Recipe: Date Syrup drizzled over olive oil couscous cake

So I was checking out what could be done with Biona Organic date syrup.

(The simple answer is just about anything as date Syrup is pretty similar to maple syrup.)

But then I came across this intriguing recipe. It’s called Olive Oil Couscous Cake and when you get it nice and moist (using the best olive oil), it is, apparently, delicious.

So for those of you who like a challenge, here’s the recipe. Good luck!

1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sweet sherry
6 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup créme fraîche
1/2 cup date syrup
12 dates thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Brush a regular cake tin with olive oil. Line bottom of pan with greaseproof paper and brush parchment with olive oil.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl; stir in couscous.
3. Blend olive oil and sherry in a bowl.
4. In a mixer mix egg yolks, eggs, and 1 cup sugar on high speed thick; stir in vanilla and orange peel.
5. Fold in the flour mixture and the olive oil mixture into the egg, alternating between the two.
6. Pour the batter into the pan. Tap the mixture to eliminate air bubbles.
7. Bake cake until dark brown for about 45 minutes. Test it is cooked with a knife. Leave to cool for 30 minutes. Then turn cake out onto a plate.
8. Serve in slices with créme fraîche, lots of drizzled date and a sprinkling of dates.

Gluten Free soup croutons – brilliant

I like Eskal.

They seem to think of things forgotten by others.

Like their wafer Ice Cream Party Tubs, capable of holding lots of ice cream and not breaking the instant you touch them. Or their Crunchy Freenut Butter, or their Gluten Free Marshmallows.

gluten free croutons
Simply brilliant

Quite the party people in fact.

So, it’s good to hear they’ve gone a little more sophisticated and started making gluten free soup croutons for all those late night soirees. Eskal really should become the first point of destination for anyone planning a free from party – all their biscuits, chocolates and pretzels make it so easy.

Fairtrade Easter Gifts from Divine

It seems a lot of chocolate companies are adopting a Spring theme with their Easter Eggs.

Perhaps they realise how tired we are of the cold now?

Divine Easter Egg range
Ethical chocolate from Divine

So, Divine, the fairtrade chocolate company has introduced Bee Shaped Chocolates made with smooth milk chocolate and small pieces of honeycomb crunch.

Bees, of course, are vital to the planet’s eco-system – 70% of the food we eat grows because of them. And they’ve been in the news a lot lately because their numbers are dropping to dangerous levels. In addition to all their worthy chocolate work in Ghana, Divine are now also asking everyone to encourage bees back to Britain by planting wild flowers. They’ve teamed up with to get you a money-off offer this Spring.

Beano Dubble Easter Eggs
With the chocolate egg hunt kit there’s something for everyone

Honeycomb bees isn’t the only Easter chocolate from Divine. Whether it’s dark or milk or white chocolate eggs, little or large, there literally is something for everyone, especially with their Beano Easter Egg Hunt Kit. All, naturally, made from the “best of the best” cocoa and free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives, and suitable for vegetarians.

The 2013 Free From Food Awards shortlist is out

Exciting news! This year’s shortlist for the Free From Food Awards is out.

Below is a list of the very best in free from foods. Everything listed here will be gluten, wheat or dairy (cow’s milk) free – and many are free of all three plus eggs, nuts and other major allergens.

But the fun doesn’t stop here. The final winners will be announced on 16th April. See the Free From Food Awards website for more info.

1. The Innovation Award – sponsored by Warburtons
CoYo Natural
Dell’Ugo Chickpea Fusilli
Esgir Crunchy Crumb
Eskal Ice Cream Party Tubs
Good Wine Online So Lo SO2 2009 Navitas
Hale & Hearty Agave Syrup – Maple Flavoured
It’s Only Natural Mango Orb
Lactofree Fresh Semi-Skimmed Dairy Drink
Lactofree Spreadable
La Zaragozana Ambar Green (apta para celiàcos) 0.0% (non-alcoholic)
Nutritious Delicious Truffles – Orange Chocolate
Tesco Free From Crème Caramel

2. Plant ‘milk’, spread & cheese – sponsored by Sainsbury’s
Coconut oil and Milks:
Koko Dairy Free Original+Calcium (formerly Kara Dairy Free)
Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Fair Trade Organic Coconut Oil
Oatly Oat Drink
Provamel Rice-Coconut Drink
Vivesoy Cappuccino/Soy Milk
Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Frozen Dessert – Lemon
Clearspring Sweet Grains Dessert Amazake
Provamel Orange & Redbush Yogurt Alternative
Pudology Banoffee Pud
Pudology Chocolate Pud
Zen Zen Mango

