Roasted butternut and apple soup

It’s getting to that time of year when we want to curl up on our sofas under a blanket and fill up on warming foods.

This soup will definitely hit the spot when you are feeling a bit autumnal. Roasting the butternut squash and the apples adds a lovely rich flavour and the sweetness of them both compliment each other brilliantly!

This soup is dressed with the seeds from the butternut so you don’t waste anything either!

You can substitute any sort of pumpkin for the squash too if you prefer.

This will serve 3 – 4 people.

You will need:

1 Butternut squash (approx 1.5kg in size before peeling etc)

2 Apples (Braeburn work best)

2 large white Onions

2 sticks of Celery

1/2 tbsp dried Thyme

1 tsp ground Cumin

1/4 tsp ground Allspice

1 litre Vegetable stock

500ml Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the topping:

Seeds from the Butternut squash

1 tsp Olive oil

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

1/4 tsp ground Paprika

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Cut the butternut in half and scoop out the seeds (keep the seeds for the topping). Peel and cut into chunks. Peel, core and chop the apples into wedges. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season. Place in the oven  and roast for 20 – 25 mins or until tender and golden.

Slice the onion and celery finely and pop in to a large pan with a little olive oil. Saute gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Add all the spices and saute for another minute. Add the butternut and apple and stir gently for a minute or 2. Then add the vegetable stock and water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Let it cool for a while and then pop in a blender and blitz it (do this very carefully if still warm – it may be worth doing it in 2 batches).

Take the seeds that were removed from the squash and toss in the olive oil and topping spices. Spread on to some baking parchment and place in the oven at 200 C for 5 – 10 minutes until they are starting to turn brown.

Pop a serving of soup in a bowl, sprinkle with the seeds and enjoy with some toast.

(This post was originally published on


Chilli con veggie!

This is another great option for weekday dinners as the weather gets colder. I make a big batch and it’s fab for a lovely quick meal. It is super versatile too – you can use it for spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, or as a chilli with rice or jacket potato, or just on its own! It will keep in the fridge for at least a week (I’ve kept it for 2 but usually I’ve eaten it all by then!) or you can freeze portions too.

This is really easy to make and if you’re busy you can speed it up even more by using bags of frozen veg. Waitrose/Ocado do a bag of mixed onion, celery and carrots (‘soffritto mix’) and a great bag of frozen mixed grilled veg (onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper) which work brilliantly. Don’t be afraid of using the frozen veg – often they’re actually higher in nutrients than fresh as they’re frozen immediately rather than sitting in warehouses for months. I’m very much a believer in making eating healthy as easy as possible so this is a really easy option.

Even if you’re not vegetarian I’d definitely suggest you try this – it’s a lot lighter in calories and just as tasty. And if you’re worried the family may not want a meat substitute i’d suggest trying it and not telling them – I bet they don’t notice! Loads of my clients have found that their other halves and children haven’t even realised it’s not meat (though obviously you could use turkey or beef mince if you wanted to).

This makes approx 8 generous servings at 245 cals per serving!

You will need:

1000g of Quorn mince (or ‘meet the alternative’ or any other meat substitute)

1500g Pasatta

Either – 1 bag of soffritto mix OR 1 onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1 large carrot all finely chopped

Other mixed veg – pepper, courgette, aubergine (your choice, or 1 bag of the frozen veg)

3 vegetable stock cubes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp of chilli (to taste)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Mixed herbs

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian brand if necessary)

Spoonful of marmite (optional)

Salt and pepper

Heat a little oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few mins.

Add the mincemeat and mix well and let it heat through (if using turkey, beef etc then ensure the meat browns at this point). Add the stock cubes and mix well.

Add the other vegetables and stir well. Heat for a few mins.

Stir in the passata and then add all the spices, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and marmite. Mix well and allow to simmer.

Taste it during this phase and adjust seasoning to taste.

Once it’s cooked for at least 20 mins, if you can let it cook a bit longer do as it helps to give a better flavour. Then it’s done!

Serve with spaghetti, jacket potato, rice, or as a chilli with a dollop of yoghurt and spinach!

Enjoy 🙂



Soup soup! Autumn squash, pepper and lentil soup

It’s definitely soup season now and we still had some homegrown squashes to use so I thought I’d make a batch of warming autumn soup.

You can use squash, pumpkin or sweet potato (or a mix) and you can also be a bit free and loose with the quantities to be honest – as long as you keep an eye on the amount of liquid and add a bit more stock if needed.

I made a massive batch so I could have it for a few days and also freeze some, but you could easily halve this. This recipe serves up to ten good portions at 163 cals per portion!

You will need:

Approx 1,200g squash (this was 2 medium squashes)

3 Red peppers

2 onions

500g red lentils

4 cloves garlic

800g chopped tomatoes

1 litre vegetable stock (but you may need to add a little more as it cooks)

2 tbsp tomato purée

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp Chilli powder (or to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

To serve – fresh spinach and a dollop of greek yoghurt

Peel and de-seed the squash and then chop into small pieces.

Chop the onion and peppers and crush the garlic. Heat up a little oil in a pan and add the onions and crushed garlic, and allow to lightly brown.

Add the pumpkin and pepper, stir well and cook for 5 mins with the lid on (stirring occasionally). The squash will start to release some water and begin to soften a little.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Then add the lentils, vegetable stock, spices and tomato purée and stir.

Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for a few minutes with the lid off. Then reduce the heat further and put the lid on and allow to cook for at least 20 mins making sure you stir regularly so the lentils don’t stick. If it looks like it needs it then add a little more stock.

Season to taste and cook until the squash is tender and the lentils are cooked through. Remove from heat and at this point. If you like your soup chunky you can serve it now.

