“Are you one of the smug thousands who gave up alcohol last January then downed a glass of wine or beer as the clock struck midnight on January 31?”Read More
A favourite moment of the lead up to Christmas has been making festive fare with the kids. Teaching them how to be fluid, creative, intuitive and generally OK with all types of food. Here we chopped onions without the worry of runny eyes (goggles helped),
.....joyfully poured 250 g of sugar into a pot of gently cooking onions and tomatoes without the worry of high sugar content, shook in some chilli and watched the mixture bubble away happily.
500 g mixed onions, red and white
1 kg cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
250 g brown sugar
150 ml of white wine vinegar
15 cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
Boil for one hour with no lid, keep an eye on this, the consistency should be jam-like, when cool spoon into jars which have been sterilized, should keep for around 4 weeks
We waited for it all to cool then scooped into jars, licking fingers along the way.
We made cheesy biscuits which resembled shortbread (but without the sweetness) with heaps of butter and cheddar cheese. Traditional Christmas cooking.
Lots of laughter and lessons that life's not all about quinoa and sprouted seeds. It's about balance, calm, fun and sharing. Merry Christmas!
In true Nigella style, I decided to get a touch indulgent with this festive December recipe. A wonderful excuse to crack open a bottle of Prosecco as you cook and the end result will taste all the better with a slight level of merriment! The Prosecco in this dish is added to increase the flavour and produces a syrupy and fragrant sauce. To note, alcohol evaporates after 20-30 seconds of cooking so this dish is suitable for all ages.Read More
Weight loss can be a frustrating game. Headlines tell us that ‘Over 1/3 of Brits are Unhappy with their Weight’ and ‘90% of Teens are Unhappy with their Body Shape’. So what drives this obsession with weight loss and how to approach it are clearly hot topics.Read More
This beautiful lime green brassica, also known as Broccoflower, lies somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower in flavour: milder than broccoli, more exciting than cauliflower and a little nutty. The brassica family are a firm favourite at my cleanse events and a regular feature of many of my liver-friendly, health boosting recipes. This is one from a collection of recipes demonstrated during my ‘Nutrition Soirée’ Cooking Workshops. It is perfect as a main for those dabbling in a touch of vegetarian cooking or as a side dish, working well alongside a roast, fish or sausages.Read More
Amongst us we had a gentleman of 99 years who shared his secrets of old age – be calm and enjoy cooking. He also held his wife’s hand throughout indicating that great companionship had a part to play.Read More
Of late I’ve spent much time reading up on Longevity. Fascinated by this topic for over a decade, my bible is the well-thumbed book The Okinawa Way which details not only the diet of this island off mainland Japan, but it is a study of the life style, social connections and belief system of this long-lived population. What are their secrets to a long life?
Okinawa is sort of a Japanese Hawaii — a tranquil group of islands with temperate weather, palm trees, white beaches and famously fabulous levels of longevity. Okinawans over the age of 65 enjoy the world’s highest life expectancy: for men, 84 and for women even longer – 90. It is not all about length of life but living well into old age. The diseases that kill Americans and other Western populations are only seen in a slight proportion of cases, for example, the rate of breast and prostate cancer and the incidence of heart disease is only a fifth of what we see in the West. Dementia rates stand at around 50%.
During my Longevity workshops we consider the diet of Okinawans not only today, but more importantly I am interested in what they ate in their earlier years. All Okinawans age 100 or more who are alive today were born between 1903 and 1914. During the first third of their lives, roughly before 1940, the vast majority of the calories they consumed — almost 70 % — came from one food: the imo, or Okinawan sweet potato.Read More
Last month I spent a few weeks tasting the delights of Croatian cuisine. Being by the Adriatic Sea, this focussed mainly on sea-food; squid, clams, lobster and the ubiquitous octopus salad. But one of our favourite dishes was the Croatian take on stuffed peppers. Having looked into the traditional method of boiling these vegetables I’ve chosen to offer you a baked version due to ease of preparation but still with the authentic sauce poured around them during the cooking process for optimal flavour and consistency. Try these peppers with mashed potato for a genuine sense of Croatian cooking.Read More
Alcohol and young teens can be a tricky parent dilemma. In the interests of arming ourselves with some solid advice for those fast growing kids I’ve been doing a touch of research. Let’s be clear I am talking about early teens, post 16 is an entirely different ballgame.
