Mixed Vegetable and Tofu Coconut Curry

Tofu Coconut Curry

It doesn’t make the prettiest of pictures but that’s curry for you. This is one of those anything-goes curries and is a great way to use some of those trickier items in the veggie box. On this particular occasion, the vegetable that mystified me most was runner beans. I know this is staple British fare but where I’m from in the US, I’d never seen them before. So when a big bunch of runner beans arrived in the Riverford box last week, I was mystified. When in doubt: make a curry. And in this case, the runner beans turned out to be the star of the show.

Riverford Box

To make this curry, I had on hand my friend Donovan, a real Master of Taste especially when it comes to Asian flavours. We were lucky to have some fresh turmeric around (gratefully received from my friend Jo at Demuths Cookery School) which we combined with cumin, coriander, chilli, lime and coconut to create a tangy, creamy spicy sauce for the vegetables. In addition to the runner beans, we also made use of carrots, potatoes, celery, red pepper and broccoli, all from the Riverford box. The beans really made this dish, though, their fresh green flavour going perfectly with the coconut sauce.

Donovan at work on Tofu Coconut Curry

We ate this like a soup with some crusty sourdough bread – a bit of fusion, I know – but you could also have it over rice or noodles.

Tofu Coconut Curry

Mixed Vegetable and Tofu Coconut Curry

Serves 2


  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 inch chunk of fresh turmeric, finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, diced and par-boiled
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 8-10 runner beans, sliced into then 2-inch pieces
  • 250g tofu, cubed
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped


  1. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, cayenne, sugar, paprika, lime juice and some salt and pepper (and the turmeric powder if using).
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or frying pan on medium heat. Add the turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, carrots, celery and red pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the lime juice and spices and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk, tofu, runner beans and broccoli and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked but still have some bite to them.
  4. Serve garnished with fresh coriander and lime wedges.

Also seen on Great British Chefs.


Squash and Sweetcorn Tamales

Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano

Last night I had a little Tamale Party with friends Jane, Jimmy and Steve to celebrate Jane’s and Jimmy’s Month of Anniversary. The event stemmed from a recent walk in Wales, wherein I expressed to Jane and Jimmy my desire to further my tamale practice, and they offered themselves as willing taste testers and sous chefs.

Hot Tamale Party Chalkboard Menu

There was a pretty steep learning curve here, and I admit our tamale rolling efforts weren’t exquisite (that may have been the numerous margaritas, white russians, negronis and long island iced teas talking). So this morning I woke up and had another sober attempt at rolling tamales, and things went pretty well, so I thought I’d share my notes and photos from the process in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano

The recipe I used as a base is Rachel Demuth’s Tamales Rellenos de Calabacin from Demuths Cookery School which uses roast butternut squash and feta for the filling. I’ve written about this recipe before, but this time I made a few tweaks that I think improved matters considerably. I added roasted red pepper and sweetcorn to mine – the corn really made it for me. Instead of feta, I did some tamales with queso fresco, and others with goats cheese. The queso fresco offered a nice melty chewy cheesy hit, but I think I preferred the salty creaminess of the goats cheese tamales.

Big learning points were: make sure that the batter is pretty soft – you should be able to smear it across the husk with a spoon; also, spread the batter in one corner of the husk – this makes rolling the tamale a no-brainer (this video was very helpful in this regard).

My tamale technique still needs practice and I’d love to experiment with other fillings, so hopefully my amazing sous chefs will return for more tamale rolling and taste testing, and requisite margarita drinking which, let’s face it, makes even the most poorly rolled tamale taste like a dream!

Squash and Sweetcorn Tamales

I recommend serving these with mole poblano sauce, but you could also do any kind of salsa, red or green, or a creamy verde sauce.

Makes about 10 tamales.