Alternatively you can blend it to a smooth consistency.

To serve stir through some fresh spinach and add a dollop of greek yoghurt!

Enjoy! 🙂



Veggie Sausage Casserole

This is a another easy weekday dinner option, perfect for the colder autumn and winter evenings. I like to cook up a batch of this up on a Sunday and then it’s a nice easy, warming dinner to heat up quickly during the week. You can obviously use any sausages you like but not only do the quorn ones taste fab, they’re also far lower in calories than ‘normal’ sausages! If you want to save time use a bag of frozen grilled veg, or use any veg you have in the fridge! Also it’s worth noting that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies so if you’re vegetarian then double check – Biona and other companies make one without the use of animal products and it’s widely available.

This serves 4 at about 226 cals per portion.

You will need:

6 quorn sausages

500g passata

300g mixed vegetables (either a pack or 1 onion, 1 pepper, 1 courgette, 1 small aubergine)

1/2 tsp Paprika

1/4 tsp chilli powder (adjust for taste)

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 vegetable stock cube

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1/2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp of sugar

Salt and pepper

If using fresh veg then prepare it and chop it up. Heat a little oil in a pan, add onions first and allow to soften. Chop the sausages in to slices and add to the pan and allow to brown. Then add the pepper, courgette and aubergine (if using a pack then just throw it all in at once once the sausages have browned).

Cook for a couple of mins until the veg start to soften and then add the passata. Stir well and bring to a slow simmer. Add the stock cube, all the spices, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Add the sugar (this brings out a richer tomato flavour).

Bring to a simmer and allow to cook through for about 10-15 mins.

Serve with green veg and grains, with a jacket potato or just on its own!

enjoy 🙂



Easy Tomato chutney

I was fortunate to be given a load of homegrown cherry tomatoes from a friend, and we had a a small harvest of our own so wanted to make something that would use a load of them. As the weather is starting to feel more autumnal I thought I’d make up a batch of chutney!

This is very easy to make but does take a long time to cook through! Allow at least 3-5 hours of cooking time (you can turn off the heat, cover it and leave it to continue later if you run out of time). This needs to be left to ‘ripen’ so should be ready for Christmas!

You will need:

1kg tomatoes (can be any tomatoes you like – even green ones)

1kg Bramley apples

900g onions

6 cloves of garlic

600g brown sugar

2 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tbsp cayenne

1 tbsp salt

25g pickling spice

1.5 litres Malt Vinegar

Small piece of muslin or gauze and some string


Peel and chop the onions into quarters. Core and chop the apples into quarters or eighths if large, leave the peel on. Chop the tomatoes.

Place each of these into a processor and pulse until chopped into small pieces.

Place into a very large saucepan. Crush the garlic cloves and add them too. Stir well.

Add the ginger, cayenne and salt and the sugar. Mix well.

Pop the pickling spices in a small square of muslin or gauze, tie it up and then tie it to the handle of the pan so it hangs down in to the pan. Add the vinegar and stir.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn the heat down and allow to gently simmer uncovered for at least 3-4 hrs.

This will take a long time so just let it simmer away. Depending how much liquid the fruit and veg contained it may take even longer. Stir occasionally. The liquid will evaporate off and you will be left with a thicker consistency (chutney like!) – when you draw a spoon through it will leave a trail.

Pop some clean jars in the oven at 50 degrees just to heat through. Pour the hot chutney into the jars, add a wax seal and plastic film over the top and then label and store for 1-3 months before eating.

Enjoy on your sandwich or with some cheese! 🙂



Chocolate peanut butter healthy pancakes

Something for a rainy Sunday afternoon! These are based on my quick and easy healthy banana pancakes (recipe here) – just with a couple of Sunday additions! This makes two small pancakes, enough for one person, and comes in at approx 280 calories, plus the fruit.

You will need:

1 banana

1 egg

2 tbsp flour (any flour you like)

Cinnamon (optional)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp peanut butter

Fruit of your choice

Mash the banana with a fork in bowl, add the egg and mix well.

The mixture will vary in consistency depending on your banana size and ripeness, and egg size – it really doesn’t matter though. Add the flour, cocoa and cinnamon and mix well. Stir in the peanut butter.

The batter will be lumpy – that’s fine too! Heat a little oil in a pan and then add the batter. Leave to cook on one side, then flip.

Serve with fruit (if you need it you can also add some maple syrup or other liquid sweetener but I find the fruit is sweet enough)

Enjoy 🙂



Vanilla brekkie smoothie

This is my brekkie almost every day – it’s easy to grab and go, and I make a batch of 4 or 5 so I don’t have to worry in the mornings. You can switch the protein powder for nut butter if you like, I use the powder because it helps to keep me full and gives a balanced brekkie for me. Don’t worry about the spinach – you can’t taste it at all, but it does give a load of extra vitamins and minerals and studies have shown it also helps to increase exercise performance so it’s worth including!

This makes a full large blender load (I use a vitamix which holds almost 2 litres) and I split that between 4 or 5 shakers, each is about 250 – 75 cals. I use frozen spinach for ease but you can use fresh too.

You will need:

2 bananas

1 litre of your milk of choice (I usually use light soya, but go for whatever you fancy)

2 very large scoops of protein powder (I use a vanilla one usually and the scoop is equivalent to about 2 heaped tbsp)

8 cubes of frozen spinach (or 2 large handfuls of fresh)

Large handful of ice

Pop it all in the blender, whiz until smooth and creamy. Pour into shakers and store in the fridge. I usually add a couple of cubes of ice in the morning just to keep it cool.

Enjoy! 🙂