Orange and sesame glazed tofu

For many people, tofu is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. Actually, I think a lot of people decide they hate it without ever even trying it. Maybe it’s the colour, or lack of it, or the perceived texture. Personally I really like it. It’s a good source of vegetarian-friendly protein, and you can jazz it up with all sorts of flavours, as it absorbs whatever you put it with.

It’s readily available in all the supermarkets, and as always, it’s better value if you buy it from one of the specialist Asian/Oriental stores.

This recipe is for a sweet citrus glaze, or if you decide not to reduce it so much, it could be more like a sauce. It’s light and refreshing and makes a very simple supper, served with crunchy green veg and some rice on the side. Continue reading

Sauté potato Caesar salad

Saute potato caesar salad

This low calorie Caesar dressing is a nice balance to the lightly fried potatoes in this easy side dish

Crispy sautéed potatoes, crunchy green beans and a lovely creamy dressing that tastes luxurious but isn’t loaded with calories. I think we have the makings of a wonderful summer side dish!

Caesar dressing is pretty versatile, especially when it’s a light version like this one. Of course, you can use it on a classic Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, and toss some chicken in there if you’re needing some protein. You can use it to liven up some steamed veggies (and in this case, some potatoes) and I often use it to dress a healthy, homemade coleslaw. Continue reading

Review: Voya’s seaweed bath

Voya's seaweed bath

Voya’s dried seaweed package expands to five times its volume when immersed in warm water

I first encountered seaweed while living in Japan, way back in the, ahem, 1990s – the nori in sushi rolls, the wakame in miso soup and the dark hijiki used in salads. Growing up in Wales, I guess I should have been used to eating traditional laverbread (a variety of seaweed, sometimes mixed with oatmeal) for breakfast, but that particular tradition seems to have passed by my particular hometown on the North Wales coast.

It’s fair to say, I’m pretty sold on the taste and nutritional benefits of seaweed.
But bathing in seaweed? Now that’s a new concept to me, and probably to most other people too. So it was with a little trepidation that I unwrapped the beautiful biodegradable box that contained Voya’s dried organic seaweed bath (you can read more about the great background to Voya here). Continue reading

Seaweed’s green goodness

The benefits of seaweed

The coast off County Sligo is rich in natural seaweed, that is carefully hand harvested and now used in a variety of beauty and health treatments

Seaweed. Not only is it one of the true superfoods, rich in sea minerals and delicious (in my opinion!) to eat, but it appears to be a pretty effective topical product too, suitable for treating all sorts of complaints, from eczema to rheumatic pains.

I recently interviewed Mark and Kira Walton, who run the renowned Voya seaweed baths in Strandhill on the rugged west coast of Ireland, and have an international seaweed beauty brand of the same name (Voya).

I’d love to visit one day, not least because the west coast of Ireland looks like one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth. I have to confess I’ve never ventured further than Dublin, my father’s birthplace, on my three visits to the Emerald Isle.

In the meantime, Voya have kindly sent me all the ingredients to recreate a wonderful seaweed spa treatment in my own home; a box of their hand-harvested, organic seaweed (it expands like magic when immersed in hot bath water), an organic beesewax candle with essential oils to ensure your bathroom smells like a super-posh spa, and a natural reed diffuser for the home. Continue reading

Choco-almond bon bons


These are sweet, satisfying, healthy little nutty balls that whizz up so easily in the food processor. Using dates, flax meal and ground almonds as a base, you can really experiment with the rest of the ingredients that you add. Sometimes I might throw some goji berries into the mix, some maca or lucuma powder (popular in raw food recipes), or a handful of crunchy pumpkin seeds or cacao nibs.

Really try to use medjool dates if you can – they’re the sweetest, most succulent dates you can buy, and to me they have a slight maple-syrup flavour. Continue reading

Paneer in a coriander, mint and chilli sauce

Paneer in a coriander, mint and chilli sauce

Paneer is a light Indian cheese that holds its shape when cooked and absorbs other flavours well

Paneer is an Indian cheese, and I sometimes see it referred to as Indian cottage cheese – but don’t expect the same consistency as the cottage cheese we know in the UK. It’s a firm, springy cheese that crumbles nicely. One of its great advantages is that it doesn’t melt when cooked but holds its shape perfectly, so it’s very suitable as a meat substitute when used in dishes with a sauce.

It isn’t salted either, so you can use a good quantity in a dish, in a way that you couldn’t with, say, haloumi or feta. Also, it absorbs its surrounding flavours beautifully, just like tofu, but is a much firmer, chewier texture. Continue reading

Warm cauliflower salad


This is one of those dishes (like my caponata recipe) that really just tastes better slightly warmed or at room temperature. Although I’m sure there’d be no complaints if you served it chilled either.

It was inspired by my visit to Foodilic in Brighton a few weeks ago (read the review here). Their cauliflower salad also contained cooked quinoa (you could always add a cup to the recipe below if you wanted to), plus some dried pomegranate seeds, which I don’t think I’d actually tried before. It was really good, and one of their stand-out salad dishes. My creation contains some slightly different ingredients, but I’d like to think it tastes just as good! Continue reading

Review: Foodilic, Brighton

Foodilic, Western Road in Brighton

The lovely Zaya from Mongolia (left) prepares fresh feuilletes, which are served alongside a large selection of healthy offerings made daily on-site

The place: Foodilic, 163 Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2BB. Tel: 01273 760 190.

The glowing symbol of a big, juicy tomato attached to a vine might give some clue to what awaits at the new branch of Foodilic in Brighton. Step inside, and you’ll enter a health-foodie heaven of multi-coloured salad mountains, freshly-squeezed juices, organic free-range chicken, interesting savoury pastries and an irresistible line up of cakes created daily on-site.

The original Foodilic opened in North St, Brighton in 2009, offering the same healthy and nutritious food, but with a self-serve buffet operation. Foodilic Western Road, which opened in May, is really the new face of the brand. The help-yourself buffet has gone, but the great value hasn’t. Continue reading

Rhubarb and cardamom whip (with Pimm’s)

Fruit dessert with Pimm's

A light, fruity dessert with Pimm’s. It must be Pimm’s o’ clock!

This dessert needs to be filed under D for Divine. You can make it as healthy or as rich as you like – depending upon your ratio of yoghurt to cream – and it works best with a sharp fruit like rhubarb, gooseberries or raspberries. It’s a bit of a cross between a traditional fruit fool and a trifle (I guess that would make it a trool or a frifle? Now I’m just being silly…).

The addition of Pimm’s No 1 really works, and it’s a surprising complement to the flavour of cardamom. It’s probably because the cardamom has a slightly lemony flavour and we all know how well this particular drink goes with a slice of lemon and other fruit. Continue reading

Wholegrain risotto (with fish tempura and yoghurt dip)


This is my all-time favourite risotto dish which takes less time to cook than a ‘real’ Italian risotto. Here I’ve matched it with some fish strips fried in a light tempura batter and some lemony yoghurt dressing. Grilled chicken would also be a great accompaniment.

Don’t even think about making this risotto with white rice – it has to be wholegrain all the way! I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and it’s just so much better and tastier with brown rice.

The recipe comes from a great vegetarian book from Sarah Brown called Vegetarian Kitchen, which accompanied the popular BBC TV series of the same name, first broadcast way back in 1984. It was really the first time that vegetarian food had been dished up to the masses on TV. Continue reading