‘C’ is for Cabbage

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Such an underrated veg, the plain old cabbage is anything but plain, especially in colour! I love growing this ‘Red Drumhead’ variety because it looks fantastic and makes the prettiest coleslaw (as well as an awesome natural electric-blue dye!).

Easy to grow and simple to cook, cabbages come in loads of different shapes, sizes and colours and can be grown all year round, so you need never go without a tasty homegrown cabbage in your kitchen! Definitely worthy of their place in the ‘Allotment A-Z’.

‘C’ is for cabbage! Yay…

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Marinated Halloumi & Beetroot Salad

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This is one of our favourite meals for eating al fresco down at the allotment garden. We marinate our halloumi, get the little allotment stove going, pull up a couple of fresh beets and away we go. Really simple, really good for you and really tasty. Yay!

Fantastic served on the side or as a main, the herbs and spices bring out the amazing earthy flavours, the nuts and seeds add protein and extra crunch, whilst the cheeses are deliciously creamy… and it’s a spectacular colour too!

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‘B’ is for Beetroot

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Two down and twenty-four to go in the ‘A-Z’ of our favourite homegrown fruit and veg! This was a tricky one, because there are so many lovely fruit and veg starting with ‘B’. Broccoli, broad beans, blackberries, brussel sprouts and blueberries to name just a few, but when push came to shove it was beetroot that earned its place in the allotment garden ‘A-Z’. So many different varieties, so easy to grow, so many different ways of eating it, juicing it, grating it, baking it and masses of health benefits too…

‘B’ is for the beautiful, bountiful beetroot!

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Natural Henkeeping: Ill Health

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Our little flock are completely at home on the allotment and seem to live a pretty carefree, free-range life. We’ve always been drawn to a more natural way of keeping chickens, as close to their wild environment as possible, including an open coop, a large run, lots of fresh air, natural shade, dust bathing, fresh water and fresh food. All of this helps to maintain their overall health and happiness, but things can go wrong… it just happens.

Parasites, mites, scaly leg, colds, prolapse, low egg production and excessive moulting are all possibilities, to name just a few. This post starts us off with the delights of parasites and prolapses – lovely! – and some ideas for supporting your flock with natural remedies, herbs and some alternative thinking!

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Apple and Almond Pudding

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Oh my golly gosh! Delicious. A really simple, seasonal dessert using local apples, that won’t give you or your children a frenzied sugar rush before bed! Woohoo. Dairy free, gluten free and free of refined sugars, this is a traditional pud with a healthy twist!

Very tasty with apples, but works equally well with other fruits – try an autumnal version with pears and plums or a tropical one with mango and peach. Sometimes, you’ve just got to eat cake…

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‘Energy Bites’ – Superfood Granola Balls

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Another deliciously healthy recipe from our newly published book ‘Energy Bites’. We absolutely love these granola balls. The children take them to school, Will takes them to work, they even make a gorgeous gift in a ribbon-tied bag!

You can experiment with different nuts and dried fruit, they’re dairy-free, gluten-free, free of refined sugars and can be baked or eaten raw. Brilliantly versatile and seriously yum…

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Gardening with children

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A gardening post – hooray! There have been a lot of food posts lately with the release of our new book ‘Energy Bites’, but we’re still getting our hands dirty in the garden and on the allotment, if only to feed the chickens!

It’s mid-winter, pretty soggy and definitely cold out there – the perfect time to plan for the growing season to come. It’s also got me thinking about gardening in general and what I love about it…

There is a lot to love about gardening, but gardening with children has to be a huge highlight. Our gardens at home and on the allotment are a family affair, with everyone mucking in, tending their ‘patch’, digging, weeding and growing.

Being outside is always a pleasure and getting your hands dirty is definitely fun, but watching a seed turn into something that you can eat is absolutely magical!

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‘Energy Bites’ – Tropical Immune Boosters

Another pre-publication sneak preview recipe of one of our favourite sweet ‘bites’ from our upcoming book ‘Energy Bites’, which is due out tomorrow! Don’t forget that you can win a  copy of the book by simply leaving a comment on the ‘Giveaway’ blog post.

These little balls of sunshine are packed with natural anti-inflamatory turmeric and masses of vitamin C-rich mango, goji berries, lime juice, rosehip and baobab, plus nut protein for vitality. Don’t worry if you can’t lay your hands on any baobab or rosehip powders – they’re a great source of Vitamin-C, but the recipe works just as well without them.

