Sunday, 29 December 2013

Fermented Vegetables

I've blogged about my gut issues before so won't go into details again, but it's an ongoing challenge, and any help I can get I'm grateful for. So when I was recommended the GAPS book by Natalie Campbell Mcbride I ordered it right away.

As soon as I started to read it it was like it had been written just for me...she described me and my gut to a tee, and the practical dietary advice is second to none. 

One of the things she advocates is eating lots of fermented foods; yes I know it sounds pretty yuk, but really it's not, and I figured that if it's going to help me I'll try anything. I've never been into fermented anything other than the odd miso soup, which is really good for us by the way, so it's completely new territory for me - how exciting!! 

Before I jumped up and started chopping vegetables madly, I wanted to know abit more about why they are so good for us, so I researched as much as I could on the internet. I already have a book called Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and she also advocates fermented foods, but I'd just never got round to trying it.

Now I'm so focused on getting my gut sorted; fermenting here I come!

We all know, or should know by now, that good health starts in the gut and obviously all the food and drink we put into our mouths has only one way to go and that's through the gastro intestinal tract. The more good stuff we eat the better the health of this long long tube of tissue, which is vital to our well being.

So what did I find out about fermented food :

Us humans have been fermenting for hundreds of years , and there's me thinking it was a new thing!

They can improve out digestion 

They are rich in enzymes

They help us to absorb more nutrients

They help with the good/bad bacteria balance

They increase the flavour of food

They are rich in enzymes

They increase the vitamin content of our food

They are a wonderful healing remedy for the whole of the digestive tract

They stimulate stomach acid production, when eaten before a meal -good one for me as I currently drink Swedish bitters to do this, and I hate the taste of it!

They , cheaply, add probiotics to the diet

They preserve food so it lasts so much longer, not only that but the food gets more nutritious and not less! 

Helps to kill off the bad bugs in the gut that we don't need, by introducing the good bugs

So that sounded like a lot of plus points to me, and it's pretty easy to do too. The fermenting process needs just salt adding to the food, and a bit of water. How easy is that? 

And some time to let it ferment. To have it ready to eat you need to make it several days in advance. It's a bit fiddly but hopefully worth it. 

So here's what you do : 

Take a medium cabbage, red, and shred it. Take 2 tbsp sea salt or Himalayan salt, and water if necessary.
Mix all the ingredients and squeeze in the hands for ten minutes until the juices are released. Spoon into a jar, and press down until juice comes to the top of the cabbage. The cabbage needs to be under the liquid! Cover tightly and store for three days - then put in the fridge. Check daily and add water if you need to.

Eating this can be an acquired taste! I have two tablespoons with my lunch and dinner. It's done wonders to my gut.
Worth a try... Rx

Monday, 9 December 2013

Let's hear it for (RAW) honey...

Bob, the honey man, as I've named him, kept me going yesterday at Wetherby's Dickensian Christmas market. I shared a stall with him and his wife, and his wit and repartee made him very entertaining. Not only that though, I learnt a lot about honey...

 I only came across RAW honey two years ago when I had to drastically change my diet due to a digestive health issue. I was told to take all refined sugars and carbohydrates out of my diet to help my gut, and after my initial panic started looking for alternative sweeteners. RAW honey soon became top of my list and is now number one sweetener for my Sweet Enough recipes.

Processed/filtered honey is generally what we buy on supermarket shelves and it's very different to the RAW stuff. Processed honey has been heated and even sometimes watered down! Not only does this remove the pollen and the propolis, but it can also remove the phytonutrients. 

RAW honey hasn't been treated or heated. It's straight from the hive and is as nature intended. It can help sleep, it's calming, it relieves anxiety and does wonders for a sore throat along with hot water and lemon. It can help wounds to heal, it can help decrease LDL cholesterol, it's rich in enzymes and vitamins, it's antiviral, anti fungal, antibacterial and anti carcinogenic. It's also anti inflammatory and boosts immunity ... So an all round boost to the health.

Please don't confuse RAW  honey with the refined variety which contains very little health giving properties, and can be likened to refined sugar in that the body reacts to it in the same way... negatively. I'm not going to go into detail here on the negatives involved in eating too much refined sugars, as this post is to promote RAW honey, but I have written several other blogs on the sugar subject; in fact it's probably the subject I 'bang on about' more than any other!! has some great info and some videos on the subject of RAW honey versus processed honey, and there's also a great book if you'd like to read more on the subject called Seven Health Secrets From The Hive by Charles H Robson.

If you're into experimenting there are lots of tests you can do to check whether the honey you've bought is 'real' or 'artificial' :

1. Thumb Test 
Drop some honey on to the end of your thumb. If it spreads around right away or spills, it's not pure. If it stays intact it is.

2. Shelf Life Test
Pure honey crystallises over time, artificial honey does not

3. Water Test
Add a tbsp of honey to a glass so water. Pure honey will lump and settle at the bottom of the glass. Artificial honey will start to dissolve.

4. Light A Fire
If you put some honey on the end of a match and strike it , real honey will light, artificial honey will not because of the moisture in it.

Have a go with what you've got in your cupboard! And if it's not real bear in mind it will not be health giving.

If you know a local beekeeper ask them to sell you some honey straight from the hive and check out the difference, it's so much more full of flavour. Just be a little cautious if you suffer from allergies, as there are more allergens left in the honey; propolis, pollen ... Even bits of bee! 

Failing that, most health food shops stock RAW honey, you can buy it online, Amazon have a great variety, and now Waitrose stock RAW honey, and I think it's manuka.

I eat it straight from the spoon if I need an emergency energy boost: it's beautiful , and works really well in energy balls and truffles with nut butters, coconut oil and cacao butter/powder.

Happy Monday... Here's to a healthier week.


Friday, 29 November 2013

On the right path....

I'm waking up in the night at the moment, between 3 -4am, thinking about my Dad, and other thoughts come and go, and can overwhelm me quite quickly with negativity if I'm not careful. It's a scary time the middle of the night if you let it be...

This morning at 4am, I got really cross with myself. There is nothing wrong with my life, so why go down the negative path; why let negative thoughts dominate. I'm healthy (I think), I live in a nice house, I have three beautiful children, two gorgeous black cats, a supportive partner AND ex husband ( how many people have that?! Lol! ) A mum who lives close and helps me with the kids so I can have abit of freedom, and I live in a fab part of the world .I love what I do, I want to do more of it. I know my purpose - it may have taken me a while to find it, but I have, that's the main thing.

