Life enhancing natural supplements – introducing the Reds series

If you’re feeling washed out you might want to try Spirulina.

The advantage of spirulina is that it is a sea vegetable containing the richest known concentration of nutrients of any food. It contains every nutrient required by the human body in an easily absorbable form.

The supplement firm, Lifestream, have combined their organic spirulina with the organic fruit acerola, a rich source of Vitamin C, to provide excellent support for your immune system.

7 berries of power
7 power berries

Lifestream’s Reds combination supplements

You may also want to try Lifestream’s Reds Acai, which actually blends together the organic and antioxidant power of seven superberries: acai, pomegranate, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and one you may not have heard of: the noni berry from the Pacific.

Nutrients for life
Nutrients for life

As well as providing an energy lift the antioxidants will benefit your immune system and support anti-aging for your body.

Boost weight-loss
Boost weight-loss

Another life-maxing combination is Lifestream’s synergy of Resveratrol and Tart Cherry, again rich in antioxidants for improved energy and health, but also beneficial to sleep, heart health and your body’s joints.

Finally, Lifestream have also combined the acai berry and ‘fucoxanthin’ from the kombu seaweed to produce a supplement for weight management called Fucocai. Acai is well known for supporting weight loss and kombu is a food which helps raise the metabolism meaning you burn your calories faster.

How about a Yummy Mummy truffle box from Montezuma’s for Mother’s Day?

I’m not sure how to start reviewing Montezuma’s new Yummy Mummy offering.

Which do I find more attractive: the elegant presentation box or the chocolate rich truffles inside?

A little piece of perfection
A little piece of perfection

The box (stylish on the outside, colourful within and intentionally reusable as a keepsafe box) is designed as a heartwarming gift for Mothering Sunday. The truffles themselves are a selection of Mango Caramels and Strawberry Champers which few mothers could not help but be impressed by.

(And there’s also a smaller box of four truffles for those times when you’re not getting on with your mother-in-law…)

Thoughtfully, it’s Gluten Free and vegetarian too.

Tired of being tired?

Floradix – for more energy and vitality

Women in particular need a sufficient daily supply of iron to help keep them feeling energetic – but sometimes diet alone may not be enough. Our bodies need iron for the formation of red blood cells which transport oxygen to all body cells. insufficient iron levels are often the reason for feeling tired all the time, having pale skin or brittle hair and nails. Women require more iron due to blood loss during menstruation or increased blood volume during pregnancy.

This is when Floridix or Florivital, the yeast and gluten-free version can help.

  • Non constipating liquid formula
  • Highly absorbable iron gluconate
  • Vitamin C to increase iron absorption
  • No preservatives, colourings or flavours
  • Suitable for vegetarians

So if your feeling a little on the sleepy side and it’s not even the afternoon yet then why not give this a try? You might find that this is just the ticket to boosting those energy levels.

Japanese food, simple, healthy and creative

Japanese food is growing in popularity. It’s beauty is in its simplicity.

Many recognise the cuisine as healthy too. Not much salt or oil is used and vegetables make up a large part of the Japanese diet.

But cooking Japanese isn’t difficult. Many ingredients are well known: rice, noodles, tofu, soy sauce, sake, wasabi, miso.

Sanchi make high quality traditional Japanese foods, including many of  the foods you’ve heard of and some you won’t. There’s no artificial colouring, flavouring, additives, sweeteners or refined sugar. Simply the best in Japanese Cuisine.

Japanese food is so beautiful in its simplicity
Japanese food is so beautiful in its simplicity

The BBC offers a good introduction to making your own Japanese food with over 60 recipes, and when you’ve got that mastered, you can move onto the Japanese  Food Report.

So all you need are some good Sanchi ingredients, a bit of zen, add a pair of chopsticks and you’re on your way!

There’s a new tasty chocolate milkshake in town – it’s dairy free too (think Bounty bar)

When you’re allergic to milk you don’t have to miss out on one of the greatest wonders of the food world: chocolate milkshake!

But, you will have to find the taste that works for you. You can find chocolate milkshakes like Rice Dream Chocolate Flavour or Provamel Organic Soya Chocolate Drink. My favourite by far is Oatly Chocolate made, of course, from oat milk.


