food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

kale soup // food to glowJust a quick – for me – post for you today. A simple, but deeply nourishing and seasonal soup to warm you up on this ‘bonnie, bricht bit awfie cauld’ day. Translation: ‘beautiful, bright but awfully cold’ day.

I am slipping into old Scots vernacular for a reason. Tomorrow, the 25th of January, is the birthday celebration of Scottish national bard (poet), Robert Burns; he who gave the world Auld Lang Syne – sung around the world as one year slips into the next – and many well-loved poems.

Many Scots around the globe will gather together tomorrow to feast, sing, dance and drink plenty of whisky in his honour.  If you ever get an opportunity to attend what is usually a quite raucous gathering to commemorate his life and works, take it. You will be in tears from both laughter and touching sentiment, and I promise you will never forget it. The moment anyone sings “My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose,” I melt. My father-in-law sang it at my wedding to Andrew, his deep baritone trembling with emotion. We married on New Year’s Eve.

I have made this simple soup to start off the evening. More common soups – or brose – would be traditional cock-a-leekie and cullen skink soups – both tremendously fabulous soups. But I am just throwing this in as a very simple and vegan alternative (the former is with chicken and the latter with smoked fish). Kale is something that was fed only to our cattle for many centuries, or was ‘poor food.’ Now we know better and grow this intensely nutritious vegetable for ourselves.

I have been asked to contribute this soup to as part of their Burn’s Night celebrations (the website has some interesting twists on traditional Scottish dishes). I have also been asked to take part in Swap Your Old January To An Aldi January (#AldiChallenge), flagging up the fact that you don’t have to spend a lot to eat well and deliciously. And with this easy, budget-friendly recipe, you certainly don’t have to spend a lot.

Slàinte.  :-)

kale soup // food to glow

Creamy Kale and Potato Soup with Salt n Sauce Kale Crisps

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 tbsp butter or rapeseed oil (Scottish preferred) – Aldi’s vegetable oil is 100% UK rapeseed

1 small onion or medium leek (white only), peeled and sliced

2 medium potatoes, cubed (about 3 cups)

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (plus extra for serving if liked)

2 bay leaves

800ml (28 fl oz) vegetable stock – Aldi has 18 cubes for 39 pence

120g (3 packed cups) kale, spring greens, cabbage greens, collard or turnip greens, washed and chopped

kale crisps-kale soup // food to glowThe Kale Crisps

These healthy crisps are a nod to my adopted hometown of Edinburgh, where chips are ordered with ‘salt n sauce’. The brown sauce – otherwise known as HP sauce even though it is mostly generic brands used – is diluted slightly with vinegar and shaken over hot, freshly fried chip shop chips/fries, often with fried fish. A delight. 

Cupped double handful of chopped curly kale + 1 tsp rapeseed oil + 1 heaped tsp brown sauce/HP sauce or A1 steak sauce

Special equipment: blender, immersion (hand) blender or food processor

1. Slowly sweat the chopped onion or leek with the oil for five minutes over a low-ish heat. Add in the bay leaves and nutmeg and sauté for a further minute then add the stock and potatoes. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes). Add the kale, turn off the heat, and let the greens wilt in the heat until softened – about five minutes. Fish out the bay leaves.

2. Transfer the soup to your blender or food processor and blitz until completely smooth. My Optimum 9400 blender renders these chunky ingredients into “green velvet” (quoting my daughter, who loved this soup) in seconds but most blender will cope with these ingredients very well.DSC_0385

3. Make the crisps while the soup is cooking by placing the kale in a large bowl, adding the oil and brown sauce, then massaging it gently. Pop it onto a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 140C/285F. Or until crispy and light. Serve some crisps crumbled onto the soup and some kept whole on the side.

Tip: when making bigger batches of soup I use a minimum of stock to cook the ingredients, blend the soup, then add the remaining stock. If I will be transporting it I add the stock once I reach my destination as this saves a bit of the worrying about it spilling in my car!

kale soup // food to glow

Disclosure: I was compensated for ingredient costs by Aldi. 

This is my latest Jumpstart 2105 recipe. Here are some more  blogs knocking up some lovely healthy grub and great healthy eating tips for this January event.