So, this morning I thought positive thoughts, and I'm blogging in detail the things in my life that make me happy, bit random some of them, and I hope you're still reading! You're probably thinking why am I interested in what makes her happy! My point is that we ALL have something to be grateful for, every day, however small and this needs to be our focus. Sometimes it's about training your brain to 'go down the right path', the one that leads to contentment and not the one that leads to unhappiness, blame, frustration and lots of other negative emotions. 

Here goes:

Waking up in the night with a new healthy recipe idea

Snuggling in bed with Nat and Lauren in the morning when it's dark and cold outside 

My black cats, Minx and Elle, jumping on me the minute I sit down

Watching Hawaii 5 0 under the duvet on the settee with Ben and John

Walking Millie, the most beautiful golden retriever, on the Ings, the most beautiful place in Wetherby especially first thing, with my mum, the most fab mum in the world

Smelling fresh air

Spritzing my home with home made aromatherapy sprays 

The smell of wood burning in my stove and lying in front with the door open for maximum heat

Having a lazy day with John watching DVDs, eating nice food, drinking nice wine, and having lots of fab closeness

Having cups of peppermint tea with girlfriends and putting the world to rights

Grabbing a quick glass of wine in the Muse with my bestest male friend, Jonny Smith - he's so wise


Body brushing- love that tingling feeling

Really hot baths, large mug of peppermint tea, and a fab book

Listening to Lauren talking about her cousin Noah, and seeing her face light up

Seeing Noah, and his mum, my lovely cousin Ali, who's always so happy and positive 

Listening to 80's music- especially with Andrew and Paul, two lovely happy friends 

Chasing Lauren and Nat up the stairs and hearing their giggles

Laughing at Nats hilarious antics- he should be on the stage

Johns enveloping cuddles and telling me everything's going to alright when I start to go down the wrong path 

My mum.... For never giving up on me when I was a challenging teenager

Jumping on my trampette

Doing hot yoga

Watching Ben interact with all his beautiful friends who turn the house into a youth club, a privilege to witness 

Cooking beautiful healthy food

My morning juice

My digestive specialist Emma Lane - the most amazing holistic health 'specialist on the planet

Covering my body in oils and lotions (organic of course) after a bath. Or any time...

Being massaged

Having acupuncture with the amazing Mrs Urqhart, I love needles. They hurt but it works

Jenny Kaye - chakra balancer extraordinaire 

White flowers , lilies and roses

Glossy unnecessary magazines

Sneaking in an episode of Doctors during the day

People /things that make me laugh

Crisp white bedding from The White Company 

The odd treat from Hotel Chocolat, dark of course

Positive feedback to my recipes

Meeting new like minded people 

Facebook for helping with the above

Learning to let things that don't matter go

Wandering round the shops on a week day 

Reconnecting with old friends

Climbing mountains with John and eating pub lunches afterwards and feeling like I deserve it

Having weekends away

Taking the kids on new adventures and seeing things through their eyes

Massaging my kids beautiful skin

Wow! If you're still reading I can't believe I came up with so much good stuff! And I could go on... So really I never need to go down the negative path..... I AM SO GRATEFUL  for my life. If you ever hear me moaning , ever, please just tell me to shut up.

Would love to hear what makes you feel happy and grateful.

Have a superb day.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Fabulous Figs

Today I'm celebrating the humble fig. I've always loved figs, my mum taught me from an early age how versatile, tasty and nutritious they are.. I remember eating them fresh with a little bit of cream. Years later they became a regular for me in the Flying Pizza in Leeds; they used to serve them as a dessert with a wonderful syrup, and some double cream. Fantastic!

So today's blog is all about how great they are for us, and why we should include them in our diets.

First of all they are a fruit so you can include one serving in your five (or ten) a day.

Secondly, how great do they taste! The textures are great, the combination of the soft inside with the tougher, chewy skin is wonderful. And pretty unique too.

They are so full of goodness; antioxidants ; Vitamin C , B Vits, Vitmamin A and Vitamin K , calcium and potassium, and others to a lesser degree.

They can help with weight management; they are great for constipation for starters!! They are also full of dietary fibre, which makes us feel fuller faster and so we don't need to eat as much; that sounds good doesn't it?! 

Apparently I found out recently the leaves can also be used ; for diabetics to help reduce the amount of insulin they use naturally.

They can be used in sweet and savoury dishes; I've started using them more in my RAW desserts and sweets as they are great as a base, mixed with ground nuts and coconut oil ie. cheesecake or with raw chocolate  or ganache on top . They help with moistness in any recipe, and are really pliable too.

They also make a great snack as they're very transportable both fresh and dried. Eat alongside a few nuts or seeds for a great mid morning or afternoon snack.

So if you haven't eat figs for a while, why not try them again. It's good to shake things up once in a while. Apparently most of us rotate just twelve foods in our diets! Given how many million there are to choose from that's a little pathetic isn't it. How about this week introducing a new food each day. You may be amazed at how great they taste. 

Happy Monday and here's to a healthier week.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

My Acupuncturist ....

I have blogged about my acupuncturist before but I'll keep doing it as and when necessary because she really is one special lady. She's Japanese and practises her very own style of Japanese acupuncture and homeopathy. What she doesn't know about the body is not worth knowing. I love going to see her just to listen. 

She had never used conventional medicine, she doesn't agree with pill popping unless they are homeopathic and uses a combination of this and needles through acupuncture to sort out many , many peoples health.

Unfortunately, we seem to have become a nation of pill poppers - pain relief via tablets can give us a quick fix I agree, but at what cost. Popping pain killers masks the pain and means we can carry on doing what we're doing. 

Pain in the body however is the body's way of saying "help" something is out of kilter, and if we choose to ignore it , it will not necessarily go away. Prescribed and over the counter medicines can also give us side effects- even headache tablets warn that they can cause headaches.

Mrs Uruhart believes that even though acupuncture and homeopathy may take longer, they are getting to the cause of the problem and not masking it. Yes you have to be prepared for a bit of pain with needles; it is short lived however. She has helped me over the last ten years with plantar fasciitis, migraines, back pain, skin disorders; she has helped my auntie with sinusitis, my friend with hay fever, my mum when she had her hip replacement, my cousin with her skin, my partner with sciatica and my son Ben get rid of his childhood asthma completely. 

She has also helped people with cancer by working alongside radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments , using homeopathy to reduce their side effects.

There are other natural ways to help our body's to return to homeostasis, and over the years she has offered me a great deal of advice. Here are a few that may help :

Manuka honey is great for sore skin (bit sticky but..) pimples, eczema, sores, blisters etc.

Cystitiss can be helped greatly with propolis tablets.