A delicious dairy free chocolate milk
A delicious dairy free chocolate milk

But there is a new contender to challenge the non-milk chocolate heavyweights. It’s Kara’s Dairy Free Chocolate made with coconut milk and it’s officially delicious!

For decades chocolate confectionary has been cashing in on the wonderful combined flavours of chocolate and coconut – now it’s a time for a liquid version. And it’s a bonus that it’s dairy and lactose free; no soya, gluten or cholesterol either.

All Kara’s coconut milks have added calcium and vitamins like B12 which is helpful for vegetarians and vitamin D2 which is great for vegans. Plus, just in case you’re wondering, coconuts are fine for people with nut sensitivities too (because they’re really a fruit not a nut – but don’t tell anyone I told you…)

The 2012 FreeFrom Food Awards shortlist is out

If you’re gluten free or dairy free, vegan or avoiding yeast take note the FreeFrom Food Awards judging panels have chosen just under 170 freefrom foods to go on the 2012 shortlist.

Many of these new free from foods really pushing at the boundaries of ‘freefrom’ manufacture. From coconut yogurt to nettle ‘beer’! Here’s the 2012 FreeFrom Food Awards shortlist. Winners to be announced on the 17th April.

1. The Innovation Award
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Chocolate
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Vanilla
BoojaBooja – Banoffee Toffee Truffles
Conscious Chocolates – Wild at Heart
CoYo – Coconut Milk Yoghurt – Natural
CoYo – Coconut Milk Yoghurt – Mixed Berry
Foodswild – Cornish Stinger Nettle Beer
Knead Bakery – Carrot Cake
Provamel Botanicals – Alternative to Yoghurt Apple & Green Tea
The Foodamentalists – Brown Bread Mix
Triano Brands – Tofutti Ricotta Soya Cheese Alternative

2. Dairy and/or lactose-free animal milk, butter, yogurt – sponsored by Swedish Glace
Delamere Dairy – Natural Goats Yoghurt
Delamere Dairy – Semi-Skimmed Goats Milk
Delamere Dairy – Goats Butter
Woodlands Dairy – Gooseberry & Elderflower with Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt
Woodlands Dairy – Rhubarb & Ginger with Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt

3. Plant ‘milk’, spread & cheese – sponsored by Pure Dairy Free
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Chocolate
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon
CoYo – Coconut Yoghurt Natural
CoYo – Coconut Yoghurt Mixed Berry
Delamere Dairy – Sweetened Soya Milk
Essence of Eden – Virgin Coconut Oil
Higher NatureOmega Excellence Organic Virgin Coconut Butter
Its Only Natural – Fruit Freezies Orange and Mango
Kara Dairy FreeAlternative to Milk Original + Calcium
Vegusto – Melty Dairy-Free Cheese
Vegusto – Mild Aromatic Dairy-Free Cheese
Vegusto – Dairy-free cheese sauce

4. FreeFrom Breakfast Cereals – sponsored by Fria Gluten Free
Bob’s Red Mill – Pure Traditional Oats
Groovy Food Company – Corn Flakes
Groovy Food Company – Choco Crispies
Juvela – Fibre Flakes
Morrisons – FreeFrom Gluten Free Oats
Nature’s PathMaple Sunrise
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Oaty Granola
Tesco – FreeFrom Special Flakes

5. Gluten-free breads and bread mixes – sponsored by Genius Gluten Free
Butterfly Snacks – Gluten Free Rotis (Naan/Bread Wrap)
Crazy Bakers Bundies Brothers – Brown Bread Rolls
Finax – Oat Bread Mix
Fria – Grova Dark Seeded Sliced Loaf
Fria – Grov Minibaguette Dark Seeded Roll
Glutafin – Gluten Free Wheat Free 4 Fibre Rolls
Juvela – Gluten-Free All Purpose White Mix
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Soft White Seeded Rolls

6. Gluten-free pasta and pizza bases/mixes – sponsored by Tesco
Bob’s Red Mill – GF Wholegrain Pizza Crust Mix
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Fusilli
Doves Farm FoodsOrganic Tricolore Pasta
Eskal FoodsCorn Pasta
Farabella – Acini di Pepe/Pasta Grains
Molino di Ferro – La Veneziane Penne