So the big question is – if we, as adults, drink alcohol then why shouldn’t they?Read More
How can we live well into old age? This is a question posed in my current workshop ‘Longevity Nutrition’. We can’t put it all down to what we eat but careful nutrition certainly ups our chances of long term health. One of the foods of focus in my talk is the humble sweet potato with its high levels of fibre and immune enhancing nutrients, so I have chosen this recipe in order that we can have our cake and eat it.Read More
Berry Salad with Turmeric Dressing
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing
We discussed the wonderful spice turmeric during my Longevity workshop in Gozo last month. Turmeric has many well researched health benefits. Curcumin is the active ingredient; this is an antioxidant which demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties. I've used it myself for a hip bursitis issue with great results. The running injury occurred last year, and being restricted to limping I sought a natural approach knowing that pill popping is not a safe long term option for pain. With a well-rounded nutrition and supplement plan I no longer limp and avoided a steroid injection.
Interested in natural pain relief, take a read or get in touch for further information - "Although nonsteroidal medications can be effective, herbs and dietary supplements may offer a safer, and often an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief, especially for long-term use."
This beautifully vibrant green salad dressing is one way to include turmeric on a daily basis.
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice + zest of 1 Lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.
Turmeric Root, pictured above, featured in my Longevity Nutrition workshop at the Gozo retreat. We explored the research surrounding Okinawa and the other Blue Zone - areas of the world with the largest number of centenarians. Of course, it's not all about the number we live to but the propensity to live well into old age. We discussed not only nutrition but social connections, faith, respect, exercise and surrounding ourselves with people who have a healthy approach to life too. We found that this is what Amchara is all about - sharing a desire to feel good, eating optimally, exercising without over-exercising and working on the respect we have for ourselves and others.
It is very easy to think - why on earth would you fly across Europe to drink only juice, do yoga and avoid all the usual holiday naughties - booze, caffeine, sugar, lethargy ....do we really feel well rested after this. I'd say no. I have never felt so well rested. A retreat such as this may well extend your longevity - only, of course, if you take home some of the health strategies and place them with commitment into your routine.Read More
Love it all, lapping up the healthy living in every way possible. Started the day yesterday with a restorative yoga session then breakfasted on chia pudding.
Every day I've woken around 6 am but it's got earlier each day. I can't sleep. There's a morning call from the rising sun to get going as each day is precious.
My energy is still boundless. Today began with a coastal bike ride before collapsing in the 8 am morning gentle rays of the sun.
Amchara provide health talks each day. Yesterday I presented my Longevity workshop in which we explored The Okinawa phenomenon of having the highest number of centenarians. I'll be blogging on this later in the week as the group are keen to use the turmeric and sweet potato recipes discussed. I made fresh turmeric tea which was well received (nice change from juices).
This place is magical ... it's 3 pm I'm off for my juice. More later ...
Feel great, boundless energy after an hour in the hot tub before bed. Woke at 6 am. Started the day with a bike-ride along winding lanes followed by an hours yoga. Breakfast of eggs and a shot of spirulina blended with coconut water (great idea, it's the first time spirulina has ever tasted good).
Swimming, sunning and then lunch - a pineapple smoothie.
Just had my 3pm beetroot juice and a long chat with other cleansers. All is well. Looking forward to another yoga session later and a sunset walk.
It's day 4 - feeling incredible. Started the day with a 6.45 am walk - purely optional, I was up at 5 and ready to go so enjoyed a coastal walk. Back for a swim in the gorgeous pool at 8 and ready for my eggs and avocado plus a shot of aloe Vera and a mineral shot.