Tinned Tomatoes (Latest: Fridge Vegetable Soup)

Ren Behan (Latest: Beetroot & Kale Soup + Kale & Almond Crumble)

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary (Latest: Juices, Soups, Smoothies: Week 2)

Smarter Fitter (Latest: Pumpkin Soup with Homemade Curry Powder)

Utterly Scrummy Food For Families (Latest: Beetroot Smoothie)

Veggie Desserts (Latest: Beet, Cranberry & Ginger Smoothie)

Franglais Kitchen (Latest: Jumpstart 2015 With Healthy Eating Tips)

Maison Cupcake (Latest: Roast Tomato & Pepper Soup)

London Unattached (Latest: Low Calorie Creamy Leek Soup)

My Custard Pie (Latest: Overcome the Fear of Green Smoothies)

And I’m sending this simple and economical recipe over to a couple of round ups and challenges:

Credit Crunch Munchfuss free flavours & fab food 4 all

No Croutons Required - lisa’s kitchen & tinned tomatoes

pad thai crepe // food to glowYou are not going mad. Yes, you have seen this before. I posted this recipe in September of last year. But it is so delicious that I am reprising it for a competition sponsored by Destinology, a luxury travel firm here in the UK. The idea of the challenge is to create a twist on a national recipe – to reimagine it. And as I already do that on a fairly regular basis I thought this one would fit the bill nicely.

My recipe twist is a healthy deconstruction of the popular Thai street food dish, Pad Thai. In the West you will find it on any Thai restaurant menu, but I understand that it is really just a food cart meal in Thailand itself. Thai foodies are a bit bemused at Thai restaurants in Western countries being judged by their iterations of Pad Thai. I guess when pretty much everything one eats in Thailand is knock-out amazing the noodle dish Pad Thai must seem a bit pedestrian.

Not to me though.

An authentic Pad Thai is tangle of rice noodles, tofu, sprouts, shallots and aromatics. And quite a lot of oil and sodium. I LOVE Pad Thai but when making it for us at home I take out ingredients that contribute to it being less than healthy. So, out goes the heavy-handed fish sauce, the salted radishes and anchovies, and a lot of the cooking oil. In the West we typically include strips of cooked egg and sometimes a spicy peanut sauce (satay). Although these aren’t strictly authentic they are commonplace enough – because they are so delicious!

vegetables for healthy pad thai // food to glow

vegetables for healthy pad thai // food to glow

My healthier and more vegetable-filled version uses lower GL brown rice noodles (and a lot less of them too), radish sprouts (instead of salted and sugared preserved radish), a heavy hand with the shredded raw vegetables as kind of noodle-alikes, and I mix it in a sour and slightly sweetened tamarind sauce. Plus some chilli and peanuts, of course. All of this is laid over a flat omelette shot through with caramelised shallots. The emphasis here is on the vegetables rather than the noodles, and to be honest we don’t miss the noodles one bit. All of the taste that you want is here, and none of the trouser-stretching simple carbohydrates.

Enough chit chat. Here’s that recipe. Again.

pad thai crepe omelettes // food to glow

Pad Thai Open-Faced Omelette

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

If you don’t have the brown rice noodles, use buckwheat soba noodles, regular rice noodles, vermicelli or no noodles at all: the tangy, sauce-soaked vegetables may be all the topping you need. And vegans, I haven’t forgotten you: swap the omelet for a socca (chickpea pancake) or dosa. For both recipes keep the pancakes plain and unflavoured.

Handful of raw almonds OR finely chopped roasted almonds or peanuts

Pad Thai Sauce

1 tbsp tamarind paste*

1 tbsp tamari sauce, soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 tbsp lime juice

1 ½ tsp maple syrup or date syrup or jaggery

A few grinds of fresh black pepper

1 tbsp water


1 carrot

1 small courgette/zucchini/summer squash

3 inch piece of mooli/white radish

Handful of radishes (If you don’t want to use a mooli, just use more radish)

100g plain or smoked tofu (optional – I didn’t in these images), pressed of liquid

75g brown rice noodles OR white rice noodles, vermicelli or even spaghetti

1 tbsp (divided) coconut oil or rapeseed oil

4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (or 1/2 small onion)

4 eggs

pinch of salt and sugar

Handful of baby spinach or other small, soft leaves (I used chard)

4 spring onions/scallions, sliced on the diagonal

Good handful each of coriander and mint

1 red chilli (optional), sliced

Radish sprouts or bean sprouts

* increase the lime juice and maple syrup if you don’t have tamarind paste


1. If using whole almonds, roast in a 180C/350F oven for 8 minutes. Cool then tumble into small pieces in a food processor or similar (or chop very finely). Set aside.

