Next yoga and healthy eating class

MONDAY 9TH April 2018 FROM 10.30 – 12.45pm



next yoga nutrtion workshop
Why not come and join a small group of mixed ability yoga students practicing gentle, mindful Yoga in a beautiful calm space that has underfloor heating.
Debbie will guide you through gentle, relaxing but specific movements that will help with general flexibility, mobility, balance and strength.  In a small group like this she can spend time with each person to make sure they are in the correct position to maximise a pose.  The yoga session will close with a guided meditation where you can let go into your body and breath; leaving you feeling relaxed and at ease.




This will be followed by a healthy vegan buffet made by me.  We’ll spend time relaxing  around the table and as a trained nutrition coach and chef I will share some of my nutritional expertise, deliver tips for winter wellness and take any questions about healthy eating, whilst you all enjoy a healthy balanced vegan buffet lunch.  Debbie will also be on hand to answer any specific questions about her yoga practice.
Here’s a taste of the food that will tantalise your tastebuds:
Wholesome soup, colourful quinoa salad, herby flatbreads, decadent chocolate pots, banana bread and fresh fruit.  All served with refreshments
vegan buffet at the yoga workshop


This is a great time to get to know your fellow students and to ask us questions about yoga, healthy eating, lifestyle changes etc.



yoga relax

The whole event will leave you feeling nourished and balanced.
All this for £30
Contact either Susan on 07946 301338 or Debbie on 07941 526136

We are limited to 8 people so book early to guarantee your place

If we get booked up don’t worry we have more in the pipeline for the rest of the year

Next vegan cookery class falafel

Next vegan cookery class – 12th March 2018

12.00 – 1.15pm

In West Bridgford

I have a couple of places left on my next vegan cooking class, which is taking place on Monday 12th March at 12pm in West Bridgford

I’m now on Trip advisor, so if you’ve been to my classes and enjoyed them could I please ask you to write a short review


vegan cooking

The cost is £25 and includes all the ingredients, recipe and nutritional guidance, advice and tips about the ingredients you will be cooking with.

The recipe is very versatile and can also be used to make burgers.  The tahini dressing is a great accompaniment for a salad, Moroccan tagine or drizzled over a filled jacket potato

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Contact me if you’d like to book a space, but please be quick as places are limited.

vegan cookery classes

If you can’t make this date I always have classes running on the following days and times Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 11 – 12.15pm, Tuesday from 12.15 – 1.30pm and Wednesday evening from 5.30 – 6.45pm


Its fine if you want to come to just this class or you could attend a series, in which case you can have 6 for the price of 5 i.e. £125, and they can be used within a year.

vegan cookery class

Out of the 6 sessions only one is sweet based, the other 5 are savoury.  Previous guests have made sweet potato falafels, Mexican tacos, cauliflower and chickpea curry, chocolate pots, beetroot pearl barley risotto, tofu rice paper rolls to name but a few delicious vegan dishes.

cookery review


Feel free to take a peak around my kitchen!


If you’d like to come along please contact me on

07946 301338 to book your place.



This Moroccan buckwheat salad is a very versatile dish, so if you haven’t got buckwheat, or indeed you don’t like it you can use protein rich quinoa, peal barley, Freekah, spelt or another grain of your choice


The same goes for the salad ingredients, you could use sweet potato instead of the butternut squash, add dates instead of apricots, substitute pine nuts for the almonds etc

200g butternut squash, cubed (you can keep the skin on)

1 tbls oil

1 tsp each of smoked paprika, cumin and chilli flakes

100g uncooked buckwheat, 25g uncooked quinoa

1 tsp oil

500ml stock –using hot water and 1tsp marigold bouillon powder

1 carrot, grated,

½ a tinned of drained chickpeas

3 dried apricots chopped, 2 spring onions, chopped

Large handful of fresh coriander and mint

20g of pomegranate seeds

Large handful each of spinach and rocket

20g of flaked and toasted almonds



1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbls lemon juice

½ tsp cumin powder

large pinch rock/sea/Himalayan salt

½ garlic clove, finely grated


  • Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  • Pour 1 tbls oil in a large bowl add cumin, chilli flakes and smoked paprika. Mix then tip in the cubed butternut squash. Mix well and pour in to a baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until soft and golden


  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan; add the buckwheat and toast for 1 – 2 minutes. Keep the grain moving so it coats in the oil. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for 8 minutes, stirring now and again. Then add the quinoa and cook for another 8 minutes. You may need to add more stock/water. The buckwheat should be slightly al dente. Set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl you used to coat the butternut squash add the spring onions, apricots, grated carrot and chickpeas. Mix well. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and add to the salad vegetables. If the almond flakes are not already toasted, dry fry in a small pan until lightly golden, set aside. Chop the herbs and keep separate

