Was I dreaming…

Was I dreaming…

Or did I really hear that imperfection is the new perfection?

In a world where we are bombarded by social media and advertising that only seems to accept the “best of the best” is it okay to talk about what we cook for dinner every night? Why do we find it so hard to feed our children what we want, or should, be feeding them? No matter how young or old your kids are, their tastes and likes make them hard to feed. How do we reconcile this, accept it, and keep everyone happy?

My rule is, keep it simple. As much as I advocate the imperfect meal, I also maintain that what makes it imperfect is the simplicity. Our house rule is….one protein, one veggie, one carb and a salad. I try to cook from scratch and not open a box and then I know that preservatives are minimized. Agreed, we don’t all have the luxury of time to do that, but I do think that if my body recognizes what I eat, then there’s a good chance that it will break it down and use it, rather than store it in places where it could hurt me later.

Protein is a simple grilled meat or fish, or something I marinated and froze. Vegetables are always crisp, sautéed in a little olive oil, knob of butter, garlic and ginger. You can prepare these in advance and freeze, defrosting as much as you need, as and when you need it. A carbohydrate is usually a grain cooked in chicken broth in the rice cooker. Salad can be anything that’s in the fridge tossed with a little apple cider vinegar and olive oil – according to taste. The only real planning is the protein. That can be decided the weekend before, and frozen in individual zip locks for the week ahead. Grains always work best if they’re soaked in the morning and your chosen salad dressing can be made in an old mayonnaise or jam jar and stored in the fridge.

This is the standard guideline to dinner in our house. I have three children with varying likes and dislikes. Simple protein ideas can include steak, pork chops, tenderloin, butterflied chicken breasts, chicken thighs, lamb, any sustainably caught fish including prawns, shrimp etc. Marinate in olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper. Balsamic vinegar adds a wonderful flavour to meats and if you can get the white balsamic it works well with fish too, imparting a wonderful sweetness. If you don’t have time to make your own marinade, make sure you look at the ingredients of a store bought brand to ensure that it is free from preservatives and additives, like our own DIVINE marinades. Grains that work the best are brown rice, black rice, red rice, barley, quinoa and lentils. Potatoes, carrots, peas and sweetcorn count as reliable and satisfying carbs. Vegetables can be anything from string beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, snap peas, celery,zucchini, kale. Anything green and leafy is good. Salad can be simple with just lettuce, tomatoes and a sprinkling of sunflower of pumpkin seeds, flaked almonds or cashews. I like to roast them first for a richer flavor. Also add a few dried cranberries too for extra antioxidant supplement. Keeping it simple makes it delicious and healthy!

Don’t we always struggle

Don’t we always struggle

to find a healthy snack? Sometimes I need more than a piece of fruit to get me through! It’s okay for me to cheat but when it comes to my kids, I wish I could give them some better options.

My eldest loves granola bars, and although I always knew that the store bought ones were not the best especially in terms of sugar content, I never really did much about it because I tried to make my own once and no one liked them, so that was that! Well yesterday, I tried again, and knowing what I put in them, I think we should all try again.

I once made these with buckwheat as someone told me it was better for you, but it was just too hard to chew so went back to good old fashioned oats! This time I used coconut oil instead of butter.

I also used honey, greatly reducing the amount of processed sugar. I added freshly dried coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, nuts, flax meal, chia seeds and finally dates for natural sweetness and a lovely chewy fruit texture. When the batch was cooked, I cut them into bars, wrapped them up individually, gave them to my kids and asked them to share with their friends – ensuring that no one suffered from NUT ALLERGIES.

I also made extra and I use it as granola in the mornings with yogurt and honey.

Here is my favorite recipe. Add more of anything that you like, especially the seeds. Remember to keep the sugar low!

Where all sickness starts

Where all sickness starts

Have you heard about the new craze? GUT Control. NO, it isn’t about sucking in your stomach to make yourself look trimmer….it’s all about good bacteria. Nowadays it seems as

though everywhere you look they’re advertising, or talking about probiotics and how we can control everything from weight loss to cancer by eating sauerkraut and kimchee! Perhaps we can, so I want to know more….

