The Herb Diaries

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Sweet Potato and Parsnip Wedges

DSC_0755 Another recipe to celebrate my amazing oven in my lovely apartment! These wedges are incredibly easy to make and insanely delicious to eat. At the weekend I ate them with my Roasted Garlic and Pea Soup instead of bread (they make very good dunkers) and since then I have had them every day, chopped up into my salad box with rocket, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and white bean hummus.
This weekend I found my local market – it isn’t that big but the fruit and vegetables there were all so incredibly fresh, and the options were endless. For the second time only since I have been in France, I managed to find kale!DSC_0756 Sweet Potatoes and parsnips are so sweet and full of flavour that they hardly need anything doing to them. A good glug of olive oïl helps them crisp up well, and then I just like to add a bit of Cayenne Pepper for some heat, a pinch of good quality sea salt and some dried thyme. Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of antioxidants which help to fight inflammation in the body. Due to their fibrous make up they are great for your digestive system, and they help regulate your blood sugar levels whilst providing you with tons of betacarotene, vitamin C and vitamin B6! And the parsnips will give you an amazing boost of heart-healthy potassium and folate.

Serves 2-4
1 large sweet potato
1 large parsnip
Olive oïl
Sea salt
Cayenne Pepper
Dried thyme


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut sweet potato and parsnip into thick chunky wedges. Drizzle with olive oïl and sprinkle with salt, Cayenne and thyme. Stir/shake/rub to make sure they are evenly coated, then roast in a roasting tray for an hour. Check on them and mix them around every 20 minutes to ensure they cook evenly and don’t burn.

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New Web Address

I think I may have sent out a blank post yesterday, so first of all, sorry for any confusion!

Since yesterday, The Herb Diaries has moved and you can now find it at

I am so so excited about it and I hope you all love the new look as much as I do. The only problem is that I have not found a way to transfer all followers/subscribers, so please please take the time to re-register at the new site, as you will no longer receive update emails otherwise. I can’t thank you enough for all the love and comments so far, so I hope you will move with me and keep reading.


On the new site, I am just getting to grips with the different technology, so please bear with me and I hope it will all be sorted and working well ASAP!


Have a lovely day and hopefully see you there….

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Roasted Garlic and Pea Soup

I had such a brilliant weekend. Saturday was for seeing friends and sleeping in after a big Valentine’s Day dinner party at my friend Amelia’s, which meant that on Sunday I woke up fresh and ready to go. After I had got my run and a yoga class out the way I settled into the kitchen. I figured that having complained about being oven-less for so long, I really ought to post some baked and roasted recipes, so this soup is the first of three to come…
It sounds bizarre to go on and on about an oven and then straight away choose to make soup, but the roasted garlic makes the recipe. It gives it the most delicious caramalised flavour, making it taste more warming and winter-y than my usual pea soup recipe, which is definitely more fresh, light and summer-y. The idea comes from a soup that my aunt made for me years ago which I absolutely adored, but never got around to making, so whilst this is my take on her recipe I sadly can’t claim any credit for the (delicious) idea.
Having mentionned in my recipe for Gooey Chocolate and Caramel Bars that I have a serious chocoholic in the family, the rest of them are pretty mad about garlic… There is one who loves it more than any of us, so I have a feeling this soup may be on the menu when I go back home and see him in two weeks. DSC_0764 Garlic is used world wide to flavour food, and there are definitely very few things in my kitchen that manage to escape it. Not only is it so versatile and incredibly delicious, but thanks to a compound called allicin found in it, it actually has antibacterial properties. Whilst it contains small amounts of numerous vitamins and minerals, its most notorious health benefits come from its antioxidants (which help prevent heart-disease), immune-strengthening effects and anti-cancer properties. As if he needs encouraging… DSC_0767 Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 bulbes of garlic
1 onion
2 cups of frozen peas
1 big handful of basil
Olive oïl
Splash of cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper


Chop onion into quarters and place the wedges along with whole bulbs of garlic into a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oïl and a sprinkling of salt and roast at 180°C for 30 mintues. They may need turning/stirring in that time so keep an eye on them – it is very important that they don’t burn or even brown too much, as this will give your soup a nasty bitter taste.
In the meantime, Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook your peas, then drain and allow to cool. When the onion and garlic is ready, leave to cool for a few minutes then peel of the skins. The cloves should be cooked and sticky (and smell AMAZING). Add all ingredients (except the rocket) to the blender with some water, and blend until completely smooth. The amount of water you add depends on how thick you likek your soup – I would start with 2 cups of water and see how it goes.
Heat on the stove just before serving, garnish with rocket and a drizzle of olive oïl (some parmesan or pecorino shavings might be good here for those not avoiding dairy!) DSC_0767


Immune Boost Lemon Ginger Juice

DSC_0377I am back – I have had the busiest 2 weeks ever and I am completely exhausted! After a very big weekend of birthday celebrations with my family and best friends, I then had to move house (which is not much fun without a lift in the building!) whilst trying to keep up to date with my half marathon training, yoga, work and the Tuja 30 Day Meditation Challenge I am doing… So it is very exciting to have a quiet looking week ahead of me and an apartment with an oven!DSC_0375DSC_0376This juice is a great recipe for when you are feeling tired and run down. The combination of vitamin C packed citrus fruits and tangy ginger are sure to clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

Ginger is my absolute favourite addition to any juice – I love how fresh it tastes, and fresh ginger comes with so many amazing health benefits. Not only does it do wonders for your digestive system by improving how you absorb nutrients, but it can ease all sorts of stomach aches and stop you feeling nauseous. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will even help join and muscle pain and it is great drunk with warm water (maybe with some honey and lemon) – it is incredibly warming and soothing on a sore throat. Whilst the ginger cleanses your insides, the vitamin C from the lemon will give you glowing skin, a boost for your immune system and a happier sinus due to due to its anti-bacterial properties.

1 cucumber
2 sticks of celery
2 apples
2 clementines
1 lemon
Thumb sized piece of ginger


Juice all the ingredients, pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!


Baked Kale and Parsley Falafel

DSC_0289 I can’t believe that about two years ago I had never even tried falafel! One of my best friends, Sophie, is a MEGA fan, but I was always a bit skeptical. I can’t remember exactly when it was that she gave me a big bite of her falafel wrap in our favourite lunch spot, but it was proof that she is a legend because the falafel in that place is seriously too good to share. DSC_0266 Whenever people come to Paris they go mad for the falafel on Rue des Rosiers in the old Jewish quarter. It is such a pretty little street with delicious bakeries and so many falafel stalls, serving the most amazing pittas stuffed with red and white cabbage, tomatoes, baked aubergine, pickled jalapenos, crispy falafel and a really big dollop of creamy hummus, they are insanely good. The problem is that the falafel is deep fried, and the idea just doesn’t sit that well with me. So I decided I had to make a healthier, fresher version. DSC_0281DSC_0282 I had hoped my baked falafel would stay a bit rounder… but despite their funny flat shape, they crisped up well and make an awesome change from the heavy baked version we are all used to. They will provide you with tons of wonderful plant protein, loads of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and a big boost to the immune system thanks to the chickpeas, kale and garlic.


1 can of chickpeas
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 big handful of kale
1 handful parsley
1 tsp each of cumin and paprika
2 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper

Blitz the kale and parsley in the blender until it is in tiny pieces. Chop the onion and garlic. Add all the ingredients into the blender and pulse until the chickpeas are almost completely broken down and the mixture begins to stick.
Bake at 200 degrees celsius, turning the balls every 10 minutes until the are cooked. This should take 30-40 minutes. Serve with lemon tahini dressing (get the recipe here) in a wrap, on a salad, as a snack….



