Seasonal food is fresher and tends to be tastier and more nutritious.  Eating seasonal food helps us to reconnect with nature’s cycles and can help us lead a more eco friendly life by reducing the airmiles of our food.

This Beetroot & Ginger Soup is a perfect winter warmer.  Beetroot is high in betacartotene and folic acid.  This root vegetable helps cleanse the liver and can assist in lowering incidences of heart disease.

Depending on the weather, you can add extra warmth to the soup by adding more ginger.  Ginger is useful if you feel a cold coming on or if you wish to warm up.  It also helps soothe digestion.

Serves 4

Prep: 15 mins / Cooking: 45 mins


3 tbsp oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
3 gloves of garlic chopped
2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated (add more ginger if you wish to give the soup an extra warmth & kick)
500g beetroot, scrubbed and grated or finely chopped
1 small potato (about 100g), peeled and grated
750mls vegetable stock
Salt, to taste
Plain yoghurt or non-dairy yoghurt (for garnish)
Crusty bread


  1. Heat the oil in a large thick bottomed saucepan, add the chopped onion and fry for 10 minutes over a gentle heat until softened. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  2. Add the beetroot and potato, stir the ingredients.  Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Leave the soup to cool slightly, blend until smooth and add salt to taste.
  4. Serve the soup with a topping of natural or non-dairy yoghurt and crusty bread.
Soup Recipe

This Supergreen Soup has been popular at our Summer Yoga Retreats and also on the Menopause, Wellness and Vitality Workshop this year.  Christine, our wonderful retreat cook, took inspiration for this recipe from Davina McCall’s ‘Sugar Free in a Hurry’ recipe book.

Christine has adapted the recipe stating “I have adapted it to suit my taste, after all, recipes are there to inspire and shouldn’t been seen as prescriptive“.

Serves 4

Prep: 15 mins / Cooking: 15 mins


1 tbsp oil, I like rice bran
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 red or green chilli, roughly chopped
2 gloves of garlic chopped
20 grams fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
250g broccoli roughly chopped into florets
250gs leafy greens, I use a combination of kale and spinach
½ block of creamed coconut
750mls vegetable stock
grated zest of 1 lime plus the juice
2 – 3 tbsps chopped coriander


  1. Heat the oil in a large thick bottomed saucepan, add the chopped onion and fry for 5-10 minutes over a gentle heat until softened. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and turmeric and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli, greens and stock to the pan and cook until the broccoli has just softened. Blitz with a stick blender until completely smooth and then add the creamed coconut, using the blender if required. Add the lime zest and juice to taste.
  3. Serve the soup with a little extra chopped coriander scattered over the top.


smoked mackerel

I love this super simple light smoked mackerel pate recipe.  It’s really quick to make and adds lots of flavour to salads, picnics and regular meals such as jacket potatoes.  Also experiment with the flavours – try smoked mackerel with black pepper and chilli, replace the lemons with lime, add capers, dill or a squeeze of honey.

Serves 6

Prep: 10 mins / Cooking: 60 mins


480g smoked mackerel fillets, skin and any bones removed, flesh broken into pieces (I quite often use peppered smoked mackerel)
225g creme fraiche
2 tbsp. horseradish sauce
1/2 lemon juiced and zested
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place all ingredients in a processor and mix until smooth.
  2. Spoon the pate into your selected serving dishes – individual dishes or one dish if you are serving as part of a salad or main dish.
  3. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. This is a versatile recipe – serve individually with toast as a starter, use as a topping for jacket potatoes, use as part of a salad, include in your picnic.

Here’s another recipe from the recommended Davina’s Sugar-Free in a Hurry recipe book.

I’m still enjoying working my way through this book and experimenting with the recipes. I love mackerel and it is a great fish as it is available locally here.  The apple dressing didn’t seem to have enough zing for me so I will experiment further with that perhaps trying a ginger, chilli & lime dressing, a beetroot dressing or a zingy lemon dressing.

