Grace’s gluten-free lemon polenta cake

a gluten free recipe for lemon polenta cake

Hot-cross buns and simnel cake are everywhere. This Easter, try something different and embrace the tastes of spring with this zingy (and gluten-free) lemon polenta cake.

This recipe is from Grace Cheetham, who’s not only a great cook but also suffers from gluten intolerance herself – so you know this cake is going to be gluten-free and delicious!

Gluten-free lemon polenta cake

Serves: 10

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35–40 minutes
300g/10oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g/7oz/1 cup fruit sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp clear honey
150g/5½oz/¾ cup quick-cook polenta
200g/7oz/2 cups ground almonds, plus extra for topping
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp xanthan gum
juice of 1½ lemons and grated zest of 1 lemon, plus pared or grated zest of another lemon to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a deep 20cm/8in cake tin with dairy-free margarine and line the base with a circle of non-stick baking parchment.

2. Using a hand-held electric whisk, beat the margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, then the honey.

3. Using a metal spoon, fold in the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and xanthan gum, then the lemon juice and zest. Mix thoroughly and pour into the prepared cake tin.

4. Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes until golden brown around the sides and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. You will notice that there
are cracks all over the top. Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

5. Sprinkle with the extra ground almonds and the pared or grated lemon zest.


Whether you’re suffering from allergy-related IBS, eczema, asthma, migraines or chronic fatigue, or you’re coeliac, Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free will show you how to use substitute ingredients and simple cooking techniques to make mouth-watering meals. Find more inspiration on author Grace Cheetham’s award-winning blog

gluten free recipes from Grace Cheetham“Grace Cheetham’s book gives us a fresh approach… many people newly diagnosed with coeliac disease are also lactose intolerant until their guts start to heal. The broad world flavours in these recipes are robust and flavoursome.” Coeliac UK

Order Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free with free UK shipping



The best foods for fighting cancer

what are the best foods to eat when you have cancer?
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re giving you advice from Penny Brohn Cancer Care in a series of blogs about the links between cancer and food. Today we’re looking at some of the key ingredients you should be including in your diet to help fight cancer.

If you’re wondering how the foods you eat alter the development of cancer, read our blog on the link between your diet and cancer

The best foods for fighting cancer

At the core of the Penny Brohn Cancer Care approach to healthy eating is the belief that foods in their most natural state are the best for you. A whole-food diet based on fresh, unprocessed foods will keep you the healthiest you can be. We recommend a diet based primarily on plant foods, vegetables and fruit, whole grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. We also recommend some animal products alongside the plant foods, but in a smaller amount.

Organic or not organic?

If you can, choose organically produced foods, particularly animal products. Two good reasons to eat organic are that these foods have lower levels of potentially harmful residues and, according to scientific research, they may have higher levels of beneficial nutrients. Organic foods tend to be relatively more expensive and not so widely available, so you may want to combine organic and non-organic foods in each meal. The most important thing is to eat a wide variety of whole foods.
what is the best diet to help fight cancer?

The ideal balanced diet for fighting cancer

Food basics in a nutshell

The principles of a cancer-preventative diet are summed up by balance, variety, colour and moderation. Eat a good balance of the different food groups and vary the foods you eat from within those groups – the colour of your food is a good indication of its nutritional value. The more colour variety the more nutrient value.

Choosing what to put on your plate

It’s possible that your plate may look quite different from what you have been used to. A large portion of your healthy-eating plate should be made up of vegetables and it will include some other plant foods (fruit, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds) too. There will be some protein, either in the form of animal products or pulses. You need protein to build and maintain every cell in your body, and protein in your food also helps to regulate the release of sugar into your bloodstream. You also need to eat healthy fats, so they should be included on the plate too, in the form of vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, or butter. And finally, if you add some herbs and spices to your plate, you’ll boost the flavour of your food and benefit from their powerful health enhancing

There can be treats too

Eat healthily 90 per cent of the time and the odd treat won’t hurt. Most people find that after eating healthy foods for a while, their tastes change, and they prefer wholesome foods. You may find that your old idea of a food treat will no longer appeal in the same way.


Cancer fighting foods to eat on a daily basis

Plan to eat the following foods daily.

Vegetables and fruit

Various scientific studies have shown that vegetables and fruit can help protect against cancer. They also contain compounds that support health in general, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and phyto (plant) nutrients. We recommend eight portions of fresh vegetables and two to three portions of fruit every day. Choose a variety of vegetables and fruit in an array of colours, to ensure that you get the full range of important phytonutrients. A simple way to
estimate a portion size is to work out the amount of a vegetable or fruit that would fit into your cupped hand.

Protein foods

One of the vital roles protein plays in your diet is in helping your body to repair itself. Cells can be damaged by disease, injury, surgery and even treatment, so sufficient protein from the diet is essential. Your body also needs protein to maintain a healthy immune system and to prevent infection. We recommend some protein at each meal. On average, we would recommend animal products five to six times a week – eggs or a palm-sized portion of meat, poultry or fish. Animal products are good sources of protein and those we particularly recommend are white meat, lean red meat and game, fish and eggs. Ideally, use a variety of animal and vegetable proteins, as they have different properties. If you choose a vegetarian diet, make sure that you regularly eat sources of plant protein – pulses, nuts and seeds – and high-protein grains such as quinoa.

Looking for a quick way to get more protein into your diet? Try our cancer fighting recipe for Japanese Lamb Burgers with Wasabi Mayo


Also known as legumes, pulses include beans, lentils and peas. They have a relatively high rotein content compared to other plant foods, and are also good sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including phytoestrogens. We recommend a variety of well-cooked or sprouted pulses – sprouting enhances the nutritional benefits. Minimize beans if your digestive system is delicate. whole grains Grains that are unrefined – whole grains – contain fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and a range of minerals and essential fats.

