Monthly Archives: October 2014

Spooky Pumpkin Soup

Spooky Pumpkin Soup

Spooky Pumpkin Soup

Winter is fast approaching and it wont be long until we’re wrapping up warm with gloves, scarfs and woolly hats! For this reason I thought a soup was an appropriate recipe to post, and as Halloween is around the corner what better than pumpkin soup? Pumpkin has a mild flavour and the ginger and chilli bring this fruit to life. As with most soups it’s very nutritious. Shop bought soup doesn’t compare to homemade. Soups are a ‘one pot wonder’ so rarely require much time for clean up which is exactly what you want after a busy day with children or at work. As for the ‘spooky’ element . . . this soup has a good chilli kick. If I’m feeling run down, and at this time of year the children are picking up numerous bugs and passing them to me, a spicy meal helps fight off any infection and clear your sinuses.Feel free to adjust the chilli quantity to your liking. Happy Halloween!

Makes 4 portions
Prep – 25 minutes
Cooking – 45 minutes


• 800g cooking pumpkin
• 1 red pepper
• 2 small onions
• 20 g freshly grated ginger
• 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
• 1 tsp sweet paprika
• 2 small potatoes
• 1 carrot
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• 1tbsp coconut oil
• pepper to taste


Pre heat your fan oven to 180 Celsius. Cut into your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Weight out the required amount of pumpkin and peel off the skin.

Dice the pumpkin into chunky cubes and gather them all into your baking dish. Wash and deseed the red pepper, cut into eights and add to the pumpkin. Put half a tbsp of oil in with the pumpkin & peppers and pop into the oven. After about 5 minutes, when the oil has melted, take the tray out and give it a good toss around to ensure everything gets coated in oil. Then sprinkle the sweet paprika over the pumpkin and pepper and put back in the oven for about 25- 30 minutes.

Next peel and dice the onions, peel and cube each potato into 12- 16 pieces. Peel and slice your carrot. Grate your ginger.

Once the roasted vegetables are ready continue with the remaining steps below.

Place the remaining coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion to the pot stirring frequently until soft- usually about 8 minutes.

Add the grated ginger and stir constantly. Next add the potatoes carrots and stock. Add the pumpkin, pepper and chilli to the pot and bring to the boil. Then reduce to simmer with lid on for 10 minutes followed by lid off for 10 minutes. Your vegetables should be cooked. Allow to cool slightly before using a hand blender to blend into a velvety smooth soup. Top with pumpkin seeds and enjoy your Halloween supper!

Here’s the juicy bit . . .

I struggle to think of another vegetable as versatile, filling and satisfying as the spud. Roasted, mashed, chipped, boiled or baked, this humble vegetable got me through the first 14 weeks of my first pregnancy. When most other foods seemed to turn my tummy to jelly I welcomed the potato ( in any form) with open arms.
And it’s no surprise why when you look into the nutritional value of potatoes. High in folic acid, this vitamin is essential pre pregnancy and during the first trimester. An average portion of new potatoes with skins on give 9% RDA folic acid.

Potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C. As with most fruit and vegetables the majority of nutrients are found just under the skin so it’s best to eat them with skins on. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin which means it can’t be stored or produced in the body therefore we need a regular daily intake to keep levels optimum. Vitamin C has numerous functions. It helps with collagen synthesis. Collagen helps keep our skin taunt and youthful. It is believed to have a preventative role in relation to the common cold and it is a powerful antioxidant.

As tobacco smoke reduces vitamin C levels, smokers should ensure they replenish this vitamin throughout the day with fresh fruit and vegetables and their juices.


Red Pepper Hummus


This is a slight variation on the traditional hummus, I’m using butter beans instead of chick peas. The roasted vegetables add a fabulous flavour. Smother this on bread for a filling lunch or it is the perfect dip with raw vegetables. It’s a great nourishing quick lunch while you’re on the go. I often make a couple portions ahead of a busy week to have it waiting for me in the fridge.

Serves 2 portions
Prep 10 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes


• 1 red pepper
• 6 cherry tomatoes
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 tin butter beans
• Juice of half a lemon
• Himalayan pink salt or regular sea salt – to taste
• Pepper – to taste
• 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/4 – 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1 1/2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil


Pre heat your oven to 170C. Wash, de seed and slice the pepper into eights.
Place the sliced pepper and tomatoes on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes approx until the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile rinse the butter beans well under running water then add to a food processor. Once the roasted vegetables are ready place them along with all the remaining ingredients into the food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more lemon or oil as needed if consistency is too thick. Scoop into a large bowl and enjoy with crusty sourdough bread. Delicious.

Goodness gracious Granola!

Goodness Gracious Granola

Goodness Gracious Granola

At the weekend I like to indulge in this luxurious breakfast. Sometimes I find shop bought granola a little heavy to digest. The coconut oil and maple syrup in this recipe is the perfect balance for me, not too heavy or sweet and packed with flavour, very satisfying. My husband who loves his hearty breakfasts gave this the thumbs up! Feel free to use whatever nuts and seeds of your preference and don’t feel restricted by this recipe but I feel the combination of flavours on the recipe below works really well.

Prep time – 10 mins.
Cooking time – 25mins.
Serves – 2 portions.

Ingredients –

•100g oats
• 50g pecan nuts
• 50g hazelnuts
• 25g pumpkin seeds
• 50g cranberries
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1tbsp almond butter
• Pinch cinnamon

Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. Line a baking dish with baking paper.
Put your oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup and almond butter in a mixing bowl. Place the coconut oil in a small pan and melt over a gentle heat to melt. This should take around one minute and then add to the oat mixture.

Mix all the ingredients well to ensure the oat mixture is coated with the oil, syrup and butter. Once mixed, transfer to your prepared baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Stir the granola at 10 minutes and 20 minutes to ensure the nuts don’t burn. Add your cranberries at 20 minutes to prevent them burning and this ensures they retain their attractive ruby red, jewel like appearance.

Once cooked and your granola is crunchy, allow to cool. Then transfer to an air tight container and enjoy as a hearty breakfast or add to a yoghurt or smoothie for a tasty topping.

Here’s the juicy bit. . .

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamin E, iron, calcium and magnesium. The membrane of each cell in your body is made up of a phospholipid bilayer ( a fatty layer). This membrane controls the passage of nutrients into and out of the cell. Essential nutrients in, waste products out. By keeping your cell membranes plenished with EFAs you help each cell work to its optimum. A well functioning membrane prevents dehydration and removes wastes efficiency thereby keeping your skin plump, hydrated and clear.


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