Yogurt or yoghurt? Recipe and competition for Tims Dairy yogurts

We’ve got a competition this week for delicious fresh yogurts made for great taste from Tims Dairy in Buckinghamshire. Their exquisite range includes Greek style bio-live, wholemilk live and low fat live yogurts all made with natural ingredients.

There are some excellent recipe ideas on their website at timsdairy.co.uk and their wholesome range is great for lots of eating occasions. Greek style yogurts are luxury and good as a dessert, low fat yogurts can be poured onto cereal or eaten as a healthy snack and Tims wholemilk small pots are excellent in packed lunches.

As an example of the versatility of their yogurt (and because my family have been getting into the wonders of rice pudding lately) here’s a recipe for Cardamom and Orange Rice Pudding – it’s the ultimate comfort food for us – warm, sweet and sticky, and the cardam om gives it an Arab/Sicilian twist…

Serves 8

Traditionally made delicious yogurt
Traditionally made delicious yogurt

* 100ml Vin Santo, dessert wine or sherry
* 50g raisins
* 1 litre milk
* 100ml double cream
* 250g risotto rice (Arborio)
* 1 vanilla pod, split
* 3 cardamom pods
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 strip of orange zest, about 5cm long
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 150ml Tims Dairy Greek Style Natural Yogurt

1. Put the raisins in a bowl with the Vin Santo to soak.
2. Put the milk and cream into a large saucepan with the rice, vanilla pod, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and orange zest and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from catching and leave to simmer for 30–40 minutes or until the rice is done.
3. Remove from the heat and add the honey to taste. Stir in the soaked raisins and Vin Santo. Remove the vanilla pod, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and orange zest.
4. Stir in the Tims Dairy yogurt and serve topped with a swirl of honey.


Don’t miss this competition to win a box of Tims
The key question I always ask is: is it yogurt or yoghurt? Opinions differ. It seems that the American spelling ‘yogurt’ has crept into the marketing of products and no one has noticed!

But the yogurts (sp?) themselves are still British. Tims Dairy use fresh British milk in full support of UK Farmers. The family run dairy has been making yogurt for over 60 years and they are passionate about their products. The philosophy is quite simple – use the simplest, freshest ingredients to make traditional yogurts, and the team at the Dairy are committed to the highest standards of quality and production.

Now, to win a box of yogurts worth £10 from Tims Dairy why not email me with your opinion on whether we should spell it yogurt or yoghurt? I promise there’ll be no bias in picking the winner! All names will go into a hat and a lucky winner is picked out this Thursday 24th March 2011 (UK addresses only).

I’m just really interested to see what people think…

Don’t forget that a good yogurt is rich in calcium and a good source of potassium and vitamin B12, so you can really enjoy your yogurt or yoghurt while contributing to a balanced diet. Here’s hoping you win!

Actively protect the environment with Ecover

So How much do we really care about our environment? Is it just a ‘thing’ to be thinking of? A fashion to been ‘seen’ with, carrying the proverbial ‘use me again’ bags? Or is it simply putting out the right bins on the right days?

Nothing wrong with any of that. But if you are genuinely into making a difference pro-actively, we have news for you. Consider Ecover: the UK’s leading manufacturer of effective and ecological cleaning and washing products.

Detergents which don’t destroy
As the pioneer of ecological cleaning, Ecover brought to market the first phosphate-free washing powder back in 1980 even before phosphates were branded as a problem throughout Europe.

Today, Ecover is the brand of choice for many people for a whole host of reasons, from the fact that it delivers excellent cleaning whilst ensuring unparalleled ecological criteria, to the fact that it’s the safer choice for you and your home.  Here are a few reminders why:

  • No Petrochemicals: Unlike petrochemicals, plant based ingredients bio-degrade completely back into the environment, leaving minimal traces. Even better – they are constantly replenished by nature itself so there is no danger of depletion, which is a lot better than we can say for their chemical cousins.
  • No foam boosters: They make look pretty and give you the illusion of cleaning power but in reality they have NO such part to play in the cleaning performance and do the environment no good.
  • No artificial fragrances: Again, these are poorly degradable and they build up as negative elements in the food chain.For example, they are found in the fat tissue of fish stock. They also have a disruptive effect on the behavior of fish and the life cycles of insects even after they have been diluted.
  • No chemicals for optical brightness: Not really whiter than white.Another chemically induced gimmick which , in reality has no effect on washing performance or hygiene. these chemicals which reflect light , making your clothes look brighter than they really are and make an irreversible and harmful chemical bond with the skin.
  • No Phosphates:  Ectroplication is what happens when rivers are starved of oxygen. phosphates are no 1 culprits behind this. Ecover uses safer alternatives.

— Get active with Ecover products: Enjoy cleaner rivers, healthier fish and even loved up butterflies. And enjoy the laundry too!!