We recommend a variety of whole grains including quinoa, millet, barley, buckwheat and rye as well as spelt (lower in gluten than wheat), wheat, rice and oats. If you are not eating animal products, combine grains with pulses. healthy fats Your body requires fats to absorb some nutrients, such as the fat soluble vitamins and minerals. They also assist brain function and improve insulin resistance. Healthy fats include oils from olives, coconuts, nuts and seeds (ideally cold pressed, because heavy processing damages fats), as well as green leafy vegetables.
Animal products also contain healthy fats. Oily fish is a good source of the omega-3 fats.

We recommend both unsaturated and saturated fats, although saturated fats found in meat and high-fat dairy products should play less of a role in the diet than the unsaturated fats found in vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish. As omega-3 is often deficient in the average Western diet, aim to eat omega-3-rich foods daily: flaxseed (also called linseed), walnuts, hemp seeds and their oils, oily fish, meat from grass-fed animals and free-range eggs.
Oils can become damaged when heated at high temperatures, and should only be heated to a minimal extent. Saturated fats (such as coconut and animal fats) and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) are more stable on heating. Although butter is a saturated fat, it is far less processed than any type of margarine or low-fat spread and, in moderation, can play a part in a healthy diet.

Herbs and spices

Natural flavourings in the form of herbs and spices are a rich source of phytonutrients with powerful health-enhancing properties, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

We recommend using a variety of herbs and spices on a daily basis. Examples include garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, rosemary, mint and thyme. Use fresh or dried in salads, cooked dishes and as teas.


Drinking enough water to stay well hydrated is an important part of your healthy eating plan. The best way to do this is to drink regularly throughout the day. An average adult needs between 1.5 litres/52fl oz/6 cups and 2 litres/70fl oz/8 cups of fluid every day. If you are very physically active or the weather is hot, you may want more. Water, herbal teas and fresh vegetable juices can count towards your fluid intake, but keep fruit juices, sugary drinks, caffeinated drinks and alcohol to a minimum.

Here’s a great way to top up your intake of greens: kale’s glucosinolates make it a great food to protect against many forms of cancer. When it’s wilted and served with toasted seeds and cherry tomatoes, it makes a pretty delicious salad too! Here’s how to make it > >

Click here for more information about Bowel Cancer Awareness month


A recipe book for cancer care, and the foods to eat during chemotherapy
Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook embraces the holistic healthy living approach of Penny Brohn Cancer Care, combining nutritional advice with 7-day menu plans and healthy recipes design to help you, or someone you know, live with cancer.

Click here to order your copy with free UK postage



6 ways to improve your day with laughter



Feeling down? Positive Psychology Coach Lesley Lyle believes that laughter holds the key to happiness. Usually, we laugh because we’re happy, but the latest scientific research suggest that through the act of laughing, we can make ourselves happy.

Lesley-Lyle,-author-laugh-your-way-to-happiness‘Yesterday was not a good day. I know really, days are neither good or bad, it’s just our perception, but that’s how it felt. I had several unpleasant tasks to do, emails to write and I started the day ‘out of sorts’.

Luckily I recognized the warning signs that I could, if not careful, talk myself into having a rotten day with mood to match. So I did what any sensible person would do; I enlisted the help of a good friend who always makes me feel better. That friend was laughter.

The latest scientific research suggests that when we laugh we change our brain chemistry and we feel better. The wonderful news, if you didn’t already know, is that our body doesn’t differentiate between that joyful, spontaneous laughter that you share with friends when you are enjoying yourself, and laughter done as a simple exercise. You can laugh even when you feel miserable and if you persist you will significantly improve your mood.

I have been practicing laughter as an exercise for several years and I have the advantage of knowing, without doubt, that this works. But the great thing about Laughter Yoga is anyone can do it and improve their day. You may not end up feeling euphoric but you will certainly feel better than when you started.

Try these 6 simple exercises to positively improve your mood. You might feel a bit awkward at first but if you are on your own it doesn’t really matter does it? And once you get your ‘happy chemicals’ going you might no longer care. Try to achieve at least 3 minutes of laughter, loud and hearty laughter is the most effective. You can repeat them more often if you wish.

6 ways to improve your day with laughter

1. Begin by taking a laughter shower or bath. Experiment with different laughter sounds as you wash each part of your body. Pretend that you are extremely ticklish if it helps.

2. Decide that you will laugh every time you make a mistake – dropping something, forgetting something, bumping into something. You may be surprised how much laughter this generates over the course of a day!

3. If you have to drive, laugh every time you stop at traffic lights and don’t stop until they turn green. If they are green when you get to them, shout ‘YES!’ as you go through them and laugh in celebration. The thought of this may make you feel embarrassed but the actual experience is so fun and uplifting that you won’t care! If you have children in the car, get them to join in. Children are the laughter experts of the world.

4. Quietly sing the words ho, ho, ha, ha, hee, hee to a tune you know and do this whenever you do any physical task, i.e. go to the bathroom, walk out to the car, make a cup of tea. With practice this can become a useful unconscious habit.

5. If you are lucky enough to have a ‘laughter friend’ (someone to ring and laugh with without needing to talk) ring them at least twice during the day. If not, then use your mobile phone and pretend to be talking to someone who is telling you a really funny story. Phrases like ‘he did WHAT?!’ , ‘I can’t believe it!’, may prompt more laughter. This exercise can be done walking through the office, down the street or at home. Dare yourself to try it on public transport and watch the effect your laughter has on others – you might get some pretty funny reactions!

