Vegan baking: Date and Pecan Cake

What do you need on a windy, drizzly summer’s day?

Surely, a nice cup of tea and something tasty to go with it.

How about a slice of moist Date and Pecan Cake?

Most people go for a date and walnut combination, but the pecans add a warmer smoother flavour, almost toffee-like.

Everfresh make cakes without dairy products, eggs, sweeteners, or chemical additives (that makes it vegan). The sweetness comes from the use of fruit juice which helps you avoid that sugar-high and must-have-more-cake experience.

Toast it slightly for that just baked taste. And I dare you to see if you can avoid adding a touch of butter, while you dream about the other cakes Everfresh make

The easiest organic garden (you don’t even need to leave home)

Get fresh with organic seeds
Get fresh with organic seeds

Here’s an easy way to get into organic gardening.

It’s so easy you don’t have to leave the house.

All you need is a kitchen window.

Growing nutritious organic food at home can be economical and doesn’t have to be hard work. You can simply sprout seeds on your window sill and they go wonderfully in sandwiches or salads, with wraps, on bagels or in soups and stir fries.

You can plant beans, grains or lentils and watch them grow into life. Aconbury are a sprouting company who provide a Sprouting Kit with a sprouting jar, instructions and numerous seeds and beans so it’s easy to start.

The Aconbury Sprouting Kit
The Aconbury Sprouting Kit

What’s more, because they’ve begun to grow, the seeds are just bursting with life so you eat them when they’re packed full of nutrients and enzymes. Try healthy sprouts like wheatgrass, red clover, radish, lentil, adzuki, pumpkin or sunflower. (You can also buy sprouted seeds ready to eat if you don’t fancy growing them yourself.)

Aconbury have been sprouting for over 25 years, all their seed is tested so you can be confident that the seed you receive will have good germination, is clean and safe for sprouting and is 100% organic.

3 tools for clear skin

3 great tools for skin care
3 great tools for skin care

You know the experience…

You get yourself ready for the day, look in the mirror and think,”What’s that!?”

Any plight on our skin, be it acne, eczema, premature ageing or skin tone issues can come at any time.

It’s worse when the outbreak just won’t go away, or does go and then returns with a vengeance.

Well, Viridian have looked into the research on how we should nourish our skin and found three consistent factors: inflammation, free radical damage and digestion. To combat these three elements they’ve created a trinity of Clear Skin tools.

Clear Skin Complex Veg Caps are a specifically formulated blend of botanicals, minerals, antioxidants and probiotics to aid digestion and designed to offer hope for a clear, fresh, blemish-free skin.

Organic Clear Skin Omega Oil is to help you get enough anti-inflammatory omegas 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids in the right balance. In addition, the oil contains antioxidants and vitamin E for skin cell health.

Finally, The Clear Skin Cookbook is written by celebrity and medicinal chef, Dale Pinnock, to focus on our largest organ, and how diet effects our skin. In the book he offers tasty and healthy solutions, involving the right vitamins and minerals needed to improve the skin’s condition.

Olympic runner Stuart Stokes relies on coconut oil

Coconut oil helps athletes
Coconut oil helps athletes

Stuart Stokes uses Tiana Fair Trade Organic Raw Coconut Oil.

He chose it for Team GB to enable him and the team to perform even better at this summer’s London Olympics.

In his words, Stuart describes why he chose Tiana Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:

“As the oldest male member of the athletics team for this summer’s Olympic Games in London, the need for me to look after my body is higher than ever.

“Combining Training twice each day, working full time as a PE teacher and having two young children of my own, my energy demands are massive, as is the need for me to remain healthy at all times.

“I have found Tiana Organic Raw Coconut Oil has assisted me over the past 2 years, so that I can combine the busy life I have, whilst also pursuing my lifelong dream of competing in the Olympic Games. It has strengthened my immune system and allowed me to train and recover in order for me to operate at the highest level possible in sport.

Tiana has helped my dreams come true.”

Tiana’s fairtrade and organic coconut oil has also won the “Janey Loves” Platinum Award, nominated by Janey Lee Grace and the Board of UK Nutritionists.

As a Fair Trade importer, Tiana helps coconut farmers in the Philippines to achieve a better life and to invest in education, health care and the entire community.

Win the De-Stress Diet book

The De-Stress DietMost of us want to be slim, cool, calm and collected.

But any time I try a diet I tend to be irritable, hungry and frustrated.

Clear links have been made between stress and weight gain (most of us call it comfort eating). This year a new diet book has been released that takes account of life’s stresses and still helps us lose weight.

Written by Charlotte Watts and Anna Magee (and published from Hay House), The De-Stress Diet is designed to help you feel calm, explore what suits your body and discover how to live as nature intended (as much as you possibly can in this modern world).

For your chance to win this book send me an email with your name and address, and I will announce the winner in the next newsletter (competition closes 26th july 2012, UK addresses only).

Good reasons to drink cherry juice

Biona have come up with a great tasting organic tart cherry juice that is full of goodness for your body.

