Orange, Date and Raw Chocolate Truffles

orange date and chocolate truffle recipe

Never tried raw chocolate? This recipe will change your mind…


Nicola Graimes’ melt-in-the-mouth Orange-drenched Date and Raw Chocolate Truffles show how easy it is to coax the best out of uncooked ingredients. If you’ve never tried a raw food recipe this is the perfect introduction to raw food cooking. Make the truffles this weekend and invite your friends over to sample them, or maybe just treat yourself!


Orange, Date and Raw Chocolate Truffles Recipe

Makes 18

50g/1¾oz/1/3 cup blanched almonds
50g/1¾oz/1/3 cup cashews
100g/3½oz/heaped 1 cup dates, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp agave syrup or honey
3 tbsp raw cacao powder, plus extra for coating
seeds from 2-3 cardamom pods
desiccated coconut, for coating

1. Put the almonds and cashews in a food processor and process until ground, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Put the dates in the food processor and process to a paste. You may have to stop occasionally to scrape the dates from the sides of the bowl. Put the date paste in the bowl with the nuts and add the orange juice and zest, agave syrup and raw cacao.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom seeds, then add them to the bowl. Stir until combined into a thick paste.

3. Coat a plate with extra raw cacao powder. Shape 1 tablespoon of the date and nut mixture into a ball and roll it in the cacao. Repeat to make 9 cacao-coated truffles in total.

4. Coat a second plate with desiccated coconut. Follow the same method in step 3 to make 9 more truffles, this time rolling them in the coconut. Chill the truffles until ready to eat.


There’s more delicious vegetarian sweet treats in New Vegetarian Kitchen by Nicola Graimes. Nicola is passionate about vegetarian food. For her, it is all about celebrating flavours, textures, aromas and colours – and a magical transformation from the raw ingredients to the finished dishes.


delicious recipes from the New Vegetarian Kitchen

New Vegetarian Kitchen by Nicola Graimes

240 pages • Illustrated • £14.99

AUS $29.99

£7.99 l Buy the e-book now!



6 foods to fight depression

6 foods to fight depression

Foods to fight depression – a Muesli mix containing pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts and almonds is packed with good sources of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been strongly linked to depressive symptoms.


Can the answer to beating depression really lie in food? Yes it can. People may have told you to get out and have fun, socialize and have a good time getting drunk, but that could make you feel worse. What they didn’t tell you was that feeling good could lie in some pretty special foods that don’t mean spending your way out of depression. These are the six dynamic ‘depression fighting’ groups of foods that have specific properties to stimulate certain hormones and fan the flames of happiness.


1. Tryptophan

Foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan facilitate the body’s uptake of the wonderful neurotransmitter serotonin. We want plenty of serotonin to feel good and beat depression. High tryptophan foods are:

• Soy products: soy milk, tofu, soybean nuts

• Seafood

• Turkey

• Whole grains

• Beans

• Rice

• Houmous

• Lentils

• Hazelnuts, peanuts

• Eggs

• Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds


2. Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are another type of compound which has been proven to lift depression. Omega-3 compounds are a form of polyunsaturated fats, one of four basic types of fat that the body derives from food. All polyunsaturated fats, including the omega-3s, are increasingly recognized as important to human health but they cannot be produced by the body, which means they need to be provided by our diet. A lack of Omega-3 mood boosting nutrients may lead to depression and other mental health problems. Here is a list of the gorgeous Omega-3 fat sources:

• Fish

• Canola oil

• Olive oil

• Flaxseed oil

• Walnuts

• Venison


3. Folic acid

Research shows that people with low levels of folic acid are more like to suffer from depression. Scientists at the UK Medical Research Council recommend plenty of folic acid daily as a preventative measure for depression. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and the body can’t retain it for long, with any excess being expelled in the urine. This means that any of us could be deficient in folic acid at any one time; it is a hard vitamin to keep in the body. Eating some of these foods will help keep your levels high.

