Mulled ‘Wine’ (alcohol-free)

Makes 4-5 glasses

Vegan; no grains, dairy or cane sugar

Hot, spiced fragrant mulled wine, cider or juice is a welcoming treat when entertaining on cool evenings. It’s fun, innovative and healthy to offer guests the option of a special drink without alcohol. If you use this recipe, you can partake anytime.

There are many versions of mulled wine, but commonly it includes red wine, spices and citrus. To “mull” is to heat and spice. Cheap wine was disguised in this way by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It re-established itself as fashionable in the 70s, perhaps served before fondue by an open fire. Bell-bottoms obligatory. Read more

Genuinely Healthy Wraps (most others aren’t)

No gluten or dairy – with options for grains, nightshades, legumes, plant and animal protein

Smoking was once thought of as glamourous. The reality is especially ironic in terms of the associated premature ageing; wrinkles; yellowed skin, nails and teeth; bad breath; as well as chronic and killer diseases.

Before purchasing a prepared food be sure to turn the product over and check out its reality in terms of ingredients. Most wraps have a long list of highly processed artificial additives to cheaply keep them fakely flavoured, supple and long lasting. Read more

Lamb Chops with Cumin Pesto

Serves 2-3

(Paleo; no gluten, dairy, egg, nightshades or legumes)

Finger-licking and succulent. The marinade or its mixing with the meat can be done well in advance. Prep on the night is therefore quick and easy. I’ve tried this on the grill and the barbeque. Although good, this pan fried version has the best flavour. Serve with potato or kumara wedges and salad. Or with mixed steamed veg (eg cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, chopped garlic) tossed with more olive oil and sea salt with kelp. Guests rave about these vegetable combos, yet they couldn’t be simpler. Read more

Romesco: Spanish Summer Sauce/Dip

Makes 1½ cups
(Vegan; no gluten, dairy, egg or legumes)

Vibrant in colour and taste. Use this hot on pasta, potato, green beans, legumes, boiled eggs, fish or chicken. Or serve cold as a dip, or as a dressing on salad. Variations follow. Great use for sun-blessed summer vegetables. There are many regional variations of Romesco. The veg might be fried or roasted and then pureed with toasted bread and hazelnuts or almonds. Historically, this was one of the many ways to use up stale bread. The result is thick, hearty with the vivid red of tomato and capsicum.

Some people do not do well with the nightshade family of vegetables (including potato, tomato and peppers; contact this office for an allergy test). However, eating them only when in season can increase tolerance. Read more

Mediterranean Marinated Mushrooms

Makes 12

Vegan; no gluten, grain, dairy, soy or cane sugar.

Serve these as finger food; as a side dish to BBQs, rice or pasta; or like a pickle or relish accompaniment to plain fish, tofu, legumes, meat, egg dishes or anything that would benefit from flavourful zing.

Mushrooms are grown in compost, not soil. They are a good source of selenium, a mineral low in New Zealand soils. A deficiency is linked with the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Read more

Chia Dessert or Breakfast Pudding: 4 Fast Fab Flavours

Chocolate; Apricot Coconut; Apple Cinnamon; Vanilla Fig

Serves 2; 5 minutes prep

Raw vegan and Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy or cane sugar

Yes, it might seem incongruous, but this is thick, creamy and dreamy enough for dessert while having superfood nutrient levels to qualify as breakfast.

Chia looks like tiny dark sesame seeds. It is similar to linseed or flaxseed in its nutrition powerhouse properties such as soluble fibre, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. It has more antioxidants – including flavonoids, quercetin and phenolics – than many berries and other fruits. For digestibility, chia does not need to be ground or cooked like linseed does. Soaking though will maximise its high soluble fibre content, which is excellent for weight and blood sugar management, liver and bowel function. Read more

Turkish Pizza

Serves 2-3

(No gluten, dairy, soy, yeast or tomato; with options for sugar)

Traditionally the word ‘pizza’ isn’t used, but the Turks do a lamb and tomato sauce version called lahmacun. Instead of cheese, a yoghurt and garlic sauce is added before serving.

I enjoyed a pizza recently at a Turkish café and sought to reproduce the textures and tastes without dairy or tomato. This deliciously succeeds. Serve with a leafy green salad with beetroot, or with coleslaw. Using a thicker pizza base will be more filling. Both of the bases listed below (see also Pizza for many more options) and all other ingredients are in most supermarkets. Note that most commercial hummus has dairy. I list two that do not. Or use my easy homemade version. Read more

Tikka-Spice Lentil Patties

Serves 3-4

(Vegan; no gluten, dairy, egg, nightshades or grain)

Enjoy the crisp texture, moist interior and mild Indian flavours. Serve with roasted, steamed or mashed vegetables. Or with a hearty salad such as Coleslaw with Tahini Dressing. The patties cook in just 4 minutes. Make a double batch and freeze some – shaped but uncooked – for an easy meal later. Left-overs are also good cold for lunch. Cook extra quinoa* – and lentils, or use tinned – and use in soup, stew or salad.

Every ingredient is available in good supermarkets. Spices are one of the highest sources of many antioxidants, minerals and specialised phytonutrients designed to protect plants and thus those who eat them. Legumes are a good source of protein, soluble and insoluble fibre. These qualities are excellent for blood sugar regulation and thus vitality and weight management. Read more