Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Eating for Life’

We are back in France after a week in London to launch my new book Healthy Eating for Life.


Friends from N-S-E & W–some we hadn’t seen for years–came to Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill on a rainy night last Thursday and were bemused and happy to meet others they themselves hadn’t seen for ages.

The publishing team from Constable and Robinson were out in force; marshaled by my editor Judith Mitchell they sailed round with plates of nibbles–cooked by resident cook Clara Grace Paul from recipes in my book.

It became more than just a launch party–it was a reunion.

In fact it was a blast!

Even the bookshop seriously underestimating the number of books they’d need in place–(they sold out just over half way through)–didn’t dampen the spirits!

Magician Meredith, the mistress of ceremonies, had surpassed herself–the book was on its way!

Next day I decided to give us/me a treat.

I bought Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s newish cookbook.


These two cooks, born on opposite sides in the divided city (one Israeli, the other Palestinian), met in London and have created a revolution in dining and eating.

Their food manages to be sumptuous and simple at the same time–and eminently cookable at home.

On Saturday the treat was extended to lunch at their small restaurant in Islington.


They don’t take bookings so you wait in line;


Forty minutes in our case–but we didn’t mind.

We passed the time staring at the heaving counter of prepared salads, trying to make up our minds what to eat–a mouth watering, morale-boosting exercise!


“Please come forward–we can seat you now”


We’d made our choices–here are mine–and settled down to enjoy our treats.


top left to right: char-grilled broccoli with chili, butter bean hummus with caramalised red onions, green beans and mangetout with red salad leaves, grilled aubergine rounds topped with tahini!


one happy punter sits opposite another!

…and did we!

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Book-signing in London


Thursday, JANUARY 16th




Notting Hill

I’ll be at this lovely, friendly bookshop that has more cookbooks in it than one could eat hot dinners in a lifetime,

signing my newly published cookbook



They have a nice café at the back of the shop for tea and delicious cake too!

If you can’t be there but would like a signed copy, pre-order with the shop.

They will post it to you (plus p&p).

Books for Cooks

4 Blenheim Crescent
London W11 1NN
T 020 7221 1992
F 020 7221 1517

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Meredith has been doing the shopping the last few days as I  stay in the warm and “get better” from a viral cold.

I’m beginning to think this is a great idea.

She comes through the door saying: ‘Here’s your Ready, Steady, Cook!* challenge tonight!’

A large bag of Brussels sprouts was one of the items a couple of days ago.

I looked in Health Eating for Life–I’m cooking from my new book!–and spotted this recipe.

In the book the recipe calls for cabbage–but I thought brussels would be a workable substitute.

The original recipe in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian Cookery and was adapted by Rose Elliot. I have tweaked it a bit further….

It was more-ish and insulating on a “naughty December night” and would have been even better if we’d remembered the lemon!


for 4

250gms/8oz red lentils

2 1/4 pints/1300ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1/3 tsp turmeric

375gms/12oz tinned tomatoes–chopped into a mush

Rinse the lentils thoroughly.

Put them in a saucepan with the stock and the turmeric and bring up to the boil.

Cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, then set aside.

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tbsp curry powder


12oz brussels sprouts–outer leaves removed and halved

Juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper

parsley chopped to sprinkle over

Heat the oil in a new pan.

Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they start to pop–a couple of minutes.

Mix in the curry powder and let them cook for a few seconds.


Add the onion and the sprouts and mix everything together well.

Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the sprouts and onions to the lentils.

Bring the mixture up to the simmer.


Leave it simmering gently for 20 minutes.


Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Sprinkle over the parsley (which we also forgot!)

It’s best served hot.

* Ready, Steady, Cook is a half hour TV show that pits two chefs, each with a member of the audience as sous chefs, against each other and the clock to cook from scratch the random contents of a bag of shopping.

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As a follow up to publishing the launch date of my second cookbook,

Healthy Eating for Life

here’s the first recipe in that book–a warming dish for winter:

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

Worth considering for Christmas Eve or Boxing day evening [the 26th for American friends] !


It has been eaten in Italy since Roman times.

The poet, Horace, wrote about heading for home and a bowl of leeks, pasta and chickpeas.

There are many variations on the theme of chickpeas and pasta.

A constant flavour is rosemary.

Serves 4

450g cooked chickpeas–tinned or bottled

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

carrot–chopped fine

stick of celery–chopped fine

small onion— chopped fine

garlic cloves–pulped with a teaspoon of salt

1 tbsp tomato concentrate

pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

a sprig of rosemary 

a sprig of sage

750ml vegetable stock (I use organic vegetable stock cubes)

Parmesan rind (optional–this is just the leftover rind when you’ve grated all the useable cheese off. Save them for this soup!)

salt and black pepper

180gms small pasta (tubular is what I use, but any small pasta will do)

olive oil to swirl in each bowl

  • Purée two-thirds of the cooked chickpeas in a food mixer or blender (you can use a bit of the liquid from the tin, can or jar to loosen the mixture, if you wish)
  • In a large pan gently sauté the carrot, celery and onion until they soften–about 10 minutes.


  • Add the garlic, the cayenne (if using) and the sprigs of herb, mixing them in for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato concentrate and cook a further couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the chickpeas and the purée.
  • Add the stock and the parmesan rind (if using) and bring the soup gently up to the boil.
  • Add the raw pasta and stir well ensuring the purée doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Season and simmer until the pasta is done–adding more liquid if it gets too thick.


  • Serve hot–with the addition of some steamed broccoli, si vous voulez!

chickpea soup with broccoliIMG_3823

Along with its cousin, pasta e fagioli, these are my two favorite soups of the moment!

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POST No. 500!


                  a BOOK-SIGNING in London for my new cookbook:



Come say hello and get your book signed on:

Thursday 16th January 2014


4 Blenheim Crescent (just of Portobello Road) Notting Hill,

London W11 1NN


If you can’t attend and want a signed book, order via Books for Cooks and I’ll sign your copy  and they will post it on to you:

Tel 020-7221-1992
Fax 020-7221-1517

The bookstore has a café in the back serving  light lunch (arrive early to get a place!) or come for tea between  4.00 and 5.00pm on January 16th when I’ll be there signing books.



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