Cacao, nut & berry super shake

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Super shakes are fast becoming as key to a cafe menu as coffee; even Pret’s now in on the cacao & almond milk smoothie action. As such, I’ve been developing recipes for yoga pop-ups, independent cafes and the somewhat larger, Gather & Gather. This is my favourite.

It’s hard to restrict the reasons to love this shake to just a few words, but the fact it tastes like chocolate milk and is actually good for you, is probably key. It’s also super quick to make (-5 mins) and can be eaten on-the-go so ideal for busy schedules. In terms of health tick boxes, think: protein, energy, anti-oxidants, vegan, no refined sugar, dairy free blah blahhh wheat free blahhhh. One friend’s even convinced cacao kick starts her day more than coffee; tall order but I like it.


Feeds 1


1/2 dsp coconut oil
2 tbsp frozen berries
1/2 banana (frozen if possible)
1 dsp cacao
4 dates
1 dsp almond butter, tahini or peanut butter
150ml almond milk – I love Rude Health
200ml water


If the coconut oil’s set (probable unless you live in a tropical climate), transfer to a cup immersed in hot water. Leave to melt while you make the smoothie.

Put all the remaining ingredients in the order listed above to your blender – I use a stick blender to keep washing up within 1 minute.

Blitz till smooth, add in the melted coconut oil and blitz again.

Tip: Frozen fruit works particularly well in smoothies, adding a thick, frappe like texture. I keep bananas in the freezer for this very reason. It also eliminates the black banana overnight syndrome.

For reasons I recommend Rude Health’s almond over all others, click here: From the streets: Rude Health dairy free milks 

Beetroot, carrot, kiwi & ginger juice

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

I’m going to level with you: making veggie juice is a faff and your kitchen will resemble a war zone. I think it’s important you’re armed with the facts. For this very reason (and in the interests of keeping my job) I make a 3 ltr batch at the weekend, freezing 250ml bottles for  morning shots. On the plus side, it’s quite therapeutic, systematically feeding mounds of goodness into a machine which instantly produces an elixir of health. And my skin and energy levels are rejoicing.


Makes: 3 ltrs


1.4kg carrots, sprout end removed
2kg apples / 18 apples, halved
14 kiwi, rough end removed
300g ginger, chopped 2″ pieces
500g beetroot, halved with stalks removed



Soak fruit and veg in water with a tablespoon of vinegar for 10 mins to remove any wax and chemicals. Line the juicer bin with a bag for slightly less mess; this way you can throw the waste straight into the rubbish. Give or take…

Most veggies can go in your juicer whole, I tend to remove the particularly tough bits and drop veg into the feeder in stages as my juicer appears not to be fully up to the task.


Kiwi is an addition I wouldn’t do without; it adds body and a tangy smoothness that brings everything together. It’s also packed with Vitamin C.


Keep beetroot till last, unless you want red dye on EV-ER-Y-THING. Pour juice through a sieve to remove any pulpy foam.

Decant into bottles and keep in the fridge for a day or freeze.

Juicers don’t come cheap:

At least not the decent ones and if you find this is something you’re into, you’ll soon feel compelled to invest more pennies into an uber version. Amazon has a wide selection, including the following:

Sage (by Heston Blumenthal) Nutri Pro was recently recommended to me on the basis it does’t heat up. Think Cold Pressed, which preserves the ingredients’ nutrients, apparently. If it’s good enough for tech chef Heston…

Breville have lots of middle of the road options to start you off.

Clare’s spicy nuts

Posted in: DF, N, S, V, WF

I’ve been a bit of a scrooge with this recipe – it took a lot (!!) of amends to get the sticky, chilli clusters just right. However, I shared with a colleague, then another, and now Clare’s Spicy Nuts feature in the Gather & Gather marketing pack with said secret recipe launching across 250 restaurants. Humph.


Filling and packed with protein and goodness, nuts are an ideal snack. Snack being the operative word; mini portions are key! Don’t be put off by the biblically proportioned ingredients; they’re largely spices and prep takes all of 10 mins.


200g almonds
100g cashews
100g pecans
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
2 egg whites
4 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp chipotle / smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar


Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 390°F. Whisk egg whites to form soft peaks.

Stir through spices and nuts, followed by honey and brown sugar.

Transfer to a baking tray, or two (keeping to one layer of nuts for even toasting) and cook for 20 mins, or till the nuts have browned. Stir  half way through for even toasting.