7. Freefrom foods manufactured for food service – sponsored by Livwell
Costa  – Gluten Free Fruit Cake
Doves Farm FoodsGluten Free Plain White Flour Blend without Buckwheat
Doves Farm FoodsOrganic Brown Rice Penne
Foodamentalists – Golden Batter Mix
Red House Foods – Gluten Free Chicken Bites
Sauces of Choice – Sauces for Kids Tikka Sauce
Triano Brands – Tofutti Grated Mozzarella Soya Cheese Alternative

8. Freefrom Ingredients – sponsored by Juvela
Anila’s Sauces – Goan Green Sauce
Black Farmer – Spicy Muscovado sauce
Bob’s Red Mill – Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
ClearspringKuzu Gluten Free Starch Thickener
Finax – Psyllium
Go Free Foods – Pancake Mix
Mesquite Company – Pure Mesquite Pod Flour
Pepper & Stew – Jollof  Sauce
Sauces of Choice – Balsamic & Garlic Sauce

9. Raw foods and superfoods – sponsored by Asda
Elements for Life – Raw Chocolate Making Kit
Elements for Life – Spiced Hot Chocolate
Higher Nature– Omega Excellence Raw Organic Walnut Butter
inSpiral – Raw Blackout Tart
inSpiralRaw Dehydrated Kale Chips: Cheesie Purple Corn
James White DrinksBeet It Organic Stamina Shot
Mesquite Company – Pure Mesquite Pod Flour
Pulsin’ – Beond Organic Acai Berry Bar
Raw Health – Organic Chia & Flax Dippers
The Living Food KitchenRaw Hummus

10. Gluten-free savoury pies, flans, sausages and ready meals – sponsored by Delamere Dairy
Meat-based meal centres:
Black Farmer – Pork Meatballs
Black Farmer – Pork, Onion & Chive Sausages
Cloughbane Farm – Gluten Free Beef Sausages
Cloughbane Farm – Gluten Free Steak Burgers
Co-operative Foods – Truly Irresistible Pork Sausages
Co-operative Foods – Truly Irresistible Minted Lamb Burgers
Pies, flans, pizzas, one pot meals:
Amy’s KitchenGluten Free Vegetable Lasagne
Amy’s KitchenGluten Free Bean and Rice Burrito
Butterfly Snacks – Gluten Free Chicken Spring Rolls
Dr Schar – Gluten Free Tortellini
Dr Schar – Gluten Free Bonta d’Italia Margherita Pizza
Easy Bean – New Mexican Chilli Fairtrade Red Bean with Sweet Pepper One Pot Meal
Foodamentalists – Pork, Black Pudding & Caramelised Red Onion Pie
– Mozzarella Cheese & Tomato Pizza
Gluten Free Kitchen – Ovencrust Steak Pie
Gluten Free Kitchen – Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie
stewed! – Chickpea, Sweet Potato & Feta One Pot Meal
The Food Resource – Fusilli al Funghi
Worthenshaws – Chicken Tikka with Brown Basmati Rice
Worthenshaws – Thai Green Vegetable Curry with Brown Basmati Rice

11. Gluten-free savoury biscuits and snacks – sponsored by Genon Laboratories
Multiseed Crisp Bread
Conscious Foods – Millet Crackers with Rosemary
Crazy Bakers – Half Pipes Swedish Crispbreads
Darling Spuds – Fire Roasted Jalapeno Crisps
Darling Spuds – Sour Cream with a hint of Mexican Chilli
Darling Spuds – Tomato, Olive & Oregano
Juvela – Crostini Bites

12. Gluten-free scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, cake bars, muffins etc – sponsored by Tesco
Asda – FreeFrom All Butter Lemon Sicilian Shortbread
Conscious Foods – Ginger Thins
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Triple Chocolate Cookies
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Fruited Teacakes 4 Pack
Crazy Bakers – Oaties
Heavenly Cakes – Gluten & Wheat Free Millionaires
Molino di Ferro – La Veneziane Coconut Biscotti
Morrisons – FreeFrom 6 Assorted Jam Tarts
Sugargrain – Almond, Apricot and Tahini Flapjack
Sweetcheeks – Almondies
Tesco – FreeFrom Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tesco – FreeFrom Ginger Cookies

