How to make your own kefir

Kefir is largely unfamiliar to those of us living in the West, and can initially sound a bit unappealing to our diets and lifestyles that emphasise sterility and clamping down on bacteria. It really isn’t: it has been drunk for millennia, often as a first weaning food given to babies, and tastes rather like a…

Sesame chilli aubergine with halloumi and seaweed

  A splendid dinner for one. Savoury and moreish, you’ll be so pleased you didn’t settle for a ready meal. Using sushi nori sheets is a really simple, accessible and delicious way to introduce seaweed into your diet. Ingredients 1 aubergine 3 slices halloumi cheese 1 teaspoon pickled ginger, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger,…

Vegetable and lentil loaded Bolognaise sauce

This sauce has so many uses: on its own with bread mixed through spaghetti or other pasta (choose wholemeal if you can) top with mashed potato for a cottage pie turn it into a lasagne top with savoury crumble spoon over rice (again, brown is better) add kidney beans and chilli powder for a quick…

Quick creamy mushroom and olive pasta

Very close to a stroganoff, but even slightly quicker. I challenge you to miss meat while eating this savoury, comforting dinner. Serves 4, generously Ingredients 500g mushrooms, sliced 4 tablespoons olives, well rinsed and roughly chopped 2 teaspoons thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 1 teaspoon paprika 150ml double cream or…

Low sugar chocolate chip oat biscuits

  I had a hankering for chocolately oat/digestive biscuits, and I’m now struggling to keep my hands off these. Fortunately there’s only a tablespoon of sugar in the whole lot, so they’re a perfectly reasonable snack that I predict are going to be made pretty regularly. Dark chocolate makes them taste more grown up and,…

Mexican (ish) potato skins with refried beans, cheese and guacamole

This recipe works very neatly in tandem with gnocchi; it means you don’t have to waste those beautiful crispy potato skins once you’ve baked the spuds. It’s also a really cheap meal. Serves 2 Ingredients Cooked skins of 2 baked potatoes – just the skins, potato flesh removed 1 tablespoon jalapenos, finely sliced Refried beans 1…

Giant oven baked potato rosti

A simple supper, making something out of almost nothing. It’s categorised under ’30 minutes or quicker’, but it’s on the cusp – 20 of that’s in the oven though, so you can just have a sit down. Serves 4 Basic ingredients 800g potato 1 egg 1 onion Black pepper & salt A knob of butter…

Banana pancakes

These have been made too frequently in the short time since I remembered about them; I’m almost sick of them already. Almost. Our local greengrocer has a box of squashy cut-price bananas which I raid almost daily to use in kefir smoothies, banana ice cream (i.e. frozen bananas chucked in the blender) and porridge; they’re…

Cheap, quick and simple vegetarian courgette lasagne

Much quicker than the usual bechamel/white sauce version, this is a good week-night lasagne. Flavour comes from the garlicky, herby tomato sauce and the cheeses; it’s a rich but healthy dinner which is popular with children and a handy fallback for a meat-free night. To make this more seasonal in the winter months, try leaving…

How to persuade fussy eaters to eat healthily

Some people are born with the genetic inclination to like certain foods, healthy or sugary. This might give a small advantage or disadvantage in learning to enjoy eating healthily, but the way we teach ourselves to eat (and it is teaching and learning) counts for much more. Apart from anything, having a child who is…

Brandy Mincemeat

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…Quite simply, it doesn’t matter how many taste test competitions magazines run (spoiler: Lidl or Aldi always win), there is no mince pie like a homemade mince pie. Commercial pastry is too sweet, and even just spooning supermarket mincemeat into homemade pastry makes all the difference. I’ve never…