  • 20 large fresh or dried sweetcorn husks

For the masa

  • 200g masa harina
  • 50g butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50mls milk
  • 100mls vegetable stock

For the filling

  • 100g queso fresco, goats cheese, feta or other cheese of choice
  • 1 small butternut squash (or another variety if available)
  • corn kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 chopped fresh red chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole with the skin on
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Chopped coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Olive oil


  1. Roast the squash and red peppers in a hot oven (180/gas mark 7) with the garlic, chilli, thyme, and olive oil until it is soft-this should take 30-40 minutes. When cooked remove the garlic from its skin and pound in a pestle and mortar and then stir back through the squash. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir through some chopped coriander and lime juice. Add the corn and crumble in the cheese (or if using a very soft cheese like goats cheese, keep it separate until you are filling the tamales).
    Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano
  2. To prepare the sweet corn husks, if fresh, carefully peel the husks off the cobs and place in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5minutes, drain and leave to cool. If using dried husks soak them in hot water for 30minutes. When they are soft rinse them under running water as you separate them. Lay them flat on a plate and keep them covered with a damp cloth.
  3. To prepare the masa, combine the masa harina with the salt and baking powder. Add the butter in chunks and crumble it through with your hands until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs (much like making scones).
  4. Add the milk and stock and mix with your hands until combined and you have a soft dough. Add a bit more milk until it becomes easily spreadable (slightly softer than the consistency of scone dough).
  5. To assemble a tamale, take on corn husk and place it on the table. Put a heaped spoonful of batter in one corner of the husk and spread it out into a long rectangle with two sides running along the edge of the husk (see picture below).
    Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano
  6. Take a spoonful of the filling and spread it out down the middle of the masa. Roll the tamale as you would a burrito, starting with the end where the masa is flush with the side of the corn husk, rolling over so that the edges of the masa meet, folding up the bottom corner of the tamale, and then finishing the roll.
  7. Steam the tamales in a vegetables steamer. Cover the bottom of the steamer with some left over husks, place the tamales standing upright and fill the spaces between them with wads of silver foil. Cover the top with a lid or cover with silver foil. Steam for 45- 60 minutes. You can tell when they are done because the masa will be soft and sponge like.
  8. Serve them as soon as possible, before the masa becomes stodgy.

Beetroot and Carrot Slaw

Raw Carrot & Beetroot Salad with Raisins & Pine Nuts

I’m on a bit of a raw food kick lately. Of course when it comes to raw food, it’s all about the quality of the ingredients, which should ideally be organic and locally sourced to maximise their flavour potential. In this way, my recent Riverford boxes have been packed full of autumn inspiration, with carrots and beetroot being mainstays for the last couple of weeks. Most of my beets typically go straight into the juicer, but recently I’ve been look for other ways to enjoy beetroot in its pure unadulterated form.

Riverford Box

Most recently, my favourite way to enjoy raw beetroot is shredded in combination with carrots and dressed with something sweet and tangy. Here I use raisins for the sweetness and lemon and white wine vinegar for the tang. Feel free to experiment with other dried fruits like dates, apricots or prunes. Same goes for the nuts: I use pine nuts but pistachios would be fantastic here, as would some toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Raw Carrot & Beetroot Salad with Raisins & Pine Nuts

Many people don’t often brave the gory hand mess that comes with handling raw beetroot. But really, folks, the mess isn’t that bad and the result is fantastic. Just wear an apron and go to it!

And if the slaw isn’t enough, here’s more beetroot inspiration for you:

Raw Carrot & Beetroot Salad with Raisins & Pine Nuts

Beetroot and Carrot Slaw

Serves 2-3 (or one greedy Monica)


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • small handful parsley
  • small handful mint
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted


  1. Combine the raisins, vinegar and garlic in a bowl and leave to sit for about an hour.
  2. Peel the carrots and beetroot and grate them with a box grater or a julienne slicer (a julienne slicer looks prettier).
  3. Combine the raisins, vinegar and garlic with the carrots and beetroot, then toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, most of the parsley and mint, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the slaw scattered with pine nuts and sprinkled with the extra herbs.