2. Whisk together the Pad Thai sauce ingredients; set aside.DSC_0021

3. Take the carrot, courgette and mooli and either use a spiraliser to make noodles, use a julienne peeler, mandoline, or slice very thinly. Slice the radish into thin discs. Dice the tofu, if using. Set aside.

4. Cook the rice noodles in plenty of boiling water until just done. Mine were ready in eight minutes. Cool slightly in a sieve then pop the noodles back in the pan and douse with most of the Pad Thai sauce. If using just vegetables, toss the sauce through these.

eggs image by food to glow5. Now, for the omelet that thinks it is a crepe. Heat a small sauté pan, adding half of the oil. Chuck in half of the sliced shallots and sauté until golden, stirring frequently. Whisk the eggs, adding the seasoning; pour into the pan, swirling to cover. Let this cook on a low-medium heat until just cooked through – pop on a lid if you like to speed up the cooking. You may like to flash this under a hot grill if your eggs are a bit large or your pan is quite small (ie, the egg coverage is thick). Upend the crepe into a serving plate. Carry on and make the next crepe.

PicMonkey Collage

6. Once the crepes are done, grab half of the saucey noodles and lay them over the crepes, then lay over the vegetables, herbs, spring onion, chillies, chopped almonds and radish sprouts. Pour over any remaining sauce and serve immediately.pad thai crepes by food to glowpad thai crepes by food to glow

Party Time: You can make this as a party dish by preparing multiple crepes (make ahead if you like and gently reheat in a microwave or steamer until barely warm), overlapping them on a long platter and covering with an appropriately increased amount of toppings. These are good garnished with stir-fried firm tofu pieces. To make this more authentic, add some dried shrimps too.




Korean Sweet Potato Wedges // food to glowI don’t know if you anthropomorphise food, but I think of sweet potatoes as humble sorts of chaps. The chaps who turn up for work and don’t raise a fuss, just quietly get the job done. An essential job done.

In terms of American football (bear with me), I see these jolly orange tubers, with their rough skins, as fullbacks or tightends, the backbone of the offensive team – letting the more delicate quarterback (the star, generally) do his thing.

And the star of the team most definitely would be a delicate curly kale or a creamy-curded cauliflower. Both of these vegetables tend to dictate the tone of the team/recipe with their not too subtle tastes.

These two veggies have received much glory and attention over recent years, but if you look at as many recipes as I do you may see that sweet potatoes feature in a high proportion of them. The healthy ones, at least. But somehow they aren’t show-offs about it. They heroically hold up other flavours and textures with their sturdy structure and simple taste. Continue Reading

happy tummy tonic juice - food to glowI’m back. Finally on terra firma after being blown across the Atlantic on a the jet torrent (‘stream’ sounds too quaint). But I am not quite myself, having been awake all night variously thinking up plots for two novels (which will of course remain in my head.), noodling around on my Kindle (I know, I know), listening to the 70 mph winds batter our garden, and generally being the slave to jet lag that I have come to expect.

I am not a brilliant traveller.

Continue Reading

north african-spiced winter vegetable soup // food to glowThe nearly needle-less tree lies forlorn at the curb; shiny baubles are carefully wrapped and stored away; work clothes are strewn in a messy heap on the bedroom floor.

Gah! Nothing fits!

Pick up a magazine: “New Year! New You!”…”Get Your Best Body Yet!” …””Drop 2 Pounds A Week With Our Celebrity Diet and Exercise App!”

Turn the magazine face down and sob quietly into your coconut milk latte.

Repeat millions of times over, for it is January, the traditional month of dietary penance and angst. Continue Reading

Happy Tummy Tonic // food to glow

Happy Tummy Tonic – coming soon!

In frosty January it is so tempting to cuddle up on the sofa with a bowl of carbs (mashed potatoes/spaghetti/brownies/mac and cheese/yada yada…). But yummy as this proposition is, it pretty much goes against the grain (geddit) of our inner urge to do a little January spring clean. And I’m not talking dusting.

If you are anything like me, and some of my fellow food bloggers here in the UK, December was just one long buffet line of temptation. Mince pies, edible decorations, stollen, eggnog, chocolates. Delicious of course, but healthy-diet derailers one and all.

