Competition: Drizzle your pancakes with Sweet Freedom Syrup… and feel virtuous

Some pancake facts…
■ Did you know that in Medieval times it was believed that the first three pancakes were sacred (Is that because you didn’t want to eat the first ones that always go wrong?)
■ In France they make a wish while the pancake is turned (I always make a wish that the pancake won’t stick to the ceiling…)
■ In Brazil they celebrate their Shrove Tuesday with a massive street party called Mardi Gras. In Great Britain we have… pancake races.

But at least we get to eat pancakes!!! Pancake Day is next week Tuesday (8/2/11). Even if you have a problem with wheat you can use buckwheat flour. Orgran do a good vegan version.

'I love Sweet Freedom with my pancakes'
'I love Sweet Freedom with my pancakes'

However, when it comes to toppings there’s one thing I love to recommend: Sweet Freedom syrup – the award winning, natural, healthier sugar substitute; perfect for drizzling over your pancakes especially if you are watching your waistline! Even Raymond Blanc uses it.

It’s made 100% from fruit and has 25% fewer calories than sugar (and it’s sweeter too so you can use 25% less). It’s low GL (Glycaemic Load) means no blood sugar spikes making it suitable for diabetics.

And Sweet Freedom have given us 20 bottles to give away! So if you’d like to be in with a chance to win simply email me with your name and address and we’ll pick the winners from a hat at the end of the week (UK addresses only, competition closes 4/3/11).

Quick and healthy Chinese noodles – recipe

I don’t know if you saw the Chinese Lantern Festival last week, but while I am still in the mood here’s a quick easy noodle recipe. (Archaeologists have found a bowl of noodles in China approximately 4000 years old. But hopefully this recipe will be a bit newer to you.)

Clearspring have just brought out some instant Ramen noodles which are healthier because they are steamed not fried, and made with wholewheat and brown rice. They come with soup sachets for a Ginger Miso or Soya Sauce flavour.

Peanut Butter Noodles
▪ 500g noodles
sesame oil
▪ 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
▪ 4 tablespoons water
▪ 9 tablespoons light soy sauce
▪ 6 tablespoons tahini or ground sesame seeds
▪ 2 tablespoons sherry
▪ 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
▪ 4 tablespoons honey
▪ 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
▪ 2 teaspoons grated root ginger

1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. As soon as they are ready, drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again. Toss in sesame oil.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and whiz until smooth. Add hot water and blend again if the sauce is too thick.
3. When you’re ready to serve, toss the noodles in the sauce and make sure they’re well-coated. Garnish with slices of cucumber, chopped roasted peanuts and finely chopped spring onions.

Pesticides and fertility

Men’s fertility could be adversely affected by pesticides on fruit and vegetables. This alarming report is the result of a tests carried out by the University of London School of Pharmacy on behalf of the  European Commission.

The study is revealing that pesticides sprayed onto fruit & veg could be doing untold damage to male fertility. The research tested 37 crop chemicals, 30 of these were seen to  interfere with the action of testosterone, which is critical to reproduction. These results are significant and very worrying.

What does this mean? Potentially the effects could be severe, for example,  in the womb a lack of testosterone may be feminising unborn boys, raising their risk of reproductive defects at birth as well as a tendency towards low sperm counts & testicular cancer later in life.

This situation has arisen because, although the pesticide industry follow the law for pesticides the omission in the law means that presently the the law does NOT require pesticides to be tested for their effects on hormones. This seems rather short sighted in the light of these results

The ‘Environmental Health Perspective’ journal say many of these hormone disrupters are fungicides sprayed on strawberries, lettuce, grapes and other fruit and vegetables. Their full effect as hormone disrupters is still being established.  My take on all this is so obvious. Boys – eat organic fruit and vegetables which will not ever have been sprayed with these pesticides, not one of the 37 will have been near your food. Surely the small price difference is a small price to pay for such consequences?

More info and research on pesticides

Buy Organic fruit and vegetables

 

How would you like to be paid £200 a year for your hot water ?

