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Spicy Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup
Chickpeas in Red Wine & Tomato Sauce
Winter Spicy Red Beans with Coconut
Spelt Spaghetti with Green Soya Beans and Sheep Wensleydale
Cheesy Lentil and Herb Roast
Spicy Moroccan Chickpea Casserole
Summer Savoury Quinoa
Beetroot Soup
Chicken Casserole

Energy Juices

Carrot Booster
Revitalising Juice
Power Breakfast Smoothie

Spicy Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup (serves 4)

This soup provides some welcome colour and warmth on damp and gloomy autumn evenings, although it’s good at any time of year. It’s made from squash, a close (but more tasty) relative of the pumpkin. Enjoy!

Chop 1 lb of butternut squash into chunks, de-seed and cut the skin off with a sharp knife. Peel and roughly chop 2 medium onions, 1 large potato and 1 large sweet potato, and 2 fat cloves of garlic. Add 1.5 pints of stock or water, 1 rounded teaspoon of paprika, a pinch of cayenne pepper, ground black pepper and  a  tablespoon of tamari sauce (from health food shop or speciality section of supermarket). Simmer gently for 20  mins or until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise finely, stir in natural, unsweetened yoghurt (e.g. Yeo Valley) and serve with large sprinkling of chopped fresh chives.

And now the science bit… here’s how just good it is for you:

Orange foods such as squash and sweet potatoes contain Beta carotene.

Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant which is great for the skin, repairs damaged tissue and strengthens your immune system. It’s not just an old wives’ tale, carrots really are good for your eyesight as well.

Orange foods are also rich in Vitamin C – known as the King of antioxidants, vitamin C is anti bacterial, and anti viral and helps resistance to infections.

White foods such as garlic and onion contain flavonoids. In plants, flavonoids help protect against cell damage, parasites and bacteria and it seems they do the same in humans. They also help promote good circulation of blood and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Garlic also contains sulphur compounds which are important for cardiovascular health. They help balance cholesterol and lower levels of “bad” fats in the blood. Allicin in garlic has anti-cancer properties.

Chickpeas in Red Wine and Tomato Sauce (serves 2)

The rich sauce complements the chickpeas very well and is perfectly in keeping with the widely touted Mediterranean diet. A lot of the alcohol is burnt off during cooking, leaving only a delicious flavour. If you are avoiding alcohol the recipe also works well without it due to the herbs & garlic. 

This recipe is a good way of incorporating some vegetable protein in your diet. The wine gives a rich flavour to the sauce.  If omitting the alcohol, add an extra 200g tin of tomatoes and some vegetable bouillon powder. If you are extra organised and have the time, fresh chick peas do have a superior texture and flavour. Leave them soaking overnight and cook them as per the packet instructions. If using fresh tomatoes, skin them by plunging them into freshly boiling water for 2 minutes, pierce the skin with a knife and it will fall away.

  • 220g fresh chickpeas (or 400g tinned)
  • 400g fresh tomatoes (or 400g tinned)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh herbs (oregano & coriander recommended)
    or 2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs).
  • 100mls red wine
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
  • Half to 1 tablespoon olive oil

Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, puree, wine and herbs and simmer for half an hour until the sauce is thick. Add more liquid if too dry. Add the chickpeas, warm through and serve with brown rice & green vegetables.

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*Winter Spicy Red Beans with Coconut (serves 4)

This tasty recipe* contains quercetin (prevents allergies, antibacterial & anti-inflammatory) in the onions and isoflavones in the kidney beans (natural hormone balancers). The tomatoes, red peppers & carrots are full of carotenoids for your immune system and skin. Cashews contain calcium, zinc and iron. Kidney beans contain protein and calcium.