Your body may also need a spring clean

Brighter, longer days and the anticipation of summer!! As you give the garage and the garden shed their annual sorting out, have you forgotten yourself?

Here is some unpleasant news! Your body, over time becomes a breeding ground for toxins. They make their menacing entry through the air, water and food that our body consumes. And, as if you already didn’t know, the prospects are seriously grim if you smoke, drink, take drugs, alcohol or indulge in poor choices of foods.

Scary numbers
The numbers are rather impressive – over five trillion (that’s 5,000 billion) pounds of chemical pollutants are released into the environment every year; 2,800 additives are intentionally added to what we eat;  and 10,000 additives find their way into food as it is grown, processed and packaged (hormones and antibiotics fed to animals, pesticides used on crops, food enhancers and preservatives).

And the effects on you can also be staggering – headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, irritability, depression, flu-like symptoms and allergic reactions such as hives, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing.  Accumulated toxins overload the liver and impair the elimination process increasing the risk of serious health problems like cancer, auto-immune disease and Alzheimer’s.

How your body copes
Even though your body has a natural detoxification process to eliminate an excessive build up of toxins, it often falls short of keeping you in safe grounds.  Unwanted chemicals are processed by the liver and then exit the body via the bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin.  If you have a healthy immune system and efficient organs of elimination , your body can handle a lot of abuse.  Unfortunately, our bodies often cannot keep up, and as we become weaker and sicker from the toxins, our abilities to detoxify reduces greatly.

Help your body out
, the vitamin company with an organic heart, now has the august stature of manufacturing the largest ( and award wining) supplement range in the UK. Their Super Cleanse 10 day Detox Box contains:
1. 100% Organic Cleavers Tincture
2. Milk Thistle Herb & Seed and
3. A preparation of complete fibre complex.

One of the best gifts to offer yourself as you hit the nooks and crannies around your home with the dustpan and brush!!

We’re in the Good Produce Guide

Hey there,

Just wanted to let you know that GoodnessDirect has been listed in The Good Produce Guide 2011 (it’s all about a passion for goodness after all…)

Food journalist, Rose Prince, seeks out the best independent food producers and the most delicious fare on the market. Whether you’re looking for the tastiest smoked salmon, old-fashioned handmade Scotch eggs, quirky marmalades or the first asparagus of the season, Rose has it covered. From farm shops to food markets, to delis, producers, pick-your-owns and websites, this book highlights the extraordinary people who go the extra mile to make something remarkable to eat.

If you are passionate about delicious food, and love shopping for it, The Good Produce Guide 2011 will be an indispensible handbook.

4 reasons to eat pine nuts, the original Viagra

Most of us (even the serious gourmet types amongst us) haven’t really thought of pine nuts beyond the realms of a decent pesto sauce or at the most, toasted and sprinkled in salads or used as an ingredient for breads. However the ‘David’ of the nut world, is quietly raising its profile against the well established ‘Goliaths’.

Did you know that pine nuts have been eaten in Asia and Europe since the Paleolithic period? For the non history buff, it’s a seriously long time. In Italian they are called pinoli (in the U.S. they are often called “pignoli” but in Italy “pignolo” is actually a word far more commonly used to describe an overly fastidious or extremely meticulous person).

The Chinese culture is even more wax lyrical in its references to the pine nut. The pine tree, on account of its evergreen foliage, is considered by the Chinese as an emblem of longevity and immortality. Its resin is considered an animated soul-substance, the counterpart of blood in men and animals. In ancient China, Taoist seekers of immortality consumed much of the tree’s resin, hoping thereby to prolong life.The Shouxing, Chinese god of Longevity, is usually represented standing at the foot of a pine. In traditional pictures of “happiness, honor and longevity”, the pine-tree represents longevity. It is believed by the Chinese to suppress all sensations of hunger, cure various diseases, and lengthen life.

When you think of a nut, it’s quite likely that a pine nut doesn’t come to mind, but maybe it should. Although technically not a nut: it’s actually a seed from the pine cone, this under-appreciated snack is bursting with health benefits…

1. They curb your appetite
It may surprise you to learn that pine nuts can be a potent appetite suppressor. Why? They’re a good source of a polyunsaturated fat known as pinolenic acid. When you eat a handful of pine nuts, the pinolenic acid stimulates the secretion of a hormone produced by the intestines known as CCK. CCK sends the signal to your brain that you’re full which turns off your appetite. It also helps to slow down the rate at which your stomach empties so you feel full and satisfied longer. Who would have dreamed these tiny seeds from the pine cone could zap your appetite?

2. They’re nutritional powerhouses
A single serving of the lowly pine nut can provide you with up to fourteen grams of protein per serving, depending upon the species. Pine nuts are anywhere from ten to thirty-four percent protein. They’re also an excellent source of fibre as well as vitamins E, K, and niacin. In terms of minerals, they’re an excellent source of magnesium and potassium which is important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure.

