Easy-peasy caponata

I’ve yet to visit to Sicily – but a friend in London with Italian heritage once served me caponata – an aubergine-based stew with a sweet-sour marinade – and I’ve loved it ever since. Just like tabbouleh, it sings summer to me with its fresh vegetables and deep tomato flavour, and I find we mostly eat it during those months.

Being the meddler that I am, I’ve experimented with taking away some ingredients and adding others. I often prefer to omit the olives and serve the caponata alongside some homemade olive bread instead – sometimes topped with some melted mozzarella. Continue reading

Book review: tibits at home (and a recipe)

tibits at home book review

‘tibits at home’ features 50 favourite recipes from the popular Swiss vegetarian restaurant brand

After my very enjoyable visit to tibits in London a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been leafing through the restaurant’s cookbook, tibits at home: stylish vegetarian cuisine, which I was kindly sent to review.

When this book was first launched in its native Switzerland, it became the best-selling cookbook of that year – which gives some indication of how much the concept is loved over there. The English version has been available since October 2012, and offers 50 vegetarian recipes that have all been tried, tested and given a hearty thumbs-up by loyal tibits’ fans. Continue reading

Spa time in Marrakech

Marrakech spa

Les Bains de Marrakech: A rose petal-filled bathing room

As a leisure and wellness journalist I often get the chance to visit some beautiful spas, both near and far. Overseas travel has been on hold for a while as I’ve been enjoying my first year of motherhood. As I gradually get back to more writing assignments, I’d like to share with you a few stories from past trips. It might be a memorable treatment at a boutique spa somewhere, or a trip to a medical wellness resort, or a little known yoga retreat. All good places to be. Continue reading

Green bean dip with sage + lime

Green bean dip with sage and lime

Light and zingy green bean dip – perfect with crudités

This is a wonderfully light and fluffy bean dip that you can whizz up in seconds in your blender. Unlike homemade hummus, which needs a bit of work to become like that wonderful texture of dip to be found in a good Middle Eastern restaurant, the flageolet beans used in this recipe create an effortlessly creamy concoction. Continue reading

Restaurant review: tibits, London


The terrace at tibits offers hassle-free dining in the heart of W1

Where?: tibits vegetarian restaurant, 12-14 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BA

At this time of year London’s Oxford St and Regent St are extra jam-packed with tourists, and shoppers laden with summer sale bags. So when I found myself there last week on a particularly hot and steamy afternoon, I was relieved to find that my intended destination – tibits vegetarian restaurant – was in a calm, plant-filled oasis just minutes from the madding crowds.

Known as the Regents St Food Quarter, Heddon St is a half-hidden restaurant enclave (the famous Momo restaurant has been there for years) with pedestrian access off the main shopping drag. It was buzzing with relaxed and happy al fresco diners on the day of my visit, and the tibits outdoor terrace was no exception. Nevertheless I chose an indoor seat, right by the huge open windows to catch a cooler breeze and watch the world go by. Continue reading

Minty pea falafels

These make great nutritious little snacks, kids love them (I find the addition of peas makes them more appealing) and they’re easy to make. They’re not crunchy and dry like conventional falafels, but rather soft, so a little care is needed when cooking to avoid them breaking up.

You can experiment with what spices to add and the quantities, giving them more or less heat. I just leave out the chilli when making for my son, Little A. Continue reading

Prawn and green mango curry


Looks as pretty as a picture doesn’t it? This is a lovely, light summery curry with just the right balance of sweetness from the coconut and tartness from the green mangoes. The succulent prawns are actually just the cherry on top – so to speak.

I doubt you’ll find these particular green mangoes at your local Sainsbury’s, but you should find them at any larger Asian store which stocks a fresh supply of vegetables, or alternatively you can buy them in a pack of frozen slices. They’re not sweet like their fruitier cousins (which can also have green skins), but a bit sour and they’re the mangoes you usually find in Indian pickles. Continue reading

Lightly-spiced rhubarb relish


Whenever I pick up a bundle of pretty pink rhubarb sticks from the market, I tend to go to my trusty, default rhubarb recipes of rhubarb and apple crumble or a sweetened compote to stir into creamy yoghurt. Call me a rebel, but with my latest bundle I thought it was time to leave such delicate English classics behind and – well – pimp up my rhubarb with some chilli and spice. Continue reading

Lush red beetroot pachadi


Aside from being a beautiful, vibrant shade of red, this beetroot dish from Kerala, south India, is so easy to make. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients – it’s full of flavour and so creamy and moreish that I could probably polish off the whole lot in one go.

A pachadi is a vegetable side dish cooked with coconut or yoghurt and topped with tempered spices (usually chilli, mustards seeds, curry leaves and ginger). However, there’s no reason why this can’t be a light, healthy veggie lunch in itself.

You can make all kinds of pachadi (carrot or pineapple, for example) but here the combination of the sweet beetroot with the yoghurt and spice just creates something quite special. Looks impressive as a side serving at a dinner party too. Continue reading

Six handy (and inexpensive) little baby things


ALL UNDER £10. Top row: Polliwalks, Total Baby app, Philips Avent food containers
Bottom row: Doidy Cups, Baby Bottom Butter, Sophie the Giraffe

Having your first baby is truly a venture into the unknown and before the little one arrives the list of things you think you need mounts by the day. What type of cot should we buy? What about the pram? There are hundreds out there, how will we know which one is right for us and how much should be spend? How about nappies – could we save a lot by buying in bulk, but how many will we need and in what size?

The list goes on and – let me tell you – it carries on getting longer the minute you bring your shiny new bundle home from hospital.

As my little one just had his first birthday, I was reflecting on some of the things my husband and I have bought over the past year that we’ve really valued and found extremely useful. Some of them I didn’t even want to buy in the beginning, but have since been so glad I did.

I’m currently compiling my list of Top 10 best baby buys (the bigger, pricier buys) that new mums might find useful (although ask any other mums with a one-year-old and they might give you a completely different list), and I’ll be posting it soon.

In the meantime, here’s a round-up of six, inexpensive little things I’ve found pretty useful in the last year. Continue reading