The coconut milk means that this dish is rich and filling and you could just eat it with a crisp green salad or green beans/peas. If you want extra carbs as well, serve with brown rice.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 crushed or chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper seeded and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika OR a light sprinkling of chilli powder
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 400ml can coconut milk (can use the reduced fat, lower calorie variety)
  • 200gm chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 425g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and carrots and fry for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper and bay leaves and fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

2. Stir in the paprika, tomato puree, coconut milk, tomatoes, stock and beans and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 12 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

3. Stir in the coriander, season to taste with black pepper and serve.

*Adapted from The Hamlyn 30 Minute Vegetarian

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Spelt Spaghetti with Green Soya Beans & Sheep Wensleydale (Serves 2)

  • 150g Spelt Spaghetti
  • 200g frozen Green Soya Beans
  • 100g hard goat or sheep cheese shaved or grated
  • 2 tablespoons good quality Olive Oil
  • Large handful of young Spinach Leaves finely shredded
  • 1 clove garlic crushed or very finely chopped
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Half teaspoon tamari sauce (optional)

Put the frozen soya beans in a large mug and cover in boiling water so that they heat through. They don't need cooking.

Pour the rest of the boiling water on the spelt spaghetti and cook for approx 8 minutes or as per instructions on packet.

Drain the spaghetti and pour boiling water over to wash off the excess starch.

Return it to the saucepan (off heat) and add the finely chopped or pressed garlic, drained soya beans, olive oil, a good grinding of black pepper, half the cheese and lastly the spinach.

Transfer to bowls and top with the remainder of the sheep's cheese. Enjoy!

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Cheesy Lentil and Herb Roast (Serves 6)

This recipe comes from Viv, chef at the Flower Essence retreat centre on the Isle of Gigha, Scotland.

I have made it with green lentils as well which give it a more “meaty” flavour. You can use any strong cheese, I recommend the Woodland Dairy Sheep Wensleydale or St Helen’s Farm Goat’s cheese. It’s good hot or cold and reheats well.  It’s important to have some greaseproof paper on hand to line the tin as otherwise it’s very messy to get the roast out of the tin!

  • 1 mug red lentils
  • 2 mugs stock (ideally save some water from cooked vegetables for this)
  • 2 slices rye bread crumbs
  • 4 oz grated strong cheese
  • 1 leek or onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 4oz mushrooms peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon each dry mustard, ground cumin & ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 handful of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs of choice (e.g. coriander, thyme, oregano)
  • Black or white pepper

Put the lentils, onion (or leek), stock, tomato puree, mustard, cumin and coriander into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed (if it’s not boil rapidly to reduce or drain the excess stock off).

Preheat the oven to Gas 5 and line with greaseproof paper a 2lb loaf tin (if you haven’t got one, you can use a couple of cake tins, the deeper the better).

Add to the lentil mixture, the mushrooms, breadcrumbs, cheese, pepper and herbs. Bind in the beaten eggs and lemon juice. Smooth into the prepared tin and bake for about one hour.

For a lovely colourful effect when sliced (and an extra veg portion), you can add a layer of chopped red roast pepper or some raw spinach to the middle of the roast before cooking. Enjoy!

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Spicy Moroccan Chickpea Casserole

  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • Half red pepper chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large aubergine cut into cubes (peel on)
  • 1 tin chickpeas


  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Light sprinkling of chilli flakes (more if you like it hotter!)

This vegetarian dish goes well with lamb should you have carnivorous tastes! It improves with age so will be good the next day too.

Fry the garlic, onion and red pepper in a little olive oil until lightly browned. Add all the spices and the tinned (or fresh) tomatoes. In a separate pan, heat some olive oil until very hot and add the cubed aubergine. Cook for a few minutes until nicely browned and then drain off any oil and add to tomato and spice mix. Add the chickpeas and simmer for half an hour. Serve with brown rice or quinoa & a green salad.

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Summer Savoury Quinoa

This is a good dish to make in advance to allow the flavours to infuse! It goes well with cold chicken & green salad and is portable for a packed lunch. For a complete vegetarian meal, add kidney beans for protein. You can also use brown rice instead of quinoa as a variation.