Also seen on Great British Chefs.

Do Sleep Apps Help You Sleep?


Sleep is one of those universal activities that also seems to be almost universally problematic for even the best of sleepers. The quest for better sleep is inherent to all of us, and the secret to a good night’s sleep is different for everyone. For that reason, my friend Fiona Beckett has recently launched a new website called Secrets of A Good Nights Sleep which explores various theories behind the illusive good night’s sleep.

One such theory suggests that we should track our sleep to better understand our rhythms and adjust our sleep habits accordingly. I have recently been experimenting with two devices for sleep tracking – the FitBit One and the Sleep Cycle App for iPhone. How do they compare?

You can read my full review on Secrets of a Good Night’s Sleep: Do Sleep Apps Help You Sleep?

Family Recipes: Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Dumplings

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

I’ve been living in the UK for over seven years now. Along the way I’ve become a British citizenship, I’ve acquired a wonderful dog, and I’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. But I still regard Chicago as my “home”. It’s where I grew up and almost all of my family still live there, as do many dear friends. And even after seven years, I still get a little “homesick” sometimes.

Food is a natural way to go get my fix of virtual family time. I am very grateful to my mother who put together a family recipe book, a collection of recipes spanning three generations and nine households. I turn to this book often, with the most stained pages being Auntie Jo’s Sunshine Cake (now legendary across the globe), Aunt Sue’s Cranberry Chutney (a must-have at Christmas, amazing with Stilton), my sister’s Ranch Dressing (Clausen dill pickle juice is the key) and Grandma’s famous Oriental Coleslaw (especially popular with my friend, Henry).


The recent onset of cooler weather, paired with the end of tomato season, compelled me to turn to another page of the family recipe book: Mom’s Tomato Soup & Dumplings. This is a classic and probably shares the Gold with Matzo Ball Soup for Ultimate Comfort Soups by Mom. In fact, it’s worth saying that my mom is a soup genius – her Shorabat Addas and Green Lentil Soup are two favorites that I make frequently. (When is your book on SOUP coming out, Mom?)

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Back in the day, we used tomato soup from the Campbell’s can (jazzed up with fresh tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and grated cheese), but now that I grow my own tomatoes (and am wary of the salt and preservatives in tinned food), I make my own roasted tomato soup that is silky smooth without added milk, cream or cheese. The cheese element comes from the dumplings, which couldn’t be easier: mix up grated cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs then spoon in bits of the batter. The dumplings cook right in the soup.

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

In this case I was prompted to use Davidstow Mature Cheddar in my dumplings thanks to my latest blog post on Great British Chefs featuring this very soup. You could use whatever cheese you have on hand – it might be fun playing with feta, parmesan, gruyere or a combination of cheeses. You could also add fresh or dried herbs. Feel free to use whatever bread you wish for the breadcrumbs – I tend to go for wholemeal bread crumbs but white works just as well and sourdough is absolutely dreamy.

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

The soup is vegan without the dumplings. I haven’t tried vegan dumplings yet but there are a few recipes around, including these chickpea flour dumplings from Edible Mosaic and these rosemary dumplings from Post Punk Kitchen. In the non-vegan version, the eggs help puff up the dumplings making them nice and light. Without the eggs, the dumplings would seem very stodgy to me, so if anyone has some good suggestions for a vegan alternative, I’d love to hear them!

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Dumplings

Serves 4

For the tomato soup:

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of basil, separated into leaves and stalks*
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • grated cheddar (optional garnish)

For the dumplings

  • 2 slices bread, crumbled (or about 1/2 cup bread crumbs)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and cut the tomatoes in half. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour, until the tomatoes are totally soft and beginning to char around the edges.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic. Cook for about 7 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, chop the basil stalks, and then add to the pan and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes (including any juices that seeped out) to the pan along with the vegetable stock. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover and leave to simmer for about 10-20 minutes (until the carrots are very soft).
  4. Purée the soup in a blender (I used a Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender which works a dream for this purpose) then return to the pot and gently reheat.
  5. Meanwhile, make the dumplings by mixing together all of the ingredients – you should have a moist doughy mix that’s easy to shape into small balls (about the size of a teaspoon).
  6. Drop the balls into the hot soup and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
  7. Ladle the soup and dumplings into bowls and garnish with grated cheddar cheese and fresh basil leaves before serving.