Serves 4

Prep: 10 mins / Cooking: 30 mins


600g butternut squash, cut into cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme
50g walnut halves
90g lamb’s lettuce
2 smoked mackerel fillets, skin and any bones removed, flesh broken into pieces
salt & black pepper

Apple dressing

1 Granny Smith Apple
3 tbsp. walnut oil or olive oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ Fan 180C/Gas 6.  Put the cubes of squash on a shallow baking tray, spacing them well apart.  Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle the thyme and season well.  Roast the squash for 25 minutes until it’s tender and golden.  Then scatter the walnut halves and roast for a further 5 minutes.
  2. To make the dressing, grate the apple into a bowl and then add the oil, cider vinegar and seasoning.
  3. Divide the lamb’s lettuce between 4 plates and top with the roasted squash, walnuts and tray juices.  Scatter over the pieces of mackerel, then pour over the apple dressing and serve immediately.

Davinia’s book includes Light Meal & Soups, Speedy Salads, Easy Suppers, Weekend Specials, Guilt-free Snacks.  Plus a 5 week meal plan for a guide to eating less sugar and eating wholesome home-cooked food.

Recipe credit: Davina McCall

healthy recipe

healthy recipe

Our Bala Brook cook, Christine, recently recommended Davina’s Sugar-Free in a Hurry recipe book.  Christine is an avid foodie and is always trying new recipes.  Upon this recommendation I’ve bought this book and I’m enjoying making the recipes which are super simple with easily accessible ingredients.  Even if you are not following a sugar-free diet this book gives a wide selection of healthy meal options.  This weekend  I made this butternut squash & couscous salad.  Really quick and simple plus any leftovers can be used for packed lunches.  I served this as a side dish to oven roasted fish.

Serves 4
Prep: 15 mins / Cooking: 30 mins


1 butternut squash
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
200g barley couscous
200ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
small handful of mint leaves, chopped
30g pumpkin seeds
2 tsp chilli sauce (sriracha is good)
150g plain yogurt
salt & black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ Fan 180C/Gas 6.  Top and tail the butternut squash and cut it in half. [Tip Leave the skin on to save time] Remove the seeds, then cut the squash into long wedges and put them in a roasting tin with the onion.  Drizzle with some of the oil, scatter over the cinnamon and paprika and season well.  Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash and onion wedges are tender and slightly charred, turning the squash halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough of the hot stock to just cover it.  Add the rest of the oil and the lemon zest.  Cover the bowl and set the couscous aside for 5 minutes or until it has absorbed the stock.  Fluff it up with a fork and then stir in the lemon juice and half the chopped mint.
  3. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat for about 2 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden.
  4. Tip the couscous on to a serving dish and top with the roasted squash and onion.  Mix the chilli sauce with the yogurt in a small jug, then pour this over the salad.  Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the chopped mint and serve.

Davinia’s book includes Light Meal & Soups, Speedy Salads, Easy Suppers, Weekend Specials, Guilt-free Snacks.  Plus a 5 week meal plan for a guide to eating less sugar and eating wholesome home-cooked food.

Recipe credit: Davina McCall

This is a super simple nutritious recipe that you can adapt dependant on the ingredients available to you.  I like to add a variety of beans such as butter beans and kidney beans.  So much taste for so little effort!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced
2 red onions, sliced
2 medium courgettes, cut into chunks
4 tbsp olive oil
500g cooked butter beans
400g cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar
200g feta cheese, roughly cubed
A handful of pine nuts (optional)
Rocket salad or mixed baby leaf salad to serve
Salt & black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 4.
  2. Put all the prepared vegetables into a large roasting tin, add the olive oil and gently toss the vegetables to coat.
  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are nearly tender, then give them a gentle stir and add the butter beans, whole cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, pine nuts and some seasoning.
  4. Return the vegetables to the oven for about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with the salad leaves on top.

