Category Archives: Recipes

Transition Time

The days are slowly getting shorter. Yet, if you’re like me, you still want to carry on at the same pace as before.

In Ayurveda the autumn season is linked with Vata – movement. With the large intestine being the seat of Vata, I often get clients contacting me with more issues around eliminationat this time of the year. You may feel a bit more sensitive than usual, and want to get involved in many activities but lack the energy. Your body is already starting to anticipate the change in season. There may be times when you feel anxious, unsure, stressed. This is normal at this time.

As we approach the Autumn equinox, a period of transition from the heat of the summer to cooler typically more windy weather, most of us are more sensitive physically and emotionally. During the transition it’s important to devote time to help your body deal with the changes happening within and externally.

Here are 3 sets of advice to support you during this time. In particular, they’ll help you to handle the cold and dryness that dominate during this season and to help bring fluid and warmth in, maintain gentle movement and support the ability to let go.  

Advice set 1 – dietary tips

  •  Include heating spices in your diet e.g. cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
  • Eat warm, soupy, oily, sweet, sour and salty foods to bring more fluid and (see extra tip below)
  • Consume less raw food and avoid very cold or frozen foods and drinks and cold dairy products.

Advice set 2 – lifestyle tips

  • Establish a routine of waking up and going to bed early to ground and centre yourself     
  • Take more exercise e.g. go for a walk to raise energy levels, do yoga regularly – at least 3-5 x weekly for 30 minutes
  • Bring rhythm into your life for more stability

Advice set 3 – yoga techniques 

  • Lie down in the relaxation position – savasana – on coming home from work for a few minutes to help reduce stress and tense muscles, tiredness and boost your immune system.
  • Sit for a short period each day in a calm environment 
  • Do nasya or neti to breath more deeply, boost the immune system and bring balance to body and mind

Spicy pumpkin soup ( for 4 generous starter portions)

3 tbsps olive oil & sesame oil (half and half) or ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 generous tbsp fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
1/8 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
500g pumpkin (diced)
Salt to taste
small bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Heat the oil in a pot. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in one cumin seed. If the oil sizzles it is hot enough to add the remainder of the seeds. Fry until brown.
Add the fresh ginger and stir well.
Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and black pepper and mix well and leave to cook for a minute. Add salt.
Add the diced pumpkin to the pot and mix well.
Add enough hot water to cover the pumpkin completely and stir well.
Leave to simmer for approx. 20 – 30 minutes.
(optional) Pour the mixture into a liquidizer and blend for 30 seconds.
Sprinkle on the chopped parsley just before serving.

What’s next?

Choose at least one idea to put into practice in the coming week.
Go out and get the ingredients for the recipe.
Feel free to share your feedback with me, including photos!
I’m happy to answer your questions to support your choices so feel free to contact me. 🙂

How to eat Bread …

Recently I gave two talks on food intolerance entitled (rough translation) “How bread eating won’t leave your intestines hurting” at the Salon Holistica, a local alternative trade fair, and taught an ayurvedic cooking class at the Sivananda yoga centre here in Geneva. The participants had a number of questions, a few of which I share with you below.

Question: Is there a secret recipe to how to eat bread?

My answer: According to Ayurveda the “secret recipe” is to enhance your digestive capacity. One of the easiest ways is to include  spices appropriate for your constitution in your diet. Ginger in root form is a great one for almost everyone.

Question: If someone has a very quick digestion where the food just seems to race through, what can s/he do?

My answer: One simple thing they can do is to take more time, to slow down, to breathe between mouthfuls and to savour each mouthful. In general a good spice for such a person would be fennel because of its cooling as well as digestive action.

Question: Are onions and garlic not used in Ayurvedic cooking?
My answer: 
In Ayurveda nothing is actually excluded. Individuals eat ideally what is appropriate for him/her at that time of life, during that season, depending on what else is happening around them, to maintain harmony with Nature within and externally. Those following a yogic path may choose to omit onions & garlic from their food to avoid the stimulating energy they both contain.

And here is the recipe for the warm decoction I made for participants of the talk.