* The impressive bunch of basil pictured in the top photo was grown by The Organic Farm Shop, who also supplied a few extra tomatoes to go in my soup. I also used their eggs for the dumplings and can only imagine that their award-winning homemade cheeses would have lifted this recipe even further. Their ingredients are top of class and the shop itself is a treasure, with a vegetarian cafe and Indian textile shop to boot. I highly recommend giving them a visit if you’re ever in the Cirencester area!

Spoon Carving at The Cherry Wood Project

My spoons

Last Wednesday I spent the day in the woods learning to carve spoons from Tim Gatfield at The Cherry Wood Project near Bath. I was inspired to take the workshop after my brief but memorable brush with Spoonfest in Edale last June while road tripping around the UK. The trip was supposed to be all about walking and wild camping – and in many respects it was – but many of the trip highlights were found on my rest days. Spoonfest was one of them – thank you Gloria Nicol!

Spoon carving en masse.  I love seeing people geek out with their craft. #spoonfest #peakdistrict

I didn’t carve any spoons at Spoonfest, but I totally caught the buzz. Spoon carving en masse is an inspiring thing to behold. And it seemed a natural fit to my camping / walking / outdoorsy tendencies. And let’s face it, every good camper should know how to use an axe.

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Back home I decided to treat myself to a spoon carving workshop on my local turf. I found out about The Cherry Wood Project through Chris Allen (a spoon carver I am grateful to have met through Spoonfest who makes awesome whale spoons).

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

The workshop with Tim left me wanting more – which is probably the best thing you can say about a day like this. I especially enjoyed getting to know the story behind The Cherry Wood Project, which you can read more about on their website. This excerpt from Tim is a good summary:

For many years I have had a keen interest in conservation, rural and craft skills, and living in a way that is more sustainable and sympathetic with nature. It had also long been a dream to own my own woodland, and I purchased Cherry Wood near Bath in 2005 with the intention of improving and managing the wood and setting up a ‘school’ to teach green woodworking skills to others, and pass on the pleasure of living and working in the woods. A previous career in the army has given me valuable knowledge of bushcraft and living outdoors, which I aim to pass on to students.

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

I came home with two usable spoons, a knife, a hook knife and one small knick on my thumb. Now all I need is an axe and you all can guess what you’ll be getting for Christmas this year.

This was a happy day in an inspiring and beautiful place, a day spent carving wood around an open fire, with many tea breaks and an ace lunch in view of their enviable clay oven. I plan to return very soon (they have volunteer days everything Thursday). There is much to learn here, and really great people to learn with.

You can see all of my spoon carving pictures on Flickr. Here are a few favourites:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Clay oven – me and my sourdough long for thee:

Clay Oven Envy

Crossfit skills finally being put to good use:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Many tea breaks:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Fantastic veggie / vegan lunch: Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project Ewok Village Compost Loo:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

How I Make Sourdough Bread

Been using #JuiceFeast as an opportunity to practise my #sourdough. Really happy with how it's coming along (thank you @ed_fryer).

Having posted a few pictures of my sourdough loaves in recent weeks, a few people have asked me for my recipe. Making sourdough is about a lot more than just a recipe. True, I follow the book Tartine Bread very closely (a very generous gift from my friend Rita Munn in Tennessee which really got me going on sourdough bread baking). But the truth is, I’ve only ever become “good” at sourdough (and I put “good” in parentheses because I still have so much to learn) by baking a lot of loaves and talking to other people who bake sourdough. A recipe will get you started, but only practice – and probably a lot of shitty results – will get you to the kind of loaf you’re after.

