I’m now on week three of my stop smoking journey and I’m really pleased with how it’s going. The Stoptober app has been really useful and has given me lots of tips along the way, as well as reminding me of my stop smoking progress and how far I've come.

'I’ve noticed an increased sense of taste and smell.'

'I’ve noticed an increased sense of taste and smell.'

Sophie's Stoptober Journey (Part 1)

Sophie's Stoptober Journey (Part 2)

One of the main changes in my body that I’ve noticed recently is my newly increased sense of taste and smell. I always thought I’d just been born with poor senses as I could never smell or taste anything as strongly as my family and friends did – as a result I’ve always tended to use a lot of salt on my food to make it less bland.

Since giving up smoking, I’ve noticed a massive improvement – everything is so much more flavourful now. In fact, I was quite shocked to realise how much I had been missing out and how much more satisfying food can be. I’m a keen chef, so I decided to try out one of my go-to recipes for meatballs. It was so much more delicious I couldn’t quite believe it!

See below for the full recipe;


 PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes COOKING TIME 20 minutes 


Beef mince, lean, 250g

Garlic, 2 clove(s), peeled and crushed

Dried oregano, 1 teaspoon(s)

Ground cumin, 1 teaspoon(s)

Dried coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon(s),

Ground turmeric, 0.5 teaspoon(s)

Chilli powder, 1 pinch(s)

Egg, whole, 1 small, beaten

Wholemeal bread, 1 slice(s) (from small loaf)

Pasta, uncooked, 250g, such as penne, spirals or shells

Olive oil spray, 1 spray(s)

Tomato passata, 500g, or canned chopped tomatoes 

Red wine, 60 ml 


Combine the beef, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli and egg in a large bowl. Crumble the bread with your fingers to form rough breadcrumbs and add to the bowl. Combine the mixture then shape into walnut-sized balls. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. 

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil and place over a medium heat. Cook the meatballs for 4–5 minutes or until browned and cooked through. If your meatballs are bigger than walnut-sized, they may take longer to cook. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. 

Add the tomato passata to the frying pan and heat for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Gently toss the meatballs through the sauce until warm. Divide the penne between four pasta bowls and top with meatballs and sauce. 

Serve with a green salad. 

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