A perfect snack to help ward off the winter blues … in fact they’re a delicious tropical-tasting treat at any time of year! We had such fun creating them and hope you’ll love them as much as we do…

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‘Energy Bites’ – Raw Chocolate Treats

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As promised, here’s a little sneaky-peek pre-publication recipe from our new book ‘Energy Bites’ and what better place to start than with healthy chocolate!

I love raw chocolate, so this recipe just had to be in the book. They’re seriously good – gluten-free, dairy free, raw, easy to make and the best bit, totally free of refined sugar! The only problem is that you’ll want to eat loads of them … they don’t last long in our house.

They also store really well in the freezer. Just take them out 5 minutes before eating and enjoy a little taste of healthy decadence whenever you feel the need! We love them…

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‘Energy Bites’

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Back in those lazy, hazy days of Summer I was approached by a publisher and asked to collaborate with established cookery writer, Annie Nichols, on a little cookbook of super-healthy and delicious snacks – the sort of thing that I’ve been putting in my kids lunch boxes and taking to our allotment garden for years.

My blog and Instagram were put on hold as I focused on creating, testing and writing recipes and here is the result of all that hard work – ‘Energy Bites’ … with a mega-bright cover! Packed full of sweet and savoury, great tasting, high energy snacks that are incredibly good for you – vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free and totally free of refined sugar.

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Quinoa Kedgeree

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We were back late this evening after a hectic day and threw together this amazingly quick and delicious meal! Nipped down to the allotment to gather some fresh homegrown veg (peas, spinach and onions), collected the eggs and then felt inspired by the pretty jar of tri-coloured quinoa on the kitchen shelf! Quinoa is quicker to cook than brown basmati rice and a serious powerhouse in the protein department. Perfect….

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Natural Henkeeping: Health & Happiness

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The health and happiness of our little flock is top priority to us. I think our girls live a near perfect free-range life in the allotment garden – they’re free to come and go from their coop whenever they like, there are lots of different herbs growing in the run for them to peck at, there’s lots of space, lots of greenery and big bushes that offer protection from the sun, wind and rain. If I could speak chicken, I think they’d tell me that they’re very happy….and happy hens lay happy eggs.

Happy hens are healthier too. In our experience there are a few simple things that can make a big difference to your hens health – fresh water, fresh food and a spot of ‘dust bathing’!

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Super-charged protein pancakes

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I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for ages, as it’s one of our favourite family breakfasts and such a brilliant way to start the day. They’re our ‘secret weapon’ protein-packed pancakes – perfect for that extra boost when there’s digging to be done on the allotment or before we head out orienteering(!) In fact we don’t need an excuse – they’re awesome any time.

Deliciously thick and super tasty, these pancakes have some pretty unusual ingredients and they’re gluten free, with no added refined sugar to boot! Breakfast will never be the same again….

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In Print – Small Beginnings

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My photo of our weird and wonderful ‘Addams Family’ carrots is in this months issue of Good Food Magazine. Woohoo! Hardly a 10-page spread, but we’ve all got to start somewhere…

I’ve got my fingers crossed for some bigger, straighter homegrown carrots this year, although wonky or straight, they’ll still taste amazing! We’ve sown 3 varieties, including some purple ones(!) and this time they’re in a deep, raised bed, so we shall see… These ones went straight into the juicer to make our awesome ‘allotment juice’. Very yum.

Carrot happiness!

Raw Chocolate Fudge

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If you feel the need for a bit of extra ‘zing’ in your life, then this super tasty, raw and healthy treat will really hit the spot! It has that slightly naughty, decadent taste of fudge and a definite fudgy texture, but none of the unhealthy ingredients. No refined sugar, no dairy and absolutely deeeelicious. How perfect is that!

Right now, springtime gardening is fabulously full-on, home-schooling is wonderfully all-consuming and keeping the family happy and healthy is a joyful juggling act. Life is crazily busy, but great!

Bring on the healthy fudge…

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Green Tomato Chutney

I bet that someone, somewhere in the world is picking some homegrown green tomatoes right now! This is my recipe for an amazingly delicious and much healthier version of a traditional allotment chutney that contains no refined sugar.

It’s late-Spring here, we’ve just finished our last jar of chutney and the tomato seedlings are getting big. I can’t wait to make some more in a few months time…

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Rye Sourdough Bread

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A few weeks ago I posted the recipe for our rye sourdough ‘starter’ and thought it was high time I followed it up with the recipe for our amazing rye sourdough bread! We experimented for months to get the best balance of ‘crust and crumb’ and I think we’ve pretty much cracked it!