6. Use laughter as a response to questions like ‘have you finished that yet?’, ‘Is dinner ready?’, ‘Have you had a good day?’ Or if you are on your own, dance for the duration of one song on the radio whilst laughing.


If you do these 6 simple exercises you will have experienced a minimum of 18 minutes of laughter throughout your day, on a day when you may not normally have laughed once. You don’t need to worry about the mismatch between your frame of mind and your action, nature will do the rest and you might just improve the day for other people too.

So the next time you’re feeling a bit low give laughter a try and see if it becomes your best friend too ☺’

Lesley Lyle has made laughter her business, blending the discipline of laughter yoga with exercises you can use every day. Arming you with the ability to see the funny-side to every situation, Lesley’s approach will help you face life with a smile! Discover more about her unique approach at


Laugh-Your-Way-To-Happiness This is a book that will delight, as well as inform – most importantly, it will positively change your life.

Laugh Your Way to Happiness by Lesley Lyle
256 pages • Paperback • £8.99

Order the book now with free UK postage!




Cancer Fighting Recipes: Japanese Lamb Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

recipes to help fight cancer - japanese lamb burgers with wasabi mayo

As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re giving you recipes to help fight cancer from Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook. These lamb burgers are quick-and-easy to cook and delicious with a tangy wasabi mayonnaise. The burgers can be frozen uncooked, making them ideal for cooking when you don’t feel like preparing food. Either fry or grill them and serve with a green salad or steamed vegetables.

Health Benefits
Lamb is grass fed, which is why it is a good source of omega-3 fats. It is also rich in protein, antioxidants, selenium and zinc for immune support, and B vitamins, which are important for energy. Distinctively flavoured Japanese wasabi is traditionally used for its flavour, but it is also included here for its anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.

For more information about the link between your diet and cancer read about the foods that can increase your resistance to cancer.

Cancer Fighting Recipes: Japanese Lamb Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes
400g/14oz lean minced lamb
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red onion, grated
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wasabi mayonnaise
150g/51/2oz silken tofu, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp xylitol or 1/2 tsp stevia
a pinch of matcha green tea powder (optional)
1 tsp wasabi powder

1 Put the lamb into a large bowl and add the garlic and onion. Season. Using your hands, mix well, then shape the mixture into 8 balls and press into burger shapes.

2 If frying the burgers, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, fry the burgers for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Alternatively, preheat the grill. Put the burgers on a foil-lined baking tray and grill for 6–7 minutes on each side until cooked through, but
not over-browned.

3 To make the mayonnaise, put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add a little water, if it seems too thick. Season the burgers lightly with pepper and serve with the mayonnaise. (The uncooked burgers can be frozen for up to 1 month.)

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Protein 22.4g | Carbohydrates 2.7g (2.2g sugars) | Fat 23.9g (9.3g saturates) | Kcals 314


A recipe book for cancer care, and the foods to eat during chemotherapy
Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook embraces the holistic healthy living approach of Penny Brohn Cancer Care, combining nutritional advice with 7-day menu plans and healthy recipes design to help you, or someone you know, live with cancer.

Click here to order your copy with free UK postage



Raw Food Diet – the healthy way to lose weight


A raw food diet could help you lose weight and feel great at the same time.

Your diet is going nowhere. You’ve religiously counted calories on that app on your phone. You’ve resisted temptation and denied yourself those treats you crave. But you still feel overweight. Tired. Sluggish. You’re not alone; many people find it difficult to lose weight and still feel good on an ordinary diet.

The problem is processed foods.

A raw food diet could be the difference. Replace your daily diet of processed food with raw food, which is rich in nutrients, and start a diet of healthy and long-lasting weight loss. Raw food can make you feel vibrant and healthy, with some great guilt free desserts too!

How does a raw food diet work? Nutritionist and health consultant Christine Bailey reveals the power of raw food.
What is ‘raw’ food?

Simply put, raw food is food that has not been heated to above 47.7c/ 118f. Typically, it is pure, nadulterated, whole food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients (specific nutrients found in plants). The term “living foods” generally refers to foods that are still alive and growing, in addition to living greens such as wheatgrass and sunflower greens.
What do you eat on a raw food diet?

A raw food diet is based around plenty of vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), fruit and nuts. It does not include any processed or refined foods. Liquids are also an essential component of the diet in the form of water, fresh juices, herbal infusions, nut milks and smoothies.


Benefits of the raw food diet

Supercharge your diet with amazing cleansing and rejuvenating raw food. Include more raw food in your diet and experience a range of benefits:
• Lose weight
• Improve immune function – fewer colds and infections
• Have a clearer, more radiant complexion and healthier hair
• Increase energy and vitality
• Reduce fluid retention and bloating
• Improve mental clarity
• Get relief from allergies
• Improve quality of sleep
• Reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions

So how does eating more raw food encourage weight loss and renew energy?

Firstly, raw foods such as vegetables, herbs and fruits are incredibly nutrient-rich and energizing, possessing many healing and health-promoting properties. Partly, this is due to their phytochemical content. Phytochemicals are natural bioactive substances present in plant foods and they are found in their highest quantities in raw, freshly harvested plants.

When food is processed and/or heated to temperatures of 47.7c/118f and above, many of the natural enzymes, phytonutrients and essential nutrients are destroyed or are made less bio-available.

Cooking can also produce unnatural chemical substances, the processing of which places additional strain on the body’s detoxification organs, such as the liver, gut and kidneys.
Secondly, enzymes are required for numerous chemical and metabolic processes in our bodies, including energy production and detoxification. By simply incorporating more raw food in your diet you are providing your body with an abundance of essential enzymes, nutrients and fibre, all of which are needed for the body to process food, detoxify, create energy and perform at its optimum. They enable your body to break down foods more effectively and absorb optimum nutrients for every cell in your body, and they aid the elimination of waste and toxins.