Despite best intentions most of us will be feeling a little tubbier, slower and, well, blah. Because even with restraint on the sweets and cookies most of us will have naturally been eating larger portions of our healthier choices. I know I did. I blame the lack of sunlight. I just can’t see how much is on my plate. ;-)

Cheekiness and lies aside (I have new glasses), something had to give. And it certainly wasn’t my waistband.

Jumpstart logoSo, after much chat amongst a few of us food bloggers on the best and least depriving way to slough off the December excess, we give you Jumpstart 2015. This is our plan(initiated by Jac) to get ourselves healthier, more energised and hopefully lose a bit of weight.

Do you want to join us?

Just to be clear Jumpstart is not a diet as such. No calorie-counting here. Food To Glow doesn’t do calorie-counting. But as you know, Food To Glow does do vegetables. Lots of them. In this flexible plan (of sorts) we will be emphasising vegetables in smoothies, juices and soups. Nothing you don’t already expect from me, but throughout January I will be linking to other like-minded bloggers with different ideas to tantalise, and hopefully to try for yourself.

Creamy Broccoli and Basil Soup; Kale, Sour Cherry and Cocoa Smoothie; Beetroot Zinger; Green Passion Smoothie; Green Tea Soothie; Cumin and Fennel Beetroot Soup.

Here’s what we are doing:

1. Having a freshly made juice or smoothie for breakfast and lunch. Protein will feature, too – nut butter; some chia seeds; an egg on the side. I will be using my Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender for the soups and smoothies and my Froothie Optimum 600 Whole Fruit Slow Juicer, but use what you have, of course.

2. Drinking more water. I will wake up and have hot water and lemon (I do anyway) and take it from there. I also like to drink matcha tea (cold, with lemon) and fresh ginger root in hot water.

3. No alcohol – for me at least. These are empty calories I don’t need.

4. More soup. Some chunky, some smooth, all with loads of veg and of course, me being me they will have spices! Warm spices rev up metabolism and temporarily raise our core temperature, thus helping to burn more calories. Extra spices for me then. :-)

5. Eat normally in the evening. One thing I always try to do is fill half of my plate with non-starchy vegetables and then have a quarter plate of protein and quarter of starchy carbs. I might reach for a smaller plate this month as well.

6. Lastly – and this is my own riff – I will have a small snack if I’m hungry. Although fibre-rich smoothies should be enough on most days, some days I am just hungrier than others, and I bet you are too. And since this isn’t about calorie counting or deprivation, I will brew up an instant miso soup or pop in a batch of kale crisps. More nutrition and increased satisfaction. Plain Greek yogurt, with a swirl of fresh, crushed berries, will also be on standby. Maybe a tablespoon of this too. And if I have to have something cold and sweet, I could do worse than this.

My fellow bloggers and I will start posting smoothies, juices and soups later this week, although I won’t be joining in properly until I return home from my holiday. Just being honest. :-) But please join me and my fellow Jumpstart 2015 bloggers for a month (+) of extra vegetables, lower sugar and more energy. But I won’t be all about the blender and juicer at Food To Glow. Expect a healthy pasta dish, a Korean sweet potato side dish, and something involving roasted citrus…

Bookmark or use Bloglovin to track what my friends are up to – their recipes, tips and progress:

Tinned TomatoesSlim Down with Jumpstart January

Smarter Fitter - An Easy 3-Day Juice Feast to Jumpstart 2015 (Monica is my go-to gal for gorgeous smoothie and juice recipes)

Utterly Scrummy Food For FamiliesJumpstart January for Smoothies and Soups

Fuss Free Flavours

Ren Behan

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Veggie Desserts

Franglais Kitchen

London Unattached (mainly soups)

Maison Cupcake

Keep up with all of the Jumpstart 2015 goings on by following our blogs, or on Twitter and Instagram with the #Jumpstart15 hashtag.

Readers of Food To Glow: Snap your own pix and use the hashtag #Jumpstart15 and either @foodtoglow (Twitter) or @food_to_glow (Instagram): I will retweet any I see! 

harissa-spiced squash and celeriac soup with freekeh // food to glow

harissa-spiced squash and celeriac soup with freekeh – coming soon



berry-burst chia puddingGreetings from Anna Maria Island, Florida, named by readers of Conde Nast Travel magazine as home to one of the best beaches in the world. The small evil bit in me had wished so much to be able to write something along the lines of “as I struggle to concentrate with the glare of the brilliant sun and crashing waves…” However, the low sky and steady drizzle of rain have kept us mostly in, and slightly restless. But it is warm rain, so we are grateful.