3. FreeFrom Breakfast Cereals – sponsored by GoodnessDirect
Doves Farm Cereal Flakes
Doves Farm Fibre Flakes
Esgir Corn Flakes Classic
Hale & Hearty Choco Jungle Cereal
Perkier Ginger and Raisin Porridge
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Cornflakes

4. Breads and bread mixes – sponsored by Tesco
Annapanni Mum’s Mill Quick bread Mix/Bread Flour Mix
Fria Gluten Free Fiber/Fibre Loaf
Fria Gluten Free Vallmofralla Poppy Seed Roll
Knead Bakery Fresh Seeded Batch
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Soft Brown Seeded Bread
The Foodamentalists Perfect Vegan Bread Mix
The Indian Coeliac Paratha
Waitrose LOVE Life GF Seeded Sliced Loaf
Warburtons Fruit Loaf
Warburtons Gluten Free Brown Bread Loaf
Warburtons Gluten Free White Bread
Warburtons 3 Gluten Free Brown Rolls
Biona Organic Rye Bread with Chia Flax
Yes You Can! Fresh Brown Bread
Yes You Can! Fresh White Bread
Yes You Can! Seeded Brown Bread Roll

5. Grocery ambient/store cupboard – pasta, sauces, pizza bases, flour stock etc – sponsored by Tesco
Cornito Sea Waves Pasta
Doves Farm Organic Maize & Rice Penne
Eat Water Slim Noodles
Farabella Cicatelli
Le Veneziane GF Tagliatelle
Orgran Buckwheat Pasta Spirals
Riso Gallo 3 Cereali Fusilli
Riso Gallo 3 Cereali Penne
Riso Gallo 3 Cereali Spaghetti
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Elbows
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fettucine
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Lasagne
Other grocery ambient entries:
Amy’s Kitchen Chunky Tomato Soup
Delicious Sauces Mint Chilli Mild
Delicious Sauces Piri Piri Chilli Hot
Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat Free Plain White Flour
DS-gluten free Yorkshire Puddings
Hale & Hearty GF Breadcrumbs
Innovative Solutions GF Bread Flour
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Tikka Sauce
Saladworx Hebridean Seaweed & Lemon Dressing & Marinade & Drizzle
Sanchi Instant Miso Soup
Sanchi Tamari Soy Sauce
Sweet Mandarin Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
Tesco Free From Pizza Bases
Wellfoods GF Pizza Bases
Womersley Raspberry Vinegar
Sweet products:
Innovative Solutions GF Multipurpose Flour
Mortimer Chocolate Company White Couverture Powder
Orgran Buckwheat Pancake Mix
Orgran No Egg Natural Egg Replacer
Sukrin Gold

6. Freefrom foods manufactured for food service – sponsored by Livwell
Domino’s GF Pizza
DS-gluten free Pizza Base
Hotch Potch Eggs Savoury Scotch Eggs
Pizza Hut GF Pizza
Proceli Burger Baps
Red House Foods Georgia’s Choice GF Fish Cake
Almondy Tårta with DAIM
Christine’s Puddings Ready Baked Pastry Cases
Delice de France GF Blueberry Muffin
Delice de France GF Chocolate Chip Muffin
Glamourpuds Banoffee Sponge Pudding Pot
Glamourpuds Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding Pot
Glamourpuds Raspberry Jam Sponge Pudding Pot
Sainsbury’s Café FreeFrom Cherry and Almond Slice
We Love Cake Apricot Macaroon Slice

