One of the things I love about this meal is that it’s quick to make, and is a great way to get a shed load of salad greens into the family.

Serves 4

1-2 cups butternut, cut into 1cm cubes
5 peppers, cut into slices or squares
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs

2 teaspoons pumpkin and sunflower seeds (optional)

Generous pinch/es of sea salt
Generous grinding of coarse black pepper

A good drizzle of balsamic
Olive oil
A plateful of salad leaves per person, such as lambs lettuce, Batavia, radicchio
A few cherry tomatoes per person
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven 230C. Place veges for roasting into a roasting pan and drizzle well with olive oil, balsamic, and mix the seasonings through.

Bake for about 30 minutes or so until the pumpkin is tender. Either add the pumpkin seeds and bake for a few more minutes, or put them raw onto the veg when serving.

Arrange the roast vegetables on top of the salad leaves.

This is a fabulous meal for these warm Summer evenings, or a lazy Sunday lunch. Enjoy! ~ Veronika

20150525_180337I adore cooking (unless I’m exhausted). Beans and pulses soaking overnight in water, fresh herbs on a sunny windowsill, chatting with my husband or daughters. The scent of freshly ripped basil leaves or ginger or lemon zest invading my senses. Delicious.



All these things, and more, make a kitchen feel like home. The scents and flavours absorb my attention. It is my creative workspace, and interestingly, it is in my kitchen cooking up meals where I often cook up ideas for my novels.

I dream of a large open-plan kitchen with conservatory style ceiling, and an Aga for those chilly Winter months, with a huge old oak dining table for friends and family to gather around. But even in a regular kitchen, I feel at home with my tools and ingredients.

A few years back, I wrote The Mystic Cookfire. It was meant to be a small collection of favourite recipes I cooked when I was editor of The Mother magazine and hosted annual family camps. The book is anything but small, with over 280 plant-based wholefood recipes, and a whopping 434 pages.



In amongst writing my novels, I have a couple of other recipe books on the go. In My Kitchen, and Cooking by Degrees (recipes for university students). I hope you’ll join me as I share recipes (all trial and error, of course) on my blog from time to time. I’d love your feedback.

Beans are a fantastic source of protein, regardless of whether you adhere to a plant-based diet or not. It’s easy to soak beans (and by soaking them yourself you’ll be unlikely to experience wind like you would with canned varieties). Simply soak overnight, and rinse, then leave to soak some more until you’re ready to cook.

Pinto and Sweet Potato with balsamic rice
Serves 6-8

500g dried pinto beans, soaked overnight (minimum of 12 hours), rinsed
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1 cm cubes
2 peppers, chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 T tamari (wheat-free soya sauce)
4 bay leaves
Olive oil
4 T smoked paprika
700g passata
2 T sea salt
1 T coarsely ground black pepper
2 t bouillon
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey or maple syrup
1-2 cups water

Cook the beans until soft.

When done, rinse and leave to one side. Cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft, then add the sweet potato, bay leaves, and peppers. When softened, add garlic and paprika. After a minute, add the water and leave to simmer for a while until the potato is tender. Add the remaining ingredients including the beans. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with balsamic rice and salad.