RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH WARM SWEET POTATO WEDGES FOR HEAL'S (ChF, GF, NF, R, V+)

RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH SWEET POTATO WEDGES FOR HEAL'S (ChF, GF, NF, R, V+)

Like any big metropolitan city, London is littered with shops where you can buy 'stuff' and spend money like noone's business. And during the run up to Christmas, it's so easy to do just that. So that begs the questions: How do you make Christmas meaningful whilst still honouring the tradition of giving those you love thoughtful presents? For me, I try and focus on gifts that can stand the test of time, that are beautifully made and showcase heart, craftsmanship, attention to detail and care. In short, gifts that actually are worth spending money on. And I know no better place in London to find presents that match this description than Heal's. In fact lots of my food photography props are from there and most of the plates you see in today's blog post stem from there too. This includes the large handmade Mervyn Gers dinner plates in sapphire and teal, the timeless Falcon enamel plates in blue and the Serax plate in aqua.

Other items that would make stunning gifts this Christmas are:

- THIS milk jug (too much gorgeousness!)
- these little amber glasses (want!)
- and this classy teapot (so much STYLE!)

Considering how much I love Heal's, it's been a total honour to finish my collaboration with them by sharing today's delicious vegan winter recipe, which only looks as good as it does because of the brilliant dinnerware they kindly provided me with. Thanks Heal's for supporting beautiful design and for continuously inspiring little food bloggers like myself ;).

P.S. I've also put a little Christmas gift guide together for The FeedFeed. You can find the link to my recommendations here.

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VEGAN YOGI BOWL + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (GF, NF, V+)

VEGAN YOGI BOWL + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (GF, NF, V+)

There are probably 1000s of cookbooks on the market and being a plant-based foodie and food blogger, I've come accross loads in my time. To be honest after a while, they all start to look the same and there are few books that truly stand out. But in the cluttered cookbook section of any good bookstore, Cassandra Bodzak's vegan cookbook 'Eat with Intention' WILL stand out; in fact for me it already does which is why I'm delighted to be hosting a giveaway of her book this week.

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WARM MARINATED PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

WARM MARINATED CURRY PUMPKIN, QUINOA AND POMEGRANATE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF) WITH LAUREN CARIS COOKS

If you are a regular, loyal reader of the blog, you've probably gathered that I'm a rather social human being who loves the company of talented, friendly food bloggers. That's cuz...

a) it means I don't have to talk to myself when I'm cooking
b) there's someone to laugh at my silly jokes and
c) collaborations are magical and so, so SO much fun.

Hence you can imagine how I shrieked with delight when Lauren from Lauren Caris Cooks got in touch to say that she'd be in London and would I like to meet up with her. ''YES! OF COURSE! WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING?! COME HANG OUT. LIKE, NOW! Thank you :)!'' was my answer. Following some e-mail exchanges we finally got to spend a lovely morning cooking, styling and eating together in late September and despite only knowing each other on-line, having Lauren in the kitchen felt so familiar and totally lovely. The images you see her are just an outtake of the day we spent together before Lauren returned to Switzerland where she lives with her husband :(. Lauren, thank you ever so much for popping by, please come visit me again soon ;).

Would you like to read Lauren's take on the day and see her fab pictures? Of course you do! I knew it! Then just click here and the internet will swiftly take you to your desired destination ;).
Thank you everyone for reading my silly ramblings and for supporting my blog :). I hope you like the recipe below and see you all next week.

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VEGAN SPRING SALAD WITH WARM POTATOES + #INFRANCEWECOOK FOOD BLOGGER WORKSHOP (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF, P)

VEGAN SPRING SALAD WITH WARM POTATOES + #INFRANCEWECOOK FOOD BLOGGER WORKSHOP (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF, P)

A few months ago I got a lovely invitation to spend a long weekend in a rustic farm house in the French countryside. The initial idea was to hang out and have some fun, but seeing that it was super talented Aimee T. from Twigg Studios asking, the lazy weekend concept was quickly ditched for a full blown food photography emersion workshop. See neither one of us could afford one of the luscious food photography retreats run by star bloggers, so we set out creating our very own little version of that on a shoestring :).

Furthermore we thought: What if we got a handful of other gifted women to join us who were all willing to share their specific knowledge and skill base, not for financial gain but instead for sheer pleasure! Wouldn't it be super empowering and a great opportunity to support one another at becoming the best that we can be creatively? So with that idea in mind we approached Aimee R. from Wallflower Kitchen a talented vegan baker and cookbook author, my sister Sumera an artist and singer who is developing her film making skills and Aoife, a wedding photographer with an eye for portrait photography and photo editing. Needless to say they all agreed to take part.

