From the streets: Rude Health dairy-free milks

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

I’m often asked for instant protein shake recipes to tick the dairy free / vegan / energy / alkaline, even paleo boxes. OK, I may not subscribe to relentless diet lists, but I can’t ignore the fact that reducing my dairy intake makes me feel better: I have more energy, the zip on my jeans stays up and most importantly, thanks to Rude Health, my repertoire of porridges and shakes has blossomed. To be clear, the reason these guys get my vote, is because flavour is king; I prefer all varieties to cows milk. And don’t get me started on soya milk. #barf


£1.99 / litre from Waitrose or Sainsbury’s. 20% off now at Waitrose.

Until Rude Health, every almond milk left me cold, which, given my obsession with almonds, baffled me. Even the brown rice version somehow tastes so much better than sugary and starchy Rice Dream. Not to mention the health benefits. Lower in saturated fat, free from dairy and refined sugar, protein and flavour packed, these are a storehouse staple for anyone; Dolly (my dog) is partial to a spot of brown rice milk. Hush.


You can make your own almond milk but quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s not worth the faff. Admittedly, it tastes good but the cost to yield ratio makes Rude Health’s £1.99 price tag makes you feel they’re being robbed – you need a sack of almonds for a 100ml trickle. The homemade stuff also goes out of date quicker than an avocado turns from stone to sludge.

Not content with dairy free milk perfection, Rude Health have branched out into granolas, cereals and snacks. All very good.

Check in over the coming weeks as I blog my favourite dairy-free super shakes and recipes to help you avoid winter sniffles. Next week: Cacao, nut & berry energy shake (with almond milk, of course).



Sesame & rosemary spice

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

Naming this recipe was particularly tricky: seasoning or flour-less breadcrumb? Is crunch or crumb too circa 1996? Either way, it’s a random experiment that quickly evolved into a storehouse staple. Seasoning on steroids, I sprinkle it on everything from mushrooms on toast to kale (trust me); soups to salads. Even the most pathetic emergency supper is instantly transformed into meaty, nutty, spicy, saltiness. And it’s carb-free, protein packed and ideal for reducing your salt intake. Now do you see why no name does it justice?



200g sesame seeds
100g sunflower seeds
50g ground almonds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle – optional
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
4 sprigs rosemary
50g parmesan – drop this for a vegan option which is just as tasty.


Pre-heat oven to 200C. Line two baking trays with the seeds, ground almonds and spice. Keep to a thin layer or the edges and bottom will burn while half the seeds remain white.


Cook in oven 8-10 mins or until browned. Stir half way through, ensuring the bottom seeds don’t burn. Remove and leave to cool.

In a blender, blitz parmesan and rosemary. Add chilled seed mix and whizz till you have a fine bread crumb consistency with lots of sesame seeds still in tact for texture.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 wks.

Sprinkle over roasted veggies, put 1 dsp onto soups with a dollop of Labneh, or my favourite, sprinkled onto Mushrooms & poached egg on rye.


I’ve recently developed a (minor) addiction to this on tahini marinated kale, which I’ll share soon. Think meaty, nutty salad. Yes, such a thing exists.

Storehouse Seducer: Coconut oil

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


This one’s a keeper like no other. Said to boost energy levels and metabolism (cue: calorie burn) and promote thyroid health and weight loss (tall order…). It can fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections including candida; there’s even evidence to suggest the effect of Alzheimer’s may be reduced and type 1 and 2 diabetes improved.


Athletes and fitness freaks dollop it in their shakes for sustained energy levels. And beauty experts smother it on their skin and hair to combat skin conditions and maintain glossy locks. Coconut oil is indispensible inside and out it seems.


By no means a new kid on the block, coconut oil won South East Asian hearts centuries ago. Catching on to the countless virtues, it now seems there’s not a health or fitness savvy man or woman in the UK who can live without their daily fix.

Tortilla (Tor-tee-ya): Spanish omelette

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

I hounded Dad Garcia to make me this throughout my childhood, that and churros. And steak, egg and chips… Hmm… I’m not painting the healthiest picture here… Don’t worry, mum hid 10kg of mushy spinach in pancakes to make up for it. A bad day. Anyway, I maintain that Papi’s tortilla is the best, and after years of being his tattie sous chef, here it is. A perfect summer fridge staple for a snack or any meal of the day (seriously). For picnics in the park (maybe not this week), or to eat On the Go. ¡Aproveche!

