The Green Folder


How to Become a Vegetarian

A quick and simple guide to help you become a vegetarian

So you want to be a veggie but you have no idea how to start???  The answer is slowly and thoughtfully, probably not what you wanted to hear.

It is actually very easy, just eat a normal healthy diet.  We have all seen the charts, five vegetable etc.  All you have to do is change that tiny 50g of protein from animal to plant-based, that’s two portions of legumes or soy. In fact, if you eat a normal healthy diet, minus the meat, you would be hard pushed not to get enough protein.


Try to eat three whole grains, two legumes or soy, five veg and two fruit, three nuts/ seeds, two oils and two dairy every day.

I was taught. Eat a portion of legumes or dairy WITH a whole grain. This was way before soy products!
I found this online and it explains it perfectly

The theory is that legumes, dairy and whole grains all contain protein, but on their own, they are not complete.  You have to eat them in the correct combinations to complete them, its an amino acid thing.  More recently this has been challenged as a myth, so life has just got even easier for vegetarians, it is no longer a necessity to combine your food to get enough protein.

Here is a very good article explaining why

The advice now is, that if I eat a good combination of raw plant foods, legumes, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds and whole grains throughout the day with my fruit and veg, I do not have to eat a cow.


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The Green Folder


Beetroot deserves more than being trapped in a jar of vinegar

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating beetroot

Beetroot the beautiful purple root emerged from the sea, many centuries ago.  She shook off her sea beet coat and it is said found a home in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. She went on to become highly esteemed by the Greeks and was even offered up to Apollo. The Romans adored her, Europeans in the mid-1500’s were fascinated by her and doctors used her. The beetroot, as we would recognise now, starts to appear widely in the 17th Century, loved for her sweetness and vibrancy.  Alas, the Industrial revolution was her downfall, she was trapped, pickled and placed in tins and jars.  We still haven’t truly released her. Let’s open the lid and make her beautiful again.

Beetroot does not have to be vinegar sodden, she can be delicate and beautiful.

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The Green Folder


Classic Minestrone Soup

A vegetarian staple.  Vegetables, pasta and pulses add a hunk of wholemeal bread, top with shaved parmesan and you have a complete meal in a bowl.  Make it yourself, it is outstandingly easy, cheap and nourishing. This recipe doubles up and will keep for a couple of days and freezes well.  In fact, it tastes even better the next day.  For extra depth make your own stock.


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The Green Folder


Munchy Seeds – a powerhouse snack

Looking for a snack that is just not healthy but promotes health? I have been making these as a snack for years, my son actually tells me when we are running low! May I introduce to you the wonderful, magnesium rich,  vitamin loaded……

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Munchy Seed Mix

Skip to the bottom of the page to find out how if you do not need the blurb and just want a tasty, healthy snack!

For about 5 cups of munchy seeds, you will need a 120g bag of pine nuts,  a 190g bag of sunflower seeds,  and a 250g bag of pumpkin kernels, (or similar quantities),  Savoury spread -Marmite – and some water. It’s going to cost about $15 NZD for about 25 servings, ·60c a snack – less if you buy in bulk – I would say that is epic value, here’s why.


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The Red Folder


Couscous Salad – the way I like to eat it.

This is a look in your cupboard and see what you have kind of salad.  You need dried fruit, nuts, salt, sugar, a brown spice, onion, turmeric, olive oil and couscous. In the approximate proportions below.

  • 175g fine couscous
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • boiling water to cover about 1½ cups
  • 1½ cups dried fruit
  • 1 cup of unsalted nuts – tbsp each of sugar, brown spice and salt
  • 3-4 spring onions (finely dices red or even white onion will work)

Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and stir in the turmeric and salt. Add the oil use your fingers to rub the oil into the couscous until it looks like wet sand.  Pour over the water and cover with a tea towel and leave to 10 minutes.  I use a fork and stir a couple of times if I remember.  When the couscous is cool enough to handle get back in with your hands and break down any lumps with your finger tips, lifting your hands up and letting the grains fall back into the bowl.

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The Red Folder


Couscous – a versatile carbohydrate

A quick and simple guide to using couscous

When I think of couscous my mind fills with images of golden domes of the stuff, sitting steamed and dressed with cinnamon, dates, plump sultanas, powdered sugar, butter and roasted almonds upon great painted plates. It sits proudly waiting to soak up saffron chicken or dark earthy beef and lamb dishes. I am a great fan of this clever and versatile carbohydrate, so am deeply disappointed if I ever spy dry, cold, pale or worse still, clumpy couscous.

Couscous has now become a mainstream carbohydrate, with a little love it can steal the show.

Despite popular belief, couscous is a pasta, not a grain and treated with a little care can be a spectacular salad, side or as a veggie the main dish. It originates from and is still a staple of the North African region that includes Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Libya. It is made of semolina and wheat flour but can be made with whole wheat, millet and barley.
couscous is a happy golden carbohydrate

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The Green Folder


Lentils – so not brown and boring

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating lentils

As a vegetarian, I am continually asked what I eat. Not in a, how do you get your protein way, literally most conversations go something like this:

waiterMe: Oh… No thanks

Meat Eater: Sure, they’re tasty?

Me: Thank you, no.

Meat Eater:  Go on, there’s plenty here.

Me: No thank you, sorry, I’m a vegetarian,

Meat eater: Do you eat chicken?

Me: No

Meat Eater: Fish?

Me: No, nothing with a face.

Meat Eater……..Oh….what do you eat then?

Me: Well a combination of nuts grains, vegetables, fruit, pulses……mostly.

Meat Eater and now usually with an on looker.  Snigger,  what’s a pulse?

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The Red Folder

cropped-p1120878.jpgRaspberry Chocolate Cheesecake – it’s addictive

The best ever slice

I will not lie, this brownie makes a lot of washing up and requires that you grease and line the tin and grease it again.  You also have to make a nerve racking call on when it is ready to come out of the oven, then wait patiently while is cools and sets. Normally this amount of work and effort would send this recipe to the archives.  When I am making it, I huff and puff and wonder why.  Then when it is done and the first slice is cut and tasted I remember why.  Nearly everyone who bakes asks me for the recipe once they have eaten a piece.  Trust me it is worth the effort and the steps are actually very easy.

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The Red Folder


Meringue – Best ever no fail recipe

I recently had to produce dozens and dozens of meringues, which all had to look and eat the same.  There are many variations but this is my go to recipe as it is stable and has never once failed me.  It produces a meringue with a crisp shell and soft chewy center. Once made these meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.  The variations are endless, dip them in melted chocolate, swirl a fruit puree through the mixture before spooning out.  Stack them high, smash them for Eton Mess.  You can top with a hazelnut spread and chopped nuts, colour them with freeze dried fruit powder.  Pipe the mixture and sandwich together with curd of cream….as I said, endless.

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