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Me, wearing my Grace Apron from Thread & Whisk and feeling like a princess        Linen napkins by Heal's 

ROASTED RED KURI SQUASH WITH SUMAC, POMEGRANATES AND GREENS (V+, GF, Gr, V, P, NF)

ROASTED RED KURI SQUASH WITH SUMAC, POMEGRANATES AND GREENS (V+, GF, Gr, V, P, NF)

#prayforhumanity

On September 11th, 2001 I was at my parents' house in Madrid, returning home for a brief stay whilst in my final year at university. We were in the living room watching some television when the news broke that something odd had happened in New York. We switched to a news channel and watched reporters frantically try and make sense of what was going on when suddeny, in front of my eyes, the second tower was hit by a plane. I remember feeling sick to my stomach and watching my dad move across the room in total disbelief. We'd never seen anything like it before.

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WARM JAPANESE BLACK NOODLE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

WARM JAPANESE BLACK NOODLE SALAD (V+, GF, ChF, NF)

If you've been following along on instagram, you know that I got REALLY lucky a few weeks ago cuz I got to share my kitchen with the sweet and super talented chef Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures. Not only has Ceri rubbed shoulders with Jamie Oliver (as you do!) and run a successful blog for more than 4 years, she also has a very non-dogmatic approach to healthy eating which resonated with me from the moment I stumbled across her blog.

Oddly enough, I first got to 'know' Ceri through instagram but only actually met her face-to-face in May of this year. How did it all come about? Well, Ceri mentioned in her ig feed that she was attending a food photography workshop just as I was at a point on my food blogging journey where I desperately needed some guidace and direction. Hence I gladly tagged along to the workshop and not only did I learn loads, I also got to meet Ceri in real life, which was a lovely added bonus.

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THE PERFECT LEAFY GREEN SALAD! AND THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 2 (V+, V, R, P, GF, GrF, NF)

THE PERFECT LEAFY GREEN SALAD AND THOUGHTS ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 2 (V+, V, R, P, GF, GrF, NF)

WARNING: This is another looooong blog entry, mainly about food photography and food styling. So if you're just here for the recipe – no offence taken – just scroll way down to the bottom of this post and you'll find what you're looking for :).

You still here? Great, cuz it's a blog post I've been feeling really excited about sharing with you. But first the backstory: I'm a complete total first born. I think as a first born you always feel responsible and you always want to make things better for everyone. So if someone comes to me and tells me their problem – I go into first born mode. I'm a sympathetic listener, sure, but mainly in the back of my head I'm thinking: OK, this person is upset/sad/frustrated, what can I do to make everything alright? How can I solve their problem and make them smile? Cuz that's what you do as a first born, you fall into that psydo parenting role, right? At least I do.

So what's that got to do with food photography? Well, loads actually. See this time around I was the one with the problem that needed fixing. I just got so bored of hearing myself moan about not knowing how to take good enough pictures (BTW I don't feel that way anymore, but at the time I did ;)). So, I thought about all the ways I could make things better and solve my problem. Ah! Attend a food photography and food styling workshop of course...

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MY NEW ROOTS' MUNG BEAN SALAD (V+, GF, GrF, NF)

MY NEW ROOTS' MUNG BEAN SALAD (V+, GF, GrF, NF) 

''And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'' - Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)

I have mainly viewed my little corner in cyber space as an opportunity to share my passion for good, healthy plant-based food. Sure, there has been a gentle undercurrent of wanting to empower myself and my readers to cook more and make informed food choices. And I've perhaps jutted down a note or two about eating local, organic plant food. But it's never been more political than that.

However a few weeks, as the run up to the UK elections was hotting up and pretty nasty and disturbing comments about immigrants and other disadvantaged groups in society were being batted about, I felt I needed to speak up and use this nook for more. I mean how could I 'just' talk about yummy food when there was all this 'stuff' going on around me?

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CURRIED POTATO, CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI SALAD (V+, V,GF, NF, GrF)

CURRIED POTATO, CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI SALAD (V+, V, NF, GrF, GF)

'You will run and try to hide
but I will never turn away 
I know you 
are tired and broken
I know you 
are fallen and feeling held down
so you raise another glass to fall apart
I know you
are tired and broken' 
 SUMERA

Isn't family a wonderfuly funny thing? I mean has it ever crossed your mind that we don't get to choose our mother or father or our sons or daughters? And we certainly don't get to choose our brothers or sisters. Yet that bond we establish with these special people is incredible. No matter what happens, no matters what c**p you go through together, at the very end of the day, they are there for you, just like you are there for them. Always. No questions asked.

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My sister Sumera and I are, well - how shall I put it? - total and complete, polar opposites. Sure, the 7 year age gap means we were never likely to be into the same stuff, but I dare say, it was always more than that. Whereas I was a planner, she was pretty impulsive. I loved social situations but she was more introverted. When we were growing up I easily adapted to the rules of academic settings. In contrast Sumera was super clever, but too free-spirited and creative to even have the desire to thrive in school. In short, I was the quintessential first-born, whereas Sumera lived up to the stereo-type of being the middle child. Needless to say, our different temperaments meant that we often clashed; though there was never a shadow of doubt in either one of our minds or hearts that we deeply, deeply cared for each other. 

