Pumpkin Treats

This week I had what I considered to be a bit of a brainwave. Although I’m sure it has probably occurred to other people before, it hadn’t occurred to me so I was pretty excited about trying it out. And I’m pleased to report it was a roaring success, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Continue reading

Plentiful Plums

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Here in the UK, at this time of year the plums are just turning, and will soon be past their best. If you’re lucky like me, you might have a friend with a plum tree, or even your own, but if not, you can pick up gorgeous home grown ones anywhere for a bargain. Especially if you don’t mind that they have started to look a bit squishy. Take it from me, you can still get loads of uses out of them.

Plums are grown on every continent in the world, apart from Antarctica, so the chances are that even if your local plums aren’t at their best now, your time will come soon. If you didn’t know, just one average sized plum has 113mg of potassium in it, which can help reduce your blood pressure and your risk of having a stroke. They are full of fibre, and are a low GI food, so will fill you up for longer. And, of course their beautiful colouring, caused by those anthocyanins (part of the flavonoid group of anti-oxidant) will help protect from cancer and other diseases. All good reasons then to make the most of them. Continue reading

Perfect Pears

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It does not matter which shop or market that you go into, or which veg box scheme you are signed up for, at this time of year you can not get away from pears. I’m not sure why you’d want to either. You may be lucky enough to have a pear tree in your garden, in which case, you’ll be even more over run. They do, however, have a very short shelf life, and you have to be ready to hit the ground running when someone presents you with a bag, or you pick up a bargain at the farmer’s market.

There are many reasons not to leave those pears in the fruit bowl to ripen when you’re not looking and then turn to mush but to eat them, not least being their very high fibre content. That’s going to push down the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and developing heart disease, and stave off any mid afternoon slumps. They have been shown to reduce the risk of both colorectal cancer, as¬†their fibre binds with secondary bile acids, thereby reducing their concentration in the intestine, and stomach cancer due to their high phytonutrient levels, in particular cinnamic acids. They are also very easy to digest, if you really¬†need another reason. Continue reading

Hawthorn Schnapps

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When you have finished making your hawthorn berry syrup and are still wondering about what to do with the masses of haws that are still on the bushes outside, you really should try making this schnapps.

I like to think of schnapps are basically the same as a herbal tincture, but in (slightly!) different size glasses. You will get all the amazing benefits to your heart’s health but more than a thimble full and the other not so good effects of the 40% alcohol will probably kick in. Still, it tastes really good with cheese and is a great way to finish a meal, and if you time it right, makes a lovely present for someone at christmas. Continue reading