Helping the body detoxify is essential for weight loss. When our liver is overworked and we can’t detoxify effectively, waste products and toxins will be stored in our fat cells – so the more toxins that are in our bodies, the more fat cells that are needed, and the harder it is to lose weight. It can also lead to inflammation, which can damage tissues and accelerate the signs of ageing. And if the body is not digesting and absorbing foods properly, you can end up starved of essential nutrients and feeling tired and fatigued.

A raw food diet, therefore, works in many ways to improve your health: on the one hand, you are providing your body with nutrients to help it function more effectively and clean itself, while on the other hand you are avoiding foods that diminish the efficiency of both nutrient absorption and detoxification.

By nourishing the liver with raw foods, you also enable it to carry out other important tasks more effectively, such as balancing blood sugar, reducing cravings, eliminating excess hormones and producing bile to break down fats and keep cholesterol levels healthy. As a bonus, raw foods are also hydrating and satiating, which means they enable you to feel fuller for longer while keeping energy levels high.

Fruit and vegetables, especially raw leafy greens, which are full of chlorophyll, have the added benefit of being incredibly alkalizing. If you eat cooked, processed foods and animal products, this increases the body’s acidity. Too many acid-forming foods can promote inflammation, lower immune function and reduce levels of alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. By nourishing the body with alkalizing foods each day, you help to restore your body’s pH balance, enabling it to heal and regenerate itself. In fact, just by eating raw foods you are literally supercharging your body with optimum nutrition to help rejuvenate it and promote vibrant health. As it rejuvenates you, you will find yourself losing excess weight more easily and so feeling lighter, leaner and energized.
You can fit the diet to your lifestyle

A raw food diet doesn’t have to mean exclusively 100% raw. For some people a raw food diet means eating raw food during the day and then having a cooked meal in the evening, so around 50% raw. For others it may mean 80% raw and 20% cooked in a day. The key is to find what works for you. Even if you think you have a healthy diet, you are probably eating only about 20–25% raw food. By including more raw food into your diet, you are likely to experience a significant difference to your health and achieve your weight loss.


raw-food-dietLooking for a raw food diet plan? Christine Bailey’s The Raw Food Diet shows you how to plan a weekend-long raw food blitz, and week long booster diet, and how to get the benefits of a raw food diet forever in her diet plan for life.

Just as importantly, The Raw Food Diet tells you what to eat, why and when, with a selection of delicious and satisfying recipes.

Find out more and order the book with free UK postage.



3 of the best low-carb breakfast recipes

the best breakfasts for a low-carb diet

Laura Lamont shows you the 3 best breakfast recipes for a low-carb diet

Laura-Lamont-author-the-The-New-Low-Carb-DietAs we all keep hearing, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is particularly true if you are trying to lose weight through a

All these breakfasts are prepared with a balance of complex carbohydrate, protein and fat to ensure the best possible start to the day. Plus the added boost to your metabolism will make doubly sure you don’t get any mid-morning hunger pangs to throw you off the low-carb diet plan.

Breakfast is the only time of the day when we can incorporate a good source of carbohydrate while on a low-carb diet, so make the most of the opportunity. Wake up a little earlier and make the time to take full advantage and enjoy every delicious mouthful.

3 of the best low-carb breakfast recipes

Low-Carb Crunchy Berry Yogurt Pots

This recipe will be popular with the whole family, with its lovely texture combination of crunchy granola and creamy sweet yogurt. It also uses stevia powder, which is a natural sweetener that you can buy in health food stores. Prepare the granola in advance for a quick-fix nutritious breakfast before work.

low-carb-breakfast-cerealServes: 2

Preparation time:10 minutes

Cooking time:20 minutes

100g/3½oz/1 cup rolled oats
35g/1¼oz/scant ¼ cup almonds, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp stevia powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tbsp natural yogurt
1 tsp agave nectar
2 handfuls of mixed berries, to serve

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix together the oats and chopped almonds in a bowl.

2 Put the butter, stevia powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and thoroughly combined. Pour over the almond mixture and stir to coat all the dry ingredients. Pour the granola mixture on to the prepared baking tray and spread evenly.

3 Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the granola from the oven, stir well, then return it to the oven for a further 10 minutes until golden. Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.

4 Top the yogurt with the granola and a drizzle of agave nectar, then spoon the berries on the top.

Nutrition notes per serving
• Calories: 451kcals
• Fat: 27g
• Carbohydrates: 38g

Spiced Almond Porridge

This recipe is an Indian-inspired porridge that is perfect for a cold winter’s day. The spices really get your circulation going to keep you feeling warm all morning. Plus, of course, oats make the perfect basis for a slow release of energy so you don’t flag by coffee time and resort to a sugar-rush snack.

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes
100g/3½oz/1 cup rolled oats
400ml/14fl oz/scant 12∕3 cups oat milk
40g/1½oz/¼ cup almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
2 cloves
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp agave nectar
1½ tbsp natural yogurt, to serve

1 Put all the ingredients except the yogurt in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until thick and creamy.

2 Serve topped with a dollop of natural yogurt.

Nutrition notes per serving
• Calories: 435kcals
• Fat: 18g
• Carbohydrates: 54g

And something for the weekend…

Crispy Bacon & Cream Cheese on Soda Bread

This is one of my favourite weekend treats. It’s not an everyday breakfast, as we all know bacon isn’t the healthiest of options, but once in a while, as part of your overall healthy diet, it is perfectly fine.

3 of the best breakfasts for a low carb dietServes: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

4 medium-thick slices of bacon
2 slices of (preferably wholemeal) Soda Bread
1 tbsp cream cheese
4 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
2 chive stalks, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and line a baking tray with kitchen foil. Put the bacon on the foil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.