Cinnamon and ginger decoction (for improved digestive capacity)

(adapted from the book “Recettes Ayurvédiques faciles” Editions Jouvence 2009)
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes

1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp fresh ginger

1.   Put all the ingredients in a  pot with about 1 litre water.

2.   Boil for approximately 15  minutes. Remove the cinnamon and the ginger.

3.   Drink half a cup of the warm/hot decoction 15-30 minutes before eating.



Spring Solutions

With the advent of Spring the main complaint many of us have is associated with our breathing.
Spring is the season when the heavy and solid qualities of the Kapha principle start to become lighter and more liquid. There is movement – especially around the time of the Spring Equinox. In Nature, for example, we see movement with a change in the weather, internally we feel a shift as our bodies adjust to the longer days. Since Kapha is associated, in particular, with the chest area around this time it is no wonder that so many of us complain about respiratory issues that involve sneezing, congestion, sinuses etc.

So here are 3 key solutions to help you saunter into and through Spring:
Solution 1:Keep breathing – maybe the most obvious advice but so many of us are shallow breathers – practise deep breathing into your belly (you can place your hand there to observe the rise & fall).; for those who practise hatha yoga, the pranayama technique of kapalabhati is particularly beneficial; the practice of jala neti and/or nasya can also provide relief.
Solution 2:Get things moving – go out for walks (wrap up warm if it’s still chilly & windy like it is here in New Mexico!); get a massage (especially lymphatic drainage at this time of the year)
Solution 3:Spice it up! Include more warming spices in your diet – e.g. fresh ginger made into a tea or as part of your meal is a simple solution for all.

And to get you going here is a Red Lentil Soup for the season
Ingredients (for 4 portions):
red lentils (150g)
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt (to taste)
fresh ginger chopped into small pieces
pinch of black pepper
200g organic seasonal vegetables
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1. Wash the lentils until the water is clear
2. Put in a pot with fresh water and the turmeric.
3. Bring to the boil and keep at a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes
4. In the meantime wash and chop the vegetables.
5. Place the vegetables in the pot of lentils.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, the ginger and  sunflower oil.
7. Cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with freshly cooked basmati rice.

Post-holiday Health Hints

This week one of our teachers shared simple hints on how to give your digestive system a break after the holidays. They are for all of us especially if we’re feeling run down after a hectic time over the holiday season.
We’re well into Winter, the season when the Kapha principle manifests, which involves qualities of heaviness, slowing down. Most of us have spent the last few weeks busy socialising with family and friends eating heavy rich foods. Heavy + hectic = stress & strain on all levels of our bodies.

To find balance the tips I shared with you last month are still valid. However, here are 3 specific post-holiday health hints.
Health Hint 1: Brew up a large flask of lemon and ginger water, enjoy it at the start of the day and sip throughout the day.
Health Hint 2: Chew a small piece of fresh ginger with a little salt and lime juice before your lunchtime meal
Health Hint 3: Go on a simple diet of lentils, rice & vegetables (kitcherie) for three days (see recipe below!)

Post-Holiday Kitcherie
Ingredients (for 2 portions):
basmati rice (100g)
red lentils (100g)
salt (to taste)
fresh ginger chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of turmeric
pinch of black pepper
handful of raisins (optional)
½ lemon, juice of
160 g seasonal vegetables
4 tablespoons sesame oil /ghee
water (2 ½ x rice and lentils)
1. Squeeze the lemon.
2. Wash the rice and lentils thoroughly. Leave to drain.
3. Peel the vegetables and cut them into cubes or round slices.
4. Pour enough sesame oil/ghee into a big pot to cover the bottom.
5. Add the vegetables, cumin powder, turmeric, raisins, lemon juice, salt, the rest of the oil and the ginger. Then add the rice and lentils, stir.
6. Add 2 times the amount of boiling water and bring everything to the boil before reducing the temperature and cooking over a low flame for 30 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the dish to stand for 10 minutes. Serve & enjoy!

Antidotes for Holiday Health

In our Ayurvedic nutrition course recently our teacher gave out some useful tips on how to “antidote” certain foods that we all enjoy eating but which, especially during this season of the year, winter, can be particularly challenging to our digestive system.
According to Ayurveda Winter is the season when the Kapha principle manifests. Think of winter and thoughts of cold weather, nature slowing down, a certain heaviness, which can produce dullness but also stability. The food we eat/want to eat at this time reflects our body and mind’s desire to find balance. We tend to go for more warming foods which are well seasoned with heating herbs and spices. Good examples would be baked dishes or slow cooked dishes.