Did you know that cherries have at least 17 different antioxidants?  They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins which make the cherries so red, but are also very powerful fighters against free radicals (molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage).

Biona’s cherry juice is made out of five different types of cherries to ensure that you get the best from your juice and get the best out of you.

Not only is cherry juice full of antioxidants but it has also been known for the relief of pain and inflammation in the following:

Great tasting healthy cherry juice
Healthy cherry juice

Muscle pain
Back pain

And, if you are an insomniac tart cherries are also good for you as they are a natural producer of Melatonin which helps people fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed in the morning.

But other than all of that… it tastes nice too!

Food that speaks for itself – Baked To Taste Gluten Free

It’s difficult not to be inspired by Baked To Taste, a West Country firm producing pies and pasties and bakewells and brownies like there’s no tomorrow.
Baked To Taste
Inspired Gluten Free Baking
The selection range has to be seen to be believed, but the one thing that is constant is that these baked foods are all wheat and gluten free. The founder, Paula Deacon, is herself a coeliac and professional foodie, so she has a real understanding food intolerance and allergies.
What is more, there is a standard of excellence that goes into every bit of baking. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible: meats, cheeses, vegetables, eggs, you name it. And all the bakes are handmade to unique recipes with a West Country eye for tradition.
Baked To Taste makes food that speaks for itself. But perhaps the best thing to do is to quote a few customers and let them do the talking.
“Just had to say how wonderful your GF Devon Pasties are! Absolutely brilliant. Not just the gf pastry, but the quality of the beef is excellent.”
“Wow! just tried your double chocolate brownie……. It was without a doubt, delicious. Thank you! x”
“I bought one of your cheese and onion pasties and two of your quiches… I would just like to say they are so tasty. The pastry in all three was gorgeous. The quiches were perfectly seasoned. I would like to say a big thank you.”

The best ice cream you’ve never tasted…

The first time you taste Bally Bleat Ice Cream you wonder why you were ever scared of eating goat’s milk ice cream at all?

Aside from the health benefits of goat’s milk (less lactose, making it easier to digest) you also get a wonderfully creamy ice cream for a seemingly lower number of calories.

Bally Bleat A surprisingly creamy taste
A surprisingly creamy taste

The taste is truly exquisite! No wonder it has won Great Taste Gold Awards. It’s made using 100% Goat’s milk which, you have to remember, is the most widely drunk milk in the world.

The name Bally Bleat comes from the ice cream’s home in Ireland and the ice cream itself comes in three different flavours: Blueberry Swirl, Summer Strawberry and Vanilla.

It makes a great alternative to cow’s milk and it’s gluten free.

Christine’s Cashew and Pear Millet Porridge (gluten free recipe)

gluten free porridge

This is a wonderful creamy porridge, designed by nutritionist Christine Bailey, using the whole millet grain rather than flakes.

It’s perfect as a gluten free option and the addition of the nuts provides protein to help stabilise blood sugar levels. You can even make this the night before and heat it up in the morning if rushed for time.  Top with additional fruit, nuts and seeds and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon if wished.

Serves 4

125g (4½oz) ¾ cup millet
750ml (26floz) 3 cups water
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
150ml milk or milk alternative
50g/1¾ oz/ 1/3 cup cashew nuts
4 dried apricots
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp raw honey
1tbsp ground flaxseed

1. Put the millet and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add the pear and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
2. Put the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
3. Pour the nut mixture into the millet and mix well. Serve hot or cold. Top with additional fruit, nuts, seeds and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon if wished.

Storage: This can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 day. To reheat, place in a saucepan with some extra milk and simmer, stirring, until warmed through.

Christine is a qualified nutritionist and chef and author of numerous healthy recipe books.  One of her specialisms is digestive health and cooking for people with allergies including those sensitive to gluten and dairy.  When she’s not writing recipes she advises clients and companies. For additional gluten free recipes why not book on to one of Christine’s cookery days or purchase one of her e-books online (See

Savoury vegan snack bars

If you’re a vegan and you’re out and about a lotyou’ll know how frustrating it is if you find yourself with a sudden desire for something full of protein.

A protein snack to get your teeth into
A protein snack to get your teeth into

It’s all the more important if you’re a fitness freak and incredibly annoying if you want something savoury rather than sweet, and something that tastes good that you can eat on the go – there just isn’t much out there.

One option we’re beginning to see more off is meat-free jerky. Primal Strips are a good example of healthy, meat alternative jerky snacks made from soya, seitan or shiitake mushrooms, all of which add up to a tasty primal bite of protein satisfaction (and not too tough on the teeth either).

They’re a genius idea for salads, stir fries, and hot sandwiches too. But primarily perfect for the lunch box or something to slip in your pocket wherever you go. They’re made without artificial preservatives or colourings and the variety of flavours is encouraging too.

Hickory Smoked, or Texas BBQ Soya Jerky
Thai Peanut or Teriyaki or Mesquite Lime flavoured Seitan Jerky
or Hot and Spicy Shiitake Mushroom Jerky (my favourite so far)