2 Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high, then toast the bread on both sides.

3 Put the cream cheese in a bowl and stir to soften it slightly, then add the tomatoes and chives and season to taste with pepper. Gently mix all the ingredients together well. Top the hot toast with the cream cheese mixture and finish with the slices of crispy bacon to serve.

Nutrition notes per serving

• Calories: 238kcals
• Fat: 15g
• Carbohydrates: 13g


If you’re looking for a new approach to healthy eating and weight loss, nutritional therapist Laura Lamont’s The New Low-Carb Diet is the effective long-term answer.

New Low Carb Diet recipes

“Groundbreaking recipes for healthy, long-term weight loss”

The New Low-Carb Diet by Laura Lamont

Find out more, and get free postage on all UK orders




Giorgio Locatelli: Britain should be proud of its produce


“I like to be able to put a face to the names of people supplying my food”


In the Real Food Cookbook world-famous chefs argue that using quality seasonal ingredients can make a real difference in the food you create. Giorgio Locatelli took the opportunity to explain why English farmers should take pride in their produce


‘There is so much talk today about seasonality, eating things that are only in season – I never used to bother about any of this! In Italy, we only ever used to eat what was in season and easily available. Whatever was in season, if it was good, just went on the menu. It was as simple as that and that is how it should always be!

I grew up in my village in Italy, in the family restaurant. My first steps, in terms of my career, involved daily contact with the various producers who supplied the restaurant – the fishermen, the fruit farmers, the rice grower – everybody was part of the family, and thus part of the whole process of creating the menu and then cooking it. We were just the last step in a long line of production. But this all felt completely natural, it was and should be the most normal way to create a menu. It was only later, when I went on to work in Switzerland and later landed in London that I realised there were middle men involved, and that there were prices to be negotiated and so on.


At home, I had always felt completely involved in the process – for example it was my job to wash out the box that the fish was always delivered in, just so that it would be clean and ready to use again when the fisherman came to deliver again the next day. The whole basis of Italian cuisine is about linking the production of the food, and the producer, to the food on the place. The Real Food Festival helps to create the same sort of links for all those who attend the festival, even just for one day. I know it is really hard for some people to avoid shopping in the supermarkets, because that is what they can afford, but I believe that just by going along to the Real Food Festival for one day could help consumers make better choices, even in their local supermarket.

In Italy, everybody you talk to believes absolutely that what he or she produces, grows or makes is the very best there is. I believe it is really important that producers in this country should develop that same sort of pride, and get properly recognised for their excellence – the Real Food Festival helps to promote that kind of pride, it inspires people to try new tastes and gives the producers a voice.

I do like to source my food locally, it makes me feel better, as though I am connected to the whole process rather than being a part of a system that is exploiting nature. People come to me for my Italian food of course, and yet I source 90 per cent of my ingredients here in the UK. I cheat a little bit, in so far as I bring my seeds for my rocket over from Italy, for example, and then I get somebody to grow it for me over here, but by and large I am proud to use the best local produce for the best of Italian cuisine, which is a style of cooking that is always adaptable.

One of my most popular dishes currently on my menu at La Locanda is a Saffron Aspretto with Scallops – for me this is a perfect example of a great combination of ingredients – King Scallops with a slightly sour, very Italian dressing. We only ever have Queenie Scallops in Italy, so these big, juicy, meaty scallops are very special for us Italians, and not what we are used to! But what is interesting to me is that practically every single Italian customer who comes to the restaurant orders this dish, even though the basic ingredient is so very British – so does this make my dish really, truly Italian? Or isn’t this just about using local produce and treating it with due care and respect?’

If you’re looking for seasonal inspiration try these this recipe for spring greens.  You can even make it with foraged wild nettles (if you’re feeling brave enough) – how’s that for great local produce!


the-real-food-cookbookThe Real Food movement embodies all that is wonderful about fresh food that is sustainably and ethically produced. This book focuses on the delicious ingredients available from farmers’ markets, food festivals, local farm shops and specialist retailers and shows how they can be cooked simply and unpretentiously, to create outstanding and flavoursome dishes.

Find out more about the Real Food Cookbook, and order with free UK postage 



Created in partnership with the Real Food Festival.



Greek Rhubarb and Custard Filo Pie – a take on galaktoboureko

Greek Rhubarb and Custard Filo Pie recipe - galaktoboureko

This dish, which is called galaktoboureko in Greek, is equally as good without the rhubarb if the season isn’t right. Instead you could make it with extra filling – and perhaps some orange blossoms extract in the syrup.

Greek Rhubarb and Custard Filo Pie

Preparation Time:25 minutes

Cooking Time:1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves: 12
For the pie:

8 sticks of rhubarb, trimmed
100g/3 ½ oz/ heaped 1/3 cup caster sugar
100g/ 3 ½ oz/ heaped 1/3 cup butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
10 sheets of filo pastry

For the custard filling:

350ml/12 fl oz/scant 1 ½ cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g/1 ¾ oz/heaped 1/3 cup fine semolina
100g/3 ½ oz/heaped 1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten


100g/3 ½ oz/heaped 1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 200 c/400 f/Gas 6 and lightly grease a baking tray with the butter. Cut the rhubarb into 20cm/8in lengths and put on the baking tray with any shorter pieces. Sprinkle over the sugar and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on.

Meanwhile, to make the custard filling, put the milk, vanilla extract, semolina, sugar and eggs in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, heat slowly until thickened, without letting the mixture boil. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to one side.

