Swapping the daily grind and tiresome hours of the food industry, Bettina sought more tranquil surrounds running wellness retreats across Europe. A passionate foodie, she took to the kitchen and crafted plant-based and gluten-free dishes that tasted familiar, were comforting during a rough week, and could be recreated anywhere in the world. Slowly incorporating these fresh and colourful flavours and ingredients into her own life, Bettina’s ongoing struggle with severe Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis began easing. Having been told she may never have children, seven months into the retreat she fell pregnant. With a new diet and daughter firmly in place, what had started as an experiment quickly became her passion and career.
Living by the motto that: we should all eat seasonally, locally and from farm to table as much as we can; we should support small businesses within our communities and those around us; we should use roots, shoots and all. Cooking waste-free is particularly important to Bettina, and she lets the vegetables do the talking – the best plant food is fuss-free, simple, easy, inexpensive and speaks for itself. Her love for this led to her founding her wildly successful blog, Bettina’s Kitchen, and writing her first book, Happy Food and her brand new title – 7 Day Vegan Challenge.
To celebrate the launch of her brand new book and Veganuary, we caught up with Bettina to explore her favourite family-friendly plant based bites around London…
1. I’d like a table for…
Two with my husband, we both work lots and have a little 6 year old girl, Ayla, so a nice dinner just for the two of us would be a treat! Ayla travels with us to many places, so to have that time to re-connect is invaluable.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
KHP Coffee on Newington Green – it’s a parent and neighbourhood coffee spot. It’s tiny but makes an awesome brew along with addictive salted caramel brownies that happen to be gluten free.
3. Best brunch with kids?
I love making big, late brunches at home. Our 5 year old is a proper home bird. If you ask her what she wants to do – she will 99% of the time reply that she wants to be home. So making a big platter of waffles, pancakes or something savoury, having coffee in bed and letting her run riot at home is the ideal.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
Granger and Co has a great selection. A real old school gem is the afternoon tea at Claridge’s but they do a special selection completely separate for kids. My daughter was so chuffed, she asked if we could go there everyday (hand on head) – it was a treat! Also, don’t ever under estimate parks – we love spending a whole day at the park bundled up with our favourite foods and each person gets to eat what they love in and amongst beautiful trees and green grass, you can’t beat it!
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
A good pub with out door space – theres a great selection in Highgate Village, The Red Lion and Sun, and The Gate House, oh and The Pavillion! A great choice of food for everyone and with the rise of gastropubs the food is amazing!
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
We love Violet Cakes for an after-school treat! The cakes are old school, made with tons of love and feel like a proper treat.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
I always bring books, colouring pencils and small toys. Ayla picks what toys she brings in her bag. As and when she gets bored we move on to the next thing. If there are other kids around she usully shares her toys and makes new friends (thats if she is hopefully in a good mood – thats not always a guarantee)
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
Oh ever since moving to London its definitely take me out. I love trying new restaurants – Tredwells is a new found favourite thanks to brilliant chef Chantelle Williams or Shorditch’s Oklava which is simply amazing!
9. My earliest food memory…
I always unsure of this one but its definitely of growing up in East Africa – Tanzania
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
I am going to choose my fave Insta-mums on this one and bear in mind I haven’t met most of them, a dinner get-together would be an absolute treat – @missmarzipan, @ritaserano, @fareisle, @tailingabriel and @earthandy.