food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

a vegan tweak on the classic Chicken Marbella, blending prunes, capers, olives and other sweet and savoury elements to make a delicious, more-ish sauce. Serve with creamy polenta or mashed potatoes. So easy too.I first became acquainted with this style of dish – a healthier sweet and sour, for want of a better description  – after Andrew came back from a working weekend clutching a hand-written recipe, and near-demanding that we make it.

To him it was called Cressida’s Chicken, named after the sister of the hostess for whom this was a speciality. In this instance, a starchly-uniformed live-in cook prepared it – how the other half live! – and everyone present clamoured for the recipe. This was many years ago, but the recipe has finagled its way into my repertoire, and over the years has been adapted to our more veggie-minded ways. Continue Reading

Only a few days to go until Thanksgiving, and I’m positive that you have everything organised. But, if there  is a teensy gap in your menu, please scroll on down for some links to Thanksgiving Day-friendly Food To Glow recipes from the past five years. Never mind the photography. ;-)

Cauliflower Cheese is such a family favourite but it really isn’t the first thing you might think of for a festive table. However, make it into a cake and it turns into the perfect vegetarian main course for Thanksgiving or Christmas. This gooey, herb-flecked cake also makes great leftovers.

This crumbly, gooey and slightly sweet tart tatin would make a glorious holiday vegetarian or vegan main course or, sliced more thinly, an appetizer or starter.

This vegan dressing is laced with winter herbs and tangy sour cherries to make a flavour-packed and slightly unusual side dish for the holiday table.

This rosti cake recipe is ripe for ad libbing – change out the herbs; add in chopped olives or sautéed chestnuts; directly sub rice for quinoa or barley; leave out the cheese and add nuts instead, or as well as. You can even use other root vegetables: just keep the same weight and you’ll be good to go. Reheats well too.

These easily assembled stacks can be a main or a side, vegan or meaty, made ahead or on the day. Change out the herbs if you like and feel free to use any sturdy bread – stale is perfect. Or a combination of bread and crackers, or crumbled cornbread.

Nearly every Southern cook in America has a tried and trusted cornbread ‘dressing’ recipe. This one is a variation on one I make year after year. Usually eggs are added for more of a bread pudding effect, but this year it has gone vegan. If you want to add egg, stir in three after mixing in the stock.

This is seriously yummy. These tangy-sweet-umami sprouts are one of those more than the sum of its parts kind of foods. If you like sprouts even a tiny bit you will be picking them off the tray like we do.

Sweet potato casserole {or soufflé, if you want to be fancy} is great with spicy-hot things, with other hot vegetable dishes, veggie sausages, as well as cold or hot meats – if you are that way inclined. I’ve seen it at barbeques in hottest, stickiest August, the pan scraped clean. Heck, if you top with marshmallows, it could be a fibre-packed dessert. Leftovers can be blended with some flour and made into sweet potato pancakes or muffins. An essential at the Southern Thanksgiving table.

Holiday side dish magic - creamed kale. Eat this at anytime but especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas


Holiday side dish magic – creamed kale. Eat this at anytime but especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

An easy and oh-so delicious side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any winter meal. Vegan and very family-friendly.

This pie is dedicated to those of you who – like me – don’t really like pumpkin pie.

I’ll be back with a globally-inspired but seasonal recipe on Thursday. No sprouts. ;-)

An easy and oh-so delicious side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any winter meal. Vegan and very family-friendly.The American day of Thanksgiving is almost here and, if you are from the States and in charge of this day’s dish-heavy meal, no doubt you have your menu planned, with perhaps some dishes stashed in the freezer to make life easier on the day itself.

Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday in November, so is a normal working day for other countries. But there is no reason in the world not to take elements of this family-oriented holiday of giving thanks and bring them into your home. Why wait until Christmas, when the presents and hype take over? In fact, because Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, it is celebrated more widely than Christmas. And is just as delicious and plentiful.

Continue Reading

Creamed kale is the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the joys of kale. This article has both a creme fraiche version and a vegan miso and cashew cream (with easy instructions on how to make the latter) version to suit everyone. This is an obvious contender for the holiday table (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) but also to accompany any winter meal.Nutrient-rich kale goes a bit decadent in this quick and easy creamed kale dish. Even the vegan version has a rich edge that belies its superfood credentials. If you like creamed spinach (I do!), this is its less slippery and more textural cousin. I prefer it to spinach, possibly because a whole bag of kale doesn’t virtually disappear before your eyes as it wilts and softens.