7. Ready Meals – sponsored by Food Heaven
Pizzas, pies & pasties:
Freedom Deli Gourmet Fish Pie
Freedom Deli Ham & Cheese Panini
Freedom Deli Pepperoni & Cheese Panini
Freedom Deli Tuna Melt Panini
Mamma Cucina Vegetable Pizza
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Margherita Pizza
Tesco Free From Cheese & Tomato Pizza
One pot meals – to include ‘world food’:
Afia’s Spicy Beef Samosa
Amy’s Kitchen Mexican Tortilla Bake
Amy’s Kitchen Mushroom Risotto Bowl
Dee’s Quinoa Pots with Thai Spiced Vegetables and little lentils
Dee’s Thai Butternut Squash and Lentil Meal
Lifestyle Catering Boeuf Bourguignon
Lifestyle Catering Catalan Pork
Tesco Free From Three Cheese Pasta Bake
Tideford Organics Organic Beetroot Soup with Crème Fraiche & Dill
Tideford Organics Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Sweet Potato
Meat meal centres (sausages, meat balls, burgers etc):
Pig & Co Hey Pesto!
Pig & Co Lucanian Roman Sausage
Pig & Co Sizzling Sugarbush
Red House Foods Georgia’s Choice Chicken Bites
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Pork & Bramley Apple Sausages (Gluten Free)
The Black Farmer Premium Pork Sausages
The Good Little Company Sausages

8. Raw foods and superfoods – sponsored by Delamere Dairy
BoojaBooja Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate Truffles
Essence of Eden Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Fair Trade Organic Coconut Oil
Orgran Multigrain Crispbread with Quinoa
Orgran Multigrain Pasta with Quinoa
Raw Ecstasy Activated Walnuts – Raw Chocolate
Raw Health Raw Almond Butter
Raw Health Raw Sauerkraut
The Raw Chocolate Company Raw Chocolate Covered Organic Mulberries

9.  Children’s food – sponsored by Asda
Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Frozen Dessert – Chocolate
Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Frozen Dessert – Strawberry
CoYo Cacao (Raw Chocolate) Coconut Yoghurt
Doves Farm Chocolate Stars Organic and Gluten Free
Eat Water Slim Pasta Spaghetti
Eskal Ice Cream Party Tubs
Glamourpuds Banoffee Sponge Pudding Pot
Glamourpuds Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding Pot
Glamourpuds Raspberry Jam Sponge Pudding Pot
It’s Only Natural Moshi Monster Poppet Raspberry Ice Lolly
Nim’s Fruit Crisps Apple Crisps
Nim’s Fruit Crisps Pineapple Crisps
Orgran Itsy Bitsy Bears
Pulsin’ Beond Organic Açai Berry Bar
Red House Foods Georgia’s Choice Chicken Bites
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fantasia
Tesco Free From Chocolate Dessert Shakes

10. Savoury biscuits and snacks – sponsored by the Food & Drink Innovation Network
Afia’s Spicy Mix Vegetable Samosa
Conscious Foods Finger Millet Dippers
Cornito Crackers Pikant
Le Pain des Fleurs Organic Buckwheat Crispbread
Le Pain des Fleurs Organic Chestnut Crispbread
Le Pain des Fleurs Organic Quinoa Crispbread
Orgran Toasted Buckwheat Crispibread
Scrubby’s Vegetable Crisps with Character
The FreeFrom Bakehouse Jalapeño Pepper & Sweetcorn Muffins
The Indian Coeliac Vegetable Samosa

11. Scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, sweet biscuits and cookies – sponsored by Yes! You Can
Against the Grain Almond Cookies
Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies
Angelic Gluten Free Reduced Fat Orange Chocolate Cookies
Christine’s Puddings Frangipane Tart
Doves Farm Stem Ginger Cookies
Lazy Day Foods Ginger Truffle Slice
Lazy Day Foods Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road
Lovemore Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lovemore O’Chocos
Peace of Cake Raspberry Abricotines
Perkier Popping Tiffin
Sweetcheeks Chilli Chocolate Snickerdoodles
The FreeFrom Bakehouse Chocolate Macaroons
Warburtons Fruity Tea Cakes

11. Cakes, cake mixes and cupcakes – sponsored by Mrs Crimbles
Cakes Divine Carrot Cupcakes
Heavenly Cakes Eton Mess
Melsie Jane Bakes Victoria Sandwich
Mummy’s Yummys Indulgent Chocolate Brownies
Silver Box Bakery Brownies
Sweetcheeks Pistachio & Lemon Zest Loaf
The Rebel Bakery GF Big Apple Pie
Waitrose LOVE Life GF Millionaire Blondies
Warburtons Blueberry & Cranberry Muffins
Warburtons Lemon and Poppyseed Muffins
We Love Cake Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Yes! You Can Lemon Muffin