Lay a sheet of filo pastry on the work surface and brush it with some of the melted butter. Put a second sheet on top and brush with more butter, then repeat with 2 more sheets of filo. Line a square 20cm/8in baking dish with the buttered filo, pressing it into the corners, then put the rhubarb on top and pour over the custard. Butter the remaining 6 sheets of filo, stacking them as you go. Put the filo stack over the custard, tucking it in around the edges.

Using a sharp knife, cut the filo and custard into 6 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Put in the oven and bake for 40 minute, or until cooked through and the pastry is crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, put all the ingredients plus 100ml/3 ½ fl oz/ scant ½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring continuously, until the sugar dissolves. Leave to one side.

Remove the dish from the oven, pour over the syrup and leave to cool slightly.

Serve warm.

Love-Good-FoodSophie Mitchell has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens and as a chef to numerous celebrities, and her Love Good Food cookbook allows you to create memorable meals without spending hours in the kitchen.

Discover how to cook like a trained chef – and try recipes such as Miso-Glazed Pork Belly, Micro-Herb & Parmesan Ravioli and Tomato & Geranium Jellies – to wow your friends, your partner and yourself!

Find out more about the book, with free postage in the UK


What do your dreams about food really mean?

7 surprising things your subconscious is trying to tell you

If you’re like us, you love food – talking about it, writing about it, eating it. But what does it mean when you dream about food? Are you just a bit too enthusiastic, or could your subconscious be trying to tell you something?

We’ve put together 7 foods that might appear when you’re asleep, and you’ll be surprised at what these dream foods represent. Because dreams involve brain areas that evolved before language, much of their meaning takes symbolic rather than verbal form, so your boring dreams about mashed potato might not be so boring after all…

The analysis is taken from the late Professor David Fontana’s book, 1000 Dreams. Professor Fontana was a psychologist with over 35 years’ experience working with dreams, and he firmly believed that dreams offered insights into the unconscious mind.

So, what will your dreams about food tell you?

1. What do dreams about wedding cake? mean?

Dreamers may see themselves as one or other of the tiny figures of a bride and groom traditionally placed on a wedding cake. Looking down from the top of the cake may evoke your satisfaction at what you have achieved. A nuptial cake may also represent an important new beginning in your life, and symbolize your excitement at the future. On the other hand, if your dream has you looking up at the towering, multi-tiered wedding cake, this may express the effort that lies ahead in meeting a commitment – marital or otherwise.
2. What do dreams about vegetables mean?

A common dream-image presents a variety of vegetables in great profusion suggesting our desire to enjoy the good, wholesome produce of nature. However, dreams of yearning for abundance may, in fact, reflect concerns about your lack of money or prosperity
3. What do dreams about porridge mean?

These foods are associated with the nurturing comforts of our early years – as in the symbolism suggested in the nursery tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. However, the image of the sticky glutinous oats could stand for emotional difficulty.
4. What do dreams about mashed potato mean?

Mashed potato is a comfort food and so may evoke memories of a harmonious childhood if it is a smooth and delicious concoction. However, mashed potato that is lumpy and tasteless or too salty may be associated with school meals and childhood or adolescent neuroses.
5. What do dreams about salt mean?

Salt, which preserves against decay and corruption, is a symbol of purification and protection. Salt may therefore have a Jungian meaning of taking the individual to a higher plane of perception. When it is shared like bread with visitors, salt is also a symbol of togetherness, evoking perhaps your desire to reconnect with family and friends, or to reach out to people who have been strangers in your life. Spilling salt is popularly said to bring bad luck and, in dreams, may represent some social embarrassment you fear you may have committed
6. What do dreams about cornflakes mean?

Modern symbolism, often built up through marketing and advertising campaigns, links cornflakes and other popular breakfast meals with a happy, healthy and ordered home life. Dreaming of sitting at the breakfast table, especially if loved ones are present, may express a desire for improved domestic circumstances, or a move toward a life based on traditional family values.
7. What do dreams about tea or coffee mean?

Dreaming about drinking coffee may indicate your wish for more stimuli in the routine of your waking life. The social aspects of coffee-drinking may indicate a need for closer contact with friends. Tea can have a more domesticated image and points perhaps to your longing for a break from stress or a more settled home life.

If you get your coffee or tea from an office urn or vending machine, then it may instead suggest a desire to get to know your colleagues better. It may even connote a sexual desire for one particular colleague.
Food for thought there. Bad puns aside, we’d love to hear about any strange food dreams you’ve had in the comments below.

1000-dreamsAre you confused by the symbols, secrets and stories you see when you sleep? Professor David Fontana’s 1000 Dreams is a comprehensive A-Z dictionary of dreams, that explains what your subconscious is trying to tell you.

So whether you’re naked in front of an interview panel, flying through the air or playing cricket, you can use this book to unlock your dreams and learn a little bit more about yourself.

Find out more about 1000 Dreams, with free postage in the UK >>





Foods that can increase your resistance to cancer (and the foods that can help it grow)

how does your diet affect the growth of cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer can be devastating, but studies show that changes in lifestyle and diet can help tackle the development of some cancers. As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’ve written a series of posts exploring the relationship between the food you eat and cancer.

They’re all taken from Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook by Christine Bailey, written in partnership with experts from the wonderful Penny Brohn Cancer Care – an organization dedicated to a holistic approach to living well with cancer.

If you or someone you know has cancer, just being aware of the impact diet can have on resistance to cancer can be a great help. Read on for information about how certain kinds of food can have an impact on cancer develops, and try this Wilted Kale Salad recipe to discover how this super-food can help protect against cancer.

The link between diet and cancer

Cancer is on the increase, and it is estimated that 50 per cent of people alive today will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. Experts from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research reviewed the evidence in 2007 and agreed that diet is the single most important factor responsible for this massive rise. It is likely to be responsible for 35 per cent of all cancers – an even greater risk than cigarette smoking. They issued clear guidelines: aim to be slim without being underweight; avoid sugary drinks; eat a variety of healthy whole foods, mainly of plant origin; eat less red and processed meats; and limit alcohol and salt intake.