Gooey Chocolate and Caramel Bars

DSC_0356I know, without any doubt, where my sweet tooth comes from. I have a certain family member who just LOVES chocolate. Not only is this an annoying addiction to have inherited, but she makes a brutally honest judge. Nothing sweet that I have made so far has really impressed her. The usual response is that it is ok, but she would rather have a square of chocolate. Until I made this…
DSC_0328DSC_0334It is sweet, sticky and incredibly indulgent. And it is completely sugar-free, gluten-free, raw and vegan, packed full of amazing healthy coconut oil, lots of fibre from the dates, and tons of nutrients and vitamins from the nuts. Words cannot do justice to how good it tastes – something this delicious shouldn’t give you glowing skin, a clearer mind and a natural energy boost! So put down the chocolate and go and make this…


For the base

1 cup of dates
1 cup of hazelnuts
1 cup of almonds

For the caramel

1 cup of dates
2 tbsp cashew nut butter
Pinch of sea salt

For the chocolate

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of raw cacao powder

DSC_0329 Method:

Blend all the ingredients for the base until a sticky crumb forms. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper, then pour the base mixture in, and press down evenly. Put the tray in the fridge so the base can firm up.
For the middle layer, blend all the ingredients until a completely smooth caramel forms. Spread this over the base, and put the whole thing back in the fridge.
For the chocolate layer, melt the coconut oil over a very low heat and stir in the raw cacao powder. Pour/spread this evenly over the caramel.
This should really all go back in the fridge for an hour to fully firm up and make it easier to cut, but when we make it at home it doesn’t often get that long…

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Roasted Squash and Tomato Salad with Lentils, Kale and Spicy Seeds

My favourite thing about the holidays is having so much time on my hands. When I am not in a rush, there is no way I would rather spend my day than cooking, and then having a leisurely meal with my friends or family. This recipe came about from one of those days after Christmas. My sister and I spent all morning in the kitchen making this salad and my Baked Kale and Parsley Falafel for  a late lunch with our parents. I am sure we could have cooked it up much quicker than we did, but we were both completely content pottering around the kitchen, drinking tea and chatting.
It may seem like there is a lot going on, but it really is much easier than it seems, and the end result is so worth it. Apart from my dad looking a little surprised when we explained there wasn’t going to be any meat, it went down a storm, and it was such a filling and comforting meal for a cold day. The falafel was a delicious addition although not completely necessary, but do not skip out on the dressing if you just make the salad – it is amazingly creamy, and adds a much needed sharpness to the earthly sweetness of the roasted butternut squash.
Butternut squash is packed full of B vitamins which do wonders for your body – they can help ease migraine pain, relieve stress, aid memory and help increase serotonin production, keeping you healthy and happy. It will also provide you with lots of immune-boosting vitamin C, which is perfect for the miserable January weather. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and lentils have so many more benefits than people usually think – not only are they a great source of protein and slow released energy (helping you feel fuller for longer) but they contain folate and magnesium which are key to heart health.
Serves 4
1 butternut squash, do no throw away the seeds
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 1/2 cups of lentils (soaked overnight or for as long as possible)
2 handfuls of kale
Seeds from the squash
For the dressing:
1 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of paprika
Olive oïl
Sea salt
De-seed the squash and chop it into chunks. Drizzle it with olive oïl and sprinkle with salt, Pepper and fresh Rosemary, then roast at 180°C until it is soft – this will take about 40 minutes. When it has been cooking for about 30 minutes, chuck the cherry tomatoes in with the squash so they are ready at the same time.
Finely dice the carrot and celery and fry in a little olive oïl. Bring the kettle to the boil, and in boiling water and the lentils and let it simmer until the lentils are cooked – they will soak up lots of water, but you may need to drain the rest before mixing the lentils into the salad.
Blanche the kale quickly in boiling water, just enough to soften it, then leave to drain.
Toss the squash seeds in olive oïl, good quality salt and a sprinkling of paprika and cumin, then cook in a frying pan on a hob, tossing them often, until they are nicely browned. Watch them carefully because they will burn very quickly.
For the dressing, simply whisk all ingredients together, altering quantities to your taste.
Once everything is ready, toss it all in a big salad bowl, sprinkle with spicy squash seeds and drizzle with tangy lemon-tahini dressing and serve!