Homemade ketchup

This ketchup is our traditional family recipe, and it turns out a bit different every time. Depending on the type of tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar we use and also how many and what kind of chilies we use. However, the process of making it is always the same. It could take an entire day to make it, but we keep taking our turns in chopping and stirring.

I made this as a contribution to Christine Wong’s  #plasticfreefoodie E-magazine (vol 2), which is  a compilation of recipes and tips on how to cook and live plastic-free. The aim of the magazine is to raise money to preserve and clean our oceans for the Plastic Oceans and Lonely Whale initiatives (100% of the proceeds will be donated to them). I encourage everyone to purchase both volumes, not only will you get great recipes and tips, you will also support great causes with each purchase.

ON SALE AT https://payhip.com/b/XrKi

All of the ingredients used for my ketchup were either packed in a glass jar or a paper bag and most came from our garden and this recipe is therefore fully plastic-free. I used sweet potatoes from Riverdale Organic Farm for my sweet potato chips, Abel and Cole purple carrots for my crispy carrot sticks, and the potatoes were from my own garden. I cut out bits of the potatoes with sprouts and planted them in flower pots in my little urban garden.





Ingredients list:

3kg (106 oz) tomatoes

6 pc red or mixed peppers

6 apples

2 handfuls of celeriac stalks with leaves (or leafy parts of celery sticks)

1-3 chili peppers (this depends on how spicy you want your ketchup to be)

½ kg (18 oz) onions

2 ½ Tbs  unrefined sea salt

½ – 1 cup unrefined brown sugar (this depends on how sweet your tomatoes are and how sweet you want your ketchup to be)

2 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar (Biona)

2 muscat nuts (ground)

2 tsp ground cinnamon (Steenbergs)

1 ½ tsp paprika

5 pc cloves

2 large carrots

1 generous handful of parsley



Clean and chop all of the fruit and vegetables (grate the carrots and leave the celeriac and parsley whole) and place them in a large pot. Stir frequently and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until everything is soft.

Take out the leaves and blend everything together with a hand held plunge blender. Strain the blended mixture with a manual stainless steel strainer or push it through a stainless steel sieve. To not waste anything, you can make patties from the pulp or freeze them for later.

Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and cook while stirring regularly for about 2 hours. Next, taste it see how sweet you want your ketchup to be and add the sugar accordingly. Cook for a further 2 hours or until the ketchup becomes thick to your liking. The more you cook, thicker it gets.

Pour into clean glass jars while still hot and tighten lids immediately.

Making your own ketchup is rather time consuming, but to me, it is a lovely family affair, when everyone takes their turn to stir.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This delicious chocolate cake has no refined sugar, dairy or gluten. I made it using just a bit of coconut sugar, erythritol and maple syrup, with the main ingredients being nuts and tofu!



I first greased my pie dish with some Nutiva coconut oil and sprinkled it with ground almonds from Wholefoods, while I was preheating the oven to 170 degrees C (340 degrees F).



I combined the following first with a hand held mixer and then with my hands:
1/4 cup coconut sugar Sevenhills Wholefoods
1/4 cup erythritol
1/4 cup coconut flour Sukrin
1/4 cup raw cacao powder Aduna
1/4 cup pure almond butter Meridian
4 tsp melted coconut oil Nutiva
1 tsp pure vanilla extract Wholefoods
1 flax egg (1 Tbs of ground flax seed and 3 Tbs of water mixed together and set aside for about 10 minutes).
I pressed the mixture up the sides and over the bottom of the pie dish. Then I baked it for 12 minutes and left it to cool down for 30 minutes.


Chocolate peanut butter filling:

I placed the following ingredients in a freestanding mixer:
1 package of silken tofu; drained Clearspring ( 290g or about 1,2 oz)
1 bar (100g) Green&Blacks 85% chocolate melted in a double boiler together with 1 tsp of salt Cornish Sea Salt and 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract Waitrose
1/2 cup of smooth pure peanut butter Meridian
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 Tbs of freshly made cashew milk.
After everything was well combined and the texture became really smooth, I placed the pie in the refrigerator for an hour while I was making the nest and the eggs.

As chocolate contains important nutrients it should be included in our diet. It is, however,  better for us to eat it earlier in the day!

Chocolate Nest:


50g of  Green&Blacks 85% chocolate
1 cup of quinoa pops
1 cup of shredded coconut Wholefoods
I melted the chocolate, mixed in the coconut and the pops. Then I pressed it in a bowl to form a nest and refrigerated for 2 hours.

Cashew Easter eggs:

1/2 cup of soaked cashew nuts
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
2 Tbs of maple syrup
lime juice  from 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp of fresh vanilla
I mixed everything together and placed in the freezer for an hour before making the eggs.


Chocolate and hazelnut Easter Eggs:

1/2 cup of soaked hazelnuts
2 Tbs of  Aduna raw cacao powder
2 Tbs of date syrup Meridianpinch of Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp of fresh vanilla

Again, I placed the mixture in the freezer for an hour and then rolled the eggs in matcha powder, beetroot powder and raw cacao.