To manage the heaviness of this season get in the habit of adding warming spices and herbs such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, fenugreek, saffron, thyme, parsley to your dishes. It is the time also to avoid fatty, greasy and fried foods, and eat more seasonal local vegetables, especially leafy greens.

But it’s the holiday season and we want to have fun. So I’m going to share with you FIVE antidotes my teacher shared with me to keep your digestion on track if you eat the following foods IN MODERATION during the holidays.

  • Holiday Antidote 1: You enjoy ice-cream – sprinkle a mixture of clove, cinnamon and cardamom powder on it
  • Holiday Antidote 2: You are making a milky pudding – add saffron
  • Holiday Antidote 3: Cheese is served at the end of the meal – add black pepper
  • Holiday Antidote 4: You are serving avocado with the meal – add lemon juice and black pepper to it.
  • Holiday Antidote 5: You are baking biscuits/cookies or pies – add dry ginger to the wheat flour.

And here’s a quick sweet recipe to get you in the festive mood.

Date & Seed Balls ( for 10-15 generous portions)
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes
1/2 cup dates
1/3 cup seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoons honey
4 -5 tablespoons dessicated coconut
Finely chop the dates and the nuts/seeds.
Place in a bowl with the salt and cardamom powder.
Mix well.
Add the honey and mix well.
Put the coconut onto a plate.
Use your hands to make balls with the mixture and roll them in the coconut.
Serve straightaway or chill then store in an airtight container.

Late Summer Soup

Recently I was given the opportunity to collect an organic seasonal vegetable basket because someone I know was away on holiday. I came home with courgettes (zucchini), tomatoes, beans, a bell pepper, onions, lettuces, mini cucumbers, basil, a kohlrabi and a swede. What an abundance of choice at this time of year!

The end of summer is slowly approaching and we have a lot of choice. However, I enjoy simple meals at a time of the year that can be quite hectic.

Let me share with you a recipe for a soup using a vegetable that abounds during this period – the courgette (zucchini). Eaten with one (or two) sprouted bread(s) you can have quick nourishing and satisfying meal. 

For two people you need

2 medium courgettes/ zucchini
2 tablespoons ghee/coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (optional)

1.    Wash the courgettes and cut them into slices.
2.    Heat the oil/ghee in a pot. When hot add the cumin and fennel seeds and sauté until brown.
4.    Add the turmeric powder and black pepper and stir well.
5.    Add the courgettes.
6.    Add 1 teaspoon of coriander powder and salt to taste.
7.    Add enough water to cover the courgettes, cover and leave them to simmer for 10 minutes.
8.    After 10 minutes pour the contents of the pan carefully into a blender and blend for 10-20 seconds.
9.    Serve with some fresh parsley sprinkled on top and with flat bread  or a sprouted bread.


Daily bread?

For many of us bread is a staple at mealtimes.
Since the start of the year I’ve been making sprouted bread and  I even found a way to continue making it so while I was away travelling.

Sprouted bread is an ancient form of bread which has many health benefits for our modern-day life. For example, it has a low glycemic index so is digested more slowly. This means that  an individual’s  blood sugar level is more stable for a longer period, thereby diminishing the desire to snack.

Sprouting is  a way to produce nutritious, fresh and delicious food. It is economical in time, space and  money (most seeds etc. double in size when you sprout them). When the sprouts germinate the grain reaches its highest level of nutrition. The seed is broken down and the wheatgerm and endosperm prepared to nourish the growing plant. Germination improves the availability of Vitamins A, B and C and protein levels significantly. It also releases the iron, potassium and calcium and provides carbohydrates, which are easier to digest  since enzymes have already broken down their starches.

Sprouts are rich in :
– antioxidants, which help to eliminate free radicals (a product of oxidation in the body) which are considered to be responsible for ageing and tissue damage
– natural plant enzymes, which are important for proper digestion and connect us directly to a very natural way of eating and to nature, even if we don’t have a garden or a balcony to grow food.

raw and sprouted breadSprouted bread is simple to make and travels really well. It’s a good idea to store it in the fridge if you don’t plan to eat it within a couple of days).
Here’s a short fun video on the way I make it.
I’d love your feedback, especially if you consider yourself intolerant to wheat, and be happy to answer questions on this topic.