I like to keep in a kilner jar to dip into mid-morning or as a pre dinner party snack.

Check out Storehouse Seducer Almonds for more reasons to snack on Spicy nuts – think anti-oxidants, vitamins, fibre, magnesium, cholesterol & GI lowering; the benefits are endless.

Seasonal Seducer: Mango

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

King of fruits, mango is rich in dietary fibre, Vitamins A, C & E, potassium, minerals, and antioxidants. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and really does help us see in the dark (thank you, Vitamin A).

Why we fell in love

Because it tastes so good it really shouldn’t have any health benefits what so ever. Mango is also found to protect against leukemia, colon, prostate and breast cancers. It’s even said to clear pores when used externally. There appears to be no end to The King’s talents…

Almond butter

Posted in: DF, Featured, N, S, SF, V, WF

I’m a big Peanut Butter fan. I was practically weaned on Sun-pat and Marmite sandwiches; I dollop Wholenut Crunchy into smoothies and even cram it into Lindt Teddies. Don’t knock it. Apart from the nagging feeling of gluttony, I’m painfully aware that peanuts aren’t great for me – there are better fats out there and I’m cursed with instant bloating on consumption. Almonds on the other hand, are a veritable powerhouse of goodness. And in my opinion, taste even better when roasted, blitzed and topped on toast or oatcakes. Protein and nutrient packed instantness.

Makes: 200ml jar Takes: 15 mins.

Almond Butter it transpires, is Sun-pat on Crack: Keens cheddar over Pilgrims Choice; Chloe over Primark. You get the idea. Inevitably then, shop bought Almond butters don’t come cheap. Hence my super quick and easy DIY version that costs half the price. Try the supermarket World Food aisles for better value sacks of almonds. Get the full health benefits of almonds on our Seducers page.


200g almonds, skins on
¼ tsp sea salt


Pre-heat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6

Scatter almonds in a baking tray and roast for 8-10 mins, until nuts start to brown around the edges inside – bite one of the darker nuts in half to test.

Transfer to a food processor, add the salt and blitz for 1 min.

Scrape down the sides and blitz for a further 2 mins, scraping the sides every 30 seconds to a minute.


The nuts will release more oil the longer you blend. You can add groundnut oil to bulk out your mix but there’s no need.

I like a crunchier butter so I remove 1 tbsp of the ground nuts after 1 min and mix back through at the end.

Tip: Be careful not to burn the almonds when roasting or you’ll taint the end result. If when you bite in half, the flesh has turned fully from white to brown, you’ve gone too far.

P/25g (serving): Kcal: 160, Pr: 5.2g, Carb: 1.7g, OWS: 1g, Fat: 14.2g, Sat Fat: 1.3, Salt: 0.3g

P/100g Kcal: 620, Pr: 20.6g, Carb: 6.8g, OWS: 4.2g, Fat: 57g, Sat Fat: 5.0g, Salt: 1g


Storehouse Seducer: Almonds

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

A natural anti-oxidant, storehouse staple, almonds are also richer in six key nutrients than any other nut: magnesium, Vitamin E, potassium, protein, fibre and copper.

Why we fell in love

Nuts in general get a bad rap in terms of our girths. However, a handful (approx. 23 almonds) of this super hero contains only 163 calories and will do a lot more to sustain you than half a bagel or a couple of slices of toast. Both are about the same in calories. Miraculously, almonds also help reduce our insulin and blood sugar levels after eating.

So, reduced risk of heart disease; cholesterol and GI lowering; anti-oxidant rich and skin nourishing. Need you ask why we’re in love?  Spread some Almond butter on your toast this instant!

Tom’s chocolate nut brownie brick

Posted in: N, SF, V

I first tasted these at our winter street food pop-up and have harangued Tom for the recipe ever since. Relentlessly. So much more than a brownie, they’re rich, indulgent and utterly seductive.

Tom's Choc Brownie Brick


200g unsalted butter
250g 72% dark chocolate
250g 51% chocolate
300g caster sugar
4 eggs
150g plain flour, sifted
50 grams rasins
100g hazelnuts
1 vanilla pod, seeds only


  1. Pre-heat oven to 145 °C.
  2. Melt the butter in a ban-marie, then add the chocolate.
  3. Whisk together the suagr and eggs until pale in colour. Slowly add the sifted flour.
  4. Once fully mixed, add the raisins, hazelnuts and vanilla. Stir the chocolate to ensure smooth and fully melted.
  5. Slowly add the chocolate to the cake mix and fold together. Pour into a tray and bake at 145 °C for 20 mins, then allow to rest.