3. They’re heart healthy
Pine nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, the same “heart healthy” fats that make nuts and olive oil so beneficial. These fats have not only been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels but also help to protect the arteries from damage which can lead to a heart attack.

4. They offer antioxidant protection
Pine nuts are also high in antioxidants which help to protect the cells of your body from free radical damage. Pine nuts help in delivering even more antioxidant power to your salads.

How to eat them…
There are so many ways to add the health benefits of pine nuts to your diet. Sprinkle them on salads or onto vegetables and pasta dishes. They make up one of the main ingredients in basil pesto. To bring out their rich, buttery flavour even more, lightly toast them. Try experimenting in your own kitchen with these tasty “nutty” seeds. You’ll soon wonder how you ever cooked without them.

In exploiting the edible seed of the pine tree, modern cooks are perpetuating an ancient foodway. Archeologists have found piñon seed coats carbon-dated as 6,000 years old. When Spanish explorers arrived in the South west Of North America in the 16th century, they found Native Americans grinding pine nuts for flour and mashing them to make a savoury spread.

Apparently, the ancient Greeks and Romans also ate pine nuts. Archaeologists have found the seeds in the ruins of Pompeii. Indeed, according to Johan’s Guide to Aphrodisiacs, pine nuts were a sort of early Viagra. The Roman poet Ovid includes “the nuts that the sharp-leaved pine brings forth” on a list of love potions; Galen, a second-century Greek, recommended pine nuts with honey and almonds, taken on three consecutive nights, before a night of passion.

Today’s consumers don’t need any encouragement to keep downing pasta al pesto. But now we know that every bite might be stoking that love-making fire.

Ecstatic about plastic? I wasn’t till I saw this video

I guess I am speaking for most of us when I say I have never really got ecstatic about bio degradable plastic even though, as a conscientious person, I am reasonably concerned about the waste I create.

I guess this is because I never get to be a witness to the process behind the concepts or the ideals. However this morning I got to see this YouTube video which, quite literally blew me away. Here it is:

It is the work of an organisation called Symphony Environmental, pioneers in the area of developing responsible plastic technology. They call it d2w which (through some incredibly clever chemical process) dramatically shortens the life of plastic and turns it, at the end of its useful life into a material with a completely different molecular structure, at which stage it ceases to be a plastic.

Symphony are engaged in developing a wide range of products from refuse bags to nappies that will give an energetic meaning to the words ‘bio degradable plastic’. I’m in.

More pancake facts and a chance to win the fabulous Miracle of Lemons book!

For all you Pancake Day geeks out there…

  • The word ‘Shrove’ comes from the old English verb ‘to shrive’ which means to absolve people of their sins.
  • A record breaking pancake was cooked in Rochdale in 1994, it was 15m wide, weighed 3 tonnes and had 2 million calories!
  • The first recorded pancake day was in Olney, Buchinghamshire in 1445, and the first pancake recipe appeared in an English cookbook in the 15th century
  • The most pancakes tossed in the shortest time in the UK is 349 tosses in 2 minutes.
  • In Italy Pancake Day is known as ‘Carnivale’ ‘Fasnacht’ in Germany and ‘Mardi Gras’ is celebrated all over the world. In Iceland the day is called  ‘Sprengidagur’ and in Greece it is called ‘Apocreas’. Almost every culture on the planet has its own version of the pancake.

Win this stunning new book

In celebration of Pancake Day, and with a nod to the traditional topping of sugar and lemon, we’ve got a prize giveaway of a brand new book by natural health writer and GP, Dr Penny Stanway. The book is titled The Miracle of Lemons and it’s full of practical tips for your health, home and beauty, as well as loads of scrummy lemon recipes!

To enter the prize draw for The Miracle of Lemons (published by Duncan Baird at £6.99) send me an email (competition closes 10/3/11, UK only).

Sheep’s milk, often healthier for you than cow’s milk

Well, we knew that Sheep milk produces excellent cheeses (like the Italian Ricotta) and yogurts. But now there’s even more…

Woodlands Dairy, a family owned business engaged in rearing sheep in the beautiful Dorset countryside has already proved its mettle when it comes to developing sheep milk products by producing a range of wonderfully flavoured yogurts. Last year (among other kudos) they won a gold 1 Star in the Great Taste Awards with their yogurt range. They continue to be the pioneers  by introducing their Sheep Milk Powder which should ensure more versatile usage!

Sheep's milk can give you more vitamins than cow's milk
Sheep's milk can give you more vitamins than cow's milk

Lactose intolerance is a growing issue and most people who are allergic to cow milk products or who are lactose intolerant can use  sheep milk products. The lactose or protein in the milk is what usually causes the allergic reaction or intolerance.  Sheep milk has lactose and protein but it is of a different make up that doesn’t bother most people.