Sourdough bread is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread – made with  wild yeast, packed full of tangy taste and much easier on your digestion than a regular loaf of bread. It contains loads of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, plus uniquely balanced proteins and fatty acids and is massively more nutrient dense than commercially produced, highly processed breads.

We make two rye loaves a week and haven’t bought a loaf of bread in ages. It’s delicious fresh out of the oven or toasted with anything and everything on it! I really can’t imagine life without it…

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Asparagus and Fennel Soup

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I love using seasonal organically grown veg wherever possible, so it’s fantastic to be cooking with freshly picked asparagus and I absolutely love fennel, so that had to go in too! Asparagus and fennel are both great for your digestion, whilst the pumpkin seeds add some protein and essential fatty acids, plus a bit of crunch! Served with our homemade rye sourdough bread, this was a big winner at the table last night. Yay!

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Creating a Garden Pt 4: Sheds and Rhubarb

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I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ about sheds! Apart from being a great place to store tools, shelter from the rain, hide Easter eggs or hang a mirror(!) they can also add structure and shape to a garden design. Sheds can be practical or pretty (preferably both), ramshackle or brand new, but they are always a useful bit of garden ‘furniture’.

Our allotment shed was central to our garden plans and had to be in just the right place – easy to get in and out of and lovely to look at. But we had a fight on our hands. It was shed ‘versus’ rhubarb….

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Late-Spring Gardening

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Spring is in full swing on the allotment right now and it’s a massive understatement to say that we’re pretty busy – lots of sowing, weeding, sowing, thinning out, sowing, hardening off, sowing, planting out and sowing…..busy, but loving it!

The chickens are loving the new grass, the dog is loving watching the chickens(!), the children are loving getting their hands dirty and I’m loving the sun on my back and the prospect of some delicious homegrown fruit and veg!

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Nettle Fertiliser

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Despite their weedy, stingy reputation, nettles are actually a really useful addition to your garden. Yes, they can be a pain to get rid of (and certainly painful if you get stung!), but they’re also jam-packed with nutrients like iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

You can add nettles to your compost heap to boost vitality or make potent fertilisers that your plants will love. The minerals in the nettles will encourage super-strong, healthy growth, making plants less susceptible to disease and definitely less attractive to pests. Hooray!

Here’s how to do it…..

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Chocolate ‘Cacao’ Porridge

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We needed a good breakfast this morning, one that would give us loads of energy for working on the allotment and in our garden at home. This chocolate cacao porridge really hit the spot – it tastes deliciously decadent, but is amazingly good for you! Free from refined sugars, wheat and dairy, but packed full of yum! Hooray….

Raw cacao is very different to processed cocoa powder and one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet! It’s a natural source of energy and is said to enhance motivation and feelings of pleasure and bliss – yes please! The oats are incredibly sustaining whilst the nuts, fruit and honey make this an all-round breakfast winner in our house!

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Root Soup

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Our first ‘al fresco’ allotment meal of the year! Such a treat to be eating a big bowl of hot soup in the fresh air – I’m sure it tastes better! This colourful pot of deliciousness is packed full of root veg and decorated with freshly picked pea shoots.

We used some of our winter-stored homegrown veg, but I love the thought that someone, somewhere could cook this soup with freshly pulled and dug homegrown roots…the fresher the better! Beetroot is really good for high blood pressure and liver health, whilst fennel and leeks are great for digestive health, even the humble pea shoot has masses of Vitamin C! Really yum and really good for you…..

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Mid-Spring Gardening

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By mid-spring most of the seedlings have made the big trek down to our greenhouse, which is now absolutely rammed with fresh new growth. I usually feel like there’s not enough time and definitely not enough space at this time of year….

This is the second in a series of posts about the joys of springtime gardening on our organic allotment. Sowing new crops, hardening off, planting out and the first harvests. Life is good….

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Raw Chocolate ‘Mini Eggs’

With Easter fast approaching we’ve been having great fun in the kitchen making (and taste-testing!) healthier alternatives to traditional sugar-laden and dairy-packed Easter eggs. These raw truffle-esque chocolate balls are amazingly delicious and really hit the “I need a chocolate” spot …. plus there’s no refined sugar or dairy in sight. Hooray!

Incredibly easy to make, my 12 year old daughter whipped them up in 15 minutes! I suspect it won’t take us quite as long to eat them….

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