California Girl living in London, working model, practicing wife to a Pie Loving Husband, trying not to eat myself out of the day job. 

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Crust Free Veggie Quiche

A quiche is an amazing dish. Not only is it quite beautiful and packs a powerful protein punch, you can serve it for any meal of the day. It is the perfect way to use up left overs, is super quick to make and lasts for a couple of days. Solving so many modern problems, it’s kind of a superfood in my book.

Crust Free Veggie Quiche
Serve with rye toast for a perfect brekkie or a side salad or rice for a complete light main.
Serves 6
15min prep time/ 25 bake time
Half a red onion
6 mushrooms
8 cherry tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
Handful of fresh basil
6 organic eggs
Sea salt and Pepper
A little grated cheddar (optional)
1.      Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line your Casserole dish with baking paper.
2.      Pan fry the chopped onion, mushroom, tomatoes, and bell pepper until softened. In a separate bowl, whip 6 eggs with a little salt, pepper and torn basil leaves.
3.      In your casserole dish, spread your vegetables evenly then pour egg mixture over the vegetables, cover with lid and bake for 25 minutes. Once out of the oven top with the optional cheese and allow cooling a little before serving.




Spinach and Roast Butternut Squash Filo Wraps

Photography by Ian Wallace for Delicious. December 2010, pg. 210
I've been meaning to post about filo wraps for awhile and it wasn't until I had lunch with some new girlfriends at Lavish Habit that I was reminded how yummy these little morsel are and how easy they are to make.
Here are some piccies of the gorgeous Lavish Habbit:
Light and crisp, these Spinach and Roasted Butternut Squash Filo Wraps make an amazing starter on a bed of rocket for any dinner party or as they do in Lavish Habit, served simply with a side salad for a perfect light lunch. Hassel free but impressive cooking, you have to like that.

Spinach and Roast Butternut Squash Filo Wraps
Serves 4

1 large Butternut Squash (900g), roasted
2 tbsp Olive Oil
½ tsp Mixed Spice
100g Baby Spinach
150g Feta, crumbled 
50g Pine nuts
2 Filo Pastry sheets
Salt and pepper

Pre prep: roast butternut squash, as I posted here. Allow to cool. Pre heat you oven to 170°C/325°F.
In fact, any roasted veggies work well in this dish. The Pie lovin Husband would say anything tastes good in pasty and he's kind of right.  
1. In a small bowl, toss together your roast vegetables, feta, spinach, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with mixed spice, salt and pepper. 
2. On a slightly floured surface, roll out your filo sheets and divide in half. Wrap a quarter of your filling in filo pastry. There are various ways of doing this for a starter, I like to make little individual round parcels. There are the traditional triangles shape, or like a burrito. Being Californian, for lunch the burrito shape suits. Brush the edges with a little butter, roll the filling up like a sausage, tuck in the ends and press edges together to make a seal. 
3. Pop the parcels evenly spaced on a baking tray and brush with a little olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pasty begins to crisp. 
You can serves these right away or reheat in the oven later. 





What did my pre pregnancy self look like?

With just under three weeks till my due date and feeling so awkwardly out of proportion, I can’t help but think about getting myself back to my pre-baby body. I could not have imagined how uncomfortable within one’s self this point in pregnancy would be. It’s hard to even begin to contextualize. Well into month nine of baby making, I’ve completely lost all concept of my size or what my toes look like, for that matter. I keep getting stuck between cars, doorways, and coffee shop tables. My poor bump is really getting knocked about. So, trying to remember my flat stomach seems a distance lofty illusion.
One of my NCT girls has been asking for the trick to get our bodies back and as much as I’d like to present a moment-by-moment meal plan to follow, I’ve never done this before and beyond what I have found on the internet, I will be using myself as a guinea pig. Not wanting to jeopardise my milk supply, the basic plan is no refined sugar or carbohydrates, focusing on lots of nutritiously dense foods, but waving good-bye to my pregnancy addictions of peanut m&m’s and Bertie & Boo carrot cake is going to be painful but needs must.
Anyway, I’m trying to get excited about super clean recipes again. Yes, that’s the main message behind this blog and that having a few new easy recipes to play with post birth will hopefully help get me on track for a speedy recovery and while producing very healthy milk for our little one. 
I’m sure all you moms out there are laughing at me already, but hey, it’s an intentional start in the right direction.
So, here is what I am preparing for my first few days as a sleep-deprived mom;
1) Weekly pre prepped Mason Jar Salads: perfectly proportioned and ready to grab when I find a minute to eat. Plus they’re really a very pretty way to increase your veggie intake. The Antioxidant salad and the Mediterranean salad are going to be my firm favourites. 
2) My Vegan Fruit and Nut Bars which a super dense and will hopefully curb my sugar addiction. There is a batch sitting in my freezer ready to go, but these are also very easy to make. Everything just goes into your food processor and then you blend, shape and bake. Simples. 
3) Freezer friendly meals. It’s the one tip that even the foodiest of new moms recommends. In these final weeks when there is not a lot to do but wait and rest, I have been filling our freezer with soups (specifically, my restart soup and carrot soup), fish pie and cottage pie, all in 2 serving portions for easy dinners. Beyond my recipes here are 17 of the Best Freezable Recipes. Just make sure you label everything before the dish goes in to the freezer and becomes mystery food.
4) Sesame seed incrusted Salmon with Asparagus and Brown rice. High in fibre, vitamin A and K, and Omega-3, this dish balances hormones and sugar levels that not only, helps us sleep and recover a bit better, but all these fresh ingredients stimulate milk supply. Plus, because you bake everything in one tray, it’s new mom friendly. 
Anyway, I'll let you know how I progress and any little cheats I find along the way. Wish me luck. 



