Sip one dream at a time with Pukka Tea

“You may say I’m a dreamer…”

For some reason, drinking Apple & Cinnamon tea with ginger, always makes me feel like I’m enjoying a liquid version of apple crumble (providing you add a little sugar to sweeten the taste).

Rooibos and Honeybush with Ginseng on the other hand, makes me feel like I’m drinking something much more earthy but altogether more healthy, as if I was soaking in all the goodness of the African sunshine.

organic pukka tea

Dream on dreamer


Pukka aren’t simply purveyors of fine teas, they are the merchants of daydreams, providing steaming mugs of inspiration for every relaxing moment.

Whether it’s exotic Star Anise & Cinnamon, a serving of Detox with Lemon, healing Chamomile, Vanilla & Manuka Honey or the tender kisses of a cup of Womankind, Pukka have ventured far and wide to bring you organic, ethical teas which will truly soothe the mood.

Pukka tea.

It is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Ugg Foods – revolutionary free-from baking, paleo style

Giving advice on multiple allergies isn’t easy.

Just now I was chatting with someone whose baby has dairy, wheat and soya allergies. Understandably, she was desperate to find foods she could feed her daughter.

shopping for multiple allergies is hard

Free-from shopping isn’t easy

It’s a real challenge whoever you are. Most free-from foods will rule out one allergen, but the more allergies or intolerances you have, the more difficult it is to find suitable ingredients.

To make matters worse, foods which cut out lots of allergens tend to taste either bland or full of sugar.

But a new food trend is helping to revolutionise the free-from food market. The Paleo or caveman diet rules out dairy, grains, processed foods, sugars, starches and beans and focuses on fruits, vegetables, nut, seeds, fish and grass-fed meat. While this doesn’t avoid all potential allergens, it is helping the food industry approach the issue from a different perspective. Paleo foods should naturally be gluten-free, dairy-free and soya-free but they also tend to taste better because of their primary focus on basic, healthy foods.

This is where the a Paleo baking company like Ugg Foods comes in.

PALEO BAKES FROM UGG FOODS

Aptly named for the caveman diet, Ugg Foods specialise in guilt free natural treats. They offer bun and muffin mixes without any gluten or soya and yet their mixes are still additive free, a great source of Omega 3 and low in carbs. Most importantly, Ugg Foods are high in taste.

I can vouch personally for the flavour factor. When I was at a food show with Ugg recently, their stand was very popular and all their cakes, especially the fruit and seed loaf, were succulent and fabulously moreish. Also, their Chia Seed & Nut Bread recently came top in the Free From Awards which makes it the best thing since… sliced bread.

The cake and bread mixes Ugg Foods offer include:

paleo cake mix

For natural treats you can eat

■ Fruit & Seed Loaf
■ Chia Seed & Nut Loaf
Chia Muffins
Chocolate Chia Muffins
Coconut Chia Muffins

One cake mix will make 18 cupcakes and they take only 5 minutes to prepare before you pop them in the oven. After all, everyone needs a treat now and again, even your modern cavemen.

Give Ugg’s paleo bakes a try and see what you think.

Get the taste of spicy Harissa in seconds

I recently wrote about how easy it is to make Moroccan Tagines if you’re in need of a quick but healthy meal.

All you need are some Al’Fez ingredients. They make authentic North African and Middle Eastern mixes, sauces and spices so you’re ready to make that meal in minutes.

Of course, a proper Tagine can take a few hours to cook, but it’s encouraging to know that Al’Fez don’t mind if we take short-cuts too. That must be why they’ve introduced their Squeezy Bottles of Harissa Sauce and Tahini Sauce.

harissa sauce

Authentic flavour when you need it

If you’re not ready to make a full Moroccan yet, the Harissa Sauce makes a moreish dip for chips or a spicy kick in your sandwiches. Better yet, add to your mash or rice for extra flavour. The Tahini Sauce is perfect for falafel pitta pockets or wraps. It will grace any salad but also works if you warm it up as a tangy white sauce.

It might be a step away from traditional North African food but the sauces make a great introduction to the cuisine and will soon have you longing for more.

More perhaps like a spicy Moroccan Meatball Sauce or an aromatic Spiced Date & Chickpea Tagine Sauce? Believe me, your African adventure has only just begun…

To view the entire Al’Fez range take a look at the GoodnessDirect shelf.

Vegan pesto you can trust

Pasta. It’s such a wonderfully simple food.

Mix it with a little pesto and suddenly you’ve got  yourself a dynamic evening meal (though don’t forget some tasty vegetables to balance the meal).

But stop! If you prefer having vegetables on your plate to meat, then pesto may not be so great after all… It’s not vegetarian.

Not everyone realises that pesto is made with parmesan, and that parmesan is made with animal rennet. Unlike other cheeses, there is no true vegetarian alternative to parmesan which might mean that your favourite pesto flavour is suddenly out of reach.

vegan and vegetarian pesto

Pesto you can trust

Thankfully, while the parmesan might be irreplaceable, there is a vegan version of pesto you can try: Zest Vegan Pesto.