Tom likes these with peanut butter ice-cream (for the love of God!) but any variety works, as does cream. You can also swap or drop the nuts.

Tom is Exec chef at The Brewery. See more from our culinary prodigy in last week’s post Tom’s tasting masterpiece.

Storehouse Seducer: Dark chocolate

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Apart from the effect on our taste buds? Seductive cocoa is packed with anti-oxidants, it contains iron and magnesium to give us energy and balance our moods. It’s even one of nature’s aphrodisiacs. Don’t be fooled by its phony cousin though, the genuine 70%+ has so much more to offer.

Dark chocolate Storehouse Seducer



Exotic cocoa is said to help produce serotonin, our brain’s happy hormone. And The Love Drug (easier said than phenylethylamine) is believed to mimic the feeling of being in love. This is one Seducer that won’t break your heart. Try not to gorge though; even the best things should be kept bite size for a lasting love affair.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, chocolate even features in The non diet, diet: Cold turkey. Is there no end to its charms?

The Anti-diet: Cold turkey

Posted in: Uncategorized

In a similar vein to our Moderation tip, there’s also the matter of comfort eating, which alas, is in no way reserved solely for the broken hearted. There’s a world of difference between real hunger and emotional hunger and I’d hazard a guess the majority of us are a tad wobbly on this one. When I have a sudden, overwhelming craving for a bacon sandwich right after breakfast, I have to question if my salacious glands would be quite so alert to the prospect of another bowl of porridge. If the answer is no, willpower permitting, said bacon sandwich is off the menu. At least, that’s the plan…

Stoats porridge. Wholesome Seduction

The one saving grace about habits though, is how quickly they can be unformed. There is of course, a cold turkey phase requiring infinite determination to resist the supermarket yellow label shelf of Quality Street, but the more sugar we eat, the more we crave. Similarly, the chemicals in junk and processed food are actually addictive, the effects can last several weeks. Manufacturers find this helps sales.

Chocolate towers

So, the theory goes that having broken from our addiction (allow 21 days…), we no longer crave or indeed contemplate, our former food obsession. I can vouch for this, before having fallen off the wagon, I somewhat naively opted for a daily chocolate brownie addition when concerned excessive cycling may make me too thin. Needless to say, the malnourished look is no longer something I distress myself over.

When going sugar (semi) cold turkey, a square of dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa) after a meal can be a handy trifle preventative. And as luck would have it, Seasonal Seducer cocoa contains anti-oxidants, iron and magnesium, along with the unpronounceable phenylethylamine, which is said to mimic the feeling of being in love. Minus the drama.

Some of my favourite Love Drugs to aid your fickle will power: Seed & Bean Dark chocolate & coconut; Montezuma’s Sea Dog (70% cocoa, lime & sea salt – amazing) or Peru dark; and L’artesan du Chocolat Pananama Organic 72%

Remember, the idea is to use the handy square size pieces as a guide. That way, you can have your (mini) cake and eat it.

Click here for why our bodies and brains love Seasonal Seducer Dark Chocolate. And for more Anti-diet tips click on the Tag on the right, or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top.

All Anti-diet posts have been approved by nutritionist and Gather & Gather colleague Kate Taylor, find her on Twitter @kate_t85

Cranberry sauce with port & orange

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

‘Tis the season to be jolly… In honour of the impending festivities, I’ve brought you a seasonaly seductive, spiced sauce to dollop on your bird.

Cranberry sauce with port & orange. Wholesome Seduction

Makes: 300g (10 dessert spoons)


300g cranberries
½ orange, juice and zest
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp agave / 1 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
3 tbsp port


  1. Put all ingredients, bar the booze, into a heavy based pan and cook, uncovered on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. After 15 – 20 mins, or when the cranberries begin to burst, add the port and simmer for a further 5 mins.
  3. Taste – you may want to add more sugar to compensate for the tart cranberries. Or more alcohol…
  4. You should have a mix of crushed and whole cranberries. Don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of juice, this will thicken as it cools.
  5. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Tra la la la la… la la la laaaah….

If you don’t have a zester for the orange, you can also peel thin slices with a sharp knife (taking care to avoid the bitter pith) and finely chop into slivers, or use a grater.

PP: Kcals 19   Pr 2g   Carbs 4.1g   Ows 3.9g   Fat 0.1g   Sat Fat 0g   Salt trace