Need a quick lunch?

biona chilli beans
Lunch comes easy-peasy with Chilli Beans

If you need a quick lunch, how about Biona Organic’s Red Kidney Beans in a Chilli Sauce?

Simply heat them up in a pan or microwave and enjoy them on buttered toast?

Can’t get simpler than that.

The sauce is a mouthwatering combination of tomato, oregano and various spices including chilli. Not exactly, your usual tinned spaghetti on toast.

But then Biona are brilliant at making good organic food, whether it’s cranberry superjuice, 5 litre bottles of cider vinegar, pizza bases or virgin coconut oil – you’ll always find something wholesome and healthy from Biona.


Cranberry or Redcrrant sauce, which is better?

I’d like to imagine there’s a rivalry between recurrants from Europe and cranberries from North America.

Both are harvested around this time of year, both make great condiments for meat dishes and both should have pride of place at our family meals, but cranberry sauce has all the fame, especially at Christmas time.

Redcurrant sauce tends to be sweeter than cranberry sauce, so it really depends on the flavour of the meat you cook with, but in my opinion stronger the meat the tarter the sauce. Sweeter sauces like redcurrant compliment less intense palates like chicken; but turkey, which carries more flavour, is more suited by a slightly more sour dressing like cranberry.

But then turkey was never the native food for British tables was it?

Whichever you prefer, Meridian offers you both an Organic Cranberry Sauce and an Organic Redcurrant Jelly – whichever suits your taste.

What do you do to deal with cystitis (honeymoon syndrome)?

If you’re a fan of the movie The Green Mile and have seen the way the Tom Hanks character suffers you’ll know that it isn’t just women who suffer from cystitis.

However, when you survey discussion forums for answers it’s generally women who pass on suggestions like cranberry juice or barley water. One solution that often comes up is Potters Antitis – which is a herbal remedy used for the relief of urinary or bladder discomfort and infections.

Antitis is made of several natural ingredients including Buchu and Uva Ursi (diuretic and urinary antiseptics), Clivers (a diuretic which also controls bleeding in the urinary tract), Shepherds Purse (a urinary antiseptic with anti-haemorrhaging action) and Couchgrass (a diuretic specific to cystitis).

It’s not a pleasant experience but anyone can experience it, so it’s worth knowing Antitis can help. If you have any other solutions you’d like to share, feel free to add a comment.

Snacks with style (and smotherings of chocolate…)

We all know we should be eating more berries for health, but it’s so much easier when they’re coated in chocolate.

Landgarten are an organic company producing stylish and tasty snacks which just happen to be gluten free and fairtrade too.

Love berreis? You’ll love Landgarten

Whether its cherries, raspberries, hazelnuts or ginger there is something here for everyone to try… there’s goji berries, cranberries and berries mixed together They taste delicious, and are great for sharing whether it’s over a dinner party or watching a movie.

Landgarten also smother chocolate all over other snacks too like pumpkin seeds and soy beans (they do non chocolate versions too but er.. why would anyone want a non chocolate version?)

When did fairtrade & organic get so stylish?

Easy Christmas flavours

Cranberry sauce, mince pies – the very words conjure up notional delights of Christmas.

Thankfully Meridian Organic have produced vegan versions so that they can be enjoyed by everybody. Both the Cranberry Sauce and their Mince Pie Filling are sweetened with apple juice to avoid overdoing the sugar content too.

And then there’s Redcurrent Jelly, which while traditionally served with lamb, makes a useful alternative to cranberry sauce and is great for glazing vegetables before roasting.

A bit of Christmas flavour
A bit of Christmas flavour

Parsnip Cranberry Bake – A veggie centrepiece for any Christmas dinner

I’ve got an amazing vegetarian recipe for you to try, perfect for Christmas. I first sampled this at my friend’s house and everyone was coming back for more. It could easily make the centrepiece of a meal and can be adapted for a vegan palate. I asked her to give me the recipe to share with you all. The good news is it’s not only tastes great, it’s easy to make too and is a great way to use up left over cranberry sauce.

Parsnip cranberry bake

Makes 6 servings

1.5lbs parsnips, peeled and diced
1oz butter (or margarine)
4tbs double cream (or vegan cream)
3oz cheddar (or vegan cheddar) grated
3oz roasted peanuts chopped
1 oz wholemeal beadcrumbs
7 oz cranberry sauce
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
a handful of cranberries
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7
2. Boil or steam the parsnips until they are soft (about 10 minutes), then mash them.
3. Stir in the parsley, butter, cream and 2oz of cheese. Season to taste.
4. Spoon half of mash a into greased oven proof dish.
5. Scatter half of the peanuts over the top and then add a thin layer of cranberry sauce.
6. Cover this with the remaining parsnip mash.
7. Mix the remaining peanuts, cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over top. Add a sprinkling of cranberries too, for effect.
8. Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until golden.

This recipe is so easy it really is worth trying but, alternately, you might want to try a vegan sausage pie or vegan haggis as a non-meat option.

All the benefits of wheatgrass in a bottle

Don’t you love it when some clever fella invents something to take all the hard work out of an issue? Over in Germany a drink is currently being developing which is high in Omega 3, that means people who cannot consume fish (like me) will have another rich source of this essential fatty acid.

Wheatgrass Cocktail
Wheatgrass Cocktail

It’s tenuous to connect this breakthrough with Rabenhorst’s array of healthy drinks, but I hope they take on the idea.

Already the producers of organic drinks of cherry, cranberry, beetroot and prune juice, the traditional company are now making a wheatgrass drink. That means you can get all the benefits of wheatgrass: purer blood, less toxins, less eczema and psoriasis, improved digestion and lower blood-pressure – all in a cup without having to squeeze the wheatgrass yourself – and they’ve mixed in green-tea and spirulina for a delicious healthy breakfast drink.

Rabenhorst have been producing quality fruit juices for over 200 years and last year won an international award for innovation in beverages.