The proteins in cow’s milk are huge, fit for an animal that will one day weigh in over 500 lbs. The proteins in humans, sheep, and goats, are very short, which is why babies (the infirm, and arthritics) will often thrive on sheep’s milk, and sheep’s milk is also loaded with the enzymes that enable the metabolizing of calcium in our bodies.

Greater nutritional properties means sheep’s milk stays popular
Because of the higher nutritional properties of sheep’s milk when compared to cow’s milk, there is a possibility that it could corner a larger share of the health market as a source of essential vitamins and minerals.

Data from the British Sheep Dairying Association shows that although whole sheep’s milk has a higher fat content than cow’s milk, other nutritional elements are far more plentiful in sheep’s milk. Riboflavin B2, thiamine, niacin B1, pantothenic acid, B6, B12 and biotin all score better in sheep’s milk, often double the amount in cow’s milk. Folate content for both is the same.

In particular, calcium content in sheep’s milk is between 50% and 100% than cow’s, and phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, zinc and iron levels are also higher.

Given Woodlands Dairy’s knack for creating great products, it won’t be long before the sheep’s milk powder becomes another favourite!

But demand, of course, means upping production, and Woodlands may well have to put more sheep on the job – and fast.

New Zealand Barley and Wheat Grass

New Zealand Barley and Wheat Grass from the perspective of Tim Jana, one of our reviewers…

So Laura is ecstatic about this New Zealand Barley and Wheat Grass. As usual I remain slightly amused and remain impervious to another of her ‘enthusiastic forays’ into the kingdom of health foods.

I feign interest as I scrutinise the jar as my Amex bill haunts me like Lady Mcbeth in the distance. I remain quiet as I owe her one due to my last fortnight’s general debauch with the boys. To be fair, Laura usually knows her stuff about these things too.

I am surprised at the Strawberry shake Laura produces, packed with the Barley and Wheat grass. It has a clean, refreshing taste. She has caught me off guard again! The stuff tastes good! A few days and numerous helpings later, I feel brighter, my systems clean as a whistle.

Humbled and curious, I hit Google.

Okay No GE, no glutens and no additives. A dozen vitamins and minerals, suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Barley & Wheat Grass plants are harvested at peak potency and ‘flash air dried’ in minutes to ensure the nutrients are not damaged or compromised. This is shown by the rich Chlorophyll content which is a good indicator for the organic growing practices and gentle processing.

Chlorophyll takes me back to my school days and botany lessons. I remember Father Joseph’s menacing eyes.

True enough, chlorophyll has been seen to provide health benefits to those who take them. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Here are some of the known chlorophyll benefits:

• It has been seen to help in the growth and repair of tissues.
• Chlorophyll helps in neutralizing the pollution that we breathe in and intake everyday – a good supplement for smokers.
• It efficiently delivers magnesium and helps the blood in carrying the much needed oxygen to all cells and tissues.
• It is also found to be useful in assimilating and chelating calcium and other heavy minerals.
• It had been seen to have a good potential in stimulating red blood cells to improve oxygen supply along with other vitamins such as A, C and E.

Thanks Laura.

Lunch box envy

When I was at school I always used to be jealous of my friend’s packed lunches. His mum used to send him into school with chicken drumsticks and flasks of milk.

Me? I used to get ham sandwiches (which I loathed); and then there was the time my glass flask shattered inside and I thought my mum had made me ‘fizzy’ Ribena! Big mistake!

Sometimes my friend would have mercy on me and we’d swap lunches, but you could say I’ve been left scarred. I still always seem to be greedy for what other people have in their lunch box! It’s even worse at work where people bring in pizza and pasta and soups, while I’m still stuck with dry rolls (okay, I know I could make my own lunch, but that’s not the point – this is my childhood trauma, I need you to sympathise…)

Credit to my mum though. Sometimes packed lunches were really pukka, especially when she used the left over meat from the Sunday roast for Monday’s sandwich. (All mums please take note – this is a good idea.) I liked little boxes of Sun-Maid Raisins too.

Fruit however, did not generally go down too well. So, why am I getting that lunch box envy again when I look at fruit bars?

Okay, maybe I’ve changed. But so have the fruit bars. There’s this new Eat Natural Lunchies bar, made with a new recipe with 60% fruit (that means 1 of your 5-a-day). It consists of bananas and apricots, sultanas and crispy rice, dates, honey and your choice of yoghurt or milk chocolate. There’s nothing dodgy in there at all.

(PS. They’re gluten-free and veggie.)

Beginning to feel greedy? Me too.

The trouble is, I’ve got nothing to swap for it. Ah well, better see what food I’ve got left in my bottom desk drawer…