I made quite few of the eggs and whatever did not fit in to the nest, I just enjoyed as a little treat.


Spiced aubergine, squash patties, salad with harissa and pomegranate dressing.

First of all, thank you for reading my first recipe post on the blog. To make this occasion more special, I teamed up with my friends at www.steenbergs.co.uk and have a great GIVEAWAY for you.

All you need to do to enter my competition is to sign up to my blog (via the Mailing List signup on the right). The winner will be randomly selected next week and will receive a set of Arabic spices which I used in my recipe below (Ras al-Hanut, Harissa with Rose, Dukkah and Zaatar), plus a Jute bag, mug and a tea towel. Steenbergs spices come in glass jars and I love using them.

Spiced aubergine chips

1 Aubergine Riverford

2 tsp of Steenbergs organic Harissa with Rose

2 Tbs of Sainsbury’s organic tomato paste

1 Tbs of Odysea pomegranate molasses

pinch of Himalayan salt

I cut the aubergines and prepared the marinade by mixing all the ingredients together. Then I coated the aubergines and left to sit while I prepared the patties.

Spicy squash patties

1 oven roasted organic squash Tescofood

1/2 cup of graham flour Dovesfarm

3 Tbs  of chestnut flour

1/2 cup of Biona amaranth pops

2 tsp of Steenbergs Ras al-Hanut seasoning

1 tsp of dried oregano

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

pinch of Himalayan salt

black pepper

1 tsp of ground turmeric Wholefoodsuk

2 Tbs of Rawhealtorganic olive oil

1 Tbs of black sesame seeds Wholefoodsuk

I blended everything together and placed in the refrigerator for 10 minutes,  preheated the oven to 200 degrees C (390 F) and baked the patties together with the aubergine chips for 20 minutes.

Harissa and pomegranate salad

2 cup of spinach

1/2 of blood orange Riverford

1/4 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds

spicy aubergine chips


2 Tbs of pomegranate molasses Odysea

2 tsp of date syrup  Meridian

3 Tbs of raw olive oil Rawhealth

1 tsp of Harissa with rose seasoning Steenbergs

pinch of Himalayan salt

I mixed the vegetables together and whisked the dressing.

Additionally I also mixed 2 tsp of Steenbergs Zaatar with 1 Tbs of Rawhealth olive oil to dip the patties in.

As part of my healthy anti-aging diet, I believe in eating a lot of colourful  fruit and vegetables. I eat something from each colour group every day to make sure that I get enough nutrients.  I will be discussing rejuvenating food throughout my blog and as for this recipe, there would be plenty to talk about. For example, squash contains beta carotene which is essential for healthy skin and so is the folic acid found in spinach. Pomegranates contain phytochemicals that help to recharge our cells and rejuvenate us within.

Using herbs and spices in your food not only gives it that extra delicious flavor; they are also anti-inflammatory and they boost our metabolism, to name just a few benefits. They should be included in any anti-aging diet.




My journey to natural rejuvenation.

My name is Em.

I turned 44 over a week ago and I got this beautiful bicycle from my loving family. I don’t think there is a better symbol for a new fresh start than an aquamarine bicycle filled with flowers.

I am a long-time procrastinator and a proud owner of 101 excuses about why I did not start this blog 10 years ago, when I first had the idea.

Well, I did start a blog with 3 posts in 2013, got back to it in 2016 for a few more posts and stopped.

A lot has changed since then, including my outlook on rejuvenation and eternal youth.

I have been researching this subject for the past 10 years, browsing through countless websites, university lectures, research papers and other academic publications. I have been reading magazines and books and whenever I came across a study (because wherever we turn there is a study!), I went online and fished for the source to learn more.

I did an online nutritional and naturopathic course because it was cheap and I thought it would widen my perspective. Furthermore, whenever I visited my son at Cornell University, I went to a lecture on nutrition and bothered professors with a million questions. I bothered many people with questions trying to figure out the best approach to my subject of interest.

I have been experimenting with food, nutrition, fitness, yoga, beauty rituals and lifestyle choices based on my research, just to see what works for me. My quest for the answers and explanations only lead me to more questions.

Even though we cannot fight time and there is no elixir of youth, rejuvenation is possible if we take the right approach to life. And of course, there is no such thing as one-fits-all.

This is my journey.

It is all about nature for me. I am petrified of doctors and would never be able to go for Botox or a filler, so whenever I hear about natural and non-invasive alternatives rooted in food and lifestyle, my eyes widen and my ears perk up.

As part of this journey, I will be posting my recipes, beauty and fitness tips, and explaining my lifestyle and diet choices. I will be sharing my opinions on some of the studies and books I come across as well.

I believe in the power of conversation and I hope to make my blog engaging.


Thank you for reading this.