Seasonal Soup for Summer

Here’s a quick recipe for a simple tasty soup that I’ve been enjoying after a day of study recently.

Cooking Time : approximately 25 minutes
(2-4 portions)

350g seasonal vegetables
1 spring onion
½ tsp cumin seeds (if cabbage family is used)
½ tsp fennel seeds
1-2 cm fresh ginger
Coconut oil
salt (to taste)
chopped parsley/coriander   (optional)

1.    Cut the vegetables into chunks, peel the ginger with a spoon and chop finely.
2.    Pour enough oil into the pot to cover the bottom and sauté the cumin and fennel seeds.
3.    Then add the ginger.
4.    Add the spring onion, stir and then add the vegetables.
5.    Mix well then add 1 litre boiling water and salt to taste.
6.    Before serving sprinkle on chopped coriander or parsley (optional).


Recipe Time!

In February I was at the Sivananda ashram in France giving a week-long course on vegetarism and also yogic vegetarian cooking.Here’s one of the recipes I developed during the course.

Carrot and celeriac soup

Cooking time : approximately 25 mins

250g carrots
100g celeriac
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp. coriander seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
1-2 cm fresh ginger
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
Salt (to taste)
Chopped parsley (optional)

1.    Wash and slice the carrots, peel the ginger with a small spoon and chop it finely. Peel and dice the celeriac.
2.    Cover the bottom of a pot with oil, let it heat and sauté the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds.
3.     Add the ginger, then as it starts to brown, add turmeric and black pepper.
4.     Add the celeraic and the carrots.
5.    Mix well then add 1 l boiling water and salt.
6.    Before serving sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional).


Recipe for an Ayurvedic Christmas

During the holiday season a few things generally happen.

1. we rush around trying to get everything done by the end of the year or before we go away for the holiday period.

2. we tend to eat a lot of sweet refined foods and generally overindulge

While, in ayurveda, it’s recommended to eat a good amount of the sweet taste during this season, ideally it should come in a non-refined form such as whole grains, beans and pulses, sweet vegetables such as squash, sweet potato, beetroot and other root vegetables, and nuts and seeds.  We need to feel satisfied during this season and this type of food helps to fill us up and also supports the immune system.

Are you thinking that this recipe for Christmas doesn’t sound like fun? Well then I’m going to give you my menu – literally – for an alternative Christmas lunch that won’t break the bank or the belly!


Roasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds


Lentil & vegetable soup – your favourite winter vegetable with a lentil dahl. This soup is nice and filling and warming. Add a trickle of your favourite cold-pressed oil and a sprig of parsley before serving

Main course:

Buckwheat – this is a seed rather than a grain but has plenty of magnesium  and helps to regulate blood sugar levels – i.e. helps to fill you up!
Curried Vegetables – any seasonal vegetables added to my curry sauce – quick & simple
Steamed beetroot – simple but who can resist? Add a few drops of lemon juice to intensify the sweet flavour.
Green chutney – Whizz up your favourite herbs with lemon juice and ginger and season to taste

Dessert :

A slice of homemade spicy fruit cake
(from Winter Recipe booklet of Holiday Seasonal Saver package )

2 handfuls dried fruit e.g. raisins, apricots, dates, figs (soaked – overnight if possible – and cut into pieces)

125 ml/ ¼ pint  non-refined olive oil

125 grams /5 oz organic unrefined cane sugar

200 ml/ 1/3 pint Rooibos tea

300 grams/ 12 oz spelt/kamut flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1.      Soak the dried fruit overnight in the Rooboisch tea.

2.      Pre-heat the oven at Gas Mark 4 (350-375°F, 180 – 190°C).

3.      Put baking parchment in a baking tin.

4.      Put all the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, cardamom, bicarbonate of soda – (except the sugar) into one bowl and mix.

5.      Put the wet/moist ingredients – soaked dried fruit, oil, water – and the sugar into another bowl and mix.

6.      Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl containing the wet ingredients.

7.       Mix well. The mixture will fall easily from the spoon.

8.      Pour the mixture into the baking tin.

9.      Bake the cake for about 20 – 30 minutes. You will be able to smell the cake when it is ready.

And to drink – sip a glass of strong ginger and cinnamon tea.

Have a happy, healthy and satisfying holiday season!