• Beetroot

• Spinach

• Broccoli

• Avocados

• Asparagus

• Dried beans

• Brussels sprouts


4. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been strongly linked to depressive symptoms. It is necessary for the absorption of calcium and is the primary mineral required by the adrenal glands to help the body cope with stress. Increasing your magnesium levels could help with muscle cramps, sleep problems, fatigue and depression. Eat some of these foods to add magnesium to your diet:

• Spinach

• Avocados

• Barley

• Pumpkin seeds

• Sunflower seeds

• Brazil nuts

• Buckwheat, almonds


5. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a particularly brilliant vitamin for helping reduce susceptibility to mood changes and is a good mood-enhancer, excellent for irritability, aids good sleep and helps alleviate depression. Foods high in B6 include:

• Sweet potatoes

• Wholegrains

• Tofu

• Nuts

• Seeds

• Pulses

• Avocados

• Apricots

• Asparagus


6. Vitamin D

This is called the sunlight vitamin because the body produces it when the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays strike the skin. It is the only vitamin the body manufactures naturally and is technically considered a hormone. Vitamin D has been a key nutrient to help Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) sufferers and one study found that people with SAD who received increased amounts of Vitamin D achieved a significant improvement in depression symptoms – albeit after one month. Foods high in Vitamin D are:

• Prawns

• Milk

• Cod

• Eggs

Vitamin D supplements are cheap and easy to obtain and a wise investment for helping to beat depression.


When Alexandra Massey was pole-axed with depression she looked for ways to help herself recover without resorting to prescription drugs. She is a passionate champion for those who still suffer


ten steps to help fight depressionIn her latest book, Beat Depression Fast, Alexandra provides a ten-step programme to follow in an easy, straightforward sequence that builds on strengths and skills.

Featuring practical exercises throughout to help put theory into practice, this book will help you make real changes from Day One.

Beat Depression Fast: 10 Steps to a Happier You by Alexandra Massey







Vegetarian Mushroom and Cashew Pies

vegetarian mushroom and cashew pie recipe

Delicious individual vegetarian pies – a perfect winter meal!


When the wind is howling and the rain is pouring down there’s nothing better than a tasty home cooked pie – and there’s something extra special about an individual pie. They make a tasty vegetarian supper or Sunday lunch served with red onion chutney and a red wine gravy.


Mushroom and Cashew Pie Recipe

Serves 4

20g/¾oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
125g/4½oz/heaped 1 cup broken cashew nuts
80g/2¾oz/scant 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup ground almonds
egg, for glazing
salt and freshly ground black pepper


225g/8oz/1¾ cups plain flour
½ tsp salt
60g/2¼oz cold butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
1 egg yolk

1 First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and a little cold water, if necessary, and mix to combine; press the dough together to make a smooth ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and just cover with boiling water; leave to soak for 20 minutes. Strain them, reserving 3 tablespoons of the soaking liquid, then roughly chop.

3 Heat the olive oil over a low heat and fry the onions, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, partially covered, until golden and very soft. Add the garlic, porcini and chestnut mushrooms and thyme and fry uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry, soy sauce and reserved mushroom liquid and simmer for 2 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

4 Finely grind the cashews in a food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs and almonds. Put the mushroom mixture in the food processor and process to a smooth paste, then add to the cashews. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined and the mixture has the consistency of a firm pâté.

5 Grease four 150ml/5fl oz/scant cup dariole moulds. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and cut out 4 circles to line the moulds, gathering up the trimmings. Put 1 circle in each mould and press it from the bottom upwards to get rid of any air bubbles and shape it into a pastry case. Leave 2cm/¾in of the pastry overhanging the top of the mould.

6 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Fill the pastry cases nearly to the top with the mushroom mixture. Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut out 4 circles to fit as lids on top of the moulds. Wet the edge of each pastry case with water and press the lid on the top, pinching with your fingers to seal. Trim any excess pastry.

