper and extra sriracha. The sriracha I bought has a decent oomph to it, if yours could do with some then add some extra chilli flakes.












Serves 8-10

  • A pack of soba noodles
  • Pack of frozen soya beans (you can sub edamame here)
  • Pack of frozen sugar snap peas
  • 8 medium/small carrots, grated
  • 3 Large or 5 small red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander (I couldn’t find fresh, so left them out)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
Ginger-sesame sauce
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • juice of 2 small limes
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or any other sweetener)
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (plus chilli flakes if desired)
  • To make the sauce: whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Bring 2 pots of water to boil. In one cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • In the other pot, cook the soy beans (according to package instructions).Towards the end of the stated cooking time, add the sugar snap peas. Once the peas are warmed through, drain.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until brown. Be sure to stir them around frequently so they don’t burn.
  • Add the noodles, veggies, beans and peas in a large serving bowl and combine.
  • Add the prepared sauce and toss again.
  • Top with the toasted sesame seeds and coriander.


Simple Late Summer Salad

I love a good salad. For some reason, this year hasn’t seen very many of them feature on my dinner plate. I remember it being a lunch time staple in my pre-(ve)gan days, and thought I should give it a go again despite the constant craving for hearty meals. This salad was so simple to throw together, I was done 15 minutes, and had my little girl to “help”.

You could throw in any raw veg you have lying around – not much you can do to mess this up.


Makes about 10-12 servings


  • Lots of leaves – lamb’s lettuce, romaine lettuce, rocket (feel free to use spinach, kale or anything leafy that’s in season). I used the entire bag of lamb’s lettuce and rocket, and half a head of romaine lettuce
  • 5 small carrots, grated or sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 small red bell peppers, chopped
  • 500g pack of cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tbsp sultanas (I’m in love with these lately so was very generous in adding them – you can reduce the amount or sub raisins)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp sunflowe, roasted
  •  2 tsp flax or chia seeds
  • Himalayan sea salt (optional – i omitted it)


  • Mix the leaves and veggies in a salad bowl
  • Top with raisins and seeds.
  • Serve as is or drizzled with a little olive oil.

Spinach and Black Bean Coconut Curry

For some reason, I find it really hard to source black beans here in Hamburg. I know all the Turkish/Asian stores have them, but I usually have to drive a bit and battle for a parking spot big enough to fit our FRV……for a loooong time, nothing could convince me the effort was worth it. Then, a health store opened up up the road from us! I popped in earlier this week and was thrilled to find a pack of dried black beans!


So I trolled the Internet to see what I could whip up with these little babies, the pack of frozen spinach and a pack of carrots I had in the fridge. I came across this recipe on Connoiseurus veg (really, how clever is that name?!) and adapted it to make it oil free and used up all the veg I had left.



Serves: 8-12


  • 2 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 green (indian) chilis, minced/sliced (deseed for a milder version)
  • 2 cups dried black beans (or 4 cans of cooked black beans if you can find them), soaked and cooked
  • 500 g pack of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 6 small – medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes chopped or diced (I was hungry so went for chopped!)
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice (I ran out of lime so used a concentrate instead)
  • 2x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. roasted sambar powder (or garam masala)
  • 1 tbsp thai curry paste of your choice (I used green)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • chili powder (optional or to taste)
  • Pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I had none, so left it out)

  • In a pot, add the coconut milk with water. Allow it to heat thoroughly but not boil.
  • Add the thai paste and allow the paste to dissolve.
  • Add the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans and lime juice and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the spices (sambar powder/garam masala, coriander, cardamom and chili powder). Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach and cook until heated thoroughly.
  • Season with pepper and add the coriander.

Serve with your grain of choice (I went with spelt).

Chris’s “Magic” Roasted Veggies with Quinoa Tabbouleh

My darling Chris loves to cook! And boy can he whip up a good meal when he’s in the mood! This is one of those magic moments…..and voila magic veggies!

The “magic” (have I said Magic enough already?!) is in the marinade and in using tomatoes to keep the veg moist in the oven so they don’t burn.

Now, he just eyeballs the quantities so I suggest you do the same – trust me, unless you have no eyeballs there’s no way you can go wrong with this.


Magic Veggies

  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Any other veg you fancy

Magic Marinade

Fresh (our balcony grown) basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lemon thyme (very important) chopped finely and mixed with lemon/lime (or a mix) juice.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Adapted from Oh She Glows “Buckwheat Tabbouleh”
For my version, I used more lemon juice,  added all spice and eliminated the olive oil and salt. I also used enough broth to cook the quinoa in, avoiding having to drain the excess liquid later.

