Key Lime Pie, an oaty recipe for a clean eating dessert

Key Lime Pie 1I love looking at recipes on social media; the gorgeous photos and the drool-worthy descriptions, but it’s been a while since I rushed to make one of them.  Then a tweet from @hedihearts popped into my stream that had me hooked!

I’m a big fan of ‘Key Lime Pie’ a truly American dish that uses the limes grown in the state of Florida. Whilst delicious, the recipe is laden with sugar, and the commercial versions filled with hydrogenated fats. Whilst it is a favourite dessert it’s one I rarely eat, that is until I caught sight of Hedi’s version that is packed with natural goodness.

HediHearts

Not only is Hedi’s recipe bursting with vitality, the base is packed with oats – yes you guessed it oats would have to come into the post somewhere :-) The base is cleverly made with; soaked dates, ground almonds, a little bit of coconut oil and a lots of oats. With a super healthy topping too, this recipe is a winner if you are following a clean eating plan.

I made up Hedi’s recipe last weekend and served it as a special Saturday night dessert. It got rave reviews from friends who had no idea how healthy it is, or how it is made without refined sugars. So if you would like to make the perfect lime pie, without compromising on your nutrition have a look at Hedi’s recipe here.

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Cranachan, hedgerow and multi-grain; Stoats have a new Porridge recipe selection for you

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I love the new and inventive when it comes to oats. That’s why I was more than happy to taste test the new Porridge products from Scottish oat company Stoats.

Last week a lovely parcel popped onto my doormat from Stoats, which contained three new Porridge products; Multigran, Hedgerow Fruit and Cranachan Porridge. Yes you did read that correctly CRANACHAN PORRIDGE!!! Genius flavour and what is really clever about the new packs is flip them over and there is a fill line for you to measure the amount of fluid. Simple empty the oats into your microwaveable bowl then reuse the pack to measure the milk/water you need.

Stoats porridge pack

The new flavours are fab but as I’m not a fan of free sugar in my Porridge, I gave the Cranachan to a sweet tooth’ed friend to enjoy. However I am a huuuggggeeee fan of the multigrain Porridge that I will now be packing in my bag to make at work whenever I have a really early start. 

The new Porridge varieties are available on-line from Stoats and in your local shops soon! 

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Zoats to Proats to pudding; The 3 big oat food trends of the summer

Oats

Maybe it’s a sign that the summer hasn’t been that hot (yet) or perhaps it’s the realisation that no matter the weather, Porridge is the best breakfast 😉 As the media has been full of oat stories.

From Zoats, to Proats to Porridge for Pudding the press has been packed full of pretty summer Porridge pictures, but just what are these food trends?

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Like a bit of veg in your morning Porridge? No, neither do I, but the new trend for Zoats or simply put; adding courgette, zucchini, to oats has become the runaway Instagram  summer food trend according to the Metro. Zoats popularity is really down to the ‘wellness blogging‘ trend. Adding extra fibre to your breakfast means you feel full but with few calories, so ‘clean eaters‘ can pretty their Porridge and healthily snap away.

If you want to give Zoats a try for your breakfast then Look Magazine has some simple handy tips;

  • Prepare two thirds of your usual amount of porridge oats
  • Grate as much courgette as you’d like into the pan or bowl
  • Add milk of your choice – slightly less than usual, as courgettes contain a lot of liquid
  • Cook in the microwave or over the stove for around five minutes
  • Add the toppings and flavourings of your choice

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If Zoats don’t fill you up then Proats definitely will! Lifted straight out of the body building community Proats are oats with added protein. From adding protein powder to nut butters this new trend taps into high protein diet regimes. The added benefit for morning gym goers, according to The Upcoming magazine is that Proats help your post-workout aching muscles to recover.

If you want to get on board with this muscle-y trend then follow the @theproteinchef for lots of power packed ideas!

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Last but by no means least, my favourite of the three trends is ‘Dessert Porridge‘. Hailing from Denmark this trend for Porridge Pudding has been championed by the Copenhagen restaurant Stedsans OsterGro who have reinvigorated the classic recipe ‘rødgrød med fløde’ (red porridge with cream).

Why do I love this trend so much? because it allows me to eat one of my favourite recipes, my take on rødgrød med fløde –  ‘Red Autumn Porridge‘ twice a day 😉

Red Porridge
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Dessert Porridge the new food trend?

Porridge Pudding

I love a new food trend and it’s even better when it contains oats :-) so I was really excited to read on Vogue on-line about the new trend for ‘Dessert Porridge’. The new craze hails from Denmark where restaurants such as Stedsans ØsterGro, Copenhagen’s hot new roof top eating spot, have been serving the classic rødgrød med fløde (red porridge with cream).

I was also excited to read about the dessert Porridge because Red Porridge is one of my favourite late summer recipes that I like to make with redcurrants, strawberries or even raspberries. The choice of fruit doesn’t really matter, just pick your favourite, season well and serve generously with cream.

Which ever fruit you choose I hope you tuck into Porridge for your pudding soon.