7 Brush the tops with egg, put the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 35–40 minutes until golden. Leave to rest for 2–3 minutes before loosening the pies with a knife and carefully turning them out. Serve hot with chutney.



delicious recipes from the New Vegetarian Kitchen

New Vegetarian Kitchen by Nicola Graimes

240 pages • Illustrated • £14.99

AUS $29.99

£7.99 l Buy the e-book now!




Brilliant beetroot recipes – vegetables in season

beetroot recipes

Vegetables in season this month: Brilliant Beetroot Recipes


Beetroot is now in season, so it’s the perfect time to try some new recipes. Beetroot has an earthy, sweet flavour and vibrant magenta colour which lends itself to so many savoury – and even sweet – dishes. It is a close relative of chard and spinach, so be sure not to waste the leaves, as they can be prepared and cooked in the same way. Bake the firm globes of beetroot whole (unpeeled to stop them bleeding) or reduce the roasting time by cutting them into wedges; either way they need to be cooked until tender and richly sweet. Alternatively, boil, pickle or grate raw into salads – and cakes!

And then there’s the stunning Italian candy-striped beetroot, also known as chioggia, with its concentric circles in varying shades of pink, red, yellow and white. It looks dramatic cut into paper-thin slices and served as part of a salad. One of my favourite beetroot recipes is to add them to savoury or sweet muffins, such as my Beetroot and Goats’ Cheese Muffins. The beetroot makes them wonderfully moist, in much the same way as adding carrots or courgettes does, and they also benefit from the vegetable’s vibrant ruby colour. If using ready-cooked beetroot, make sure you buy the kind without any vinegar. Also, try to use a crumbly goats’ cheese rather than a runny one for the best results. The secret to successful light muffins is to keep mixing to a minimum; briefly fold the ingredients together and you’re done – they don’t even have to be thoroughly combined.


Beetroot and Goats’ Cheese Muffins Recipe

Makes: 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes hour
sunflower oil, for greasing
280g/10oz/2 ¼ cups plain flour
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼  cups natural yogurt
85g/3oz butter, melted
115g/4oz goats’ cheese, crumbled
225g/8oz cooked beetroot, coarsely grated
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1) Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Lightly grease a 12-hole deep muffin tin with oil (or you could make 6 large muffins using large paper muffin cases).

2) Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.

3) Mix together the eggs and yogurt and beat in the melted butter. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then gently fold in the goats’ cheese and beetroot until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until risen and golden.


3 Simple Recipes for Beetroot 

Try these quick recipes to turn a bumper crop into something truly delicious.


Beetroot Jam

A spoonful of this thick, sticky, earthy, savoury jam goes particularly well with robust-flavoured cheeses, or nut or bean-based dishes. Sauté 1 large finely chopped onion in 1 tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add 2 (about 280g/10oz) peeled and grated raw beetroot, 1 large peeled and grated apple, 100ml/ 3½fl oz/scant ½ cup each of cider vinegar and water and 4 tbsp soft brown sugar. Stir well and bring up to boiling point, then turn the heat down to medium-low, part-cover the pan and simmer for 40 minutes until the beetroot is very tender. Remove the lid and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring now and then, to reduce the liquid in the pan and until the mixture is jam-like in consistency. Season with salt and pepper and leave the jam to cool before serving, or spoon into a sterilized jar and keep for up to 1 month.


Lebanese Beetroot Dip

This simple dip is delicious slathered onto warm flatbreads or scooped up with vegetables. I like to roast my own beetroot but you could use ready-cooked if time is short. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Trim 2 (about 280g/10oz) beetroot and wrap them in foil. Roast for 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes until the beetroot can be easily pierced all the way through with a skewer. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel away the skin and roughly chop. Blend the beetroot with 6 tbsp natural yogurt, the juice of ½ lemon, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 chopped red chilli, 2 tsp ras el hanout and ½ tsp ground cumin until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper and spoon the dip into a serving bowl. Serve scattered with crumbled feta cheese and coriander and mint leaves.