To understand why diet makes such a difference, it helps to know a little about how cancer develops. Cancer takes advantage of unhealthy environments in the body and uses sophisticated processes to spread. Some of these environments and processes are explained below, as well as how good food can help to protect you.
Foods that control the growth of cancer cells

Cancer cells use angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels) to supply the oxygen and nutrients they need in order to grow. Angiogenesis is a naturally occurring process in your body, but in a cancerous situation the rate of new blood-vessel formation is abnormally rapid. Scientists have discovered natural food products that help to stop the creation of new blood vessels and are testing them for their potential therapeutic use. By including foods such as shallots, garlic, soya beans, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruit, spices, green tea and many herbs, you benefit from their anti-angiogenic properties, thereby helping to slow down the creation of the new blood vessels that help cancerous cells to grow.
Why avoiding inflammation is important

Persistent inflammation, swelling or redness, creates an environment that supports cancer at all stages of tumour development, and so foods that help to minimize this are very important. If you include in your diet more omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish) but fewer omega-6 essential fatty acids (found in polyunsaturated cooking oils, such as sunflower and vegetable, and in margarines and processed foods), this helps your body to reduce any inflammation. The fibre, vitamins and other antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains can also help to reduce inflammation. What is more, recent research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to boost the anti-cancer effect of the breast-cancer drug Tamoxifen.

On the other hand, trans-fats (found in margarines and processed foods) and too many omega-6 fatty acids can encourage inflammation. Not only do they contribute to conditions that favour cancer but they can also contribute to heart disease, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and other chronic conditions.

Beyond this, foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) create a pro-inflammatory environment in the body. White bread, white rice (excluding basmati rice), most cereals and foods containing sugar are some of the foods with high GI and GL values. They all make inflammation more likely and/or more pronounced.

Most people enjoy sugar, so it can be hard to accept that it undermines health. Nevertheless, there are several links between sugar, inflammation and cancer growth, which is why reducing sugar consumption is a major step towards protecting your well-being.

Vitamin D is thought to have a key role in reducing inflammation in the body. Mainly, vitamin D can be made in the body by the daily action of sunlight on the skin, without burning. Vitamin D-rich foods include oily fish, shellfish, egg yolks, mushrooms and butter.
Slowing down cell division

Cancer cells tend to multiply rapidly, but some foods are able to arrest their growth by interfering with the process of cell division; for example, indole-3-carbinol (I3C) stops cancer cells dividing by locking away an enzyme called elastase. I3C is found in cruciferous vegetables – eating vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli, therefore, slows down the rate at which cancer cells multiply.
You can alter your genes with your lifestyle

It is common to believe that our genes determine the risk of developing cancer and that it is coded into our DNA at birth. In fact, only 5–10 per cent of cancers are caused by hereditary factors. Studies from a relatively new branch of biology, called epigenetics, are showing how the genes we inherit are affected by lifestyle, dietary choices and events. This illustrates how genes are not always our destiny and that the lifestyle choices we make can be very powerful in controlling them; a diet rich in folic acid, for example, found in green vegetables, helps to promote healthy epigenetic processes and resists the formation and spread of cancerous cells.

Cancer growth can also be stimulated by hormonal imbalances. This is more evident in hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of these cancers, as well as others including endometrial, colon, pancreatic and kidney. Obesity also induces insulin resistance. This is where the body no longer tolerates high levels of glucose, causing insulin levels to rise. Insulin works as a growth factor for many cells, especially those in the colon. And, if these cells grow out of control, they can become cancerous. In advanced stages of cancer, insulin resistance contributes to weight loss and feeling weak.

Being a healthy weight is an important step towards protecting yourself from hormone-sensitive cancers, insulin resistance and other chronic diseases.
Stress can damage your body

The production of free radicals is a normal chemical reaction in the body; however, we live in a world that promotes the over-production of free radicals: smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as environmental pollution and stress, are just some of the triggers that prompt their formation. When the body is in contact with too many free radicals, it is unable to limit the cell damage they cause, and this accumulates over time. The result is known as oxidative stress, which drives cancer initiation and development. More recent studies suggest that cancer cells may also deliberately create oxidative stress around them to destroy the normal cells and steal their nutrients for their own use.

Antioxidants are chemicals that “mop up” free radicals and reduce their damaging effects. The damage of free radicals in the body can be limited by including foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and the minerals selenium and zinc. Plant foods are your first choice for these nutrients: vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts. Zinc and selenium are also found in meat and seafood.

Kale’s glucosinolates make it a great food to protect against many forms of cancer. When it’s wilted and served with toasted seeds and cherry tomatoes, it makes a pretty delicious salad too! Here’s how to make it > >

Click here for more information about Bowel Cancer Awareness month


A recipe book for cancer care, and the foods to eat during chemotherapy
Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook embraces the holistic healthy living approach of Penny Brohn Cancer Care, combining nutritional advice with 7-day menu plans and healthy recipes design to help you, or someone you know, live with cancer.
Click here to order your copy with free UK postage




Cancer Fighting Recipes: Wilted Kale Salad with Toasted Seeds

cancer fighting recipes kale salad

As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re giving you recipes to help fight cancer from Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook, written in partnership with Penny Brohn Cancer Care.

This simple, cleansing salad from Christine Bailey is quick to prepare and ideal for a very light lunch to accompany hard-boiled eggs or some feta cheese. The toasted seeds and nuts can also be eaten as a tasty and wholesome snack, so it’s worth making up a batch and keeping it in an airtight container ready to eat with a fruit juice or smoothie.

