Black Bean Soup

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of soup for lunch on a cold, wet, drab winter’s day. With it’s mixture of spices and nourishing legumes, this soup will certainly take away the chill.

Black beans are very good for you with their high protein and fibre content – so not only does this taste delicious, it also has health benefits!


300g Dried (no-need-to-soak) Black Turtle Beans (700g when cooked)
2 Small red onions, chopped (approx 180g)
2 Carrots, diced (approx 230g)
2 Sticks celery, finely chopped (approx 60g)
1 Tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 Chicken stock cube**
1 Beef Oxo cube**
1 tin Chopped tomatoes
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Mild Chilli powder
1tsp Crushed chillies
1tsp Garlic granules
1.5 litres of water for the black beans
1 litre of boiling water for the chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper


1. Add 1.5 litres of cold water to a large pan along with the beans and bring to the boil.
Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour – making
sure to check that the pan does not boil dry. (Alternatively follow the instructions on
the pack or use 700g (drained) tinned beans).
2. In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the vegetables until they start softening.
3. Add all the spices and cook through for a minute or two.
4. Add three quarters of the beans and the stock plus some salt and ground black pepper
and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Use a hand held blender and whizz up the soup to the consistency that you prefer.
6. Sprinkle on the Oxo cube and mix thoroughly.
7. Add the remainder of the beans and simmer for a further 10 mins.
8. Adjust the consistency with water if you would like a thinner soup.
9. Serve with some crusty bread and butter.


If you’re interested, a 300g bowl of this soup is approximately 150 calories! Enjoy!

**(This can be made vegan if the stock cubes are substituted)


High carb bars

My husband often uses thousands of calories on a training ride or run, so he needs high carb snacks. For a couple of years now I have been making these – we call them ‘high carb bars’.

The bars are based on certain brand of wholefood bar which conveniently has a list of its ingredients in percentages on the back of the wrapper. These bars are gluten, wheat and dairy free. My variation aren’t necessarily dairy free, as I add chocolate, but they could be.

Five ingredients
Just five ingredients

To make my bars I use a Vitamix. This is a high powered machine which is good at whizzing up stuff. You could also use a food processor. To make the bars without a machine you would just need to bash up the dried fruit, almonds and chocolate in a bowl, perhaps using the rounded end of a rolling pin.


Once all the ingredients are combined, I squish the mixture up together in my hands and then pop it onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and form it into a square sausage.

Square sausage

I weigh it at this stage and because I have already worked out the total number of calories in the recipe, I can work out how many calories per gram. I cut it into 9 or 10 pieces depending on how many calories I want in each piece. For this batch I have cut 52g pieces which are 208 calories and 26g of carbs per slice.

Slices high carb bar
Slices of high carb bar

The beauty of these bars is that they can be taken in the back pocket of a cycling jersey and eaten on the go. To make this easier I wrap them in rice paper.

Wrapped in rice paper


Dried Dates – 180g
Almonds – 100g
Cranberries – 68g
Cocoa Powder – 24g
Dark chocolate – 50g

Using this recipe, the bars are approximately 4 calories and 0.5g carbs per g

(The original recipe used 110g Cashews, but I prefer almonds and I wanted to make it more chocolatey so I added the chocolate. I have used cranberries instead of the original raisins because they have a slightly higher carbohydrate content – the bar is also delicious using raisins).


Mash the dates and cranberries, blitz the almonds and chocolate and add to the mix, along with the cocoa powder – mix with your hands until you have an even consistency. Alternatively add all ingredients to a food processor/Vitamix and whizz together until mixed.  Form into any shape/size bars you fancy.

Take on a cycle ride and boost your energy reserves!