food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

A Jamaican twist on a Southern US tradition. This jerk sauce is easy to make in a blender, just stir it into the simmering stew or to individual servings for a mixed palate crowd. The rice cooks right in the vegan, low-fat stew, making it thick and hearty, and all in one pot.I had hoped to come up with something profound to say on the subject du jour: New Year, New You. I might have gone on about fresh starts, turning over new leaves (leafs?), spring cleaning your diet/life/soul/refrigerator (maybe I should do the latter, if only as a good incentive to actually  do it). But, to be honest, I am assuming that most of you are sorted for that stuff.  And to be doubly honest, I hold no expertise in any of that.

There are plenty of blogs, books and newspaper articles that can fulfil this yearly yearning for renewal and reinvention. But I have not contributed to them. Everyone is different: has different life experiences, expectations, limitations and needs. Most of us know what we have to do already. Sometimes just a little nudge or reminder is all we require. Continue Reading

This creamy, warmly spiced porridge is a great way to get a daily does of anti-inflammatory, cur cumin, the main active compound in the gloriously golden turmeric. A perfect winter breakfast to help prevent colds and flu too. Many of us are still in holiday mood. I speak as someone eyeing up an unclaimed box of chocolates whilst also contemplating when it is seemly to ask my lovely in-laws if they would like a glass of Prosecco (it is not quite 4 pm; but it is Boxing Day.). ;-)

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A quick and easy (and delish!) way to get your family to try tofu. Bake the tofu in the oven while you heat the throw-together sauce and sauté some carrots. Boom, it's dinner time! Gluten-free and naturally vegan.If you were expecting a last-minute Christmas recipe I am very sorry to disappoint you. To be honest, I have just finished putting away so.many.groceries that even the thought of writing about food is making me a bit tired. I’m not feeling bah hum bug. Just a bit bah hum zzz.

I’m not quite sure why though. The Christmas meal is really just a tarted up roast dinner, isn’t it? So why are we so caught up in the scrum, diving for the last turkey crown, picking through piles of sprouts as if for a flawless diamond, spraffing a fortune on unnecessary this and thats no one has asked for, nor expect to get? Continue Reading

31 Vegetarian and Vegan Festive Recipes for Christmas, many naturally gluten-free and cook ahead.Tis the season to try new recipes!

I know we tend to make the same foods every year for Christmas. And there is nothing at all wrong with that. Christmas is the perfect time to honour the recipes of our forebears, maybe giving them a modern or healthier tweak. I cook for a small but discerning crowd, and some things are just expected: bread sauce, chestnut stuffing (the kind that is really a gravy – my mother-in-law is pro at it), roast potatoes, orange-spiked cranberry sauce, something Brussels sprouty.

But every year I try and feature a new recipe on my festive table. Often it is a twist on cornbread stuffing (honouring my southern USA roots) or some new way with roasted veggies. I’m still deciding what this year’s twist will be. Maybe you are too. Continue Reading

This is NOT a substitute for mashed potato. It is a fabulous, lux side dish to make, serve and eat on its own merit. Steam, blend, eat. A great everyday recipe to entice the veg-phobes in your life. A perfect Christmas or Thanksgiving accompaniment but quick enough for every day, too. :-)Mashed cauliflower has been around awhile, hasn’t it?

As the vanguard vegetable in the paleo and low-carb movement, cauliflower has transformed, Cinderella-like, from the last thing eaten on the plate (if at all) to being clamoured for – whole, roasted and burnished with spice. The centrepiece of the meal.

I started hearing about cauliflower as a carb sub back in 2011, but kind of ignored it. I just thought “why?” Why ditch mashed potatoes? Just give yourself less…I also thought, how can a whole roasted cauliflower – however herb-bedecked and dripping in tahini sauce – be a main meal, especially if you have growing children? I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. At least not for these uses. Continue Reading

This Pear, Almond and Mincemeat Polenta Cake is for those who, like me, don't really like the ubiquitous fruity and boozy mince pies. The cake is made in one bowl and eats beautifully over a week. Gluten-free, and also easily vegan by using chia eggs. Despite living in Britain for over 25 years I have not quite adopted the local Christmas custom of whipping up batches of mince pies. All of that rolling and stamping out dough makes me want to break out in a not very festive sweat. But plenty of people do, so these small fruity hand pies are at absolutely every gathering at this time of year.

Some pies are just-out-of-the-oven-warm, all crumbly and buttery. Quite a few are spectacularly boozy, the brandy elevating the humble store cupboard ingredients that we mightn’t normally give the time of day. Others are 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. And of course there are stacks of made up ones in the supermarket, with something for all tastes. Except perhaps mine. :-(

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A naturally gluten-free lasagne made with chickpea pancakes (farinata/socca) and filled with three vegetable-filled sauces. A labour of love and good taste. Freezes well, so make double and stash one in the freezer or give one away to someone who needs some healthy comfort food in their life. Homemade lasagne is one of the most glorious of comfort dishes to both prepare and eat. On a dreich and blustery day, pulling out the hand-crank pasta machine, turning its spindly handle and processing a lump of dough into silky sheets of pasta is a deeply satisfying and quite magical experience.

Not much can touch the original form and function of a basic lasagne, those layers of slippery pasta cradling rich tomato sauce and holding a cap of burnished béchamel. You just want to dive right in – never mind the manners. Continue Reading

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

CREAMED KALE (WITH FAB VEGAN VERSION TOO)

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.

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