Practice will teach you when your sourdough starter is happy and well.

Practice will teach you how the dough should “feel” when it’s ready for breaking.

Practice will get you good at working with a dough scraper and a dough knife. Practice will give you the confidence to let your bread rise in baskets and flip them over into a hot oven!

Practice as often as you can, and don’t be sad if you have to throw away a loaf or two (or make a lot of breadcrumbs) – it’s all part of the learning process.

If it makes you feel any better, this is what my loaves looked like in the beginning:

Try as I may...

The best help I’ve had with sourdough baking is through talking to fellow bakers, most recently Ed Fryer (#edbakes), and also Gloria Nicol and Azelia Torres. This has been especially true of getting to grips with sourdough starter, the place where everything begins.

I do recommend the book Tartine Bread for its extremely detailed description of how to make sourdough, including step-by-step photographs from start to finish. It also has a good set of recipes on which to build on once you get comfortable with the “basic country loaf”. I’m sure other bakers out there have similar tomes they could recommend.

Finally, there is no substitute for hands on guidance. Dan Lepard runs excellent sourdough masterclasses at Cookery School at Little Portland Street in London. Rachel Demuth also runs top notch bread making classes at Demuths Cookery School in Bath. Again, I’m sure there are loads more classes you could choose from as sourdough is become super trendy (and rightfully so).

Sourdough explosion: car snacks for travel buddy and leftovers for @Airbnb guests, who get mega props for funding this weekend's Cornwall mission (partially at least).

If you do start getting serious about your sourdough practice, you might find you have a lot of extra sourdough starter on your hands, in which case I recommend making some Sourdough Pancakes and/or Sourdough Crepes.

Any other recommended reading on sourdough? Recipes that use up sourdough starter? Fabulous baker peeps that sourdough bakers should follow? Please share in the comments!


Summer Meets Autumn Meets College Reunion Harvest Celebration

Foraged Fruit Jelly with Strawberry Sorbet

When you live outside of your native country, it becomes a very rare treat to spend time with someone you have a long history with. For that reason and more, it was wonderful having my dear friend Suketu over for the weekend. I know Suketu from undergrad at University of Illinois – we met in math class and bonded over our mutual appreciation for vectors and Dana Scully. Suketu was in Helsinki for a conference and decided to come over to England since he was in “the area”. He only had a few days to spare so I’m incredibly grateful that he chose to spend two of those days here at Orchard Cottage.


An occasion such as this required a celebration. Suketu was very keen on the nature aspect of where I live, and he really lucked out because the weather this weekend was phenomenal: sunny, and warm. Perfect BBQ weather, warm in the sun but with a slight breeze signalling that autumn was on its way. So we decided to pay tribute to his visit and to the changing seasons with an ultimate Summer Meets Autumn Harvest Celebration, sourcing as much of our meal as possible from stuff grown on the farm.


To that end, we went out for a harvest blitz, gathering blackberries from the hedgerows, picking borage flowers, gathering what remained of the summer tomatoes and swiss chard. I also had homegrown strawberries in the freezer from early summer we could play with.


Other accoutrements came from the next-best-thing-to-homegrown: The Organic Farm Shop in Cirencester, where we found big bunches of basil, beautiful lettuces, ginormous cucumbers and their irresistible cherry tomatoes. Even the flour came from Shipton Mill just down the road. So not only did I have this still-cool-as-hell-after-all-these-years lifelong friend in town, but we also had these phenomenal ingredients to work with. Celebration indeed! So what to do?

Chard Harvest. Charvest.

We took some inspiration for our menu from the summertime collection at Great British Chefs. Suketu LOVES pizza, and since the weather was right for a BBQ, we decided to go with their Barbecued Garden Vegetable Pizza using my own garden vegetables as the toppings. I will definitely be coming back to this pizza base recipe again – it was easy to roll out, had a beautiful flavour and cooked perfectly on the bbq. Keeping the pizza bases small (less than 12cm) was definitely a help here. We topped the pizza with basil pesto, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Simple but totally perfect.