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  • Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a jar. Securing with a lid and shake to mix. Taste and season if necessary
  • Plate up the dish. On a large platter scatter the rocket and spinach leaves. Cover with the vegetables and butternut squash. Scatter over chopped herbs, pomegranates seeds and toasted almonds. Drizzle the dressing over the whole dish and serve

If you would like to come to a vegan cooking class then please contact me for more details

vegan cookery classes

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

The Botanist on Bridgford Road opened last autumn on the site of the former ‘Fire and Ice’.  Its theme is plant based cocktails using herbs and botanicals.

But on the occasion I visited with my friend we were only interested in its new vegan menu. So with much anticipation our server brought it to us, and then it was decision time

botanist vegan We opted to share the truffle mushroom starter, I ordered the beetroot and fig tart and my companion ordered the Malaysian curry for our main course. Dessert was yet to be decided!

I also love the fact that their website showcases its vegan menu


While we waited for the first course it gave us time to take in our surroundings; lots of exposed brick, a variety of tables for couples to large groups and good music that wasn’t too loud.  They also have live music on certain nights.

And then the starter arrived and it looked so appetising.


It had some lovely peppery rocket too and a generous portion of mushrooms.  The taste didn’t disappoint either it had a deep intense mushroom flavour, and it was certainly big enough for two (£5.25).  I would definitely order it again

Nottm Post


You can also view my review online at Nottingham Post





Our main courses were also a feast for the eyes.  The Malaysian vegetable curry (£9.95) had such a vibrant colour and chunky vegetables that were definitely al dente

veg out the botanist

I had a sneaky taste of my friends dish and it was very well flavoured with a nice amount of heat. The addition of peas to the rice provided a pop of colour and some much needed protein.  To make the meal more balanced the addition of cashew nuts, edamame beans or tofu would have added protein

veg out the botanist My beetroot tart (£8.95) was equally as attractive and just as tasty.


The accompanying generous salad was light and crunchy with crisp apples and walnuts. A flavour that goes really well with beetroot is horseradish, so maybe an adaptation for this dish would be to serve a horseradish dressing.

botanist vegan


botanist vegan


My empty board says it all!!

On that note what’s your thoughts about boards, especially as a vegan if the board had previously had a steak on it?!


We decided it would be rude not to have a pudding, we chose to share the banana, peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream (£5.50).  It made a pleasant change from the ubiquitous fresh fruit salad or sorbet

The taste was amazing but the portion for the price was a bit meagre.  A good addition would have been some roasted or griddled bananas

Overall we were really impressed with the separate vegan menu, the service was very efficient and friendly and the surroundings were very comfortable.

Definitely a place that vegans and non vegans can enjoy





Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

veg soupWhat better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.


Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie/vegan sausages or Quorn

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket potatoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.




IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds



Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes add the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water


After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly


In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water


IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix





Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds


Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Vegan sweet pancakes

Vegan sweet pancakes – Makes 8 small pancakes 118 calories each

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

IMG_2659As its Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) tomorrow I thought I would make a ‘free from’ recipe because a number of my clients have intolerances and they miss out on some great meals.  But not this time!

As well as being vegan the pancakes are also gluten free.

They make a great protein packed breakfast as well as a delicious dessert or afternoon snack, with low GI quinoa flour*.  The flaxseeds also add omega 3 fatty acids.  Any leftovers can be reheated for the following day or frozen for another time

When the pancakes cook they are much more delicate than other pancakes so be careful when you turn to flip them over!  Dont worry if they break up they can just be pressed together and they will firm up


  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (linseeds)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 250 ml unsweetened soya milk, coconut or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 125 g quinoa*/coconut/wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
  • 1 IMG_2642teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 50 g blueberries or 1 grated apple or pear, plus extra to serve
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • soya yoghurt, maple syrup or agave and sesame seeds, to serve


IMG_2643 IMG_2641Whisk together the ground flaxseed and 2½ tablespoons of cold water, then set aside to thicken.


Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a medium heat or microwave on high for one minute, then leave to cool slightly.

IMG_2647Combine the soya, coconut or almond milk and vinegar or lemon juice. Leave to for 5 minutes then add the melted coconut oil and whisk in the flaxseed mixture.


Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then make a well in the middle. Gradually pour in the wet mixture, stirring continuously until combined – don’t worry if there are still a few lumps. Fold in the fruit, then set aside, until needed but at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature.