Tea tree oil is amazing to get rid of warts and verrucas (my chiropodist told me never to buy the 'stuff' from chemists- it's chemicals and non of them are effective). Nat recently picked one up in a swimming pool and we've treated it every day for a week with tea tree, and the chiropodist on Monday said it's gone! 

If you have pain on one side of your body, press hard intermittently on the opposite side in exactly the same place. It will help it to subside.

The froth that forms on the top of boiling barley is effective for cysts if you drink it regularly. 

Cough remedy :

Spring onion (white part sliced thinly)
Raw honey or manuka honey

Place the above in warm water and sieve. Sieve and sip slowly throughout the day.

Constipation and general health - eat lots and lots of different greens, including lettuce. 

There are many more, and I'll be writing them down each time I go now, because she has so much great advice in her head.

I've asked her if I can write a book on her, as I believe the way forward with treating disease is more often than not, the natural way, or at least alongside some forms of conventional medicine. 

By the way I hate the term conventional medicine, as the natural remedies have been around for much much longer so really are the conventional ones. What's conventional about the use of chemicals? They are a relatively recent inclusion in our lives.

Hope this was useful. If you have any other natural remedies please feel free to share.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tell someone you love them and why...

I'm at a hugely challenging and sad time in my life... My Dad died just over two weeks ago, after only being in hospital a couple of weeks. Prior to that he was walking in the Lake District. It was all so sudden, none of us can get our heads round it.

The thing is, like most families we've had our ups and downs over the years. Some of the downs were major. My relationship with my Dad hasn't always been the best. But at the end of the day he was my Dad, and you only ever get one of those right. He loved his grandchildren and had a very special relationship with each of them. We miss him; I keep thinking I'm fine and then out of the blue I'll stop in my tracks, a memory having just flashed into my mind. Or I remember that's he's no longer here. It's amazing how the mind plays tricks on us.. allowing us to forget temporarily. My eyes are sore, and my head has a permanent dull ache deep inside. I feel empty, I feel like life has changed, and not for the better...

It's my Dad's funeral this Friday and the reason I'm writing this blog is because my children and I have written a poem, and I'm going to try to read it out during the service. I don't know if I can do it, but I really want to. The humanist lady, Cath, who's taking the service for us says she'll take over if I falter.

It took for my Dad to die though, for us to write a poem about him, to actually think about what it was that made him special, made him different, and what he added to our lives. I want to tell him to his face, and  I can't . How many of us take the people closest to us for granted, never expressing  the emotions that really tell them how we feel?  When we lose someone we love it's too late to tell them; so we need to tell everyone and anyone who is important to us, who means something, exactly that. NOW. That they are precious, that they are loved, that they are special to us, and why they are all of these things.

Don't leave it until it's too late. 

The other day on the radio Buddy Holly came on, and I sang along, knowing every single word without having to think about it. My Dad exposed me to Buddy Holly, and Elvis and many other great singers, and for that I'd like to thank him too. He (and my mum) introduced the Lake District to me. I hated it when I was little. Hated having to walk up and down mountains, eating packed lunches in the rain and having to wee behind a tree. As an adult I can appreciate the beauty of the mountains, the colours, the height, the fresh air, and I love it. My Dad had a very loud, raucous laugh. When I was younger I found it embarrassing, when we were out in public it made me cringe when people looked round when he laughed. Now I'm glad he laughed so much, and found humour in so many things.

My Dad was in no pain at all in his last two weeks,  for that I am grateful. All the people that he was close to made at least one trip to the hospital to see  him before he died (we didn't know he was dying)  including his grandchildren. He was so pleased to see them, and so very proud of them...

Wish me luck on Friday. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cinnamon Apple Roll - so seasonal!

I'm loving this little recipe creation because it uses Coxs apples, grown locally and in season right now!! No air miles, no preserving them just lovely juicy fresh fruit. 

I love the combination of Apple and cinnamon, it reminds me of my childhood and bonfire night, so I guess it's comforting. Cinnamon is a great blood sugar regulator and apples contain flavonoids, high levels of soluble fibre, and are great for helping to detox the liver, so they're superb together. 

For more info on the benefits of apples go to

This recipe is quick to make and can be eaten anytime; breakfast, mid morning or afternoon snack or jazzed up for a dessert with some whipped coconut cream,  or organic double cream. 


For the filling: 
3 small Coxs apples
I teaspoon of cinnamon (or more depending on your taste)
A little filtered water

For the pancake rolls:

4 heaped tablespoons of unrefined flour. I used gluten free oat flour for mine, oats whizzed in the Vitamix until they're fine flour
1 organic egg
A large splash of almond milk, unsweetened 

Coconut sugar and cinnamon mix to sprinkle on the top

Organic RAW butter to spread on the pancake before rolling

Chop up and core the apples 
Stew the apples with the water and cinnamon until very soft- be careful not to burn! 

Using butter or coconut oil, pour some of the batter into a frying pan and cook on both sides until slightly crisp

Place on a plate, spread with butter , put some of the apple mix on top, and spread to cover the whole pancake
Roll it up and sprinkle with the cinnamon/coconut sugar mix
Enjoy, guilt free, whilst it's hot! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Butter V Margarine? Happy Monday.. Here's To A Healthier You

The other day on Radio 2 the topics of conversation was Butter V Margarine, which one is the better one for us consumers. I pricked up my ears to hear the debate, this should be interesting, I thought. I had a very strong opinion already but just wanted it validated. My mum taught me from a young age that because butter is self limiting (ie you couldn't realistically eat a whole block in one go) it's absolutely fine to be part of the diet.

Well, Radio 2 had enlisted 2 'experts' each with very different views. I listened closely to what they both had to say, and also some members of the public who phoned in (who had serious health issues)  and quite frankly by the end of the programme was very confused, and had I not had my own opinion already would have been non the wiser.

However, having believed my mum all my life, and then had her opinion substantiated by various health courses I have attended, and research I've done, I'm sticking to butter and these are the many and varied reasons why :

We have eaten butter for thousands of years ... It's even mentioned in the bible (not that I'm religious but..) , not the same story for margarine! Lol! 

Butter comes from cows! Yes.. Really. My recommendation to clients  is to eat food that has had a mother or grown in the ground (top quality only obviously), so butter fits with this! RAW butter  from organic, grass fed cows produces a food containing many vitamins, minerals and fats needed for a healthy body. Avoid non organic however, as you get pesticides, hormones and antibiotics which non organic cows consume. 