Easy to make nourishing slice that’s perfect for lunch, picnics or with salad.  Serve hot or cold.  Make in bulk for freezing and reheating for any meal! Experiment with the flavours and add your own additional ingredients.


1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried rosemary
450g courgette, grated (approximately 2 cups)
250g sweet potato, peeled and grated (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup (150g) almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt and cracked black pepper
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 packet of feta, crumbled
Cherry tomatoes to top

Extra Optional Ingredients
1½ cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup baby spinach
1 teaspoon chilli flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. Grease and line baking dish (20cm x 30cm).
  3. If you have a food processor you can whip up this recipe super quick by using your grater blade and grate sweet potato, courgette, onion and garlic.
  4. Mix courgette, sweet potato, almond meal, rosemary, feta cheese, baking powder and salt and pepper ingredients together in a large bowl.
  5. Make well in the mixture, add eggs and mix well.
  6. Spread evenly in baking tin, or whatever dish you have.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes.
  7. Bake 40-50 minutes. This will depend on your dish you used, the slice is cooked once you insert a skewer and it comes out clean.

Recipe credit: Food Matters TV

This recipe is not only delicious and decadent but it’s also good for you and super simple! It only takes five minutes to prepare and you only need five ingredients!

(use organic ingredients where possible)
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup almond butter (you can also use unsalted crunchy peanut butter)
2 cups raw cacao
1 cup dates (pitted)
3 tablespoons of honey
1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt

1. Soak your dates in hot water for about 20 minutes to make them soft and sticky.

2. Carefully melt your coconut oil on very low heat.

3. Place all your ingredients, except the almond butter, in your high speed blender and blend until soft and well combined.

4. Add the almond butter at the end to keep the crunch.

5. Spread evenly in a tin or container.

6. Place in the fridge for about one hour.


A simple fun recipe for Sweet & Salty Popcorn snack.  As you are making it yourself you can choose the quality of the ingredients so that you know exactly what goes into the snack.  Choose real butter, organic coconut oil, raw honey (full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), organic popcorn kernels and sea salt.

Serves 2 – 4 people


1/2 cup popcorn kernels
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey (preferably raw)
1 tbsp (or more) butter, to taste
1/8 – 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste


To make popcorn, you’ll need a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Heat the pan with a little coconut oil, then add some corn kernels, cover and heat. The kernels will swell and start to ‘pop’, bursting out of their skins. Once the popping sound dies out, remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the lid.

Use a heavy-based pan to make popcorn so that the kernels in contact with the surface of the pan don’t burn during cooking. Fill the pan only one-quarter full of corn kernels and never more than one-third full, as the kernels expand in volume considerably when they burst and need room to fully ‘pop’.

Meanwhile, melt the honey and butter (or coconut oil) together on the stove in a small pan over low- to- medium-low heat.

When the popcorn is done, pour the butter/oil and honey mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat.
Sprinkle the popcorn with sea salt and toss to coat it evenly.

This treat is sticky and delicious. Popcorn takes best when freshly made so eat as soon as possible!

I baked some yummy energy bars for the refreshments after last Saturday’s Yoga Nidra workshop.  Yes I surprised myself (!) and my students with my baking skills and they proved very popular.  These bars are packed with goodness.  Chia seeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre.  Health benefits of adding chia seeds to your diet include boosting energy, stablising blood sugar levels, adding digestion and lowering cholesterol.

As promised here is the recipe:

Makes 9 bars

Oil, to grease
5 heaped tbsp condensed milk
1 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter
15g milled chia seeds
110g porridge oats
15g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
30g soft, pitted dates, chopped
30g soft apricots, chopped
30g raisins

Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1.  Grease an 18 x 20cm baking tray.

Gently warm the condensed milk in a saucepan.  Stir in the peanut butter, then all the other ingredients and spoon into the baking tray.  Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, until golden, and leave to cool in the tray.

Now the challenge is what to bake for the next workshop!