Speciality 4 (1 of 1)

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Wish you were…. at home? 5 reasons why you should staycation

Staycation PostcardCat Cafe Postcard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just come to the end of my fortnight’s summer holiday, two weeks of sunshine and ice cream, sight seeing and afternoon tea. Where did I go? The South of France? The Caribbean? No, good old South East England!

Since being knocked off my bike before Christmas, I’ve been in and out of medical appointments and painful physiotherapy sessions. I was REALLY in need of a holiday but still not fully mobile, and needing to attend weekly physio appointments, a far flung holiday was off the cards for me this year. Instead I decided to make the best of a bad situation by having a ‘Staycation’; staying at home to enjoy my vacation.

My fortnight was a holiday of two halves; week one was wild camping, all ‘Swallows and Amazons’, canoeing and camp fires with toasted marshmallows. Week two I was a tourist in my own town, visiting galleries, sight seeing and taking the time for afternoon tea with friends.

Summer Boaty sml

After a lovely stress-free holiday, I would whole heartedly recommend a staycation to anyone but if you still need convincing here are my postcards from home, my 5 reasons to staycation;

1. Save money

No travels costs, no hotel room rates, all you need is a small budget for museum entry fees and money for ice cream 😉 So if you are tired of single room supplements and high season holiday surcharges, staycation!

2. No packing and no lost luggage

An eavesdropped cafe conversation whilst staycationing, I heard two women talking about their lost holiday luggage. A week without clothes and wrestling with airlines insurance policies spoiled their holiday. The answer – staycation as there is no need to pack, no stress of deciding what to take and what to leave and no chance of your luggage being lost by airlines.

3. Cut down on your air miles

We all fly and we all know the environmental impacts of our passion for travel. So why not take one less overseas holiday a year and staycation instead. You don’t have to give up long haul for good, try going every-other-year and stay for longer.

4. Be a tourist in your own town

Enjoying a holiday in your home town gives you time to visit all those places you’ve been talking about, but have never got round too. From local museums to local beauty spots, a staycation gives you time to enjoy where you live, like a visitor. Why not invite your friends to join in too, try that new restaurant or sit all morning chatting and having coffee in the sun. 

5. Do. Be. Be Happy

For me the best part of my staycation was just catching up with myself. I got round to finishing off several books, I caught up with friends, I relaxed and generally slowed down. Being on holiday somewhere hot and exotic is fantastic but sometimes you just need a book and a pot of tea and time to put your feet up.

However you spend your 2016 summer holiday I hope you have fun :-)

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Where did you get that helmet?

Sparkly helmet 1s smlWhere did you get that helmet where did you get that tile?

Isn’t it a shiny one, and just the proper style,

I should like to have one just the same as that!

Where’er I go, they shout “Hello! Where did you get that helmet?”.

Now I know that normally I’m blogging on Porridge, sharing oaty recipes and tips on how to make the best breakfast but recently my new bike helmet has been the thing that people want to talk about.

I didn’t used to wear a cycling helmet, wearing one felt more like going to war than work. However a serious accident and several months of Physio has taught me how close I came to brain injury, as well as knee injury. So I decided if I had to wear a cycling helmet I would wear one that made me happy, which I why I bought the Sawako Furuno ‘Sparkle Helmet’.

Since buying, and ALWAYS wearing the helmet, people have been routinely stopping me and asking where I bought it. The helmet has made people smile, laugh and talk to me about the joys of cycling. I have to be honest to inquirers, it’s not a cheap helmet. Designed by an architect and individually hand finished, these are helmets of quality, not made in quantity, with a price and a waiting list to match. The helmets are made to a high safety specification (EN1078 and CPSC) and what I like the most is the adjustment wheel at the back that means I can get the fit right, even when I am wearing it.

If you think your head and your ride is worth it have a look at the Sawako range here.

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What’s new in the world of Porridge?

Matcha Porridge_We all love something new, something shiny and fun, but can you really improve on Porridge? 

Whilst I love Porridge the old fashioned way, made with coarse oatmeal, just a pinch of salt and water, I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to oats. I like innovation, new flavours and new fads. For me the best thing that has happened to oats recently is the rise of savoury Porridge and it’s contribution to the ‘Brinner’ trend. That’s why I’m always on the look out for new oaty ideas and especially new Porridge products. 

On my recent travels I came across ‘Matcha Porridge’ in London’s Selfridge’s and it made me wonder what other unique, weird and wonderful oat products are out there!? So I’m asking you to get in touch if you’ve seen something new. Are you a new Porridge producer, creative chef or keen eyed shopper? I’d love to hear from you so I can review the new in Porridge :-)

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5 big tips for visiting Cereals 2016

Cereals Event Last June I visited ‘Cereals: The Arable Event’ for the first time. The first thing that struck me about Cereals is its size. From the vast site to the giant farm machinery, Cereals is a BIG event! The biggest event in the arable farming calendar needs little introduction, however any newcomer to the agricultural trade show could do with a few small tips. So in this blog post I’m going to share 5 tips from my 2015 trip;

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1) Make a plan of action: The site map is available on-line and my advice is to download it before the event. Then decide which stands you want to visit and make a list based on stand location, otherwise you will end up walking miles!

