I spent a good chunk of the Christmas holidays with my nose firmly shoved into Tim Spector’s latest book, Food For Life – a culmination of years of his own and others’ research into how to eat well. The food and drink that will help us thrive...and what we should actively avoid. 

A large part of Tim’s research, particularly around the Zoe programme he helped devise, centres around gut health, which is a fascinating, growing field in the science and nutrition arenas. 

The friendly bugs in our gut are said to massively contribute to the health of our immune system, happiness and more. 

According to the science, we should be aiming to eat at least 30 different plants a week to feed our microbiome – from fruit and veg, to spices and pulses.  

We’ve actually put a chart up in our kitchen – a kind of family competition if you will – noting down every different plant we eat during the week. So far I’m winning, though I AM making a curry this weekend which will hitch everyone else’s numbers up considerably. 

This week’s recipe is filled with delicious ingredients known to be loved by the ‘good’ bacteria in our tummies. Garlic, onion, ginger, citrus, chilli...and peas, which are packed with protein. 

It’s additively tasty, being creamy, a bit spicy, and a little sweet. Sometimes I even serve it as a sauce over grilled white fish, chicken or prawns. 


Pea, Coconut, Ginger and Lime Soup 

(Serves 4) 


1 small white onion, peeled and roughly chopped 

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

1 thumb of ginger, peeled and grated 

½ red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped 

1 small potato, peeled and roughly chopped 

500ml vegetable (or chicken) stock 

1 tin coconut milk plus 1 tin of water 

Zest and half juice 1 lime 

2tsps ground turmeric 

500g frozen peas 

Oil for frying 


Pour a tablespoon or so of oil into a pan and add the onion. Cook over a low heat until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further minute. Now add the potato, stock, coconut milk, water, lime zest and juice, turmeric and peas. 

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then blitz in a blender until smooth and creamy. 

We like this served with warm naan bread on the side.