At 10 am I had an appointment to rate my heart variability - a stress response test. This is a great tool for identifying your stress intolerances, how you manage stress and using this as a focus to implement change. I'm not stressed here. Not sure I could be however others would find many stressors been when cleansing - when we give ourselves time to relax often we are flooded with worries which we had hidden away. Amchara is the perfect place to tackle this as the support system is so well thought out.
Nothing to complain about. The staff are always on hand and ensure that all is well with all their guests. There's lots to do but no obligation to do it. Space is respected.
Food is amazing - off for a sunset bike ride ...
Lots of pictures on Instagram -
It's day 3 in Gozo. I'm staying with Amchara on a retreat aiming to cleanse with no distraction for 7 days. Gozo is a rustic little island off Malta. There's not a great deal to lead us off the path of detoxification. Our room is surrounded by palms, rolling fields and pure tranquility.
Having run my own cleanse for 8 days before leaving, I'm suffering no ill effects. Alcohol and sugar were long gone, caffeine had been very late leaving my world but interestingly I've had not one headache or coffee craving since arrival; likely due to the tapering off but also there has been little room for considering its loss. Amchara retreat is full of 'giving'. Juices on arrival, calm and supportive advice, a timetable of events which offer a perfect balance of relaxation coupled with self-caring activities.
I started my day with a swim, had an breakfast of eggs with a mineral shot chaser, moved on to a spot of sun-bathing, followed by aqua aerobics and the lunch - a deliciously blended smoothie.
Yesterday we headed to a small island - Comino- sped off on a motor-boat to explore dark caves then landed on a beach for a few hours of sun-soaking.
All very idyllic. My expectations of hunger have not been met. Many cleansers are juice fasting - I'm on a semi-raw food/juice and eggs for breakfast plan as all clients are professionally screened to check they are up to juice fasting. Due to an under-lying health issue I'm on a food / juice plan which was gleefully accepted as I'd already seen Amchara's tasty food concoctions on Instagram.
On day 3 I can't recommend it enough and will be organising a trip over here later this year, so keep an eye on the newsletters and if you haven't signed up for this yet please do.
(If you can't wait that long please mention my name when booking!)
I'm off for a steam....
The words ‘cleanse’ and ‘detox’ are often used interchangeably. I prefer to use the word ‘cleanse’ for my courses as the term detox immediately rings alarm bells for many. Words like restriction, fast and hunger spring to mind and create a negative vibe.
There are many cynics when it comes to clean eating and detoxing. One blog I found describes cleansing with a very black and white mentality:
‘There's no specific definition of a detox or cleanse, but they often involve limiting your food intake to pressed juice, avoiding specific types of food, or drinking a concoction of juices that supposedly rids your body of toxins.’ And this goes on to provide a sceptical overview of how the body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself and how just drinking juice for a period can be dangerous.Read More
Spring is blooming into summer and I’m embracing this beautiful month by bringing lots of colour into the kitchen. May sees my first Cleanse event of the year so I’m sharing a Superfood Recipe with you; it is one which features in my Cleanse food plan. This dish can be eaten as a lunch (great with feta chunks on the top) or served as a side salad alongside lamb, fresh fish or BBQ chicken. I recently ate this salad nestled alongside a piece of battered fish from the chippy; as life is all about balance.
This superfood salad combines two key cleanse foods. Quinoa is a rich source of protein. If you are unfamiliar with this South American seed it can be used much like couscous. Watercress is rich in folate and vitamin C. In this recipe, these foods are given a flavour upgrade with fresh herbs, spices, and sweet red grapes. (serves 4)Read More
Lent is the season of reflection and preparation before the chocolatey celebrations of Easter. This time of year always inspires me to dip my toe into some form of foodie deprivation. I’m not going as extreme as fasting but thought a stint of veganism might give me that middle ground. How wrong could I be! Hardly feels like penance, I’m enjoying some creativity around dairy free. Here is my version of Jamie Oliver’s vegan take on an old time favourite.Read More
A google search with the words ‘plus sized model’ brings up oodles of proudly borne female flesh. But when googling ‘plus sized male model’ we get suit, modesty, no flesh. I cannot find an image of a true plus sized male getting it all out in a gesture of ‘I am who I am’ abandonment.Read More