Roast Beetroot Crisps

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Thinly slice 5 raw beetroot (they should be about 3mm/⅛in thick) using a mandolin or very sharp knife. Pat the beetroot slices dry with kitchen paper and lightly brush both sides with olive oil. Put in a single layer on two baking sheets and roast for 20–25 minutes, turning the beetroot once and swapping the trays around at the same time, until just crisp (they will crisp up more when cool). Keep an eye on the beetroot as they can burn easily in a matter of minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and season with sea salt.

veggienomics Nicola Graimes, the award-winning vegetarian author, has written a truly inventive and savvy book showing how adopting a vegetarian diet can significantly cut the cost of your shopping. With an emphasis on delicious global food, Veggienomics shows how to seek out the best-value vegetarian meals, focusing on in-season ingredients, foraging, growing your own, buying in bulk, and making full use of leftovers

Veggienomics is available from June 1st, but you can pre-order it now.



How curiosity can be your personal rebirth

curiosity is good for you

Forget the cat, curiosity is good for you


It was probably some Puritan long ago who introduced the idea that “Curiosity killed the cat.” I’m sure they had it wrong: more likely, it is curiosity that gives a cat its proverbial nine lives. Curiosity can serve as your personal rebirth. If you are concerned about any dangers it might bring, consider this: Curiosity builds character. It creates powerful life experiences. It is to be celebrated.


New experiences can be immensely rewarding. Apart from their sheer enjoyment, they replenish your stock of memory and imagination, and can even make significant contributions to your future. Here are some suggestions for the would-be explorer:


1. Celebrate your curiosity

Make a list of some of the things you are curious about – as many as you can think of. Do not edit the truth. If you are interested in cabaret singing, candlemaking or cross-dressing, that’s great. Resolve to fulfil your curiosity about these things.


2. Set yourself a curiosity quota

Each week, do something simply to satisfy your curiosity. Make it a fun game. Pick an area in which you have no experience, and plunge in to make your discoveries. Establish a curiosity quota, and fill it every week. If you find that you like being curious, raise your weekly quota to two or three items. You can even set yourself a daily curiosity target.


Here are some ideas to help you fill your quota:

Read outside your circle. I know a woman who reads everything. She has no pets and yet she reads pet magazines; she has no children at home, yet reads parenting magazines; she is not African-American, yet reads Ebony.

Take a new class. Often, the older we get, the more constricted our world becomes if we do not consciously continue to expand it. Going to classes on topics unfamiliar to you is a way to open yourself up to worlds of new possibility. Even if you do not stick with a new class, you are sure to learn something.


Seek out different kinds of people. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the only people you can have a great conversation with are people very like yourself. Everybody has great stories to tell, and interesting opinions about life – although some are better than others at communicating. Take every opportunity to go where different kinds of people gather – a wine lovers’ dinner, a meeting of local environmentalists, a bookstore workshop.


3. Fight the “timid body” syndrome

Do you ever hear yourself say that you are too old or too out of shape to do something? That is an excuse. Nothing you ever do of a physical nature will feel natural the first time you do it. Be willing to look and feel incompetent – to be the clumsy one in a yoga class, or the last person to pick up a new dance step. Your new physical venture will one day seem as easy as driving your car. Do it, your body will adjust and you will be expanded.



Want more from your life? Nothing reflects your quality of life more than your thinking. With 20 specially devised exercises, You Can Think Differently will teach you how to free your mind of negative attitudes and to focus and prioritise.


Rich Carrot Soup recipe, packed with natural antioxidants

A rich carrot soup, that’s packed with antioxidants


This hearty, thick carrot soup is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are important to help protect the brain cells, neurotransmitters and the essential fats in the cell membranes from free radical attack. Make up a large batch and freeze in portions to make a speedy light meal when time is short. For an energizing lunch accompany the soup with some additional protein such as slices of cooked fish, chicken or eggs. And once cool, the soup can be frozen for 2–3 months.