This is exciting news. When utility bills seem to boing sky high, here’s a chance to save money.

Atmos Heating Systems are exhibiting a brand new solar powered hot water system that could pay for itself in 10 years and it helps the environment.

EasySolar. So light - you could lift it yourself
EasySolar. So light - you could lift it yourself

Just for installing their low cost EasySolar TM hot water system (with its evacuated tube collector set) you’d be able to claim the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive payment of up to £200 a year for 25 years. The RHI is due to be launched in June this year.

It is said to be the easiest to fit solar hot water system in the UK, with a lightweight solar collector and a 100 litre thermal storage tank that weighs only 16kg. The whole system can be installed by two men in half a day.

Save fuel and energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and get paid handsomely for it. A no brainer that reduces environmental pollution, and improves your home energy performance certificate.

You can see the system exhibited for the first time in the UK at the Ecobuild Exhibition (Stand N2265) at the Excel Centre, London March 1st to 3rd. (see www.ecobuild.co.uk)

Win a box of vegan food

How many ethical companies can you think of?

I know about one company that searches globally for local farmers and food producers, checks whether the foods are organic, environmentally sustainable and pure. It also seeks to make sure that it’s investment will support the local community where the food is grown.

They have a singular commitment to quality, are are always on the lookout for  new foods.

Quality food from Clearspring
Quality food from Clearspring

To celebrate Clearspring’s amazing standard and innovation I’ve got a lovely box of their vegan products to give away (and a special offer for everyone who enters). So, if you’d like to be in with a chance to win send an email with the subject Clearspring Box and include your address details (UK addresses only, competition closes 24.2.11).

The box will include their new organic corn cakes, rice cakes (black sesame, sea vegetable and teriyaki flavour), instant miso and soya sauce noodles, the world’s first ambient organic tofu and their fruit spreads (apricot, blueberry, cherry, raspberry and apricot).

Lose weight with delicious popcorn

I just scampered around the office offering popcorn to my colleagues. It was a taste test for Tyrell’s new gourmet popcorn (well, you’ve got to do these things now and again haven’t you?) It’s called “Proper Popcorn”.

You’d probably never notice how fresh it tastes, because popcorn is supposed to taste like it’s just been well… popped. But often it doesn’t, shop bought popcorn can be greasy and sickly sweet, take it with you to the cinema and you’ll feel downright depressed.

For the best experience of popcorn you have to make it yourself, fresh from a pan on the stove is the best experience – try it. But, buy some Tyrell’s popcorn and compare it with your home-made version and you’d be hard pressed to improve on the Tyrell’s flavour.

The Sour Cream  and Jalapeno Chilli popcorn isn’t hot but has just the right tang and really tastes creamy.
The Sweet and Salty popcorn synthesizes the best of both worlds in an incredible harmony.
The Lightly Sea Salted popcorn’s subtle flavour will charm you so much you’ll want to take in a movie.

The best thing is that even the sweet version is low in calories: 90 calories per serving. That’s great for weight loss, but be careful, you may find yourself wanting more.

The real result? Each bag has been conspicuously stolen by my colleagues to keep on their desk away from everyone else!!!

Competition for beautiful Booja Booja chocolate

Easter is on it’s way. The stores are already filling up with Chocolate Eggs.

But no Easter madness here – just a taste of the exquisite vegan chocolate range offered by Booja Booja

Everyone needs a little Booja Booja - especially when it's free
Everyone needs a little Booja Booja - especially when it's free

We have 3 boxes of Booja Booja’s Organic Luxury Truffle Assortment to win. It’s not an Easter Egg but when you see the beautiful hand painted box, you’ll realise how marvellous their Easter Eggs are going to be.

As Easter approached we’ll be catering for vegan, dairy free, organic and Fairtrade tastes, so keep visiting our Easter Shelf over the next month as the different Easter Eggs come in.

Anyway, to enter the competition please send me an email with the subject Booja Box and your address and I’ll put you in the draw (competition closes Friday 25th February 2011, UK address only).