  • 8oz (225g) quinoa
  • 6oz (175g) dried apricots washed and finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint chopped (plus a sprig to garnish)
  • 50g bag fresh parsley chopped
  • 6 trimmed and sliced spring onions
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash of tamari sauce (optional)

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the grains have turned transparent and the spiral like germ has separated. Drain and set aside. Add all the other ingredients and garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

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Beetroot Soup

This soup is delicious, very easy to make and beetroot is good for supporting healthy blood pressure. The cider vinegar preserves the bright red colour of the soup and also adds a tang to the flavour.

  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 raw beetroots peeled and chopped
  • 4 tomatoes skinned
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 pint water/stock
  • Half a large peeled potato

Put all the ingredients in a large pan and simmer gently for approximately half an hour or until all the vegetables are soft. Liquidise and serve.

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Chicken Casserole

  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • chunk of swede
  • 1 large parsnip
  • Generous heaped teaspoon miso powder (Clearspring from health food shops is great tasting)
  • half pint (285ml) water
  • 1 dessertspoon tomato puree
  • 1 clove garlic
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried herbs e.g. sage, rosemary, majoram or tablespoon fresh herbs e.g. coriander, tarragon)
  • black pepper
  • 4 organic or free range chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour (optional)

This recipe is from the “Cooking Without” book by Barbara Cousins but with a few important adaptations including the addition of miso powder which makes a huge difference in terms of flavour.

Cut the vegetables into bite-sized chunks and add with chopped or pressed garlic, to a large casserole dish with lid.

Mix the water, miso, herbs, paprika and black pepper & tomato puree and pour into the casserole dish. Cook for 1 to 1 and a quarter hours gas mark 6/400/200 degrees. Check after one hour to see if the chicken is tender. When cooked, blend the cornflour with a small amount of water and add to the casserole to thicken it if you prefer a thicker sauce.

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Carrot Booster

This is quick and simple to make yet packed with anti-ageing, skin enhancing and immune protecting antioxidants. It’s also very easy for your body to digest and absorb.

You need one apple, two carrots, one orange and a small (1oz) piece of ginger root.

Peel the ginger and the orange. There is no need to peel the apple (leave the core in as well) and carrot if they are organic.  Put all the ingredients in your juicer and you have a power packed drink, great to start the day with!

For an extra detoxifying punch, there are some tasty variations. Replace the orange and ginger with either a handful of parsley (with stalks) OR a medium sized beetroot cut the ends off but leave unpeeled). Parsley is a natural diuretic, helping to get rid of excess fluid in the body and beetroot is a great liver cleanser and tastes surprisingly sweet.

Revitalising Juice

  • 2 large carrots
  • handful of watercress
  • quarter of a red bell pepper

Simply juice all three and mix together. It’s a good stimulating juice for first thing in the morning (the watercress has a strong peppery flavour) and it is very rich in beta carotene, a good all round immune protector.

If you’re new to juices, try one a day to start with as they can have quite a strong effect. Add plain, live yoghurt or water if you want to dilute. If you have a candida problem, stick to vegetable juices rather than fruit juices. Make sure you continue to eat whole vegetables and fruit as well for the fibre.

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Power Breakfast Smoothie

Put 8 blackberries, 8 raspberries, 4 tablespoons of plain bio live yoghurt, 200mls apple juice into a blender and whizz until smooth. Top with a handful of organic porridge oats and a teaspoon of honey.

The apple and the berries contain calcium and magnesium, B vitamins and beta carotene. Yoghurt and oats will provide protein and extra calcium, slow releasing carbohdyrate and make it substantial enough for a meal. Make sure the yoghurt contains live bacteria which will be of great benefit to your immune system. Sheep or goat yoghurt is easier to digest than cow’s and has a creamier consistency.

Don’t worry about combining fruit with protein and carbohydrate. First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach this won’t cause a problem.

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Please note

Penny is not currently taking any new appointments. Her two locums based in central London are both highly experienced nutritional therapists.

For appointments please contact Yvonne Bishop-Weston 0871 2884642 or Julio Da Costa 078731 43405

Contact Penny for more information and to book an appointment
Telephone: 01202 296 763
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