In the photo above, the quinoa is separate from the rest of the Tabbouleh mix. The reason being that my girls tend to pick out the quinoa (amazing what you can do with little fingers!) first and overlook everything else. So we’ve resorted to giving them the “everything else” first and then the quinoa.

  • Quinoa (quantity of your choice)
  • Vegetable broth (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 2 cups of broth)
  • Flat leaf or Curly Parsley, chopped very finely (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 4 cups of parsley)
  • Tomatoes (1 cup quinoa – 4 tomatoes) chopped finely
  • Cucumber (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 cucumber) chopped finely
  • Carrot (1 cup quinoa – 1 carrot) chopped finely or shredded
  • Spring onions (1 cup quinoa – about 4 to 6 spring onions) chopped finely
  • Garlic cloves (1 cup quinoa – 2 cloves) minced or crushed
  • Fresh lemon juice ( 1 cup quinoa – 1 cup juice)
  • All spice (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 tsp all spice, I’d start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • optional toppings: chia seeds and mung bean sprouts


  • Preheat the grill to 190 celcius (374 fahrenheit). Toss the veg in the marinade and pop under the grill.
  • Keep turning frequently till the veg are just about cooked.
  • Top with chopped spring onions and roast again for a few more minutes.

To make the Tabbouleh

  • Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to instructions on the quinoa pack.
  • Allow the quinoa to cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, herbs, lemon juice and all spice to the quinoa, mix well and allow to stand for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Serve topped with chia seeds and sprouts, if using.




“I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup

Last year my daughter (who had turned 4) discovered Ketchup! I know that’s pretty late but we’ve never really bought commercial ketchup…why? well, as a kid I LOVED ketchup on brown bread (you laugh, but I know one other person who did the same!) and I remember always feeling a little sick right after. I don’t know if it was the vingear or the gazillion other ingredients that went into that bottle, but I figured if I didn’t have it around, I would eventually grow out of it……..then I had kids.

Anywayyyyy, my girl wanted ketchup served during her birthday bash (she didn’t care if I topped her chocolate cake off with it) and so began my hunt for homemade ketchup.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times – only once with honey and the other times without any sweetener; not once has anyone spotted the difference to Heinz ketchup.

So without further ado, the “I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup recipe:


One 400g can of tomatoes

125ml (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

63ml (1/4 cup) water

¼ tsp clove powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

Honey  (optional, and to taste)*

salt (optional, or just a pinch)


Combine all the ingredients, except the honey (if using). Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you want it thicker) stirring frequently. Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir in the honey and voila!

This makes a little less than 400ml (roughly 1.5 cups) and freezes well.

*to make this vegan, you could sub 1 Tbsp of sugar and add it along with all the other ingredients at the start. I’ve not tried making this with sugar so unsure about results. Maybe the next time I will experiment with molasses.

Adapted from Top Secret Recipes

Sweet Potato Hummus

Weekends are always the days of the week I have no inspiration to cook or try something new. We decided we were going to make things simple and whip up a salad and maybe a dip.

Rummaging through the produce I had left in the kitchen turned up sweet potato and carrots. The dip was initially meant to be a roasted carrot dip, but hubs decided that using the carrots in the salad (as he always prefers) was a better way to go. So that left a sweet potato and voila…the dip below.

Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this baby. I kid you not, I could NOT stop myself from eating this….long gone were the veggie sticks to dip in and out came the spoon 🙂




1 Large sweet potato

1 can of Chickpeas (play around with the quantity here. I had a 400g can which I used, but a smaller amount would also work)

2 onions (quartered)

a few cloves of garlic, leave the skin on (this again is a matter of taste. I love garlic so used about 4-6 small pods)

1 fresh red chilli (optional, but highly reommend it)

dried chilli flakes (optional and according to taste)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (optional and according to taste)

1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander powder, caraway seeds (ground or whole)

3 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp tomato paste (again, adjust the quantities according to preference)

fresh coriander leaves (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (that’s about 400F for the non-celcius folks).

Roast the sweet potato till soft (about 45 minutes, depending on your oven).

Place chickpeas, onions (quarterd) and garlic in a roasting tray. Roast till the onions look cooked.

Sqeeze the flesh out of the garlic coats and add everything to a blender with the chilli, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, tahini, and tomato paste.

Whizz away.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or hide away with a bowl and spoon and enjoy (I won’t judge 🙂 )

Vegan, oil-free Irish Stew

Now this is one dish that hit the dinner jackpot! Kids and hubs LOVED it. The smoky flavour of the porcini mushrooms is the secret to this and boy does it make a heart-warming meal. I realise now as I write this that you could probably get away with whipping this up outside the autumn/winter period.