IMG_2658 IMG_2652

Heat about ½ a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to low and place a ladleful of the batter in the pan (one ladleful is enough for one pancake).

Add more ladlefuls of the batter, ensuring they’re nicely spaced out – you’ll need to do this in batches.


Cook for around 3 minutes, or until golden underneath and little bubbles start to appear on the surface, Use a palette knife or spatula to carefully flip them over. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until golden. REMEMBER, these pancakes are much softer than others so flip carefully!


IMG_2656Place in the oven to keep warm while you make the remaining pancakes.

 Serve with a dollop of soya yoghurt, a IMG_2684drizzle of maple syrup or agave and extra fruit.  Oranges, banana, kiwi and tinned prunes all work well.



IMG_2644 IMG_2645
* Quinoa flour can be bought from most health food shops but it is easy to make your own for a fraction of the cost. Measure out 125g of uncooked quinoa place in a grinder (I used my ever versatile Nutribullet) and blend until it looks like a fine powder.  And hey presto you have quinoa flour!  You could also make wholemeal rice, millet, oat or barley flour the same way

If you would like to learn more about vegan cooking then why not come to one or more of my vegan cooking classes held in West Bridgford?

vegan cookery classes

Foods to boost your immune system

Foods to boost your immune system

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website



Working at Maggie’s cancer supper centre in Nottingham, I’m often asked about what foods can help build up our immune system.  This is especially important to cancer patients who may have undergone some quite radical surgery, chemo or radiotherapy.  All of which can have a debilitating effect on the body




winter landscape


A strong immune system is also important to many us, as the winter bugs and viruses try to strike us down.



To strengthen your immune system it is important to

  • Load up on the foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch such as vegetables, pulses, nuts and wholegrain
  • Whilst avoiding processed foods (often high in fat and salt) and
  • Reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol in your diet.
  • You can do even more by selecting foods that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients.

Top tips for a healthy immune system

  • chopped veggies

    A rainbow of colour

    Eat a ‘rainbow’ of colour to get more antioxidants in your diet.  By that I mean have plenty of variety,  all the following foods help to nourish the thymus gland, which is responsible for much of the immune-system function.  Eat at least two servings a day of these foods rich in vitamins B, C and E, plus beta-carotene (vitamin A) and zinc – red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, apples, tomatoes, kiwi, carrots, berries, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes.  You get the idea!

Ryvita hummus


  • Cook frequently with garlic because it’s a proven immune booster and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. The allicin helps to prevent and fight colds. So add it to hummus, pasta and curry dishes. Rub on to toasted sour dough for a low cal garlic bread




  •  spinachSpinach is rich in folic acid. It can be made into spinach pasta, added to soups, smoothies or pasta sauces.  It can brighten up a curry or bulk out a salad



  • Cinnamon is antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial; sprinkle it on your porridge or muesli. Add it to low sugar bakes and biscuits or smoothies
  • Mushrooms – contain vitamin D (and will absorb more if placed on a sunny shelf), which is good at combating viruses. Add to stir-fries, soups and pasta dishes



  • Stay hydrated  – try and drink at least 6 glasses of water, fruit teas, green and black teas etc a day



  • Tactivity exercise walkingake some regular exercise: If you want to boost your immune system, get active. Just increasing your heart rate for only 20 minutes three times a week is associated with an increased immune function, and a brisk walk five days a week can help reduce your risk of catching a cold.  Also being out and socialising can help boost your immune system


  • Have a giggle! –  Laughing decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cells that fights infection.

healthy eating

Cannellini bean soup

Cannellini bean soup – from the River café cookbook

This a protein and fibre rich soup, that has a thick and satisfying texture.  Feel free to add extra stock if you want it thinner.  I haven’t tried making this with tinned cannellini beans but if you do I suggest two tins (with their liquid) and use everything in the recipe below except the bicarb,  And obviously miss out the soaking and pre-cooking steps

Serves 4

250g dried cannellini beans

2 tbls bicarbonate of soda

1 large tomato

½ bulb garlic, unpeeled

a handful of fresh sage leaves

3 garlic cloves – peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped.  ¾ in the soup, ¼ for decoration

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

handful of toasted sliced almonds

river cafe

Begin by preparing the dried beans; Cover the beans with cold water and bicarb and soak overnight. Drain the beans place in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain again. Add more fresh cold water and cover 5cm or 2 inches above the beans. Add the tomato, garlic bulb and sage, bring to the boil then simmer with a lid until the beans are cooked. This can take between 40 and 90 minutes. Remove the scum that floats to the surface


Drain the cooked beans (keep the liquid), remove the garlic, tomato and sage leaves. In a pan cook the 3 raw garlic cloves until soft but not brown. Add ¾ of the parsley (including the chopped stalks), cook for a few seconds then add the beans and some of the cooking liquid. Cook for a few minutes before putting ¾ of the mixture into a food processor, nutribullet or use a hand blender or potato masher. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.