A trip to the local handmade donut shop – we queued for nearly an hour for our takeout order because they are so fantastic- has also made us grateful, as has seeing dolphins bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico from the comfort of our lounge. If the weather was more like it should be – low 80s and brilliant blue sky – we wouldn’t be eating donuts or standing on the balcony spotting dolphins. Our eyes would be closed, and our bodies would be prone under the shade of an umbrella, trashy gossip magazines strewn around us.

Before Christmas, several thousand miles away, I made a few batches of today’s Berry-Burst Chia Pudding. Andrew pretty much scoffed the lot before others had a chance to partake, but as he normally hates things like this {it’s the texture, you see} I feel pretty positive that most everyone will approve too. I’m also not keen on ‘puddingy’ textures but I make an exception for this chia pudding. Cardamom and citrus somehow get me past the usually deal-breaking texture.

Chia puddings are mainly a summer food { June was the apogee for Pinterest posts on chia pudding}, but it is amazing how with just the addition of cinnamon and – crucially – cardamom, plus adding seasonal clementine juice, makes it feel not at all unsuitable for January. Certainly chia seeds fit right in to the January vibe of  health and wholesomeness: cleansing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-packed, blood sugar balancing – all the right buzzwords for January wellness.chia seeds // food to glow

Puddings are one of the most popular ways of eating chia seeds but they are also great to add into yogurt, cereal, granola, sweet and savoury bakes. You can even make jam with them {they sub for added pectin}. And how could I forget the very useful ‘chia egg’ – that 3:1 water and seed combo that makes vegan baking a breeze.

But no baking here. Just shake and chill.


berry-burst chia pudding

Berry-Burst Clementine Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Use fresh berries if they are in season where you are. Because it is winter in the UK I used frozen brambles and raspberries that I picked in the summer, plus some bought frozen sour cherries. This is a deliciously healthy and filling breakfast or snack.

The Pudding

160ml {3/4 cup} any kind of milk {dairy, almond, coconut etc}

60ml {1/4 cup} freshly squeezed clementine or orange juice

245g {1 cup} plain live yogurt or kefir

6 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp {or less} maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla powder or extract

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cardamom {or a little more cinnamon}

Quick Berry Compote

170-200g {1 cup} frozen summer berries and sour cherries {or whatever frozen berries/stone fruit you have}

2 tsp ground chia seeds

60ml {¼ c} orange juice

a little maple syrup, as needed


Fresh berries {or defrosted frozen} and slices of clementine or orangeDSC_0387 2

1. First of all make the compote by cooking down the ingredients over a low-medium heat until thickened and the berries are mostly burst. Set aside to cool.

2. Blend together all of the pudding ingredients. I used my Froothie but you can just whisk it in a large jug or shake it in a sealable container. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour – longer if you can stand the waiting. It should be thick and spoonable.

3. Layer up the pudding and the cooled compote, topping with fresh berries and sliced clementine. Enjoy within two days for best eating experience.





persimmon and pomegranate salad // food to glowGreetings from Heathrow Airport! We are spending today {Boxing Day, the 26th} in transit: Edinburgh to London {7 hour layover!} to Washington DC, and then tomorrow on to my home state of Florida. I doubt very much we will be having anything desperately healthy, although Leon, The Perfectionist’s Cafe, {A Heston Blumenthal venture}, and The Gorgeous Kitchen look pretty promising. You can have a look at my Instagram feed for the unvarnished truth! Whatever the main course I am hoping to have room for one of Heston’s nitro ice creams – how food geeky does that sound?

But in any case I don’t think anything like this salad will feature.

Persimmons and pomegranates make a welcome – and crisp – change from the rich food most of us will have been indulging in over the past few weeks. And if you are American, probably since Thanksgiving! *pats expanded tummy*

Persimmons {Sharon fruit} have only just become a familiar sight in UK produce aisles, but their sweet honeyed crispness is a delicious addition to any winter salad. Packed with Vitamins A and C this tomato-looking fellow is at first a curious prospect to the uninitiated. Do you peel it? Do you just bite into it? Actually, depending on the variety you could do either. This berry disguised as a fruit comes in two main forms – Fuyu and Hachiya, the former being the more common and less fussy – just slice and eat. Enthusiasts in Japan would say that the paler, squatter Hachiya are the best, but that you need to catch them at the point of ripeness unless you like mouth-puckering acidity. In any case, the rotund, bright-orange Fuyu are what we get in the UK so that’s what I have used in this simple but not at all boring salad.DSC_0448