Rich Carrot Soup

Serves 3-4

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
500g (1lb 2oz) carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
½ tsp whole-grain mustard
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
dash of Tabasco
sprigs of fresh thyme
1.25cm (½in) piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
1l (35fl oz/4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
natural yogurt or soya yogurt freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pan, soften the onion and garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, celery, mustard, onion powder, salt, Tabasco, thyme, ginger and stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Purée the soup with a hand-held blender or pour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Swirl 1 teaspoon of natural yogurt in each bowl. Season with black pepper and serve.



Find up-to-date nutritional science and comprehensive, accessible information on which foods to eat for optimum health and vitality in Lift Your Mood With Power Food.


   “Recipes to lift your spirits” The Sun

     Lift Your Mood With Power Food by Christine Bailey.

     200 pages • Illustrated • £10.99

     AUS $19.99 NZ $26.00

     Buy the book now!




5 foods for a healthy heart

Slow down the ageing process with 5 Foods for a healthy heart


Slow down the ageing process with 5 Foods for a healthy heart


In his latest book, Live Longer, Live Younger, GP and holistic health expert Dr Rajendra Sharma explains how to slow down the ageing process and lead a healthier and more productive later life by making simple and easy lifestyle changes. He reveals the key principles that can prevent the onset of many age-related conditions.

Here are his recommended 5 foods for a healthy heart:


1.Apples and Pears

One apple or a pear a day may reduce stroke risk by half.



Beetroot’s high magnesium content, alongside several other, healthy nutrients, helps to decrease blood pressure.

To make your own delicious, blood-pressure fighting, beetroot juice: blend 2 apples, 2 carrots, ½ lime and 1 beetroot.
For a smoothie: blend ½ avocado and add with ice to the juice mixture.)


3.Peanut butter

Peanut butter’s high potassium levels means that it’s not the evil we think it might be. According to research, taking 5 teaspoonfuls weekly of organic and preferably fresh (unsalted) nut butter appears to have several benefits:

• A 44 per cent decrease in cardiovascular disease and heart attacks
• A decrease in sticky LDL cholesterol
• An increase in endothelial function – so important to the health of the arteries


4.Green leafy vegetables

Greens contain magnesium and vitamin B-complex. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid all reduce the production of the protein known as homocysteine, one of the blood particles that damage the endothelium. Eat plenty of these!


5.Citrus fruits

We all know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but high blood levels of vitamin C are also associated with lower coronary artery disease.


Live Longer Live Younger

‘I’m sure that Dr Sharma’s book will help all those in search of optimum health as he has helped me in the past’  – Tina Turner

‘Dr Schama provides us with the information and tools to prevent and heal premature ageing and disease and the sooner we start, the easier it is’ – Dr Fouad I. Ghaly

Live Longer, Live Younger by Dr Rajendra Sharma

Paperback • £10.99

eBook • £7.99

£7.99Add to cart

Super-quick Tamarind & Coconut Prawn Curry

recipe for tamarind and coconut curry

John Gregory Smith’s Tamarind and Coconut Prawn Curry – quick, fresh and delicious!


Ready in 20 minutes! This is a super-quick prawn curry, which is hot, sweet and sour all at once. If you can’t find tamarind, just squeeze in the juice of a lime. And chilli powder and freshly ground black pepper are fine if you don’t have the whole spices.

Tamarind and Coconut Prawn Curry

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

250g/9oz/1¼ cups basmati rice
2 onions
2 tbsp groundnut oil
3 dried red chillies
10 peppercorns
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
400ml/14fl oz/generous 1½ cups coconut milk
3 tsp tamarind paste
500g/1lb 2oz raw, peeled king prawns (with or without tails)
1 handful of coriander leaves
sea salt


1. Cook the rice in boiling water for 10–12 minutes until soft, or as directed on the packet. Drain in a colander and return to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and then the lid. Leave to one side so that the rice can fluff up ready to eat.

2. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until just turning golden.

3. While the onions cook, chuck the chillies and peppercorns into a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Tip the ground spices into the pan with the cooked onions and add the paprika, turmeric and a good pinch of salt.

4. Mix well, pour in the coconut milk and add the tamarind paste. Mix everything together really well so that the sauce takes on a rich red colour. Bring to the boil and add the prawns. Give them a good stir in the hot sauce, then cover and cook for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are cooked through and beautifully pink.

5. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander. Scatter the coriander over the cooked curry and serve with the rice.


‘Spice master’ John Gregory-Smith shows how exciting food – inspired by street stalls all over the world – can be prepared with lightning speed. With inspiration from Asia, South America, North Africa and the Middle East, John has done the thinking for you and created recipes that are full of brilliant time-saving techniques and shortcuts.


John Gregory Smith's Mighty Spice Express Cookbook“Fast, fresh and full-on flavours from street foods to the spectacular”

Mighty Spice Express by John Gregory-Smith

224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00

Buy the book now!




Valentine’s Day Sunrise Smoothie

orange and strawberry sunrise recipe

Make your Valentine a special fruity love smoothie. Also known as Orange & Strawberry Sunrise, this classic drink is made with banana to make it rich and creamy, and with the great taste of fresh strawberries and peaches. We can’t guarantee it will ensure everlasting love but it will bring a smile to breakfast in bed!


Valentine’s Orange & Strawberry Sunrise

4 oranges, halved
10 strawberries
1 banana
½ peach

1. Squeeze the juice from the oranges. (Alternatively, add 150ml/5fl oz/scant  cup orange juice instead of squeezing the oranges.)

2. Pour the juice into a blender or food processor, add all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.


Crussh is the UK’s fastest growing chain of juice bars. Avoiding additives, preservatives, GM foods, salt and sugar, they use the best natural and organic ingredients whenever possible. They have worked hard to perfect their recipes and now, for the first time, they are ready to share them. The book is divided into three chapters – ‘Juices’, ‘Smoothies’ and ‘Boosters’. 


Crussh - juice recipes

“Here they share their secrets for the very first time”

Crussh: Juices, Smoothies and Boosters

176 pages • Illustrated • £14.99

AUS $27.99 NZ $32.00

£7.99 l Buy the e-book now!



Overcome stress: 5 steps to calm breathing

try these 5 steps to calm your breathing and overcome stress

Try these 5 steps to calm your breathing and overcome stress


Mike George is a bestselling author of nine books, a management tutor and a spiritual coach. This simple meditative breathing exercise from his latest book, You Can Relax and Overcome Stress, will help you to re-establish calm breathing. It is a good first-aid exercise to see you through difficult emotional situations. It will also provide you with the basis for recovering full vocal control.


The Air Meditation


1 Sit or recline in a quiet room with your eyes closed. Visualize your thoughts as a mass of bubbles. Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you do so, imagine all these thought-bubbles being blown away. You already begin to feel more relaxed.


2 Now redirect your entire attention to your nostrils. Breathe in and out through your nose, and as you do so visualize the air passing through the nostrils at your beck and call.


3 Concentrate hard on producing a long, smooth exhalation, letting the inhalation take care of itself.


4 If your mind starts to wander, don’t give up. Simply refocus your attention on your nostrils and try to let the sensation of breathing fill your consciousness.


5 Practise this exercise for as long as is comfortable. Repeat it daily until you feel yourself breathing naturally.


Gluten-free and Dairy-free Chocolate Fondant Recipe

gluten free chocolate fondant recipe, perfect for valentine's day

Gluten-free and Dairy-free Vegetarian chocolate fondant, a perfect dessert

A treat for coeliacs and non-coeliacs alike. Spoil yourself with a rich gooey Chocolate Fondant indulgence – it’s melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Not only is the recipe Gluten-free and Dairy-free, it’s Yeast-free, Nut-free and Vegetarian too.

