Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe - Low Calorie Lettuce and Cabbage Soup

This is a very simple, very cheap, very low Calorie Recipe. And nice and light for a summer lunch.


4 handfuls of lettuce, roughly chopped
1 handful of cabbage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
300 ml vegetable stock ( I make mine with Marigold Organic Gluten Free Bouillon Powder)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Notes: You can use any variety of lettuce and cabbage, this is a great way to use up salad that is starting to be past its best. The cabbage needs to be chopped as finely as you can so that it will cook almost as quickly as the lettuce.
Put the cabbage and 2 handfuls of the lettuce into a pan and pour on the stock. Add the chives and season. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender (or pour into a jug blender and blitz in there - allowing it to cool to a suitable temperature for your blender if necessary). Return to the pan and add the remaining lettuce and cook for another 10 minutes.
I like to have the texture of some 'unblitzed' leaves in my soup but if you prefer to have your soup all the same consistency then just add all the lettuce at the beginning.

Serves 1 generously (but the calories are so low you can afford to be generous!)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July in the Garden - raspberries, redcurrants, and a lettuce thief.

A couple of years ago I bought two raspberry plants. They were only smallish and cost me a fiver for the pair. I now have a veritable raspberry jungle. They spread like mad once they get settled in. There is a bit of work to do tying them to canes, weeding, feeding, and watering but the crops we get are amazing. Definitely my best ever investment for the garden. The biggest job in July is picking them, there are so many!

They have been steadily ripening all month and I get a good-sized bowl full every single day.
If you check out the price of raspberries in the supermarket I hope you'll agree they are well worth the effort..  Hubby worked out July must have yielded about £60 worth at the price they sell per punnet on our market - and ours are organic so that's an undervaluation!

The other fruit I am have been harvesting this month is redcurrants. I bought a single bush a good few years ago and so far it produces more fruit each year. There's a little work in pruning and just a bit of feeding and watering but apart from that it has been trouble free. I have learned to pick them when they are really dark red or they are very tart indeed. But once really ripe they mix in deliciously with the raspberries.

Normally in July I would have salad crops such as lettuce to harvest. Unfortunately I had a little mishap. My veg beds are surrounded by 1 foot high fencing to keep our beloved guinea pig out. She's allowed the run of the rest of the garden. Sadly, after a weeding session I left a small gap in the barrier. Cue the case of the vanishing lettuces - the whole lot, which were young plants, gone - and one very smug looking, and rather rotund, guinea pig.  I have sown more but they are only tiny right now - will only get a late crop this year.

So, I have been buying those trays of growing lettuce that you can sit on the kitchen window-sill and cut from. Only, instead of putting the remains in the compost bin, when I have cut all I can, I have started planting the remains in the garden and watering and feeding along with the rest of the crops. Give it a week or so and hey presto it has grown back ready to cut again. I have cut this one four times now and it's still growing back again.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review - OV Natural Rosy Glow moisturiser

I have been using this little pot of moisturiser for around a week and I'm astonished to say it actually does give my, rather old, sallow, skin a lovely healthy glow.  It feels so much softer and healthier!

It cost £7.50 for a mini pot. It is really quite small but you do only need a little at a time. It's a good size for trying out.

You can check out OV naturals here:  Orchard View Naturals

UPDATE  Sadly OV naturals no longer make this moisturiser, but instead make a range of natural oils. I haven't tried them yet, but maybe they will make their way onto my Christmas wishlist.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Fish Pie (gluten free, dairy free, and potato free)

Per Person

1 cod fillet
Half a bell pepper
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
Tbsp olive oil
Half cup hot water
tsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp fresh dill
1 medium sweet potato
Salt and Black Pepper

Put the sweet potato into an oven at 180C / gas 4 and bake in its skin for 30-40 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, steam the fish until it just falls apart in flakes (about 10-15 mins)
Also, heat the olive oil in a shallow pan. Add the pepper and tomatoes and saute for a few minutes. Stir in the herbs and saute another minute or two. Add the hot water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick chunky sauce.
Flake the fish into a bowl and stir in the sauce.
Peel the cooked sweet potato, mash with a fork, and stir in the salt and pepper. Spread the sweet potato onto the fish mixture.

Place back into the oven (180C/gas4) for 15-20 minutes until piping hot.
Serve with vegetables of your choice. I particularly like mine with asparagus and broccoli


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Buddha Beauty Company Reed Diffuser

I'm not a fan of the air-fresheners you can buy in the supermarket. To me they smell like the synthetic chemicals they contain - too strong and irritating. I like to use products in my home that are natural, organic, and 'green' as far as possible. But I do like my home to smell nice, and whilst nothing beats fresh air, it's not always possible to have a warm, fresh, summer breeze wafting through the house.

I have recently been trying the Vanilla Orchid Reed Diffuser from Buddha Beuaty Company.

I have to say I'm very pleased with this. The smell is subtle and warm and homely.  My hubby hates anything too 'perfumy' around the house but he's quite happy with this and other relatives have mentioned that it's a nice but gentle smell.

I like the look of it too.  It fits in pretty much anywhere in the house, and in fact has been moved around a bit, but is currently happily sitting in the bathroom. I find it has a quite comforting smell that I appreciate whether relaxing in the bath or popping in the bathroom just before bed.

I have had this little bottle on the go for a few weeks now and it is lasting ages.

You can check out their range here:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Recipe - raw vegan choc banana "ice-cream"

I make no apologies for the fact this is the easiest recipe in the world as it tastes fab and is healthy too!

1 banana
I tsp cacao powder
1 tsp sweet freedom syrup

Peel the banana and freeze it. I always buy loads of bananas and regularly freeze some when I have a few too many ripe ones - fantastic to use in lots of recipes. (more to come later)

Next day, or some time later....

allow the banana to defrost until it is just mashable with a fork. Mash, or for a creamier version give a quick whizz with a hnad-blender. Stir in the cacao and syrup and enjoy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review - Yes to Carrots Pampering Conditioner

Just a quick review today.  One of my new favourite conditioners - 'Yes to Carrots' It costs about £7-8 for 5oo ml.  It is 99% natural and contains organic carrots and other organic fruits, vegetables and oils as well as dead sea mud.

You may be relieved to know it doesn't smell like carrots - smells lovely actually - but a nice natural smell, nothing over-powering. It is good and rich and thick but rinses out leaving hair not greasy or clogged but still squeaky clean. It does a good job of adding softness and shine. Leaves my hair feeling lovely. My only quibble is the top is a bit fiddly.  A little goes a long way.


A good product for this price range. One I will be keen to use quite often.