13. Gluten-free cakes and mixes – sponsored by Mrs Crimbles
The Brilliant Bakers – Cupcake Gift Cake
Cake Angels – Traditional Cherry & Almond Cake
The Cake Crusader – Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
The Cake Crusader– Rich Fruit Cake
Cakes Divine – Dairy & Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes
Cariad Cakes – Gluten Free Orchard Plum & Ginger Cake
Fria – Kladdkaka Chocolate Brownie Cake
Incognito Cakes – Choc Fudge Cake
Incognito Cakes – White Choc Raspberry Muffins
Lewis & Cooper – Gluten-free Fruit Cake
Ms Cupcake – Cupcakes
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Chocolate Chip Muffins
Steph’s Free From Cakes – Lemon Drizzle Cake
Sugargrain – Banana & Chocolate Chip Loaf
Sweetcheeks – Maple & Pecan Cupcakes

14. Gluten-free puddings, desserts & cheesecakes – sponsored by Hale & Hearty
Food Heaven – Summer Fruits Cheesecake
Food Heaven – Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake
Tideford OrganicsButterscotch Rice Pudding
Mamma CucinaMango & Passionfruit Non-Dairy Cheesecake

15. Dairy/gluten-free chocolate and snack bars – sponsored by Tesco
BionaOrganic Sour Snakes
Booja BoojaRum Sozzled Sultana Chocolate Truffles
Celtic Chocolates – Choices FreeFrom White Choc Easter Egg & Buttons
Conscious ChocolatesEssential Orange
Eskal FoodsChocolate Coated Pretzels
Eskal FoodsYoghurt Coated Pretzels
Gourmelli – Secret Passion Organic Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bar 74%
Kinnerton – Dairy, Egg, Gluten and Nut Free Bar
Nut Free Chocolatier – Pomegranate & Elderflower Truffles
Pulsin’Raw Choc Brownie
Tickety Boo Cakes – Roo’s Crunch

16. Dairy/gluten-free Christmas foods – sponsored by Produced in Italy
Cariad Cakes – Christmas Cake
Conscious Chocolates – Cherry Christmas
Christine’s Puddings – Rum and Ale Pudding
Foodamentalists – Frangipane Mince Pies
Friendly Food and Drink – Xmas chutney
Genius – Gluten-free mince pies
Lewis and Cooper – Plum Pudding
Livwell – Christmas cake
Morrison’s – FreeFrom Christmas pudding
OK Foods – FreeFrom Mince Pies
Pyman Pates – Chickenliver with port, brandy and cranberries
The Heavenly Cake Company – Christmas cake

17. Gluten-free beer – sponsored by Asda
Daas – Ambre Beer
Daas – Blond Beer
Foodswild – Cornish Stinger Nettle Beer
Gluten-Free Shop – Ambar
Green’s – Bottle Refermented Blonde Ale
Green’s – Premium Golden Ale
Wold Top – Against the Grain

Quinoa, perfect grain for you and the kids

Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad
So easy to make and very nutritious

Not sure what to do with Quinoa? Try this delicious, healthy recipe from Nutritionist and Chef Christine Bailey. This recipe is adapted from one of her popular recipe books The Top 100 Recipes for Brainy Kids (Duncan Baird). For more free recipes from Christine Bailey visit her website and check out her recipe pages and Christine’s Healthy Kitchen blog

Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

Dubbed the ‘supergrain’, quinoa is an excellent protein rich, gluten free alternative to rice and couscous in salads. You can also buy quinoa flakes which can be used to make porridge, granola, muesli and are fabulous in protein bars, cakes and biscuits. Quinoa flour makes a great gluten free flour and can be blended with other gluten free flours to use in baking.

This Middle Eastern inspired combination of fruit, nuts and herbs makes this a great lunch box filler and is equally delicious as a side dish with meat and fish. Quinoa is an incredibly nutritious grain providing a complete source of protein and high levels of calcium, phosphorous, iron, B vitamins including brain boosting B6, B3, B1 and B2 plus vitamin E to protect the fatty membrane of our brain cells.

Quinoa is suitable for Vegetarians, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Seed-Free

Serves 4

Preparation and Cooking
10 minutes + 22 minutes

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to two days

180g/6oz quinoa grain
500ml/16floz vegetable stock
Pinch of saffron
1 tbsp coconut butter or olive oil
½ red onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
60g (2oz) chopped apricots
60g (2oz) toasted flaked almonds
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
½ red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
Handful of pitted olives
2tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp flaxseed oil
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 preserved lemon, rind only chopped (flesh and pips discarded)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the quinoa in a pan with the vegetable stock and saffron. Bring to the boil then simmer, covered for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Switch off and leave covered for a further 5 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic until softened but not brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Place the quinoa in a bowl with the onion and remaining ingredients. Toss well and season to taste.