Vitamins A, D, E and K, the fat soluble ones are found in RAW organic butter, and beta carotene, and selenium , all in an easy to digest form.

It also provides short and medium chain fatty acids that help support the immune system and boost metabolism; and we use it for 'quick energy' . Butter also has anti microbial properties. 

Butter contains lauric acid, I've only recently found this out, which can help with fungal infections and candida. 

It's also a source of conjugated linoleic acid , CLA, an immunity booster, potent anti cancer agent, and muscle builder. 

I could go on and on, there is so much to say about this stuff that's really good!! If you're not yet convinced please go to and and read about it in more detail. I'm sure you'll be convinced to include RAW organic butter in your diet.

Now for a little bit on margarine... 
Don't touch it with a barge pole! It's synthetic, manufactured originally in a science lab, fully processed, made commercially to 'be cheap', tastes lousy, looks fake, contains trans fats, and highly processed vegetable  oils. Oh and it's low fat! We need fat in our diets for goodness sake, our brains can't function without it for starters. The fat we eat just needs to be good fat, it's really not that difficult to get your head it?! 

I've found a great website called, they sell ORGANIC. RAW dairy - milk, butter, cream, yoghurt. They do a great 'taster pack' which is really reasonable. 
Hope that helps.

Happy Monday.. here's to a healthier week.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Choc-Fig-Nut Squares

Yum yum yum! These squares are little beauties, if I say so myself! I had to stop myself devouring all of them yesterday! Took some to hot yoga so I couldn't , and they went down a treat!

So here's the recipe... After you've seen a pic of them of course! 

You will need :

1 cup of soft figs
1 cup of mixed nuts
1 tbsp coconut oil

1/4 cup (or more if desired) of chocolate - I use Plamil foods xylitol Choc drops (only three ingredients) 
A handful of toasted dessicated coconut
A handful of goji berries

Method : 

Whizz up the nuts and oil and figs , I use my trusty Vitamix, until it forms a paste. Pack into a tin lined with baking paper , use your fingers to flatten down

Place in the fridge for at least half an hour

Melt the chocolate, Bain Marie style, and pour over the cold base

Sprinkle the coconut and goji berries over the top

When the chocolate has cooled place in the fridge, then cut up into squares, and enjoy, guilt free!! 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Pre Diabetes- Happy Monday Here's To A Healthier Week

A scary concept but there are so many of us in the UK who are already pre - diabetic.  One of my son Ben's friends told me yesterday that he'd had his blood sugar levels tested at the doctors (his mum took him because he eats so many sweets)  and has been told at the age of thirteen that he is pre-diabetic! OMG! 

The estimated number of people in the uk that are pre-diabetic is 7 million, and how many of them are children? So many teenagers and younger kids too seem to think it's ok to drink a 2 litre bottle of coke a day,  or some other fizzy drink not realising (or not caring?) that they contain bucket loads of refined sugar. And then there are all the sweets, chocolates, and crisps. My belief is that there should be way more taught in schools on nutrition, like there is about smoking now. All three of my children are totally anti smoking because they've had it drilled into them at school that it's a deadly habit to start. The thing is , eating too much sugar and other processed foods is just as toxic as smoking. Really. 

The definition of pre diabetes , by the way, is a metabolic condition and globally growing problem that is closely tied to diabetes. If undiagnosed or untreated it develops into type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes, in case anyone is unsure , is the presence of higher than normal blood glucose levels. It has many symptoms and they are not at all pleasant.

The great thing is that these 'conditions', or diseases, can be reversed. Entirely. And this can be done through diet.

There was a study done in America recently, where they took a group of adults with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) to a remote place and changed their diets for 30 days. Almost all of them had their diabetes reversed with the right nutrition and exercise.

Ok, it may be a hard habit to break, but taking processed foods out of the diet can change the health body and mind enormously. We are what we eat, or more accurately we are what we absorb. So if the diet consists of crisps, white bread, refined cereals, chocolate, takeaways and fizzy drinks it's highly likely that eventually dis-ease will occur in the body. It's not rocket science to see how this can happen! 

The NHS is currently being drained treating people with health issues that are avoidable. It's a choice for all of us what we put into our mouths and each day we need to be mindful of what we are eating and drinking. If we make bad choices each and every day the results, at some stage, will be cumulative , and not good...

Wouldn't it be better to eat fresh simple food, organic meats, fish , fruits, vegetables , seeds, nuts and unrefined grains at least eighty per cent of the time, and restrict the other 'stuff' , that we all love so much, to just twenty per cent of the time. It's easy once you get the hang of it, and it takes just 28 days to create  a habit that can last a lifetime. 

Short blog to today.. But, big subject! If we all make one change a week to move towards greater health and vitality , and take our health into our own hands we can make massive change. Don't leave your health to chance, and then expect the medical profession to provide you with a quick fix to get you over it, or through it. They may not be able to.

My six week programme "Six Weeks To A Healthier You" is now up and running. A one to one programme looks at diet, lifestyle, shopping habits, recipes and cooking, exercise, stress levels, sleep and circadian rhythms... You will be amazed at the results you can achieve in just six weeks. Contact me for details on FB or on 0777 2613786.

Have a fabulous Monday, and rest of week. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Chocolate Orange Energy Balls

I have always loved chocolate orange. My sister and I used to eat one between us when we were little, quite often!! Not these days, although I will occasionally have a piece with my son Ben, and my partner John when we have a Hawaii 50 night!! It's a great combination!

So this morning I decide to make a kind of healthy version. After several attempts I came up with some energy balls, flavoured with orange essence and raw cacao. I took them to GoYoga - Hot Yoga class today and the general consensus was that they weren't overly orangey!!  Lovely but not enough orange to call them Choc-Orange balls. So, on my way home I bought some oranges, real fruit has to be better than 'essence' ! Thanks for that recommendation Sophie! 

These balls are really chewy, they make your jaw work, which has to be a good thing right? And they taste yummy, and they look yummy. You could roll them in something other than coconut if you like, like raw cacao powder or chopped mixed nuts, but coconut always works for me.

Recipe :

1/4 cup Dessicated coconut, plus extra for rolling
1/4 cup Germinated Buckwheat (or similar)
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1/4  cup Goji Berries
1/4 cup Hemp Seeds
1/2 cup Dates, stoned and ready to eat
1 cup Mixed nuts, I used cashews, hazelnut, almonds, and macadamia
2 -3 TBSP Raw Cacao, or more if desired
4-6 drops Orange Essence
Zest of a whole Orange
1/4 Tsp Sea salt

Method :

Place all the ingredients into a food processor ; I use my Vitamix, and whizz up until smooth.
Roll into small balls, and roll in dessicated coconut.