12. Chocolate and snack bars – sponsored by Amy’s Kitchen
Beenies Hawaiian Splash
BoojaBooja Around Midnight Espresso Chocolate Truffles
Goody Good Stuff Strawberry Cream
Kinnerton Luxury Dark Chocolate
Natural Balance Nãkd Berry Delight
Natural Balance Nãkd Cocoa Orange
Nutritious Delicious Truffles – Orange Chocolate
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Mint Crisps
Winning Ways Fine Foods Ltd Dairy Free Chocovered Raisins

13. Christmas foods – sponsored by Genon Laboratories
Celtic Chocolates Choices Advent Calendar
Hale & Hearty Luxury Mince Pies
Heavenly Cakes Chocolate Christmas Cake
Peace of Cake Christmas Cake
Sainsbury’s FreeFrom Iced Rich Fruit Slice
Tesco Free From Christmas Cake
The Foodamentalists Toasted Top Mince Pies
The Heavenly Cake Company Jamaican Rum Cake
The Nut Free Chocolatier Christmas Mulled Wine Chocolates

14. Gluten-free beer – sponsored by Orgran
Celia Premium Czech Lager
Daas Ambré
Daas Blond
Estrella Damm Daura
Green’s Export Lager Lite
Green’s IPA
Green’s Lager Dry Hopped
Hop Back Brewery Crop Circle
La Zaragozana Ambar Gluten Free
Oak & Barrel Schnitzer Bräu Organic German Hirse Premium GF Beer
Oak & Barrel Schnitzer Bräu Organic Lemon GF Beer
St Peter’s Brewery G-Free
Wold Top Brewery Scarborough Fair IPA

15. Products manufactured in a nut free environment – sponsored by RSSL
D&D Mixed Chocolate Fondants
Doves Farm Lemon Zest Cookies
Eskal FreeNut Butter
Orgran Kids Mini Outback Animals Chocolate Cookies 8 Fun Packs Multipack
Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli
The Nut Free Chocolatier After Dinner Orange Crisps
The Nut Free Chocolatier Mint Delight
Wellfoods GF Pizza Bases


Take A Step for Fairtrade

This year Fairtrade are inviting you to Go Further in support of small farmers.

Fairtrade Fortnight is Monday 25 February to Sunday 10 March 2013.

You can visit their website and get involved by signing a petition to be taken to 10 Downing Street and then Go Further by using their website to design a virtual model of yourself  to be taken on the Fairtrade protest through London.


We can all make a difference. GoodnessDirect source products from all over the world that are certified with the Fairtrade label and conform to Fairtrade Standards.

By choosing to shop Fairtrade with us you are helping small farmers and workers gain a better chance to work their way out of poverty, through fairer wages, safer conditions at work and a little extra, called the Fairtrade premium, which is invested in projects to improve life for their whole communities.

Most Fairtrade products are from tea, coffee and sugar plantations, but we also are pleased to eco-friendly products, and lots of chocolate.

How to make Fenugreek tea

fenugreek seeds
Healing tea from ancient seeds

Fenugreek seed has long been used by civilisations to treat ailments and has recently been thought of as useful for diabetes.

It has a taste like maple syrup or licorice, and is a popular ingredient for curries, soups and stews.

However it can also be brewed to make a tea for medicinal purposes. Some people make it to control blood pressure, others for the common cold, but researchers are still speculating about whether it helps the body produce insulin. (Always talk to your doctor before regularly consuming fenugreek tea.)

It’s easy to make the tea. Steep 1 teaspoon of organic whole fenugreek seeds in a cup of boiled water for 5 minutes. Pour the water through a strainer to remove the seeds. You won’t have to sweeten it because the tea will naturally be very sweet.

Clearspring’s nutritious snacks – perfect for rambling

goji berry snack
Nutrition in your hand

If you did one of those ‘everything in my bag photos’, what would be in there?

Would there be any snacks?

There definitely would in mine.

I’m the boyscout who never grew up, prepared for all sorts of eventualities that may never happen. So, I always like to have some little snack bars in my bag.

Clearspring’s Organic Roasted Seeds and Soya with Goji Berries are just the kind of thing I like to carry around. Nutritious, tasty and likely to keep me going for a few hours as I find my way out of the urban-jungle.

Goji berries have more vitamin C than an equivalent weight orange and more iron than an equivalent steak so you know you’ve got something healthy in your pocket.

Be prepared and make sure you have your Clearspring snack with you. As it’s Baden Powell’s birthday this week, I’m sure he’d approve.