Add some veg stock if its too thick.   Return the chopped beans to the remaining ¼ mixture in the pan. Taste, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is a thick hearty soup, but If its still too thick add some extra stock. Pour in to four bowls scatter over the toasted sliced almonds, some chopped parsley and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil

bean soup

The soup is nice and thick and hearty

I made this soup as part of a 5 course dinner for 5 of my friends so I made it thinner and served smaller portions in teas cups.  It looked very tasty indeed

vegan soup

Is it healthy for children to be vegan?

Is it healthy for children to be vegan?

Veganuary has come to an end, but for many who took the pledge to be vegan for January they have decided to carry on and remain vegan.  And often that decision is applied to the whole family, including the children

Vegan children 

This week the BBC programme ‘Food – truth or scare’  looked at the stories behind the confusing headlines about veganism and children

vegan children



and focused on the ‘Driver’ family with two young children.



I want to separate fact from fiction and help you to make an informed choice about your families health


Some issues to consider

Variety – the TV family had a good diet but tended to rely on the same foods for their protein, fibre etc.

So aim for as much variety as possible, using a mix of ready prepared dishes like burgers and sausages and homemade meals like soup, lasagne and other pasta dishes.  And of course serve plenty of vitamin packed vegetables and salads

vegan protein

If you need some inspiration have a look at my recipe page


Children aged between 2 and 13 years need between 1000 and 2000 calories a day, depending on their age, gender and activity levels.  Therefore its important to get as much energy in every meal as possible.  Fat is the most calorific at 9 calories a gram with protein and carbs coming in joint second with 4 calories per gram

This is a concern for the ‘Driver’ family showcased on ‘Food – truth or scare’

Its therefore important to make sure children generally do not have reduced fat products i.e. yoghurt, milk, cheese etc.  There are vegan and plant based versions of all these products that often have the addition of extra vitamins and minerals


When making vegan mashed potato or mac and cheese for instance, add plenty of ‘marg’, milk, nutritional yeast and cheese.  Not only will this increase the calorie content, without increasing the portion size but it will add calcium, vitamin D and some B vitamins



These headlines make for scary reading, but malnourishment can occur with any diet.  It is therefore essential that your child eats ‘a rainbow of colour’.  By that I mean lots of different fruits and vegetables in order to obtain the maximum type of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Vitamin C


A hand blender can come in very handy.  It allows you to hide lots of vegetables in a pasta sauce for instance.

A blender can also be used to make delicious fruit rich smoothies


Make your children’s food exciting 

packed lunch

This is a photo from a vegan parent, who makes packed lunches for her vegan children.  It has fibre filling wholemeal bread filled with vegan cheese and pickle.  Crackers and hummus  – great source of protein and calcium.  And plenty of colourful fresh fruit



This is another lunchbox made by a vegan mum for her vegan 5 yr old’s lunch today; homemade pancakes with low sugar fruit spread, Violife original plus fruit and veggies

How tasty do they look!




When making smoothies add peanut butter or avocado to increase the fat and protein content



Planning ahead

Try and draw up a weekly meal plan, like this one from the Veganuary campaign.  This will help with shopping and cooking.  It will also make sure there is plenty of variety



Tinned beans (chickpeas, cannellini, butter beans etc) can be blended in to a pasta sauce to increase the protein and calorie content.  Hummus (chickpeas) is also great on sandwiches, jacket potatoes and crackers



In this short video I explain some of the nutrients that need to be included into your families daily diet

Foods rich in these nutrients include Brazil nuts (and nuts in general), seaweed, kale, avocado, flaxseeds (linseeds), sesame seeds, tofu, Marmite and certain fortified products like cereals, bread, plant based milks, pasta sauces and orange juice

Good News!

The good news is vegan diets are generally higher in fruits and vegetables and wholegrains. This has the potential to reduce the families risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer


Smoothies are another great way to get children to eat a range of foods.  They can also help you to make them.


This short video shows another vegan mother sharing her favourite smoothie recipe.  But the combinations are endless.


Nottm Post Winter


I am a vegan nutrition coach and chef, so If you need additional help and support to keep your vegan family healthy, then consider a nutrition session or vegan cooking class with me


07946 301338