This can be a last minute addition to the table, but you can fix it ahead and reheat gently when everyone is ready to sit down, making it perfect for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Personally I could eat this everyday, so holiday-schmoliday I say. Just pass me a spoon please. :-)

For anyone who struggles with kale as a concept, perhaps blitz a little of it to a smooth, pale, green cream and serve alongside all of the more acceptable members of the festive table – the creme fraiche, as well as the miso-cashew cream, balances out any strident mineral overtones of the kale. Enjoy xx

Creamed kale is the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the joys of kale. This article has both a creme fraiche version and a vegan miso and cashew cream (with easy instructions on how to make the latter) version to suit everyone. This is an obvious contender for the holiday table (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) but also to accompany any winter meal.

Creamed Kale Recipe

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is a simple, more than the sum of its parts side dish that you will want to eat all winter long. Even kale-deniers have been known to partake. The secret is the quick boiling and then a bath in sweet onion and nutmeg-scented crème fraiche. For vegans, a credible alternative is to make a quick cashew cream. I have given directions for both easy versions. You can make these two days in advance. 

350g (12 oz) kale, tough ribs removed then leaves torn and washed 
1/2 of a sweet (e.g. Vidalia) onion, peeled and finely chopped (as fine as you can get it) – I often use frozen diced onions although they aren’t sweet ones
1 tbsp butter or organic rapeseed oil (or combination of the two)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (more to taste)
100ml (3.5 oz) half-fat crème fraiche (light whipping cream if creme fraiche not available)
Salt and white pepper to taste (I tend to use about 1/2 tsp of yellow miso, plus the white pepper)
1. Put the chopped kale in a large pot of boiling water, return to the boil and cook for three minutes. Drain in a colander and blot well with a tea towel over the sink. Pop the kale onto a chopping board and finely chop (do not put in a food processor). Set aside.
2. Heat the butter or oil in a large pan, and when melted add the onion, a pinch of salt and the nutmeg. Saute gently, stirring occasionally. When the onion is translucent – about five minutes – stir in the par-cooked kale and crème fraiche and pepper. Toss well to coat, pop a lid on and cook for a further 10 minutes over a very low flame, stirring occasionally. The crème fraiche will have mostly absorbed into the kale. Serve warm. I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon at the end to brighten everything up. 
Soft food diet: After cooking blend in a blender or with a blenderstick/immersion blender.

Vegan Miso Creamed Kale

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
350 (12 oz)) kale – AS ABOVE
1/2 sweet onion – AS ABOVE
1 tbsp rapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 batch of cashew cream – see below
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
squeeze of lemon
2 tsp white or yellow miso (optional, but good for depth)
salt (if not using the miso) and white pepper to taste

1. Get on with the kale as stated in the first recipe, including the onions. While the onions are cooking, make the cashew cream.

2. When the onions are translucent add in the kale, cashew cream, lemon juice, miso and seasoning. Heat over a low flame for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning then serve hot.

cashew creamCashew Cream
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours if possible, then drained
1 cup of warm water
Pop the cashews and a little of the water into a small food processor bowl and blend until smooth, adding more water until you have the desired consistency.
This recipe goes with my Fennel and Maple Glazed Heritage Carrots (image below) – updated recipe v soon (tomorrow, hopefully), but here’s an older recipe. :-)creamed kale + fennel and maple carrotsSome of my favourite recent kale recipes from others:
Festive Chopped Salad – Hungry Healthy Happy
Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing – Veggie Desserts
Farro with Balsamic-Roasted Kale and Brussels – Whole Nourishment
Our 10 Best Kale Recipes – The Guardian
Some fall-winter kale favourites on Food To Glow:
Creamy Kale Soup (vegan)
Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Pan-fried Chickpeas, Kale and Capers (vegan)
One-Pan Squash and Kale Dressing (Stuffing) with Pecans and Sour Cherries (vegan)
Kale and Cranberry Juice
I have a ridiculous amount of kale recipes, so for some kalespiration just pop “kale” into the search bar to the right and see what comes up!

One-Pan Squash and Kale Dressing with Pecans and Sour Cherries - perfect make-ahead side dish Thanksgiving or Christmas

One-Pan Squash and Kale Dressing with Pecans and Sour Cherries – perfect make-ahead side dish Thanksgiving or Christmas


This easy nearly make-ahead salad of port-poached pear, blue cheese and braised Belgian endive is perfect for the holiday table or as a light lunch with added crusty baguette.“No way am I poaching pears” I hear you say, if only in your mind. But trust me on this. Truly this whole recipe is very simple. And you can even use that dusty bottle of tawny port sitting in the bottom of the sideboard – next to the binoculars and the emergency candles. Oh, is that just me?

This winter salad of taste and texture contrasts is as unsubtle as a workmen’s wolf whistle, what with the fortified booze, salty blue cheese, bitter leaves and the sweet pears. I like it with a generous grinding of black pepper, so it’s a bit spicy too. Eaten with crusty bread a larger portion of this could easily be a light lunch instead of the starter for your holiday table. But it is too nice not to give it a special place before the main event. Continue Reading

Flavoured with a balsamic and thyme syrup this carrot, taleggio cheese and hazelnut tart is special enough for the holiday table but easy enough for a midweek family dinner. Serve with creamed kale and pureed celeriac for a perfect autumn-winter meal. Normally when writing for food to glow I have the radio for company, the mix of music and chat a metronome for my typing. But I can’t do it today. I am a coward. I just can’t listen to any more news coming out of Paris, Syria and Kenya. My fingers feel heavy and my heart even more so. You feel that way too, I know.