Gluten-free and Dairy Free Chocolate Fondant 

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

100g/3½oz dairy-free margarine, plus extra for greasing
200g/7oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
2 tbsp rice flour
heaped 2 tbsp gram flour

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and grease four 175ml/5fl oz/⅔cup pudding moulds with dairy-free margarine. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and rest it over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat, add the dairy-free margarine and stir until melted. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a large bowl, using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Using a large spoon, carefully fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Sift in the flours and fold until well mixed.

3. Divide the mixture into the pudding moulds and bake for 12–15 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch. Serve immediately.


Other posts on gluten and dairy free cooking:


Gluten-free-cookbook-author-Grace-CheethamGluten-free author Grace Cheetham reveal that she was proposed to over chocolate fondant in our Q&A with her, where she also reveals the secret of gluten-free baking… Q&A with gluten-free Grace!




best recipe for gluten-free pizzaThe Best Gluten-free and Dairy-free Pizza Recipe! Grace reveals the secrets of making a crispy (and gluten-free) pizza.




These recipes were taken from…

Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free by Grace Cheetham.

176 pages • Illustrated • £12.99

Order now with free UK postage! 

 Gluten Free and Dairy Free cookbook

Rich Vegetable Lasagne Recipe – the perfect mid-week family meal

vegetable lasagne recipe from jo pratt

Rich Vegetable Lasagne – the perfect mid-week family meal for meat eaters and vegetarians


“Whether you are a meat eater or not, this will go down a treat. It’s hearty, nutritious and straightforward to prepare. I always make this quantity as it’s a great lunch dish for an extended family, to serve the following day, or pop in the freezer if you have any left over,” says Jo Pratt, author of the best-selling Madhouse Cookbook.

“My bit of advice is to use fresh lasagne sheets, as you simply cut to fit your dish, rather than getting frustrated and in a mess by trying to snap dried sheets. No matter how hard you try, they never break where you want them to!”


Rich Vegetable Lasagne Recipe


Makes: 4 adult and 4 kid-sized portions

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 1½ hours


2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks

1 aubergine, cut into chunks

2 courgettes, cut into chunks

4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled

3 tbsp olive oil

200g/7oz cherry tomatoes, halved

350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups passata with basil

2 tbsp red or green pesto

1 handful of chopped black olives (optional)

200g/7oz fresh lasagne sheets

125g/4½oz mozzarella, grated or torn into small pieces

25g/1oz/¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bechamel Sauce

50g/1¾oz butter

1 bay leaf

50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup plain flour

500ml/17fl oz/2 cups milk

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

2. Put the red peppers, aubergine, courgettes and garlic in a roasting tray and toss with the oil. Roast for 25 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and turn gently in the oil. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15–20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.

3. Meanwhile, to make the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan with the bay leaf over a medium heat. Once it is bubbling, stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Gradually add the milk and bring to the boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened, then leave to simmer over a very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf, add the nutmeg and season lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic cloves and squash the cooked garlic to a paste. Stir into the passata along with the pesto and olives, if using. Pour the passata into the vegetable tray, season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

6. Spoon one-third of the vegetable mixture into the base of a large ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then drizzle over one-third of the béchamel sauce. Repeat so you have three layers of lasagne, finishing with the béchamel. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan. (You can prepare the lasagne right up to this stage and chill until needed.) Put on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until golden and bubbling. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Find more inspiring quick and easy recipes in bestselling author Jo Pratt’s latest book, Madhouse Cookbook. A life-transforming collection of recipes for busy parents – for surviving the stressful week, coping with weekends and enabling you to cling onto your social life. Follow Jo on her inspiring website


Family recipes for busy parents “Home-cooked food that’s tasty and stress-free – this is Jo’s guide for busy parents” – Jamie Oliver

Madhouse Cookbook by Jo Pratt

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