Category Archives: Sides

Rye soda bread

rye soda bread

While not a massive fan of overloading a diet with carbs, I love this rye soda bread, adapted from a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy book.

It takes 40 minutes to knock up a small loaf and it will stay fresh for about three days – and is excellent toasted when it starts to dry out a bit. The kitchen smells great when it comes out of the oven too.

There’s no wheat or dairy in it for anyone with intolerances and it’s just 100 calories a slice with 2 g of protein in each one.


200g Organic Rye Flour
0.5 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
100 ml, Apple juice
1 tbsp  Olive oil
20g Sunflower seeds
20g Flaxseed
20g Chia seeds
40g honey


Heat the oven to 200C.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, making sure everything is evenly mixed up. As a tip, I use a hand whisk for a couple of minutes to give it a stir.

In a jug combine the apple juice, oil, honey and 100 ml of water. Mix well until the honey melts.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix to form a sticky dough.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and flour a surface and your hands.

Empty the dough onto the floury surface and roll into a round; place on the baking tray.

Cut a cross into the loaf, making sure the knife cuts around half way.
Place in the oven to bake for 30 mins until golden brown.

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Dairy-free vegan tzatziki

vegan taztiki

Lactose intolerant or vegan and love Greek food? Try this dairy-free vegan tzatziki.

You don’t really need me to tell you how to make tzatziki, the Greek dip do you?

It’s so simple, you should never  buy the supermarket stuff. Just get some Greek yoghurt and grate some cucumber and garlic into it and let it sit for a while.

When we went lactose-free for a month in January, I was trying to come up with one that didn’t use milk yogurt. One of my most successful attempts was blending almonds and almond milk into a paste in the Nutribullet, then adding the other ingredients. It tasted good … but it was a calorie bomb and super filling. Tzatziki is meant to be a light dip, not a main course.

My next effort fared better – I used soya yoghurt, straining it first by using a muslin to make it thicker.

Of course,  if you want normal tzatziki, replace the soya yoghurt with Greek-style pre-strained yoghurt and remove the straining step.

500g plain soya yoghurt (sugar free)
1/3 cucumber
1-2 garlic cloves or 1 tsp garlic paste
1tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Take a fine sieve, put a muslin in it and place over a bowl. Leave overnight in the fridge
When ready, grate the cucumber on a coarse grater and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then squeeze the water out and add to the yogurt.

Crush the garlic and add along with the olive oil. Mix and leave to stand for 30 minutes for the flavours to kick in.

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Cauliflower faux fried rice


Pining for a Chinese-style meal but don’t want the added calories of a takeaway? This cauliflower faux fried rice is ideal and works really well as a side with my Mediterranean garlic chicken and Greek-style spinach.

There’s no reason why you should sacrifice flavour if you are eating healthily. This faux fried rice using cauliflower is a superb low-calorie option with tonnes of goodness and the oriental flavours so many of us love. It’s less than a tenth of the price of a takeaway to make too.
Buy the best quality, fresh vegetables you can. I prefer to shop in this order: local market, local grocers, supermarket unpacked stuff, supermarket packed stuff, and I go organic where possible.

1 cauliflower
2 medium carrots
2 sticks celery
1 large onion
15ml soy sauce
1 clove garlic
0.5 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
15ml sesame oil
1/4 cup diced ginger root

Get a grater and use the course side to grate the cauliflower. Don’t grate the thick stalk in the middle.
Dice all your other vegetables.
Put the sesame oil into a wok and put on a high to medium heat.
Lightly sauté the onions and garlic, then add all the other veg bar the cauli.
After 5 minutes add the cauliflower and soy sauce and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring every so often so it cooks right through.
Serve while hot

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Greek-style spinach


Greek-style spinach… simple, tasty and ready in seconds. Boom! 

Some of you may know that I have some Greek roots. Not that I was born there or had Greeke parents, but I did grow up there.

We still visit a couple of times a year to see my mum and sister – and one of the first things we do is go to a Greek taverna and order a typical Greek meal. For me, it always has to include a side-dish or horta. 

What is it? Wild mountain greens (the literal translation is grass or weeds, but try getting the kids to eat that). What horta are available depends on the season but it can be dandelion leaves, poppy, nettles or beetroot leaves. All taste great and are packed with iron but when they get wild spinach, it’s the best.

In Greece, this is not cultivated stuff either. You’ll see black-clad giagiathes mourning grandmothers out in the fields or on mountains with a plastic bag routing around for them.

In England, spring cabbage (or spring greens) is the only thing you’ll find that’s close. But they can often be quite tough and take ages to cook, baby-leafy spinach is a good alternative but it tends to wilt quickly and retain no crunch at all, so I go for just regular, old spinach.

I’m almost embarrassed to list this as a recipe, but as a quick side, low on calories, full of fibre to fill you up and high in protein (yes, spinach is packed with the p-word), you can’t beat it. It goes well with my Mediterranean garlic and lemon chicken too.

A 500g bag of spinach
1 glove of garlic
2 tbsps olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice

Get a wide-based frying pan and pour in  half of the oil, put on a low-medium heat
Empty the bag of spinach into the pan, don’t worry if it piles high, it will soon wilt
Stir every so often for a couple of minutes
When wilted pour into a bowl, pour on the remainder of the olive oil and squeeze on the lemon

Serves 4, eat hot immediately or leave to cool. It will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

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