Here is a pasta sauce that is perfect for lockdowns and you can make with pantry staples. I used leeks, kale from the garden, tinned chick peas, tinned tomatoes, garlic and cream so the recipe is written with these in mind but feel free to sub with what you have in the fridge or pantry. For example instead of cream, you could use some evaporated milk and you can sub onion for the leek. If you don’t have kale but have some frozen or fresh spinach, you could use that instead.

You could use rigatoni or caserecce or penne. I use a 100g per person as a rough portion size.

Pasta with Kale and Chickpeas


1 large leek, washed well and sliced half moons

2 x 400g tin of chick peas, drained, rinsed well and towel dried

100-120g of baby kale, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30g) butter

1 x 400g tin of tomatoes

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Cavalo nero has several other names. Lacinato kale in Italian, or black cabbage, Tuscan kale, Italian kale or dinosaur kale. Whatever the name, it is rich in iron, Vitamin K, A and C and like its other cousins, has more calcium than milk.

Cavalo nero

The sauce is fairly simple and quick to make, using only a few ingredients. I used parsley pesto but basil pesto should work. Also the cavalo nero is cooked well for 20 or so minutes, as recommended by Italian chefs. You can use casarecce or strozzapretti shaped pasta.

Pasta with cavalo nero and chick pea sauce


60g butter

3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

½ to 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon parsley pesto


POHA & BEAN SUNDAL – a different kind of salad

In India, poha (rice flakes) is a staple breakfast in many households because it is quick to prepare. Just soak poha in water for fifteen minutes and it is ready. Poha is unique because rice is flaked in the husk and handmade following traditional methods. Poha is the name of the dish as well as the name for rice flakes in Hindi.

My Amma (mum) likes to make sure there is enough protein in each meal and this is one of her recipes where she uses poha the same way you would use rice in rice salad. It is a lovely, gluten free and vegan lunch dish.


100g black eyed beans, soaked overnight

150g poha

50g onions, finely diced

100g carrots, peeled and grated fine

75g coconut, shredded (I use frozen)

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These quesadillas are great at breakfast, lunch or brunch. They are so satisfying and I bet it will become a favourite for you as well. These are made with wheat flour tortillas and as a guide, it is one egg per one tortilla. These are best eaten straight out of the pan, so the maker gets to eat last!

My son made these for me for lunch a few months back and I just loved them. Here is his recipe.

Making of egg quesadilla


8 eggs

2-3 jalapenos, finely chopped

50g red onion, finely chopped

½ cup of finely chopped coriander stems and leaves

200g tasty or gruyere cheese, grated

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Millet, Broccoli & Chickpea salad

Did you know that the cultivation of millet dates back to 6000 years? The tiny golden grain has nearly 15% protein, B- complex vitamins, minerals like iron and magnesium. Interestingly millet used to be referred to as the grain of happiness and it contains tryptophan – an amino acid that affects appetite, mood and sleep! It is gluten free, alkaline, easily digestible and rich in fibre. Super food really!

I substitute millet in all recipes that call for couscous, because millet is packed with nutrients. Great for weekday lunch and if you use dairy free yoghurt for the sauce it will be completely plant based. In this recipe I use the florets only but please retain the tender leaves and stems for use in a stir fry.


1 large broccoli, washed and cut into 2cm florets

1 x 400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 cup of hulled millet cooked as per instructions on packet

A generous handful of fresh coriander finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

Rind of one lemon

30ml lemon juice

30ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

YOGHURT SAUCE – 1 quantity


Steam or microwave the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the doneness required. Set aside to cool.

Once you cook the millet, remove to a large plate and allow to cool. If you leave in a bowl or saucepan to cool, the millet may all stick together and get clumpy.

Place millet in serving bowl. Mix in the broccoli and chick peas, the red chilli, the lemon rind, salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper along with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Taste for seasoning, toss the coriander leaves and serve with yoghurt sauce.

Serves 4.


Roast Cauli & Butternut Soup with Sage

The recipe is from Hugh Fearnley –Whittingstall’s Much More Veg.

This is a deliciously creamy soup perfect for a cold night. It is easy to make: the veg are simply roasted then blitzed. It is fantastic finished with a trickle of good balsamic vinegar and a dollop of crème fraiche.


1 small to medium cauliflower (about 700 grams)

600 grams (half) of a butternut squash

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole



Prawn and Salmon Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup, generally with wheat noodles, that is very popular all through South East Asia. I have done my version with buckwheat noodles and yes there are quite a few steps but the end result is flavour packed and well worth making it from scratch. You wouldn’t want to use the readymade sachet mixes anymore.


400 grams salmon fillet, bones removed, skin removed but saved

12-16 large tiger prawns peeled with tails on

1.2 litres of fish stock (recipe below)

0.8 litres of coconut milk

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There is no set recipe for minestrone soup since it can be usually made with whatever vegetables or meat one has at home. Just a note that the vegetables are a guide and you can create your version depending on the vegetables you have and like. This is my vegetarian version – which I like to serve with crusty bread for lunch.

Minestrone Soup

50 grams green cabbage shredded

100 grams cauliflower cut into small florets

2 zucchini cut into 1 centimetre dice

100 grams mushrooms cut eighths or quarters depending on size

1 large carrot diced evenly

2 sticks celery sliced thinly

1 x 400 grams tin plum tomatoes in juice

1 x 400 grams tin Borlotti beans drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

50 grams orzo or risoni

3 plump garlic cloves finely chopped

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra to serve

4 tablespoons finely grated or microplaned Parmigiano Reggiano for serving

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Vegetables prepared for Minestrone Soup


In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the onions for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, celery and carrots and fry for three or four minutes. Then add the chilli flakes, oregano and the remaining vegetables. Continue frying intermittently for a further five minutes. Then add the tomato paste followed by the tomatoes in their juice. Add a litre of water and bring it up to the boil. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Give it a good stir after this period, add the borlotti beans and salt. Continue cooking for a further 10 minutes and add the orzo or rizoni. Cook for another 5 -7 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

Just before serving, once dished out into individual bowls, sprinkle the cheese and pour a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on top. Serve immediately with bread.


Nasi Goreng

6 cups of cold cooked white rice (I used Basmati)

1 large onion finely chopped

1 large carrot diced to 1 centimetre cubes

½ cup of frozen corn kernels

½ cup of frozen peas

4 plump cloves garlic minced or finely chopped

1 tablespoon medium curry powder

4 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola

½ to 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons ketjap manis

Salt to taste

4 x eggs fried to serve


Heat the oil in a well-seasoned wok. Fry onions for 3 -4 minutes. Add the diced carrot and garlic and continue frying for a further three minutes. Now add the curry powder – continuing to fry for thirty seconds so the powder does not burn. Add the tomato paste, ketjap manis, chilli flakes if using, a couple of generous pinches of salt, the corn kernels and peas. Give it a stir and cover the wok with a lid for a minute. Break up the rice during the process of adding the rice to the wok. Continue frying until all the rice is thoroughly mixed and heated through (about five minutes). Serve hot with fried egg on top. (Serves 4)