Tortilla (Tor-tee-ya) - Spanish omelette

Makes 8 good sized trozos (slices)


1.2 kg potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
3 tsp sea salt
300ml olive oil – 200ml will be drained off!
6 eggs


Peel and chop potatoes to approx. 2” chunks. Peel and chop onion – quartered and halved is enough. Set oil to heat in heavy based frying pan on a high heat.

Tortilla (Spanish omelette). Wholesome Seduction

Mix potatoes, onion and salt in a bowl and add to boiling oil. Reduce to a medium to low flame (the potatoes need to simmer as opposed to steam), cover and cook for approx. 45 mins, gently stirring every 15 mins.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs with sea salt. Test to see if potatoes are soft, drain off oil and return to heat. Pour over eggs, shaking the pan to ensure all ingredients are mixed. Cook for 3 mins, pulling the edges away from the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.

Tortilla (Spanish omelette). Wholesome Seduction.

Shake to ensure base is loose, place a plate on top and flip. Transfer back to the frying pan for 1 – 2 mins and cook the reverse, again pulling down the sides to give your tortilla a curved edge.

Place a knife in the centre to test. I like the egg to still be slightly wet in the middle but you can also cook through, both are delicious.

Tortilla (Spanish omelette). Wholesome Seduction.

Transfer to a serving plate and allow to cool slightly before eating. Perfect hot or cold with salad. My preference has always been for the latter; I find the salty, waxy, olive oil potato and caramelised onion flavours come through more when at room temperature. But that’s just my opinion…


Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

A healthy, tangy and creamy curry to help you on your way to summer body. That’s right, curry needn’t be laden with ghee and consumed only in the early hours. In fact, the spices and coconut oil in this recipe are even good for your gut. I’ve used prawns for a potentially wider appeal, but I also make this with any white, sustainable fish as a less extravagant mid week supper.

Feeds 4


2″ piece ginger
2 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
6 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 tin tomatoes or 6 ripe tomatoes

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions
3 tsp tamarind paste
1 dsp Agave syrup
1 x 400ml can coconut milk or coconut powder if you can get it.
1 tsp sea salt
500g raw, shelled, uncooked tiger prawns or white sustainable fish, deboned.
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped


In a blender, blitz ginger, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and coriander seeds to make rough paste. Depending on how many I’m cooking for, I often leave half aside at this point to make a fresh curry another day. If you’re going the whole hog, however, use the lot.

Heat coconut oil in heavy based pan, chop onions and fry on medium to low heat until they’re translucent.

Add your tomato paste to the onions and cook for 5 mins, stirring intermittently. Follow with tamarind, Agave, coconut milk or powder and sea salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

Check for seasoning, put the prawns or fish into the pan, stir and cook gently for 3 – 4 mins, or until meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice, roti or wholemeal paratha and chopped coriander. I also like this on it’s own for supper, effectively as a chunky soup… when carb baby needs curbing.


Tip: Tinned coconut milk can vary widely in flavour from the real thing, often altering the curry considerably. Even if fresh coconuts were readily available in the UK, however, I’m not about to start tackling them. So, I was very pleased to come across coconut powder in the world food isle, which somehow tastes far more authentic. You just add to the curry, diluting with water to your taste. Frozen roti and paratha are pretty easy to come by in most supermarkets too.

Tip: Don’t throw away coriander stalks. Instead, keep in the freezer to add a clean, freshness to other curries. See Spring lamb with apricots & chilli for example.


Seasonal Seducer: Lamb

Posted in: Uncategorized


Protein, Palmitoleic acid, zinc, iron, B12 and carnitine.


For a while there poor lamb got itself a bit of a reputation. But having shed a bit of fat in the last decade or two, it’s coming into its own. I fell for its unique levels of carnitine (nothing else quite matches it for this). Carnitine is the amino acid that our bodies use to generate energy from fatty acids, making our hearts happy.

The Anti-diet: Carbs v. protein

Posted in: Uncategorized

I once paid exorbitant amounts of cash to see a fit guru who promptly rigged me up to a mask attached to lots of wires, while making me stretch my poor little heart to breaking point on various apparatus. I only learned calories the year before (goodbye family size trifle) and have zero comprehension of my weight, so this was a little out of character. It was surprisingly useful however: I learned that eating nothing but kumquats can make you fat.


Apparently, the body likes a little protein with carbs. If eaten in isolation, carbohydrate may as well be a lump of lard, it would seem. OK, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I find the visual helps me focus.

It’s all down to our blood sugar levels. In the interests of keeping you awake, I’ll abstain from the over convoluted workings of the Glycaemic Index, just heed this: High GI foods (the white stuff: tatties, pasta etc) turn almost instantaneously to sugar in the body, producing insulin (= sugar rush, then slump), which tells your body to store fat. So you see, starving yourself on Snack A Jacks and blueberries will not only make you miserable, devoid of dinner party invites and probably unwell, you’ll gain weight.