Place in the fridge.
Enjoy Chewing ! 


Monday, 16 September 2013

Happy Monday.. Here's To A Healthy Week - Why Juice?

Ok so juicing is the trendy thing to do ; there are juice bars popping up in shopping centres everywhere. I love it, I've been drinking them for years and making my own concoctions - some of which have been disastrously revolting I have to say!! 

Recently with my health challenge I've taken juicing to a new level. I've tried juice fasting but it's not enough for me . I need to eat little and often and need more protein than I've found I can get into my juices, however I add one juice into my diet every day, usually as my mid morning snack.

Jason Vale is the 'Juice Master'!! I've read his books and they come from a great place. He sorted out his psoriasis that he'd had for an awful long time, and realised juicing can be amazingly cleansing on the body! You can feel it doing you good while you're drinking - my partner John says he can feel the nutrients literally running through his body. I have most of Jason's books and know a lot of his recipes off by heart.

I used to follow them religiously,  but now I understand the principal I just use whatever I have in my fridge - generally starting with the green veg, because they are SO nutritious and we need to eat them in large quantities every day.

Some basic juicing tips for those of you just starting :

Squeezing lemon juice or lime juice into every juice makes it taste kind of zingy! And helps with alkalinity in the body.

Use 2-3 vegetables for every piece of fruit, or sweet root vegetables, so you're not taking in too much fruit sugar (fructose) 

Juicing takes out the fibre, so if you eat no other fruit or veg, best to eat the whole fruit because we need fibre. However when you juice it's gentle on the digestive system as your body doesn't have to break down the fibre.

Drink your juice within half an hour of juicing - before the fruit and veg starts to oxidise 

You can use the stems! Ie broccoli stems are actually really sweet and add a lot to your juice

You can add in other foods - I use things like nut butters, chia seeds, Maca powder, ground linseeds, and aloe Vera gel.

Today I just had a few things left as I go shopping on a Monday morning, so I made my juice with spinach, pineapple and apples with Maca powder, almond butter, and chia seeds (1tbsp of each), and some aloe Vera gel. Usually I will add in more veg, but it worked and tasted yummy! I whizzed it up in my Vitamix not a juicer and sometimes then sieve the juice to lose some of the fibre, but this one worked just fine without .

The benefits of juicing :

Great for vitality and energy

Helps to release weight (you can juice as a meal replacement) 

Helps detoxify

Helps the body to heal, flooding the tissues with goodness

Fills you full of nutrients and antioxidants with the right mix of fruit and veg

Tastes awesome! (When you get the hang of them) 

Increases your intake of fruit and veg in your day - we NEED a minimum of 5 but 10 is way better

And many more......

Happy Monday, Here's To A Really Healthy Week! 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Gooey-chocolatey-banana- pudding!!

For want of a better name! I need something more succinct I think? But my creativity only stretches so far first thing in the morning.

I'm in need of comfort food today, think its the weather getting colder, so I emptied the cupboard and fruit bowl of some of my regular stuff and just whizzed it all up in my magic Kitchen Aid, and hey presto the gooey pudding has emerged.

Here's the recipe for you, not sure if I can remember the exact quantities, but to be honest it doesn't really matter; you can even throw in more ingredients or exclude some and it'll still work (although you probably need the avocado, coconut cream and banana as the base).

Ingredients :

1 ripe banana
1 ripe avocado
Coconut cream - I scooped the solid cream off the top of the tin of coconut milk
1 tsp Maca powder
1tsp Chia seeds
1 tablespoon Cashew nut butter
2 tsp Raw honey, local no less!- more if you like sweetness 
1 tsp Cinnamon
1tsp  Vanilla extract
4 Tsp Raw cacao powder ( more or less depending on how chocolatey you like it)

Literally throw it all into your processor, and whizz up until it makes a smooth 'mousse'.

I sprinkled toasted desiccated coconut on top and put it in a heart bowl so my man can share it with me :0)))

Enjoy, knowing its totally guilt free. And you didn't go near those middle aisles of the supermarket. 


Monday, 9 September 2013

Happy Monday .. Here's to a healthier week - Oaty-Choc cake

How fabulous and versatile are oats?! A wonderful food: for porridge, pancakes, flapjack, muesli, crumble... and cakes! I've never used  oat flour for cakes but I was researching flours the other day, and came across the idea . I've had success with oaty pancakes after reading Patrick Holford's nutritional books, as they're really low GI/GL and therefore help to keep blood sugar stable, so it makes sense that they'd be great in cakes. But would the cake rise!?

They're also high in fibre, energy, vitamins and minerals, help cleanse the intestines and help decrease the risk of major diseases, so should be included in everyone's diet (gluten free means they are accessible to all of us too). 

I looked up lots of recipe ideas, and eventually blended several to get the one I wanted, and then practiced with real 'live' ingredients! It took me all day but finally found one that worked. It's not the lightest, fluffiest cake in the world; it's slightly dense in texture, very rich and with raw cacao powder deliciously chocolatey!! 
The added challenge  is to make it refined-sugar free as well as refined carb free so I combined coconut sugar, which is low GL, with Xylitol which is even lower GL. The combination worked a treat so here's the recipe and I really hope you'll give it a try. It's simple - you just combine everything in a processor (I use my trusty  Kitchen Aid) and whizz! Pour into the cake tins, two, and bake! 

Oaty Choc Cake

Ingredients :
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Xylitol
3/4 cup Almond milk 
1 tsp Chia seeds
1 1/4 cups of gluten free oat flour ( you can make oat flour by whizzing up oats in a Vitamix (or other processor) or buy ready milled, go for Organic if possible 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
6 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Icing : Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients :

Double cream and Xylitol sweetened chocolate chips 2:1 ratio

Method :

Whizz up until smooth and pour into two greased 8" cake tins.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks , and whilst the cakes are cooling make the ganache. Heat the cream in a pan until warm ( don't let it boil) , remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Leave for a minute and then stir until fully combined. Use the ganache to sandwich the cakes together and then to spread over the top. I sprinkled cacao nibs over the top to decorate when the ganache had set.

Enjoy! I ate a slice, with a dollop of probiotic organic plain yoghurt, and a large steaming mug of peppermint tea! Yum! 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Happy Monday .... Here's to a healthier week! Baking made easy

I'm focussing on being time efficient now that the kids are back at school and life has gone back to 'normal' , if there ever is such a thing!! I love to blog, I love to bake and I'm in the process of putting together my next two e-books so life is busy, busy. 