Coupled with uber-nutritious pomegranate – they are both replete with cancer and heart disease-fighting plant compounds – persimmons make for a bright and gorgeous pop of colour at this time of year. I am also using persimmons and pomegranates in smoothies, although mixed in with kale or other greens makes for a rather muddy-looking, “swampy” drink! More on that in #JumpstartJanuary!

persimmon and pomegranate salad // food to glow

persimmon and pomegranate salad with celeriac remoulade

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad

  • Servings: 2-3 a a side dish
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The key to simple salads such as this is best quality ingredients and a fab dressing. And this dressing is fab. I use it on quite a few salads, including grain-based ones. It calls for pomegranate molasses/syrup, but if you can’t get it just use some of the juice from the pomegranate fruit – it will be less intense but still utterly delicious.

2 handful of mixed salad leaves, including something ‘nippy’ like rocket/arugula {it is a good counterfoil to the sweet fruit and also aids digestion}

1 persimmon {Fuyu used here}

1 pomegranate {smooth skinned and not at all like wrinkled leather} – you will use half

1 ripe avocado

1 handful of walnuts or other nuts, lightly toasted for 8 minutes at 180C/350F, cooled

The Dressing

1 tbsp pomegranate syrup

3 tbsp best extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp of salt

1/8- 1/4 tsp cinnamon {try 1/8 first as some cinnamon is more flavourful than others}

twist of black pepper


1. Lay the salad leaves on a platter or in a bowl.

2. Slice off and discard the top of the persimmon; slice the persimmon into slim wedges. Add to salad along with the walnuts. Halve, stone and slice the avocado into the salad.

3. Deseed the pomegranate and add the seeds to the salad. Those of us who eat a lot of pomegranates will have our own methods to deseed them. I favour rolling the fruit on a countertop to loosen the seeds {it makes a horrible, bone-crunching noise!}, cutting it around its ‘equator’ then – over a wide bowl – bashing the fruit cut-side down in the palm of my hand. The seeds rain out of the fruit as you bash away. Quite therapeutic too! Other people cut from top to bottom and pull it apart, picking clumps of seeds {called arils} out by hand. Always throw away the white bits – hard and inedible.

4. For the dressing just add the ingredients to a jar, close the lid tightly and give a good shake. If it seems vey thick, slacken with a wee bit juice from a few of the pomegranate seeds, some water, or even a little lemon juice.

Serve with Christmas leftovers or with anything you fancy.

Here are a couple of other winter salads to consider trying:

Winter Slaw with Pears and Cranberries {no dairy!}

Celeriac Remoulade

Citrus and Winter Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Pistachio Dukkah

Lemony Kale, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Homemade {and easy} Vegan Parmesan

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Pomegranate, Pistachio and Sour Cherry Bulgur Wheat Salad

Warm Beetroot, Lentil and Pepper Salad with Halloumi Cheese {one of my first posts!}

moroccan carrot salad // food to glow

moroccan carrot salad

winter slaw with pears and cranberries // food to glow

winter slaw with pears and cranberries





pear, mincemeat and cranberry galette // food to glowLiving in Britain you very quickly get used to Christmas = mince pies. No gathering at this time of year seems complete without a just-out-of-the-oven tray of warm and crumbly mince pies. Some are spectacularly boozey, others more wholesome with chunks of fresh fruit in with the dried. You can also make them a bit ‘skinnier’ (it is all relative) by using phyllo pastry instead of the usual shortcrust.

Very much a British thing, mincemeat – the filling of mince pies – is not actual minced meat but instead a heady compote of dried fruits, some kind of fat (often suet), nuts, sugar, sometimes booze, and plenty of warm spice.  It used to be made with meat, but thankfully this is no longer the case or I doubt very much whether it would be as popular a pie filling as it is.

It is not desperately healthy, especially as it is traditionally encased in crumbly buttery pastry, but homemade versions ensure that even if this is not a waist-friendly sweet treat it will at least be made with good ingredients.

To be honest I’m not overly fond of bought mince pies, the filling tending towards the overly sweet and the pastry often a bit flabby, but I am also too lazy to make my own. All of that rolling and stamping out makes me want to break out in a not very festive sweat. So instead of turning out diddy wee pies that a 7-year old would be ashamed to serve, this year I have opted for the lazy baker’s friend, the galette: French, free-form and fruity.