This is super versatile in that you could use ANY veggies you have lying around (pumpkin in the autumn would work well too….mmmmmmmh….yum!).

Vegan Irish stew – stewing!


Ready to be demolished!


Serves about 6-8

1 can coconut milk

3 medium onions, sliced

6Tablespoons chickpea flour (to thicken)

5 cups vegetable stock

water (if required)

2 bags of frozen veg (this is what I had lying around, feel free to throw in fresh produce)

Half a pack (or more if you fancy) of porcini mushrooms

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

4 tsp maple syrup (or more if required)

3 bay leaves

1 tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary and marjoram


Add coconut milk and onions to a big pot. Let the onions cook on medium heat until they soften. Add the chickpea flour and mix thouroughly – cook gently for a minute. Add all the other ingredients. Cook for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 mins. Chop them up, add to pot with the water they soaked in. Cook for another 5 mins or so.

Serve the stew on it’s on, or with any grain you fancy (fresh bread will work well too).

Double Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Namaste all you chocolate lovers out there!

My girls have been begging me to make ANYTHING with chocolate….and what does a good mum do? I say “hell yes!”

My oldest asked if we could make it vegan so that I could join them whilst they put the cookie monster to shame…(again, who am I to say no!)..bless her 4 year old heart 🙂

So here we go – vegan double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies adapted from Oh She Glows.

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

This recipe makes about 12 depending on how big you like your cookies. Prep time is kinda hard to estimate because I had the girls help me out and you know how that usually goes down. If it were just you, I think you’re looking at about 15 minutes prep time and 10-13 minutes baking time (this can vary depending on the oven you’re using. Our’s is very eager to burn things so we usually have to reduce the bake time)



  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 55 grams or 1/4 cup  virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 65 grams or 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 78 ml or 1/3 cup maple syrup (if you want your cookies sweeter, you could add sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or freshly grated vanilla pod


  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut powder
  • 145 grams or 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats ground into flour
  • 4-5 teaspoons non-dairy milk (I used oat milk because it’s naturally sweet) to moisten the batter
  • 100 grams finely chopped dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 176C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a cup, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the mixture again once thickened.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl (along with the flax mixture). Beat the ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer until combined and smooth. Check for sweetness here, and add sugar/more syrup accordingly. I prefer my desserts on the less sweeter side so stuck with the amount of maple syrup mentioned above.
  4. Add the dry ingredients one by one. If your dough is a bit dry, add some non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not sticky.
  5. Chop/grate the chocolate (I did a bit of both). Fold the pieces into the batter.
  6. Lick spoon 😉
  7. Shape dough into balls and flatten them between the palms of your hands.
  8. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-13 minutes.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheet until they harden up a little (if you can wait that long – as you can see, someone (not naming names..ahem) ate half a cookie whilst they were still cooling!)

Dig in!!!


“Let it go…Let it gooooo..”

You’d think that after a year of listening to Elsa sing “let it go” on our stereo system at home, in the car, on vacation and basically every darn place you can think of, I’d be the last person to use it as the title of this post! HA! Elsa, nicely played……

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been obessed with the subject of letting things go. You see, this for me is very difficult. I grew up thinking that if you threw something away, it had no meaning to you, and that you rather overeat and feel sick right after just to avoid putting away/throwing away the last few spoonfuls of food on your plate (don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage food wastage, but I never thought to myself that I could take smaller portions at a time). So what happened down the line? I saved EVERYTHING – down to ticket stubs….and for years (can you imagine what a nightmare it is to move house as a hoarder?!). Oh, and I overate – a lot! (food and weight are a HUGE aspect of the Indian culture. If you’re lean, you’re unhealthy; if your not stuffed to your eyes with food by your host/hostess, it’s not good hospitallity; watching what you eat/eating smaller portions is “complicated” and “unnecessary” if you’re lean because you need to have fat on you.)

Starting out as a mum, I was pretty sure I was doing the right thing passing on this “quality” to my kids…..up until the beginning of this year when I took my yoga practice to a different level and made the decision to teach. I realised that “keeping memoires” (as I like to tell myself I was doing) wasn’t a fantastic quality to have…the truth was that I was hanging on to everything from years gone by. That meant I had a whole lot of unresolved issues and emotional baggage I had been lugging around for years. I now realise how this has been affecting realtionships around me….

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali talk about non-attachment. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t care, it just means that you don’t place importance on things, emotions, acts, status, ego etc. Placing undue importance creates chains around your mental ability to think clearly…it binds your heart so tight that it is not open to receiving anymore.