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Photo by: Joost Vandebrug

DOROTHY'S NOURISHING QUINOA BOWL (V+, NF, GF, ChF)

DOROTHY'S NOURISHING QUINOA BOWL (V+, NF, GF,ChF)

“…and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I don’t know how you see me. I don’t know if you visualise me snacking on carrot sticks, or better yet, never snacking at all. If you imagine me meditating for hours on end, before gracefully drinking my green juice. Or if you think I float out of my daily (!) yoga class whilst reading a book about the power of Vitamin C. If so, please erase these images from your mind, as they are as true as Dorothy’s image of the Great Wizard of Oz. (Although, if truth be told, I am rather partial to a little green juice ;)).

UPDATED! PERSIAN HERB SALAD (V+, R, P, NF, GF, GrF)

UPDATED! PERSIAN HERB SALAD (V+, R, P, NF, GF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated in July 2015

This month, exactly 14 years ago I moved to the UK. YIKES, how time flies! Will I stay in London forever? Gosh, that’s a tough question. Actually, that’s a very tough question. Thing is, I’ve got a little bit of a love/hate relationship with this place. You see when the days are dark, gloomy and grey and it feels like I’m living on Noah’s Ark because the rain just keeps on falling, then I absolutely hate it! 

And then, slowly but surely the clouds clear away and Spring arrives in all her glory. With her appearance the short dark days make way for longer and lighter ones. And as if by magic, suddenly and gracefully London comes into her own. London’s countless open spaces turn a lush and beautiful green and it’s then you know that London’s reputation as the greenest city in European is well and truly deserved.

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HEALTHY COLESLAW (R, V+, V, P, GF, NF, GrF)

HEALTHY COLESLAW (R, V+, V, P, GF, NF, GrF)

Today I wanted to muse a tiny little bit about the raw food movement, especially because I often get asked if I am a raw foodist and what my stance is on the matter. I know many of you are well aware what ‘eating raw’ means, but I also appreciate that not everyone has heard of raw foodism, so I thought I’d very briefly outline what it is all about.

As I understand it, some people choose to eat uncooked and raw plant based foods because they believe that fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables’ nutritional content is at its highest when in its raw, natural, whole and unprocessed form. They believe that once foods are cooked over 42C, they lose most, if not all of their nutrients. Raw foodists often refer to raw foods as ‘living foods’ because it is their belief that uncooked fruits and vegetables contain natural, living enzymes, which the human body needs to build proteins and to maintain optimum health. Many raw foodists argue that humans have thrived on raw, unprocessed foods for centuries and that cooked foods build up toxins in the body, thereby depriving us of much needed nutrients. They also believe that raw foods help us fight off illness and maintain youth.

Interestingly, some raw foodists are vegans, others include raw dairy products in their diet and yet others also consume raw meat and fish.

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UPDATED! SUMMER COURGETTE SALAD (V+, GF, NF, GrF)

UPDATED! SUMMER COURGETTE SALAD (V+, GF, NF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated and the recipe improved in June 2015 :)

I am happily married and very much in love with my husband. He is wonderful and no other man can compare. BUT despite this I allow myself the occasional harmless crush. And one of these crushes just happens to be on the amazing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! His commitment to good, honest, wholesome food is infectious. His program on the exploitation of our oceans made me re-think my love of eating fish and his cookbook Veg Every Day is undoubtedly in my top 5 of best vegetarian cookbooks ever. It is on one of the recipes in that cookbook that this easy dish here is based.

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UPDATED! EXOTIC KALE SALAD (R, V+, GF, GrF)

UPDATED! EXOTIC KALE SALAD (V+) (R) (GF) (GrF)

Note: The pictures were updated June 2015. Why? You can find more details here :)

About a year ago I did a little experiment – on facebook I chronicled what I ate and fed my family during our transition to a mainly whole food plant-based diet. Kale was a food that featured very regularly and attracted a lot of attention! Many people had never heard of it before or were made to believe that it doesn’t taste good! So I made it my mission to try and present kale in as many ways as I could possibly think of, hoping to show off its versatility and adapting its use so that there was a recipe to convert even the most sceptical of critics. This salad here was one of my star attractions. I LOVE it. I LOVE it! I LOVE it! And hereby challenge anyone to make either version of it (Summer or Winter) and not feel the same way about it!

Adapted from a recipe by the brilliantly bold and creative mastermind that is Ottolenghi!

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Preparation Time: 25-30 minutes (the chopping takes a little while)
Serves: 6 - 8