Pizza with Pesto & Homegrown Tomatoes

Suketu liked it so much that he wanted to tip the whole board of pizza straight into his mouth.

"Pour all the pizza straight into my mouth"

To go with our pizza, I made Suketu’s other favourite food: pasta, but not like he’s used to. I did the whole courgette noodle thing, tossed with a simple tomato sauce made with garlic and black olives (another one of Suketu’s favourite foods).

Courgette Pasta

To drink: a Pimms-inspired infused “Vitamin Water” with fresh mint, cucumber, blackberries and borage flowers. I’m definitely going to be doing this water infusion thing more often.

DIY Vitamin Water

Dessert was kind of amazing. I think every special occasion requires that something be gelatinized, so we went for this Elderflower Jelly with Summer Berries and Strawberry Sorbet, which gave me a chance to add my homemade elderflower cordial to the mix of homegrown goodness. Yowza, this dessert was amazing! The strawberry sorbet in particular was extra special, sublimely scoopable which is more than I can say for the other sorbet ice blocks I’ve made. I credit the inclusion of liquid glucose in the recipe, a total revelation. The jelly itself was also pretty darn special – I loved the look of the blackberries suspended in the clear jelly. And check out our borage flower garnish. So pretty!

Foraged Fruit Jelly with Strawberry Sorbet

We took advantage of this rare moment of August sunshine to have our harvest meal al fresco – it was so warm we could barely eat our sorbet fast enough before it melted. A high quality problem for sure.

Foraged Fruit Jelly with Strawberry Sorbet

Also a high quality problem: great friends who come and stay and help you make a mess of the kitchen. Love you lots, Suketu. Hope you fulfill your promise to come again soon and stay for longer. Happy harvest! Here’s to Autumn!

If you want to try out some of the dishes we made and have your own Celebrate All of The Things Menu, you can find the recipes on Great British Chefs’ website:

Hemp Protein Post Workout Smoothie

Hemp Protein Green Smoothie

This has become a favourite smoothie of mine as of late, especially after a good swim or a tough workout. Even without the hemp, it’s pretty killer. The base ingredients are pineapple, banana, spinach, celery, cucumber, lime and avocado, which when blended together taste like a tart-and-tangy treat, almost margarita-esque in its sweet and sour balance (hello salt-rimmed glass?). This is also good with a bit of fresh mint.

As far as post-workout nutrition is concerned, the smoothie has lots of good things going for it. The obvious element of good carbs, vitamins and nutrients from all the fruit and vegetables. Celery and banana in particular contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which you lose when you sweat. Meanwhile, the hemp and flax seed add a boost of protein. The avocado add fiber and make it creamy delicious.

When I swim in the morning, this is my go-to breakfast. It’s filling, nourishing, refreshing and super tasty. And to really splash out, garnish with coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, bee pollen and – my favourite – a pinch of good salt such as Maldon Sea Salt or some of that fancy Himalayan stuff.

Hemp Protein Green Smoothie

I make this smoothie by juicing the veggie bits then blending with the hemp protein powder, avocado and flax seeds, but you can just as easily put everything in the blender with a bit of water and blend away. The juicer and blender I’m using at the moment the Froothie Optimum 400 Slow Juicer and the Optimum 9400 Blender, which together have been cranking out super silky results, but other blenders and juicers will work, too.

Hemp Protein Post Workout Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, peeled (or juiced if you’re using a blender)
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 15g hemp protein (I use Naturya Hemp Protein Powder)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tsp flax seeds


  1. If you have a juicer, juice the celery, pineapple, cucumber, lime and spinach. Blend the juice with the hemp protein powder, avocado, flax seeds and a few ice cubes until smooth.
  2. If you don’t have a juicer, make sure everything is cut into blender-friendly pieces. Put the pineapple, cucumber and lime juice at the bottom of the blender, then add everything else. Add a enough water to blend everything to a smooth happy consistency.
  3. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

250 Calories | 8g Fat | 13g Fiber | 38g Carbs | 12g Protein

Juice Feast: Harvest Edition

First of the Orchard Cottage Apples

Last Saturday I embarked on my third “Juice Feast”, a 7-day juice-only regime following the program designed by Jason Vale (you can read more about this in my previous post, Juice Feast in Review).