Health Benefits of Kale

Kale is a cruciferous super-food rich in glucosinolates, which can play a primary role in protection against many forms of cancer. It is also packed with flavonoids: antioxidants that help lower inflammation and protect against cell damage. (People with thyroid problems should limit their intake of raw cruciferous vegetables, because they can lower the function of the thyroid and reduce metabolism.)
Cancer Fighting Recipes: Wilted Kale Salad with Toasted Seeds

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3 minutes
250g/9oz kale, large stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil
2 tsp tamari
200g/7oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 handful of alfalfa sprouts

Toasted seeds and nuts
2 tbsp pine nuts
6 tbsp mixed seeds, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
2 tbsp tamari
1 To make the toasted seeds and nuts, put them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and lightly toast for 1 minute, stirring. As they begin to colour, pour over the tamari and stir to combine. Stir for 1–2 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool.

2 Put the kale into a large bowl and sprinkle over the garlic salt and yeast flakes, if using. Massage with your hands to allow the kale to soften. Put the avocado, lemon juice, cumin, oil and tamari into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Mix into the kale so that it is thoroughly coated. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle over the alfalfa sprouts and toasted seeds and nuts, then serve.

A recipe book for cancer care, and the foods to eat during chemotherapy
Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook embraces the holistic healthy living approach of Penny Brohn Cancer Care, combining nutritional advice with 7-day menu plans and healthy recipes design to help you, or someone you know, live with cancer.

Click here to order your copy with free UK postage



Handling a bulldozer (or how to deal with difficult people)

3 tips for tackling difficult people

3 ways to tackle difficult people

We all have to deal with difficult people sometimes, whether they’re colleagues, customers or family. More than likely, says personal development coach Mary Hartley, these difficult people will be bulldozers.

‘Bulldozers are people whose aggressive behaviour often intimidates you, the person you wish you could stand up to but feel you haven’t got the confidence or the know-how to deal with. People who behave in this punchy, aggressive way are out to get their own way regardless of what other people think, do or say. Think of the character Miranda Priestly in the film The Devil Wears Prada; powerful and ruthless, she subjects her young assistant to emotional and psychological bullying – she’s the ultimate difficult person.

These pushy, aggressive and difficult people expect to be able to force you into submission, and we have all let that happen to us. Sometimes we feel it would take too much effort to stand up to them and it wouldn’t get us anywhere, or we just feel a bit frightened or intimidated. And so we let them win and the template for future encounters is established.

At its worst extreme, this kind of behaviour is outright bullying. If this happens at work, you should first speak informally to a manager or supervisor. Keep a diary and copies of relevant incidents and communication. The next step, if necessary, would be to make a formal complaint.

In our personal lives, we can experience aggression through people’s sharp speech, low-key pushing or in-your-face-behaviour that results in our feeling flattened and got-at.
Here’s some tips for dealing with difficult people from Mary’s book, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting What You Want:

How to recognise if you are being bulldozed

See if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are shouted at, or spoken to more forcefully than the situation warrants.
  • You are the subject of putdowns and demeaning comments.
  • You feel scared.
  • You feel pushed into a corner so that you have to do what is being asked.
  •  You feel threatened.
  •  You feel that you are always in the wrong with someone.
  • You feel humiliated.
  •  You feel that you are treated unfairly.

If you come across an aggressive, difficult bulldozer, try one of these three strategies. Be assertive, you are no longer going to be intimidated.


How to handle a bulldozer:

1. Tell the person you don’t like their behaviour

Describe the behaviour and say it is unacceptable. Don’t be too detailed about how it affects you but use a blanket phrase such as ‘I don’t like it.’

Picture this
Someone raises his or her voice to intimidate you.

Try this
Raise your hand in a ‘Stop’ gesture and say, ‘Zoe, you’re shouting at me, and I don’t like it.’

Picture this
Someone keeps on at you to sign up for a charity fun-run. You have already said no, but they are persisting.

Try this
Say something like, ‘You know, Di, I’ve already said no, and nothing has changed. Please stop asking me.’
If she says something like ‘Everyone else is doing it’or ‘We really need the support’, say, ‘That may be, but my answer is no.’
2. Ask the person to explain their words or behaviour

Returning the ball into the other person’s court is a great way of making them think about what they are doing or saying.

Picture this
You say that you have changed your mind about a certain issue. Someone who you feel often has a go at you says, ‘That’s just typical of you.’

Try this
You ask, ‘I wonder what you mean by that, Alina?’

If Alina says ‘Nothing’, just add, ‘That’s all right then.’

If Alina says something like ‘You’re always changing your mind’, just ask, ‘Am I? Does that bother you?’
3. Deal with offensive jokes or comments

If you feel angry or uncomfortable with someone’s language or conversation, let them know. Don’t think that you have to laugh or pretend it is all right: if you do this, you are making yourself a victim.

Picture this
Someone continually uses terminology that you find unacceptable.

Try this
You could try a light approach: shake your head and say something like ‘Not a great phrase, Harry. Try again.’

If nothing changes, be more direct: ‘You know what, Harry, I find your use of that word unacceptable. Please, stop using it.’
With these strategies, you can wrestle control away from the bulldozer, and converse in a civilized, adult way. But difficult people come in various guises, not just the pushy. You may be feeling frustrated by a Pushover, or manipulated by a Snake.

Mary Hartley shows you how to deal with these difficult people without losing friends and alienating them. In fact, her Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting What you Want shows you how to be assertive with wit, style and grace.

For more tips from Mary, try these 7 Reasons Why You Should be More Assertive
Mary Hartley shows the modern women how to be graceful, witty and assertive
The Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting What You Want

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