It seems frivolous writing about food, especially going on about a holiday-focused recipe. But I suppose the trick is to keep going as normal, being alert but not alarmed. Those with hatred where hearts should be will not win. Continue Reading

Port poached pear, endive & blue cheese starter at the Waitrose #MakesChristmas launch

Port poached pear, endive & blue cheese starter at the Waitrose #MakesChristmas launch

Childhood nostalgia alert. Feel free to skip on down a few paragraphs to find out more about the Waitrose #MakesChristmas campaign.

My early childhood memories are fairly hazy. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention much as a child, letting milestones – that other’s seem to recall in vivid detail – slip by without registering. This fault in my brain makes me more sad as I grow older. I have fairly good “snapshot” memories, but not the reel-to-reel recall that I so envy in others. I can’t really remember my first day of school, although I am pretty sure it isn’t because I am repressing something awful, like being sick on the teacher’s shoes, or being picked last at games. I also can’t really remember any Christmas earlier than when I was five. That one was quite memorable. But perhaps not for the best reason. Continue Reading

Promote your hummus from sandwich and dip duty to main course! This sounds a crazy idea but I promise you it works. And it is so easy and quick too. It has become a staple for us, sometimes having it with quinoa or couscous but it is a filling and mega-healthy meal on its own. Naturally vegan and gluten-free too. If your kids like hummus then they will LOVE these hummus roasted veggies.Today I was supposed to be writing up two recipes for clients, cooking a mega-huge vegetable and chickpea tagine for two classes on Wednesday, meeting the in-laws for a late lunch, cleaning the house, and then packing my case for a morning train to London. Did I accomplish these things? Yes. Was I distracted. Of course.

I am very easily distracted. Anyone who knows me will vouch for this annoying trait. I try and cover it up by being fairly efficient, and perhaps even a little officious, but my “oh look! a squirrel!” moments burst through more often than not. It’s also why I don’t sleep well.

I have been told I think too much. About everything. Mostly good stuff though. Such as this great way to use hummus.  Continue Reading

A baked version of the modish halloumi fries, with coconut flour dusting and creole seasoning and easy Creole marinara sauce. A n appetizer, a cheeky, squeaky treat, and super stuffed into a vegetable filled wrap.This is a recipe I came up with after having seen a few cheese-based fries recipes floating about the Internet and in magazines. Most such recipes look really delicious – Stretch Armstrong-gooey or soft explosions in the mouth. Oh my! But sadly, the deal-breaker for me is that they are fried. Which I guess is to be expected when something is called fries. 

Such an indulgent recipe is of course  a little off-piste for food to glow, but humour me a little as I’m feeling all feisty and off-message today. I blame the blanket of fog that has descended across the UK and seems to have invaded my brain.

These aren’t full-on fat bombs, but they do have saturated dairy fat from the cheese, and they are high in sodium, so respect the very modest portion sizes and valiantly resist eating the whole batch. I don’t usually take my own advice very well, but I knew that if it wasn’t heeded: a) I would be monstrously full with no room for a proper meal, and b) my blood pressure would soar like a rocket. Obviously that’s just me, but do see this as a cheeky appetizer before a wholesome meal. They are very tempting though. You have been warned. Continue Reading

Shakshuka - spicy tomatoes and eggs - leaves its home in North Africa and heads to China. This is a perfect fast and healthy solo breakfast, brunch or supper, but is easily scaled up to share. If you care to. Make plenty of the spicy, tongue-tingling sauce and keep it in your freezer for those times when you need a quick wake up or a bit of a pep up after a long night. Sometimes a great meal is made by writing a careful list, driving to the store, loading up the cart with all manner of esoteric and single-use items, bringing in so.many.bags, tying on an apron, flicking on the radio and getting busy in the kitchen. Some hours later – and a teetering pile of dirty pots and pans to show for your effort – you, your friends and loved ones will then sit down to a fabulous meal amidst pressed linen napkins, fragrant flowers, and a crystal maze of wine glasses. The conversation will sparkle – in direct proportion to the amount of expensive wine drunk – and heels will be kicked off to do a little dancing as 8 pm turns to 1 am. Or so I imagine. 

It has been some time since I have had such a dinner, either in my home or someone else’s.

My “great” meals these days, as I get older and lacking the energy to do the culinary gymnastics usually required of chef-written recipes, can often be measured not in how much effort (and wallet-emptying) is made, but how little. Continue Reading


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