Yoga sutras :

Two core principles: Practice (abhyasa, 1.13) and non-attachment (vairagya, 1.15) are the two core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests (1.12). It is through the cultivation of these two that the other practices evolve, by which mastery over the mind field occurs (1.2), and allows the realization of the true Self (1.3).

Abhyasa/Practice: Abhyasa means having an attitude of persistent effort to attain and   maintain a state of stable tranquility (1.13). To become well established, this needs to be done for a long time, without a break (1.14). From this stance the deeper practice continues to unfold, going ever deeper towards the direct experience of the eternal core of our being.

Vairagya/Non-attachment: The essential companion is non-attachment (1.15), learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.

They work together: Practice leads you in the right direction, while non-attachment allows you to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked into the pains and pleasures along the way.

Hurt, dissapointment, emotional wounds – we’ve all experienced them. If you analysed past situations in a non-judgemental way, you’d see that most of these “injuries” arise from expectations…..expectations of the other person involved or of what you thought the outcome should have been. In the present, these past unfulfilled expectations still leave a sour taste in your mouth. You’re always wary and cautious. You’ve built some form of armour around yourself. Now, imagine how many layers of armour you’d have built over the years everytime you encountered unpleasant, “not-what-you-expected” situations… much inner strength do you think it will take for you to break those walls down and get to the core of who you really are? Breaking those walls is nothing but forgiving, bidding good bye to the past, and moving forward…..breaking those walls is letting go.

“The root of suffering is attachment”     – The Buddha

Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean something from the past (although in most cases, the roots will lie back in time. The past is usually what shapes the present), it can be in the here and now too (down the line “today” will be a day in your past) – maybe it’s something you did/said, something someone did/said to you, maybe it’s a relationship that’s either not benefitting you in a positive way, maybe you can’t change the situation/the person involved and it’s tearing you up inside. Ask yourself if it’s worth all the time and emotion you invest into the feelings these people/situations conjure up in you. Depending on your honest answer, you will know what to do.

So how can you start breaking down the armour, letting go and moving forward? Ok I’ll be honest here, each of us have our own battles…and whilst some things are easier to kiss good bye to, others need a lot of time. I’m in no way saying that you have to move on from one day to the next, but just setting the intention and knowing where you want to be sometime in the future is enough to start with. Setting honest intentions and repeating these to yourself everyday (maybe even multiple times in a day) can work wonders in manipulating your subconscious mind.

How did I start out?

Well, first thing I did was to get rid of clothes. This was the first exercise I set for myself and it was TOUGH!

Second, toiletries (yes, you may be laughing here, but I actually developed an unhealthy obsession with stocking up on toiletries that I never used for fear that the container would be empty one day!) 3 months I haven’t had to buy shower gel because of the stockpile I have lying around!!! These might seem really lame, but I kid you not they’ve wonders in changing my attitude and outlook.

I’d read an article not long ago about how clutter in the house is a barrier to free flowing energy, and that clearing up clutter pockets like drawers, closets etc. can have a huge effect on how you feel. I can vouch for that…

Third, I made a 2 column list of people from the yesteryears – one for those I never really forgave and the other for those I’d hurt and never apologised to. I went through each name on the list and had the “conversation” I should have had, ending with “it’s over…let’s move on”.

Fourth, my kids – I make them clear out their rooms once a month (or every week depending on the clutter) and make it a point they understand how to regulate their food portions and appetite. If they skip a meal, big deal – they’re healthy and happy and more than honest with me when it comes to hunger!

Maybe you have a few toxic relationships in your life and you’re scared to “let them go” because (perhaps) society would see you as being cold, or maybe because you don’t want to hurt them. Let me tell you from personal experience, that if a relationship is pulling you down so much that it’s stopping you from moving forward, affecting the innocent people around you and leaving you depleted…it’s not worth having in your life at the moment (if you feel you’re not strong enough to handle it) or at all….the choice is yours. The resolution you may choose to make is to always keep your heart and mind receiving, open and full of love to these people if and when they are ready to re-enter into a fullfilling, positive and nurturing relationship. Again, let not expectations drive any of these decisions.

Negative emotions cause blockages in the flow of vital energy within us. When left to fester for too long these can manifest as diseases of the body and mind. A documentary I watched a few months back said that physical ailments can be treated by first cleansing the mind. An unhealthy mind results in an unhealthy body. I’ve come to believe strongly in this.

We’re all on our personal journeys with challenges and achievements that are unique to us. Your yoga practice can only help you on this journey. It is so unique to you and is different from one day to the next. Keep practicing, keep your intentions clear and keep your breath flowing. Honour the present moment and be thankful for it. It is in this moment you can decide where you place the step in your path – forward or back.