Baby Fish Cakes

How are your resolutions going? By now, you should start to feel the positive effects of clean eating. Your skin might be brighter, you’re sleeping better and the headaches of your sugar detox will be subsiding. These are all positive signs that your body is healing and will ultimately thank you for your effort and willpower. 
These simple little fish cakes are a synch to make, a pleasure to eat and are so much better then the store bought versions. Besides you’ll know exactly what's in them. I doubled the recipe and froze half for my post labour days when cooking is going to be the last thing on my mind, but my body is going to need all the nutrition I can feed it to heal and help feed this new little life. 
Fish Cakes
With salmon, cauliflower and parsley
Serves 8
Kitchen time: 1 hour (plus chill time)
200 g cauliflower
240 g salmon fillet, from sustainable sources
1 small handful fresh parsley
1 free-range egg
Zest of 1 lemon
olive oil
1 tbsp rice flour, extra for dusting
1. Steam cauliflower and salmon for 15-20 minutes or until the veg cuts easily with a butter knife and the salmon flakes apart. Remove the fish and put to one side. 
2. In a food processor, dice your cauliflower as fine as possible. Pick the parsley leaves and finely chop them, discarding the stalks. In a separate bowl, add the chopped parsley, egg and lemon zest to your cauliflower mash and fold together. Flake the fish into the bowl with 1 tablespoon of rice flour, then mash and mix it up really well.
3. Dust a plate with a little of the extra flour. Lightly shape and pat you fishcakes into circles about 2cm thick. You should have enough to make around 8 paddies. Simply pop them onto a clean plate and into the fridge for an hour before cooking to firm up.
4. In a large fry pan over a medium heat, add a couple of lugs of olive oil and allow to the pan to get sizzlingly hot. In batches, add your fishcakes and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden. Try not to smooch them too much with a spatula. They can flake apart easily. 
Serve straight away on a bed of baby spinach, with lemon halves. 



New Year's Healthy Intentions, Starting with Winter Warmer Apple Oatmeal

Aw January 1st. This morning, we’re waking up to so much promise and resolve. Vowing to ourselves that this year things will be different. I’m going to be healthier, work harder, be more organised, shop less, read more, to be a better friend/daughter/partner. Oh Blah. The list goes on. We’ll start that project that we’ve been toying with in the back of our minds and try to make this year, this 2015 year, better than ones gone past. It’s a lot, it’s a lot to take on for one little day. Our expectations are high. Well, at least in my headspace they are. 

However great the intention, most of us give up our resolutions around the 10th of January. Isn't that pathetic? We can’t hold our resolve for even two weeks.  I think it comes down to having a plan. I mean it would be brilliant to one day climb Kilimanjaro, but if you don’t put a training plan in place, it's never going to happen or you’re going to get very sick attempting it. So, for January, my goals will be focused on taking one day at a time, putting my plans in place and avoiding the hurdles. 

The first and most popular New Year's resolution revolves around diet, obviously. Our intentions are good. We’re going to have a clean dry January, shedding those extra Christmas indulgences and getting back on track. But, and here is the first massive hurdle, after stuffing ourselves with goodies for a month, striping back to the raw bones of clean eating can be one massive challenge and a shock to the system. I find, if I ‘fail’ at the basics of eating well, all the other promises I have made for myself this year come into question. 

So, I don't know about you, but I’m starting slow with a healthy breakfast, one step at a time. This Winter Warmer Oatmeal, laced in cinnamon, apple and honey, doesn’t feel like ‘diet’ food, but is clean and probably exactly what your body needs after too many trips to the cookie jar.

Winter Warmer Apple Oatmeal:

45g (½ cup) Gluten Free oatmeal
1 tbsp Coconut oil
½ tsp cinnamon
Half an apple chopped
Topped with 1 tsp raw honey, chia seeds and a little almond milk.
1. Bring the oats and 235 ml (1 cup) water to a simmer. Add cinnamon and apple and allow the flavors to combine for 3 to 4 minutes and the oats being to thicken. Stir in the coconut oil and remove from the heat.
2. Spoon the oatmeal into a bowl and top with raw honey and a little almond milk. Enjoy!

What are you’re New Year's Resolutions? Do you know any great recipes that help keep you diet on a clean track? I’d love to try them myself. Please share them.