Hi, my name is Julie. I am 58 years old and live in a small town on the edge of the Cotswolds in the UK. I have been vegetarian for 20 years and Vegan for five years.
Before I became a vegan I was 60lbs overweight; I knew I had to do something about it and had wanted to go vegan for some time. Since then my life has changed so much, I feel fitter and healthier than almost any time in my life.
Although I chose to go vegan, I also want to eat ‘healthy’ so I avoid the food chain as much as possible leaving all processed foods out of my diet, preparing meals using wholesome natural ingredients.
I grow my vegetables as much as I can, although not as much as I would like.
People often say to me, “Oh I don’t have time to prepare meals like you do” but I work full time for the health service so I don’t have lots of time either. I go to the gym, but I’m not obsessive, I spend on average about 6 hours a week in the gym.
I love to try to show people who easy it is to eat healthily and the benefits are amazing. I never feel I am ‘missing out’ in any way, quite the opposite the meals I prepare now are just so tasty.
My dream would be to run a little café/deli where I could serve my food; I would love to spend my days feeding people delicious vegan food.
- Moroccan butternut squash tagine with spicy couscous
- 400g shallots
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 1 large butternut squash, about peeled, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 450ml vegetable stock
- 12 small pitted prune
- 2 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
- Large bunch coriander
- Large bunch mint (keep some back for serving) For the couscous
- 250g couscous
- 1 tbsp Harissa paste
- 400g can chickpea, rinsed and drained
- I lemon
- Fry the shallots in the oil for 5 mins until they are softening and browned.
- Add the squash and spices, and stir for 1 min.
- Pour in the stock, season well, then add the prunes and peppers.
- Cover and simmer until the squash is tender.
- Add the peppers and cook for 8-10 mins until just tender.
- Stir in the coriander and mint.
- Pour 400ml boiling water over the couscous in a bowl, then stir in the harissa with ½ tsp salt.
- Tip in the chickpeas, and squeeze in the lemon juice. Cover and leave for 5 mins.
- Fluff up with a fork I think this is better made the day before so that the flavours really come together Serve sprinkled with lots of fresh mint
Julie french is an inspirational plant based epicurean maven with a penchant for gardening, nature, and her pets. Follow her for more vegan inspiration on her Instagram and beautiful photos.