2) Pack a bundle of business cards: I obsessively carry business cards, just about every pocket of every; suit, bag and coat I own are stuffed with them. However by the end of Cereals even I had run out, so pack plenty.

3) Free lunch? In 2015 I managed to have a free; breakfast, lunch, hot drinks, cold drinks and water. Well it was a hot day and all that talking is thirsty work! All of the marquees and a lot of the smaller stands too, offer free refreshments to encourage you to visit them. If you keep your eyes peeled you will find a wealth of complementary refreshments available. One of the event sponsors even provides a complementary two course lunch!

4) Ladies and Gentlemen: After all that refreshment a you may need to use the facilities, however as I keep saying the site is huge with toilets generally located at ends of the site. So it’s worth checking your map before accepting yet another cup of coffee!

5) Check the weather forecast before you leave home: Sun cream and a sun hat or wellie boots and Barbour? 2015 was a scorching hot year and I really needed the sun hat that I had packed. But 2016 could be a wellie boot year so check that forecast before you pack.

 

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Soil health, the ‘Cinderella environmental issue’

#SoilHealthI was up very early this morning with soil on my mind as today saw the launch of the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) eagerly awaited review into soil health. With input into, and a professional interest in the review, I was heartened to find that the report had received a good level of press coverage. In fact I ate my early morning Porridge accompanied by Farming Today’s coverage of the report and interview with member of the EAC Rebecca Pow MP.

Described as a ‘Cinderella Environmental Issue’ soils have for many years been overshadowed by the global issues of climate change and local issues of flooding. Yet soils are key to combating both of these environmental problems. For too long soils have been thought of only in terms of agriculture food production and I believe this has led to soils being seen as an issue for farmers and not environmental protection. As Ms Pow describes, soils have been seen as a “growth medium rather than an ecosystem”.

The report fully addresses these issues and firmly puts soils on both the political and environmental agendas but at 49 pages long (trust me that is short for a government report) who, apart from soil scientists and policy wonks – is going to read it? That’s where people like me come in, people working in outreach, knowledge exchange, activism. So I hope you can bear with me as I give you, what I feel are the key findings of the report, in 5 bullet points; 

#SoilHealth21. Funding cuts – Cutting funding for the remediation of contaminated soils undermines local councils abilities to deal with the problem. This is a human health issue and “has implications for both health inequality and regional inequality” as London’s most valuable land will be restored.

2. Soil Organic Matter (SOM) – Is acknowledged as key to soil health and the provision of soil ecosystem services. The report calls on the forthcoming Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) 25-year environment plan to provide time-bound and measurable targets. The report recommendations also require the government to state how it will reach its annual target of 0.4% SOM increase, as signed up to at COP21

3. Cross-compliance – Farmers receiving CAP payments must adhere to a set of regulations known as Cross-Compliance. To protect soils a series of  Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) criteria have been set within cross-compliance. However the report states that these do not go far enough; ” The cross-compliance rules which regulate agricultural soil health must be revised with greater scope, force and ambition”

4. Soil monitoring – Noting a hiatus in monitoring and criticising Defra’s intentions but lack action to establish a new programme, the report calls on the Government to develop an agenda for national-scale monitoring of soil health. The EAC recommend that this be aligned with model of the highly successful Welsh Government ‘Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme’ (GMEP). Which interestingly uses some of its CAP money to finance the monitoring programme.

5. Defra 25 year plan’  – The report calls on Defra to; “place soil protection at the heart of environmental policy”, to align the two forthcoming 25 year plans for ‘Food & Farming’ and the ‘Environment Plan’. The EAC also urges for the joining up of soils policies across government to prevent conflicting priorities.

#SoilHealth3This is my summary, my take on a thorough and in-depth report. If you want to find out more detail you can download the full report here.

Burning the candle at both ends today means I must get to bed, especially before the midnight hour approaches, as I don’t want to turn into a pumpkin, regardless of how healthy the soil may be!

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Has ‘Posh Porridge’ peaked?

Bol PorridgeThis year I’ve been blogging on the trend that is ‘Posh Porridge’. Now I love oaty innovation but even I’m beginning to ask if the best breakfast; a bowl of Porridge, has moved too far from it’s healthy and humble origins to just another food fad.

Another restaurant, another menu of ‘Posh Porridge’ popped into my e-mail inbox this week via the lifestyle magazine Wallpaper*. Although opening back in 2015, the Bol Porridge Bar has been gaining oaty notoriety mostly because it’s French. Now this might not seem odd; French + fine food is not normally headline grabbing stuff but Parisians and Porridge is. I was once told by a French Chef that Porridge would never take off in France because the French “Like a breakfast that is crunchy”. Granola has seen sales steadily rise in France during the last five years whilst Porridge was rarely seen in supermarkets let alone on cafe menus.

Along comes Bol Porridge with their menu of oats with; exotic fruits, salted-butter caramel sauce and even catching the 2015 trend for savoury Porridge with their offering of smoked haddock, leeks and spinach. This does sound delicious but with Porridge costing up to 9 Euros I’m left asking the question;

Have we reached peak ‘Posh Porridge’ yet?

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