Before you frantically renounce all ingredients bar celery, however, we need carbohydrates for energy, and to prevent us being likened to an irritable Devil Wears Prada Diva. All our shrewd bodies crave is a mix of protein, fat, fibre and carbs.


Mother nature (and the supermarket World Foods aisle) has fortuitously provided us with a cornucopia of options, not to mention wheat alternatives, if we’re ever so slightly open minded.

As our Seducers explain, pulses and quinoa, with their mix of carbs, fibre and protein, are a veritable gift from the Gods to be coveted. They’re also super easy to incorporate into soups, stews, salads and fritters: Quinoa, lentil & feta salad, Courgette & prawn fritters (made with chickpea flour).

Avocado, cottage cheese & vegemite on sourdough

Eggs, olive oil, nuts, lean meats and avocado are not to be avoided on pain of death; they are our friends. In moderation (blah blahhh). Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty good news.

Some other protein hit recipes: HummusGaram masala & tamarind chickenBramble Bircher or Almond butter.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tags on the right, or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.



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.

Gather sustainably

Posted in: Uncategorized

Unpacking the spoils from a recent trip to the parental homestead I was struck by just how much produce comes out of Mum Garcia-Macintyre’s Highland garden and kitchen: Everything from Wild Boar bacon and sausages to Jerusalem artichokes and marmalade. In fact, the farm to table philosophy is commonplace in Scotland and quite frankly, when frosty November delivers so much, why would you want a summer strawberry?



Piglet-trough. Netherton Farm

Netherton Farm 3 day old piglets

Not for bacon, Whitney pig and not yet for bacon, weaners. AKA Suckling Pig. In spite of some of my favourite London restaurants serving the latter, anything this small is surely too young. As the name suggests, said piglets are still feeding from their mum’s. And quite frankly, the difference in size between mother and and off-spring says it all. Spot the 3 day old bambino. #FarTooCute.

Black Isle Brewery, Scotland + Netherton Community Garden produce

Apple & Bramble Crumble. Wholesome Seduction.

Curry night. Black Isle beef, beetroot and beer. Apple, (frozen) bramble & almond crumble. Recipe coming soon.

Golden Ball Turnip, Netherton Farm produce. Scotland.

Netherton Farm Wild boar bacon & sausages + free range eggs.

Coriander seed & chillis, Netherton Community Garden.

Netherton Farm (Mum’s) is also host to the local Community Garden, churning out Golden Ball turnips (as tasty as David Beckham), coriander seed, chillis and all the veg for Sunday’s roast. Breakfast courtesy of the hens, Whitney’s Wild Boar cross Tamworth off-spring (when grown!) and mum’s Spiced tomato relish.

Elderberry juice, Netherton Farm & Wholesome Seduction

Foraged elderberries for juice. Mum boils (poisonous otherwise apparently) and strains this “wonder berry” to have on hand for smoothies, veg juices, crumbles and just about anything she can get away with. Any wonder I’m now blogging wholesomely seductive tips?


Golspie smoked salmon on Oliver's Bakery rye.

Catch of the day. I even managed to bag some Golspie smoked salmon, netted in the traditional manner (definitely qualifies as Slow Food) from the Cromarty Firth in front of the house. Not part of mum’s ‘garden estate’ I hasten to add. This dense, smoky delicacy bares no relation to the slippery, insipid stuff from the supermarket. Served simply on Oliver’s Bakery rye with lemon and black pepper.

For more recipes and posts like this, type Netherton Farm into the Search box. See also Foraging for Scottish brambles & other things.


From the streets: Seggiano acacia honey

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

God of taste: flavour and design, Seggiano sourcing is impeccable; scouring the land for the best Italy has to offer. This cold pressed, unfiltered and unpasteurized honey is bottled by beekeeper, Mauro Pagliaccia in Tuscany. The result: Ambrosia that compels you to never again torture your taste buds with the supermarket stuff.


Why cold press? Heat treating destroys the delicate antibiotics, enzymes and anti-bacterial qualities naturally found in honey. So not only does the raw variety taste infinitely better, it does you good and helps fight infection. True Wholesome Seduction.

In fact, so revered is this product, I blogged it as a stocking filler last Christmas (Please Santa…) and take it as a dinner party gift for my favourite friends.

Available from Wholefoods, Planet Organic or independent delis: £8.50. £1 off at Wholefoods now.