The advantage with Zest is that it is made with completely natural ingredients – there’s nothing artificial in it at all. To replace the cheese they use cashew nuts and you know what? It tastes just as great  – as the numerous reviews suggest.

But why stop there? Zest also make a sun-dried tomato pesto, a densely flavoured coriander based pesto and plenty of other pasta sauces too.

Just remember, in all your excitement, a few veggies tossed in the pesto tastes great too.

Know your noodles: introducing the organic spelt noodle

organic spelt noodles

Do you share a love for noodles too?

I must be a geek.

I’m genuinely excited to write about these organic spelt noodles.

Not least because they’re made from spelt which tends to be a grain IBS sufferers find easier to cope with, but also because it gives me the opportunity to explore some of the finer differences between pasta and noodles.

For example: Have you ever wondered why noodles take half the time it takes for pasta to cook?

differences between pasta and noodles

Noodles tend to use a softer wheat than pasta which makes them easier to cook and easier to digest. I can’t help but wonder if spelt lends itself to this process too?

The main difference in noodles however is the process used to make them. Whereas everyday pasta is squeezed from a tube like toothpaste, noodle dough is cut and rolled over a longer period of time. It is also salted which keeps it fresh as it goes through a natural drying process.

Ultimately, this means that noodles have a silkier texture than pasta. I think I’m right in saying that noodles are generally lower in carbohydrates too.

So, potentially, noodles offer a number of benefits over pasta, including convenience, taste, digestibility and diet control.

You might not be as much of a geek as me, but if you know you love your noodles, I recommend you try Biona Organic’s Spelt Noodles – they might just make you into a noodle-nerd too.

 

5 clever ways to use organic chia seeds

chia seeds

Chia: tiny titans of power

As tiny seeds packed full of nutrients, Chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst healthy-eaters who want high protein and fibre without the calories.

But if you’ve never used them before, what do you do with them?

You can do lots more than mix them into a smoothie or sprinkle on your dessert. The seeds ability to absorb liquid until they become a kind of jelly makes them very useful in cooking too.

Here’s a few cooking ideas you might like to try:

1. Chia makes an alternative to pectin. To make a jam, all you need is a soft fruit like strawberries, some chia seeds, sweetener and water. For an indulgent spread you don’t even need water: mix a 3 tablespoons of honey and 40 grams of chia seeds to 300g of berries and cook, stirring, over a low heat until it thickens.

2. Chia means you can go egg-free. In recipes, substitute a tablespoon of ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water for an egg.

3. Use chia instead of breadcrumbs. This is great if you are gluten free. If you’re making nut roast, meatballs, or breaded batter coatings a couple of tablespoons of chia makes a great replacement. For breaded coatings try mixing the chia with polenta/cornmeal.

4. Chia seeds make a great thickener. For soups, gravies and sauces, add one tablespoon of chia or ground chia at a time until you reach your desired thickness. The chia takes time to thicken so this is a slower cooking process. This works really well in slow cookers.

5. Create a thick omelette with chia seeds. Soaking chia with beaten eggs for 10 minutes gives really impressive results.

There’s no difference between white or black chia seeds, though white tends to be more expensive. Raw Health supply 450g jars of organic chia seeds in both white and black varieties, so try it for yourself and feel free to add more suggestions for clever things you can do with chia.

Pears are in season – try this gluten free pudding recipe

Pears are in season at the moment and should be available into the new year. So why not try this easy Swedish puff pastry recipe as a delightful pudding to serve to your friends? It’s a perfect comfort-food for the colder months of the year…

Cooking times vary for pears, depending on the type of pear you’re using. But if you use slightly underripe, firmer pears, they’ll keep their for longer shape without any detrimental effect.

pear and gluten free puff pastry recipe

Wrap your autumn pears in Fria puff pastry

Gluten Free Puff Pastry Roll With Pear and Ice Cream

In Swedish this is called Päron i Smördeg which translates as Pears in Puff Pastry. It’s a delicious dessert and easy to make with fresh pears.

Ingredients
250 g Fria Smördeg Swedish style gluten free puff pastry
2 large fresh ripe pears
1 tbsp icing sugar
Egg for brushing
4 scoops of ice cream*
Chocolate sauce*
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
Gluten free chocolate for shaving (optional)

*choose lactose free or dairy free ice cream alternatives to suit your particular dietary requirement. Check that the ingredients in the chocolate sauce are gluten-free.

Preparation
1. Defrost the pastry at room temperature. Heat the oven to 200 C (Gas mark 6).
2. Peel, cut out the pips and slice the pears and place in a bowl with a little sugar.
3. Roll the pastry to a thin 2 mm thickness and cut out four equal size squares.
4. Arrange the pear slices on top of the squares, and roll up in to roll shapes.
5. Whisk the egg and brush the top of each roll. Cook in the oven on a pre-greased oven tray until the pastry is golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes.
7. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on top of each roll, and serve with your favourite ice cream and chocolate sauce. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and chocolate shavings (optional)