My first one : Bakes, Bars and Bites is now out on and sales are steady! Yeah! All the recipes I'm working on are FREE FROM refined sugar and refined carbohydrates ... So no nasties, and as most of us respect out body's what can be better than still being able to eat 'treat food' but knowing its actually doing us good? 

Blogging and baking both take time. My recipes are all about NOT spending the whole day in the kitchen to produce one masterpiece. Most of my recipes can be thrown together by whizzing all the ingredients up in a Kitchen Aid (love my white one!) , or similar food processor and then baking ... Or not (as some of them are raw or just use the hob). 

And to cut down on my blogging time I've decided to write one post a week and release it on a Monday.... Happy Monday, here's to a healthier week will be the title. We all need a little positivity to start the week don't we, so how great to have a healthy recipe to try for you and your family.

I know it's Tuesday by the way, but my kids only went back to school today so this the first chance I've had to blog... From now on it will be published on a Monday!! 

This weeks recipe is divine, although I say so myself. It's a recipe I have adapted several times from various sources to make it healthy, chemical free and full of goodness. It's easy to make, very easy in fact; it's SO tasty, and can be eaten any time of the day. 

Without further a do may I present..... Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Ingredients :

225g.    Butter , I use organic 
100g.    Xylitol (available in health food shops, online and some supermarkets) 
100g.    Coconut sugar (available in Heath food shops and online) 
2           Organic eggs
225g.    Unrefined flour - I use one quarter rye flour to three quarters coconut flour (rye flour is sold in 
              most major supermarkets now; coconut flour is available online, in health food shops and in 
               continental food stores
1tsp.      Baking powder (gluten free) 
2tbsp.    Almond milk (sugar free - beware many of them have added sugars) 
1tsp.      Vanilla essence (optional) 

For the top:
Unsweetened raspberry jam (you could use home made raspberry purée) 
Toasted desiccated coconut 

Method :

Whizz all the ingredients up in a food processor and pour into a greased loaf tin.

Bake at Gas 4, 350F, 180C for 40 -50 minutes, very oven dependent! It may take longer.

I tested mine with a skewer to check it was cooked right through. If the top looks like its cooked way before the middle, cover with foil and bake for a further ten minutes. 

When the loaf is cool, spread the top with a layer of raspberry jam, and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

Enjoy! I love it with a steaming mug of peppermint tea!

Here's to a healthier week..

Monday, 29 July 2013

On My Soapbox...

I've just been down to my local Sainsburys with my children to get some food for their packed lunches tomorrow; I'm taking them to Whitby for the day with some friends. I always read labels on food and most of the time it drives the children crazy! They go"mum, why do you have to do that. Why can't we just eat what we like". And so follows a long explanation as to why they shouldn't eat most of the ingredients in processed food boxes, packets, jars, bars etc. 

Tonight was no exception, we finally settled on a packet of crisps that are actually made of potato and have only another four ingredients. That took a while! Then at the till they spotted a box of Mr Kipling Bakewell Slices , so to justify my answer "no" I read the back of the packet. Unbelievable!!! Under ingredients there was a list which filled half the box - over 35 ingredients it apparently takes to make this famous 'exceedingly good cake'.Reading through the list I spotted over five different sugars, all of which are very refined, plus several flavourings which I had never heard of, plus wheat, soya and every other conceivable allergy producing food out there..

I came home, checked out the Mr Kipling website and all of their products contain similar numbers of ingredients. I'm astounded, I can bake a cake with four ingredients, none of which are harmful to health; all of which are in fact health giving. I emailed Mr Kipling, much to Nats horror ( he's changing his name!) to ask why on earth they need so much rubbish In their products, and that I hope they are happy contributing to the terrible state of the nations health. Lets wait and see what their response is, I'm sure it'll be pretty standard. I felt better for sending it anyway. 

I'll stick to my Sweet Enough baking, staying clear of nasty, toxic sugars, refined flours, vegetable oils, and unpronounceable flavourings because I love my body too much to pollute it with this refined rubbish, with literally No natural ingredients. Where's my soapbox??!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ruth's Snack Mix Recipe

I made my snack mix up just by throwing all my favourite ingredients into a bowl one day; it tasted awesome and I've loved it ever since. The ingredients/ratios/quantities are not set in stone by any means so if you fancy having a go, use your imagination. Let me know if you come up with any unusual combinations. 
My friend Lindsey introduced me to dried mulberries; fabulous taste and texture and they look so unusual- so a big thanks to her! 

Ingredients :

100g approx of the following ingredients will make a large bowl full :

Goji berries
Toasted almonds
Toasted cashew nuts
Pan toasted sunflower seeds
Pan toasted pumpkin seeds
Toasted coconut flakes
Toasted dessicated coconut
Xylitol sweetened chocolate chips
Dried mulberries

Method :
1. Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined.

This mix is an amazing energy boost mid morning, mid afternoon, or after exercise. Perfect to top yoghurt and fruit, in fact it's just perfect. When I put it in portion sizes it reminds me of the little Graze boxes I used to order years ago! 

I always have some in my bag or in my car, to avoid reaching for something less healthy in a 'needy' moment!! 


Monday, 1 July 2013

Hot hot hot

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Hot Yoga a couple of weeks ago by a couple of friends who have been doing it a few weeks longer than me. I've heard about it but never managed to find a class 'up north'. They've always been hundreds of mikes away, so I jumped at the chance and have to say I LOVE IT!! 

Despite looking like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards by the end of the hours session, and dripping wet! (Not felt like this since being in Las Vegas humidity years ago)  I feel energised, way more supple and flexible than when I went in, and also really calm inside. I've always been an adrenaline rush chaser, until my health challenges made me re look at my exercise regime, and yoga fits in just right where it needs to.

Sophie, our instructor is gorgeous, tall, statuesque and very calming - I felt welcome and part of the group within minutes. The room was heated up very quickly with several infra red heater mostly situated on the ceiling. I felt the need to go and open a window at first, almost feeling claustrophobic; but I resisted!  Don't think it would have gone down too well! 

Just wanted to blog today after researching a little bit about the benefits of Hot Yoga, and why it came about and to really recommend to anyone who wants to improve their mind and body at the same time.

Sweating is obviously great for getting rid of toxins, as the skin is the body's biggest organ. Heavy sweating is said to flush the toxins from the skin. Sure we can all do with a bit of this!

Flexibility and Suppleness  
Hot Yoga warms up the muscles quickly and safely and really does allow you to go deeper into postures than you normally would. I was amazed during out two hour session on Saturday that I could get into a 'crab' position that I don't think I've been able to do since I was about fourteen!! I also find that if I do normal yoga in the morning I'm usually a little stiff from my nights sleep. Not so with Hot Yoga!