There is just enough fruit in this pear, mincemeat and cranberry galette to make it onto food to glow. But only just. Slice yourself a small piece and serve it with a creamy spoonful of coconut yogurt or crème fraiche. Sure it is a bit decadent, so do share. A slice of Britain, via France, by an ex-pat American. A happy fusion, I think.

pear, mincemeat and cranberry galette // food to glow

Pear, Mincemeat and Cranberry Galette

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

– based on my Fig and Plum Galette

No mincemeat? Perhaps make it make it with cranberry sauce mixed with raisins and chopped nuts, and generous pinches of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove. Or go in another direction and just use the fruit (adding a bit more), a generous drizzle of the syrup from a jar of preserved ginger, and some extra crushed nuts to keep the pastry from getting a soggy bottom.


140g (1 cup) white spelt flour OR unbleached plain/AP flour

50g (1/2 cup) + 3 tbsp almonds– blitzed in a food processor to make a slightly coarse flour

¾ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp fine salt

100g (1 stick, minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter OR vegan margarine/coconut oil – very cold and diced

1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

4 tbsp ice-cold water


3 tbsp ground almonds

12 tbsp best quality mincemeat (bought or homemade) – more as needed to spread on pastry

2 smallish pears or eating apples, thinly spiced

50g (1/2 cup) cranberries

To finish

1 egg yolk OR non-dairy milk

2 tbsp raw demerera or other chunky sugar

1 tbsp warmed honey, ginger syrup or pale syrup – optional

1. You really need a food processor to get the best dough, but you can also use a pastry cutter or knife – but no fingers: too warm. Pop the flour, 50 grams ground almonds, ginger and cinnamon, the salt and chilled butter/coconut oil in the bowl of the processor. Process until you get floury ‘gravel’ then slowly pour in the water and vinegar (I put them together beforehand), pulsing or stop-starting your machine until the dough just starts to form a ball. This should take just a few seconds. Turn the dough out onto a flour or polenta dusted surface and pat gently into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. Overnight is fine.

2. Remove the chilled dough and roll it out on a sheet of baking parchment that you have lightly dusted with flour or polenta. Roll it out to between a quarter and an eighth of an inch (3 mm), but you don’t need to be precise. At all.pear, mincemeat and cranberry galette // food to glow

3. Leaving a 2 inch border or thereabouts, sprinkle on the remaining ground almonds and top with the mincemeat. Use a damp palette knife to spread the mincemeat. It doesn’t need to be neat as now you top the galette with the fruit.

4. With the side of your hands, gently fold the dough over the fruit. Don’t try and make it tidy as it will fold in soft pleats around the fruit. These pleats taste the best!

5. Brush the exposed dough with egg or milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Slide the galette and parchment onto a baking tray and bake at 180C/350F for about 30-35 minutes – depends on your oven. The crust will be very golden. You may want to brush on warmed honey, ginger syrup or maple syrup onto the exposed fruit as the galette comes out of the oven.

Serve with coconut yogurt, crème fraiche or ice cream. The galette keeps for another day in a cool room, but just eat it at room temperature for best results.

pear, mincemeat and cranberry galette // food to glowpear, mincemeat and cranberry galette // food to glowMore Gorgeous Christmas Baking:

Apricot, Mincemeat and Hazelnut Rugelach via Franglais Kitchen

Christmas Tart (with mincemeat) via Botanical Baker

Christmas Soda Bread via Fab Food 4 All

Wholemeal Cranberry and Courgette Loaf via My Custard Pie

Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake via food to glow

Hint of Mint Cocoa Brownies via food to glow

Sticky Gingerbread with Vanilla-Apple Compote via food to glow


celeriac remouladeGah, I am feeling my age. Not because of the ‘ooft’ noise I make when attempting to sit in a low chair – I’ve been doing that for quite a while. Not because of the way I automatically cup my left ear in loud restaurants. No, it is because until today I had not heard of ‘Tanning Thursday’. Did you know that was a thing?

I’m assuming it is a thing because many people go out on Friday night (doh). And some of these people (who I refer to as whipper snappers) spend Thursday evening flapping about naked while covered in brown goo. Either that’s a fun time for them or it is so that come Friday night they can – in best Daily Mail-speak – proudly display their cleavage or legs, pretending they live in Miami.

Please, please not both. Unless that too is now a thing. Continue Reading


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