sugar free

Recipe of the Month – Granola

Recipe of the Month Granola image

We all know at this stage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we should breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper – but if you feel you can’t face a cooked breakfast first thing in the morning every morning it doesn’t mean you have to rely on high carb/salt/sugar cereals.  Why not have a go at making your own granola?

It’s incredibly simple, you can make a batch and keep it for two weeks plus if making your own you decide exactly what you want to go into it depending on your tastes and needs.  Personally I like to keep the carb relatively low in the morning but want to ensure a good source of protein so I’m not reaching for the scone or biscuits come 10am!!

Below is my basic granola recipe, it can easily be adapted to your own tastes or whatever you happen to have in the cupboard!  Previously I have also added a teaspoon of fennel seeds and seeds from a couple of cardamon pods to it!

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Recipe of the Month – Chocolate Christmas “Pudding”

Recipe of the Month Ruth's Christmas Pudding

Christmas is a time for family, friends, fun …. and, well, food! While it isn’t ideal to scoff handfuls of chocolates and mince pies, a little indulgence over the festive period won’t do any harm. This recipe is based on a new tradition that has crept in over recent years …. a Chocolate Biscuit Cake made in the shape of a Plum Pudding – pure novelty!

Traditional Chocolate Biscuit Cake is laced with milk chocolate, sugar, sometimes condensed milk and is crammed with sugar-filled biscuits and treats. This version on the other hand is still indulgent, but is kinder to your body. It uses nuts instead of biscuits along with delicious dark chocolate, zingy crystallised ginger and is sweetened with Brown Rice Syrup (a fructose-free sweetener). A real treat for December 25th and one the whole family will love!


275g Butter
200g 75% Organic Chocolate
150ml Organic Brown Rice Syrup
60g Crystallised Ginger, roughly chopped
100g Ground Almonds
100g Organic Almonds, roughly chopped
100g Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
200g Organic Raisins


  • Line a 1 litre pudding bowl with 2 layers of cling film as smoothly as possible, leaving some hanging over the edges (you’ll use these to pull the pudding out once it sets)
  • In a large pot over a gently heat, melt the butter, chocolate and brown rice syrup, mixing regularly
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir through
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl. Tap the bowl gently on the worktop a few times to fill any air pockets.
  • Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours but preferably over night.

Use Ready-to-roll icing to decrate the pudding or simple top with crystallised fruit and chocolate shavings!

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Ruth’s Healthier Mince Pies Recipe!

Ruth's Healthier Mince Pies Image

Healthier Mincemeat

These mince pies are full of festive flavour. They would be perfect by the fire with a cuppa or with your favourite Christmas tipple! Traditional Mince Pies use quite a lot of sugar as well as shredded suet or butter. Now, I’m a firm believer in moderation and think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a traditional mince pie or three over the festive season! Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have an alternative that won’t leave you reaching for your stretchy pants!

For this recipe, I used large home-grown cooking apples as they are abundant in our garden at the moment. I love the tangy undertone of flavour that they give the mincemeat. Those of you with a sweeter palette should use 5 sweet eating apples instead though! Making sure to buy the best quality dried fruit you can is also important as they don’t have sugar and fat to hide behind. Treat yourself to the best that you can!


4 Apples, peeled and chopped
500g Raisins (400g +100g)
250g Dried Cranberries
100g Dried Cherries
4 Teaspoons Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Ginger
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
900ml Freshly Pressed Apple Juice (or good quality store bought)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
100g Flaked Almonds
Zest of an Orange
60ml Brandy

Ruth's healthier mince pies raisins pic


  • Combine the chopped apples, 400g raisins,  cranberries and cherries in a large pot over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the brandy, flaked almonds and the remainder 100g raisins).
  • Bring to a gently boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Add 30ml brandy and flaked almonds. Leave on a low heat to simmer for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the heat and add the remaining 100g of raisins and brandy.
  • Leave to cool and then store in an airtight containter in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
  • Make into mince pies using homemade or store-bought pastry (see below).


  • Omit the brandy for a booze free mince.
  • If you really want to add a touch more sweetness at the end, try adding Brown Rice Syrup. It’s a frutose-free sweetener so it won’t send your blood sugar haywire!
  • For a foolproof gluten-free alternative to making your own pastry, ask us in-store about Silly Yak Gluten Free Puff Pastry and Amy’s Gluten-free Shortcrust Pastry! Easy-peasy!
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