Heart Rate
The heat of the room increases the heart rate, making the body work harder, to get some intensity, which is what I love. I need to feel I've really worked out after an hours exercise session, whatever it is, and that's what I found so difficult to achieve when I gave up the adrenaline rush stuff. Hot yoga meets my needs in a non-cortisol infusing way.

At the same time as raising the heart rate Hot Yoga produces an overall feeling of relaxation and calmness. With my type A personality I so need to come down to earth regularly and this really hits the spot.

I found it great for totally focussing the mind. Abit like meditation , but for me even better. I had fewer random thoughts popping into my head! 

Sophie reminds us all the way through to take liquids on board, and now provides flannels for discreet mopping of the brow, and other such areas!!! I drank several litres of water on Saturday afternoon, after a mornings session. 

Sophie's sessions are at GOYOGA at Hornbeam Park, Harrogate. 

I'll be back on Tuesday; can't wait.

There's always an alternative

When I was told last year that I wouldn't be able to eat sugar, or anything the body turns to sugar, due to a health challenge I panicked!! My first thought was "I can't do it". I grew up surrounded by family members who baked, and cooked the most fabulous desserts, puddings, biscuits, cakes, and treats. To say this has left me with a sweet tooth is an understatement. I had to have a major chat with myself and it became a mind over matter challenge.

Sugar in one form or another is in virtually ALL processed foods, making it very difficult to avoid and very easy to overdose without realising. Most people 'drip feed' sugar into their bodies through regular consumption of the likes of ketchup, mayonnaise, crisps, sweets, chocolate, crackers, crisp breads, bread, pasta sauces, puddings, ice cream, cereal bars, fizzy drinks or roasted nuts...

For the first week of my 'challenge' I went cold turkey. Nothing whatsoever that was even vaguely sweet passed my lips . I did it, but my enjoyment of food decreased massively. I needed something sweet! I've always loved baking and experimenting with food, and as a personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach , have always tried to eat healthily most of the time (80/20 rule) but did have sugar 'binges' sometimes.

But my health became way more important than eating sugar and sugary products. I've heard it said before that people have a real mindset change when challenged with an illness and its possible to overcome almost anything. I also believe that there is always an alternative route - so I started to experiment with food alternatives that would satisfy my sweet tooth but enhance my health rather than take away from it.

I played with fruits, vegetables, gluten free oats, Xylitol instead of refined white sugar, sprouted grain flours instead of refined white flour (awesome - the body treats them like vegetables), and Raw honey instead of processed honey and other sweet syrupy substances. I'm still playing and experimenting and I'm loving it so much I've written a mini E recipe book, and am already on to books two and three with the aim to publish a hard backed book next year. 

They say everything happens for a reason, and I've found new direction and what I now define as my 'calling', my reason for being. Sugar is so detrimental to health it should come with a warning. I believe it will some day soon. In the meantime my aim is to alert people to its dangers, to offer alternatives to satisfy the mind and body, and generally get on my soap box as much as possible on this fascinatingly important subject. We're never going to get away from the fact that we are born with a naturally sweet tooth, so why not work with it using good, sustainable energy foods, instead of empty calorie, nutrition free rubbish that will harm rather than heal.

Here are a few ideas for substitutions if you're struggling : 

Eat gluten free porridge or Oaty pancakes for breakfast rather than cereals full of sugar, salt and wheat,

Have snacks made up of fruit and nuts/seeds instead of cereal bars.

Bake with Xylitol , RAW honey and Stevia instead of white/brown refined sugar.

Eat home made popcorn instead of crisps,organic if possible. Great fibre! 

Use coconut oil or extra Virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

Buy jam with no added sugar (or nasty sweeteners) - or make your own using Xylitol. So easy!!

Make your own puddings and desserts. Chocolate mousse can be made so easily with Avacado as the base! And you would never know!

Eat very dark chocolate, preferably organic and raw rather than the processed varieties. 

These are just a handful. There are so many other ways. Check me out on Facebook Sweet Enough for lots of ideas. 

In summary, it's very possible to obtain sweetness in food without succumbing to processed foods. It takes a little planning  and effort to start with , but you'll soon get the hang of it. So much so that you'll   wonder why you didn't try it a long time ago. 

Have a great healthy day.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Why Xylitol

I've been using Xylitol for several years now, as the owner of my local health food shop, The Good Life in Wetherby has been stocking it for a long time. I'm now using it by the bucket load to keep up with the demand for my sugar free bakes and cakes, treats and desserts.

It truly is a great sugar substitute. There really is no need for us to bombard our systems with huge amounts of the refined white stuff when there are other foods that can sweeten just as well, without the detrimental side effects to our health.

So why is Xylitol so amazing? 

Well, where to start - it orignally was made from Birch trees and is a polyol, a sugar alcohol. Most living things naturally produce xylitol, trees, fruits, plants, animals and even people! Now a lot of it is made from beech trees, and contains no GMOs, and is sustainably sourced.

The great thing about it, is it tastes good, it looks like refined sugar so is easy to get past scathing people ( oh yes there are plenty of them about aren't there?! ) and you can bake with it just like refined sugar (well in the main).

It's way better than regular sugar though because :

-   It's lower in calories (about 40%)

-   It has a lower GI   (7)

-   It has well established dental health benefits

-   It's actually good for us!

The teeth thing is a biggy, especially for kids. It has the ability to reduce plaque and tooth decay and this can be backed up by many clinical and field studies. Just now, Xylitol containing confectionery is endorsed by over 15 major dental associations worldwide, including the British Dental Health Foundation and the FDI ( Federation Dental International),

Is not a miracle cure meaning we don't need to clean our teeth, obviously, however, for anyone with children this has to be a great substitute to sweets full of refined sugar in any of its many guises : sucrose, malto dextrin, maltitol, fructose, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup etc etc (all used in the ingredient list to confuse us I'm convinced).

I give it to my children in chewing gum if we're away from home and they can't clean their teeth after meals. 

Xylitol for baking is great too in terms of its consistency. It is granulated as regular refined sugar is, so looks the same. It creams well with butter for cakes, makes great flapjack, works well with 100% chocolate to sweeten when melted, can be added to home made custard, virtually anything where you would use the regular stuff. The only thing I've found it doesn't do is caramelise, so it won't crisp up biscuits to make them crunchy. They stay soft, but hey what's wrong with a soft chewy biscuit if its better for us?! 