Fun with new pancake ideas (video)

We’ve been messing around in the kitchen in the run up to pancake day.

We tried vegan pancakes, egg free banana pancakes and buttermilk pancakes and I think you’ll agree (recipes here). We had a lot of fun.

Blueberry & Coconut Pancakes with Syrupy Oranges (Gluten Free, Dairy Free and no added Table Sugar)

Healthy and allergy friendly pancakes for Pancake Day are not far away. These are sweetened with Sweet Freedom (a natural sweetener) for fewer calories.

Mmm... Blueberries and Sweet Freedom
Mmm... Blueberries and Sweet Freedom

Makes approx 16 pancakes

55g Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut
60g Quinoa Flour
1 Tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
1 Medium Egg
160g Coconut Milk
30g Sweet Freedom Original – natural sweetener
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
200g Blueberries plus extra to serve

Rapeseed Oil or Coconut Oil, to cook

Syrupy Oranges
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Orange
225ml Orange Juice
60g Sweet Freedom Original – natural sweetener (or to taste)
Segments of 4 Large Oranges

Blitz the desiccated coconut in a food processor for 2-3 minutes. Add to a large bowl along with the quinoa flour and baking powder and mix together. Whisk in the coconut milk, egg, Sweet Freedom and vanilla extract until it forms a thick batter. Now leave the batter to stand for 20-30 minutes during which time it will thicken. Finally stir in the blueberries.

Heat a frying pan and lightly grease with the oil. Using a dessert spoon, pour one spoonful of the batter onto the pan and quickly spread the mixture out slightly with the back of the spoon. It’s best just to cook one pancake initially to test that the frying pan is at the right temperature – it really needs to be at a medium heat; too hot and the base will scorch before the middle is ready. When the pancake is golden brown on the bottom and the top is beginning to set, carefully flip it over with a large palette knife. Gently press the pancake down onto the pan with the palette knife and cook until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm whilst you cook the remaining pancakes – grease the pan between each batch and leave plenty of room between the pancakes to make it easier to flip them over.

To make the syrupy oranges, place the orange zest, Sweet Freedom and orange juice in a pan and boil until syrupy. Keep warm and just before serving add the orange segments.

Serve the pancakes with the syrupy oranges and some fresh blueberries.

Buckwheat pancakes with Sweet Freedom (natural sweetener)

Serves 6

Stack your pancake with fruit
Stack your pancake with fruit

100g buckwheat flour
1 large free range egg
250ml semi skimmed milk
125ml water
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Oil for frying (try rapeseed oil as it has half the saturated fat of olive oil)
Sweet Freedom mild fruit syrup (mandatory as a topping)

 1. Whisk the flour, egg and milk together until you have a smooth paste.

2. Whisk in the water and yoghurt to make a smooth batter. *if you want to make lighter ‘crepes’ then add a little extra water at this point to make a thinner batter.

3. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan and swirl around to cover the base.

4. Add enough batter to cover the base of the pan, tilting to spread evenly and fry until golden underneath and then turn or flip gently and fry on the other side until golden and cooked through (they are quite delicate at this stage) but well worth the effort!

 *You can also make a batch, freeze, and defrost in a dry pan or microwave as you need them. To freeze, after cooling separate each one with greaseproof paper first and place in a sealed bag in the freezer.

Suggested toppings

Berry topping
Top with strawberries and blueberries as in the photograph (or your favourite fruit) and drizzle over Sweet Freedom.

Hot chocolate sauce
In a bowl blend 2 tbsp cocoa powder with 2 tbsp of milk and 2 tbsp of water to form a smooth paste, stir in 2 tbsp Sweet Freedom , transfer to a small pan and heat for a few minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon until it bubbles and thickens slightly. Taste and stir in more Sweet Freedom if necessary. Drizzle over pancakes whilst still warm. Can also be served cold and drizzled over pancakes or over ice cream.

Lemon and orange pancakes
Squeeze ¼ of a fresh lemon or orange over each pancake (removing any pips) and drizzle Sweet Freedom over the top.