This is a round-about way to explain how I feel, so please bear with me. The author of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt, was an English teacher at my high school when I was there. He never taught me and, at the time, was not yet a famous author, but I do remember that he never seemed to be a very happy man. Obviously after reading his first novel, I could see why. Well I read a couple of interviews with him when he became world renown and he said “ a writer I searched and searched for years for the story that would make me famous….little did I know that THAT story had been with me my whole life…” This is exactly how I feel about kimchee. I searched and searched to learn more about how to keep my family healthy, and little did I know that kimchee – the dirty (horrifically smelly) little secret that I’ve known all my life IS the panacea!!

One of my friends heard Dr David Agus speak at a conference and raved about him and his findings. So I googled him and have been obsessed with what he has to say.

Please take the time to view his many YouTube presentations. Also think through what type of probiotic foods you can be feeding your family. Be careful about probiotic supplements – do your research and find one that works for you.

One of my kids’ favorites, when I’m not serving them kimchee, is to drain yoghurt in a strainer with a paper towel. I then serve the ‘hardened’ yogurt with some salt, olive oil and lots of toasted dukka. Dried sage works well too. We spread it on grainy bread or crackers…….my kids love it! You can use it as cream cheese or in lieu of any cheese to make tiramisu, cheesecake, ricotta pancakes. Try it for yourself and experiment. Also, the drained liquid from the yoghurt is liquid GOLD – a pure probiotic explosion. My son drinks it and says it’s delicious. My girls don’t drink it unless they’re sick as they’ve noticed it always makes them feel better.

One of my colleagues gave me a kombucha-like recipe made with apple cider vinegar. I personally think it’s brilliant, though very spicy!. You may need to brush your teeth afterwards too, but it’s worth a try.Please see the recipe below.

Also our own DIVINE spicy paste can be used as a condiment for everything. It is made with gochujang fermented soy beans and chili powder, which means it packs a healthy probiotic punch of its own!

More to come on the probiotic way of life.


Master tonic - Recipe


  • 24 oz /700 ml apple cider vinegar (always use organic)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 fresh peppers, the hottest you can find (be careful with the cleaning - wear gloves!!!)
  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder or 2 pieces of turmeric root


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a Mason jar.

  3. Pour in some apple cider vinegar and fill it to the top. It is best if 2/3 of the jar consist of dry ingredients, and fill in the rest with vinegar.

  4. Close well and shake.

  5. Keep the jar in a cool and dry place for 2 weeks. Shake well several times a day.

  6. After 14 days, squeeze well and strain the liquid through a plastic strain. For better results put a gauze over it. Squeeze well so the whole juice comes out.

  7. Use the rest of the dry mixture when cooking.

  8. Your master tonic is ready for use. You do not need to keep the tonic in your fridge. It will last for a long time.

Recipe Notes

You may want to wear gloves during the preparation, especially when handling hot peppers, because it is difficult to get the tingling off your hands! Be careful, its smell is very strong, and it may stimulate the sinuses instantly.

Extra Tip: You can also use it in the kitchen - mix it with some olive oil and use it as a salad dressing or in your stews.

1.    Caution: The flavor is very strong and hot!
2.    Extra Tip: Eat a slice of orange, lemon or lime after you take the tonic to ease the burning sensation and heat.
3.    Gargle and swallow.
4.    Do not dilute it in water as it will reduce the effect.
5.    Take 1 tablespoon every day to strengthen the immune system and fight cold.
6.    Increase the amount every day until you reach a dose of 1 small glass per day (the size of a liquor glass).
7.    If you struggle against more serious disease or infection, take 1 tablespoon of the tonic 5-6 times a day.
8.    It is safe for pregnant women and children (use small doses!) because the ingredients are all-natural and contain no toxins.

Who is ANDI?

Who is ANDI?

No it isn’t a person… it is a guide to help us navigate what foods are most nutritious for the calories they impart. Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) was created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and introduced in his book, Eat For Health and Eat Right America Nutritarian Handbook. A score is calculated by dividing nutrient amount by the calorie of the food to produce a health value  H=(N/C). Maximum score is 1000 and minimum is 0. Some foods that score 1000 are the usual suspects like mustard greens, kale and watercress. Surprisingly, bok choy and radishes score very high too! Meats and seafood score below 50, that is to be expected. Read more with Dr. Fuhrman’s link, . Trying to feed our families in an  efficient and smarter way!