Having done this twice before, I just wanted to share a few observances so far from round three.

Why Juice? Why Now?

Why does anyone go on a “juice fast” (hefty note: this is not a fast!)? To look better and to feel better. Like many others who have juiced before me (!) I too have become increasingly bored with feeling “gunky”, and also increasingly frustrated with my own inability to achieve a few personal goals. I needed a “bump start”, but [definitely] not of the alcoholic kind, rather of the positive, life affirming kind. After my first juice feast last year, I felt better than I’d felt in a LONG time. So I’m at it again, chasing that high.

Passed the halfway point of my #JuiceFeast. Celebrating with one of my favourite blends: apple, pineapple, spinach, wheatgrass, lime, celery, cucumber & avocado.

But there’s an added spin on it this time around. It’s August, and we’ve just celebrated Lammas, the first harvest festival. The apple orchard is in full swing. My Riverford veg box is frequently laden with my favourite fruit and vegetables. And the nearby Organic Farm Shop is alive with their beautiful homegrown cucumber, carrots, spinach and more. So I’m trying to make this juice feast not only about ME, but also about a celebration of all that’s available this time of year, and how lucky I am to live in a place where I have access to such beautiful fruits and vegetables, some of which grow right outside my door.

The harvest aspect also plays to the “positive thinking” angle of Juice Feast. This isn’t something to “get through”, it’s a treat to my body and my brain. I say this, but in truth, this notion of being good to myself doesn’t come naturally to me at all. I am the worst when it comes to self doubt and self deprecation, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s part of why I’ve felt so frustrated with my goal progress as of late. It has nothing to do with food or exercise, it’s all about the mind, man!

So when work hasn’t interfered, Juice Feast has been all about mindfulness. Visualisation. And doing meditative harvesty things like picking blackberries and de-stalking elderberries (which I’ll be preserving as wild fruit wine, which I know sounds totally contrary to Juice Feast, but it makes sense to me!).

Picking green elderberries while I walk. Yes, I have a plan! #picklecult

I’ve also been using this as an opportunity to push my limits with the juice. On Day 2 I did an 11+ mile hike up Black Mountain in Wales (thank you, Jane and Jimmy) and felt totally fine the whole way. I did have an extra juice that evening, followed by an epic 9 hour sleep. Day 3, the legs were a little stiff but I managed to get out for some foraging and dog walks. Today I had my first CrossFit session of the Juice Feast; it all went as usual – I struggled with rowing and had fun on the rings, nothing abnormal there. I’ll be curious to see how I go the rest of the week. I did manage a “PR” (Personal Record) on the overhead squad (which didn’t take much – see, there I go with the self deprecation again!) and would love to PR on something else before the week is through.

Jane and I on Black Mountain

Finally, I’m also using this as an opportunity to test out my new Froothie Optimum 400 Slow Juicer and Optimum 9400 Blender. I’ve already posted a review of the blender. Watch this space for a review of the juicer, which is competing for counter space next to my trusty Phillips juicer, the thing that got me into juicing in the first place. Who will win in their battle royale?

Using the #juicefeast as an opportunity to try out the #froothie Slow Juicer. Juice it does. Slowly (and that's a good thing - maximum extraction action!).

Closing thought: this Juice Feast has been pretty easy – third time’s the charm? I’m loving the clear headed feeling I get when I do this – productivity at last! And since I’m not cooking, I have loads of free time to do fun Lammas-y things like forage, make plum wine, work on some make-more-money projects, write and walk up big hills!

Black Mountain walk, Brecon Beacons, Wales