Calgary Avansino's new cookbook, Keep It Real, is packed full of wholesome advice.

Here are three recipes you can try out for yourself.


(Makes 12, serves three to four)



  • 275g broccoli florets (about one large head)
  • 125g plain almonds (not roasted, salted or sweetened)
  • 1 large egg
  • 10g basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 5g coriander leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 10g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/8tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper


PREHEAT the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Place your broccoli florets in a steamer and steam for approximately 10 minutes, until tender and still bright green, rather than mushy and going grey; keep checking them with a knife to ensure they don’t overcook. Once steamed, refresh in cold water to stop the cooking and leave in a colander to drain.

In a food processor or high-powered blender, grind the almonds into a fine powder and place in a mixing bowl. Then pulse the steamed broccoli in the food processor or blender until finely chopped (not pureed) and place in the bowl with the almonds.

Whisk the egg in a separate small bowl, then add to the mixing bowl along with the basil, parsley, coriander - if using, Parmesan, garlic and cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper.

Mix everything well, until thoroughly combined, then using your hands, make approximately 12 ‘meatballs’, pressing them firmly together to be sure they retain their shape.

Place the balls on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are just turning golden brown


(Serves four asamain or six to eight as a side dish)



  • 1 large cauliflower (about 750g after trimming)
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground nutmeg
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 15 mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 60g pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 100g goats’ cheese, crumbled
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper


CORE and cut the cauliflower into medium florets. Blitz the florets in a food processor until they resemble couscous.

Do it in two batches if the food processor is more than threequarters full.

Don’t over-blend, otherwise it will become pureed – that’s baby food, not couscous.

Add two tablespoons of olive oil and fluff with a fork, then season with the salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add all the remaining ingredients except the lime juice and toss together. Add additional olive oil, salt and pepper if necessary. Pour the lime juice over the top.


(Makes about 15)



  • 125g buckwheat flour (available from Sainsbury’s, Ocado and many other outlets - alongwith the other less common ingredients in this recipe)
  • 25g cacao powder
  • 1/2tsp Himalayan salt (pink crystal rock salt)
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 120g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), roughly chopped
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 4tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g dried cranberries
  • Shelled hemp seeds, to sprinkle


COMBINE the flour, cacao, salt and baking soda in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and sit it above a pan of simmering water without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

In a food processor, blend the coconut sugar with the coconut oil.

Add the eggs one by one, then add the vanilla extract and finally the melted chocolate. Mix until just combined.

Add the chocolate mix to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula. Then fold in the dried cranberries and mix until combined.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool down. Once the dough has cooled a little, you are ready to bake.

Drop tablespoons of the sticky chocolate mix on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 5cm between each cookie, then sprinkle with hemp seeds.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for five to eight minutes before transferring to a wire rack. The cookies will feel quite soft when they first come out of the oven but will firm up.

Once cooled, the cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.