As its sweeter than refined sugar, you don't need to use as much, I tend to work with 2/3rds of what a regular sugar recipe asks for and it tastes sweet enough!

All in all I'm thrilled with the results I get from Xylitol, and hope you'll give it a try too.

If you're still not convinced please go to the following website for more information:
Http:// there was an article recently in the Times newspaper.

You can buy Xylitol from the following websites, but most health food shops generally stock it : 
Just make sure it doesn't come from corn as its likely to be GM.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Little Chewy Delights!

One of my most favourite ingredients in all of the sugar free baking and cooking I do is the Goji berry. They are so delicious added to anything and add such a lot of healthy goodness . So today's blog is to pay tribute to them and let you know why they are such a good addition to your diet.

Goji berries can also be known as wolf berries. They originate from Asia, and have been eaten there for many, many years in the hope that those consuming them will live longer (one reason anyway!) . 

They have been used to treat many health challenges such as diabetes, blood pressure, fever, and even age related eye problems. We can eat them dry, raw, and cooked in teas, baked food, juices, and herbal teas, or mix with nuts  as the perfect snack. 

Like all other berries, Goji berries are full of antioxidants , which may take away the destructive power of those nasties : free radicals . Anti-oxidants can help rescue the risk of some serious diseases.
They'll also provide the body with vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E , all of which are essential for breaking down amino acids and fats, and converting carbs to energy.

Goji berries also contain vitamin A which has anti ageing benefits , apparently , also, they contain weight for weight more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than steak ! And they taste so great. They're chewy, not too sweet, and stay chewy when baked. I add them to flapjack and they complement the oats really well boosting the health benefits of this traditional baked snack ( made sugar free of course).

All in all these dried little berries are a worthy addition to anyone's diet.

Try adding them to granola, sprinkling on top of yoghurt, mixing with seeds for an afternoon snack, baking with them in biscuits, flapjack and cakes and crumbles. The opportunities are endless.

And they're available in supermarkets too! Easy to get hold of.

Enjoy. Rx

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sugar free cookies

I've had a great morning in the kitchen baking more sugar free delights.. I'm loving the results and wanted to share them , I use no refined ingredients, lots of organic stuff and nothing from a packet that's full of chemicals.. So you can eat them in the knowledge that these little biccies are doing you good! What a refreshing change!


Ingredients :

4oz Organic butter
2oz Coconut sugar
5oz Almond flour
1oz Raw cacao powder

Melted dark Xylitol sweetened chocolate to drizzle 

Oven temperature : 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4


1 Line a baking tray or grease
2 Whisk the sugar and butter in a mixer until creamy
3 Sift the flour and cocoa and beat together with the sugar, and butter until it forms a dough
4 Roll the dough into small balls and press them flat on to the baking tray
5 Bake for approximately 20 minutes, oven dependent
6 Allow to cool before drizzling the melted chocolate over each biscuit to decorate 


Ingredients : 

6tsp  Coconut oil
4oz   Crunchy organic peanut butter
2       Organic eggs
1tsp  Vanilla extract
2 tsp  Filtered water
8oz.   Unrefined flour, I use sprouted spelt
2tbsp Coconut sugar
1/2tspBaking powder
8oz.    Desiccated coconut

4oz     Xylitol sweetened chocolate, to decorate

Method :

1 Mix together all of the dry ingredients
2 Mix together the wet ingredients
3 Combine together the wet and the dry ingredients and mix well
4 Spoon small balls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray, and flatten with fingers or back of spoon
5 Bake for 15-20 minutes, oven dependent 
6 When the biscuits are cooled melt the chocolate and spread over the biscuits and allow to cool 

Enjoy! And please feed back with comments! 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

One Thing At A Time

I'm progressing fairly well with my sugar free recipes in preparation for my book later on in the year. Some days are better than others though, I've had some amazing results and some catastrophes too but apparently if you never fail you can never succeed so that's ok! Last week Tim Hardy ( my old school friend who's now a very talented photographer, came to capture my latest creations. He knows what I want to achieve (clean, simple, contemporary , no fuss) and managed a full morning, with lots of tastings in between, to come up with fantastic shots.

However its taken me forty odd years to realise that it's my nature to try to do too much at once, to multi task, to try to achieve everything and actually I end up achieving ... very little! So after much frustration I've decided to change my game plan,where my recipe book is concerned anyway, and concentrate on perfecting one sugar free delight at a time. I'm going to bake, and bake and bake ONE thing until I'm satisfied that its the very best that it can be.

So yesterday was day one of this new plan- and the task : Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I've been inspired by the most beautiful film Julie and Julia, about an English lady who writes a French recipe book in English, and a lady who blogs one of the recipes from her book each day for a year. Well worth a watch, if you're in to cooking!

Back to the Lemon cake; I went for the basic ratios of ingredients, 4,4,4,2 but as I'm avoiding sugar and refined carbs I chose polenta and almond flour, alongside xylitol to sweeten. Polenta is not something I've had any experience with but it fits the bill : unrefined, organic, protein rich and apparently easy to bake with! Likewise almond flour is a dense protein rich carb, with a beautiful flavour. The raising agents, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda I mixed together and kind of hoped for the best! Organic local eggs, I used two, and with a teaspoon of vanilla essence to add a little more flavour and the zest and juice of two lemons that's everything.

My new friend in the kitchen is my Kitchen Aid, it's white and chrome and oh so stylish, I love it! It's also very practical and helps me no end. So I mixed up all the ingredients, greased a small loaf tin and added the mixture and popped it in the oven . It took longer than anticipated to cook but forty minutes later I removed from the oven a golden brown Lemon Cake.

I thought it looked perfect but after allowing it to cool, it still looked a little wet! It tasted good, in fact it tasted great but the consistency could be better. Not to worry, John and I still ate some and enjoyed it.

Lemon Cake Recipe number two therefore had only the juice of one lemon. I've just removed it from the oven and it looks divine, like Lemon Drizzle almost when I tipped it out of the tin. It has a taste of marmalade which I quite like, and the 'flour' mix makes for quite a solid consistency.

And now for the topping. Cream cheese is such a great base for icing and with some ground up xylitol crystals (icing sugar consistently) mixed in to sweeten it a little, it's ready to go on the top of the cake.

It kind of needed something else and last week I made 'Ruth's Snack Mix' which is a great combination of seeds, and coconut, and goji berries and... Stuff. It was handy so I sprinkled a handful on top of the icing and hey presto. I have a new recipe for inclusion in my book! Oh if only all the recipes were that easy!!

Please try this at home and feel back to me.