Slow cooker vegan stew

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I used to think that only elderly ladies and strange people used slow cookers! Until one day about a year ago, when I was struggling to manage work commitments, feeding my family the healthy wholefood diet they had become used to and staying sane. So whilst reading an article in a magazine (in the bath) it dawned on me… slow cookers were actually for busy people. Asking around the following day I realised everyone else had one, apart from me. The next day I purchased a slow cooker, and can’t believe that I’d been so misguided. This is the first recipe I made in mine.


  • 1 large potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/2 or two cups of swede
  • 1 punnet of button mushrrom
  • 1 tin of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of orgaic red wine
  • 1 stock cube of your choice, made up with 500ml water or 500ml of home made stock
  • 1 table spoon of date syrup
  • 1 table spoon of chopped fresh herbs of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon of potato starch or potato flour to thicken


  1. Wash all the veggies and cut them into chunks of about 3cm diced
  2. Put into the slow cooker with the wine, tinned tomatoes, stock, water, date syrup, herbs and potato flour
  3. Cook on highest setting for about 5 hours, stiring occasionally.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Organic Deli Cafe Oxford

20161015_132836While planning a visit to Oxford this week to see our youngest daughter, we challenged her to find a lunch venue that would suit us all, and our many dietary prefereces. Never an easy task!

We had a… Dairy free meat reducer, dairy free vegetarian and a Gluten reducing vegan.

She emailed us a link to a place called Organic Deli Cafe. At first glance it looked like a good choice. Independenlty owned and located in a tiny back street in the centre of Oxford. The front set up as an old fasioned greengrocers, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg on display. It’s imdediately inviting in a rustic and charming way.

We had pre booked a table with their online booking system as I suspected Saturday lunchtime would be very busy and it was.

On entering the shop we were greated by a gentleman who was extremely welcoming. He explained the ordering system and showed us the extensive menu boards.

We all orderd freshly made orange juice, a full english for my husband, vegan brekki with eggs and avocado for my daughter and a vegan breafast with side of tofu scramble for me. Mine came with home made gluten free bread, the others with brown sourdough toast.

It was no suprise that our food took a little while to arrive. The cafe was full and located over three floors with some outside seating in a courtyard out back. Even though the staff were extremely busy, they were all very accommadating with plently of smiles.

When our food came it was a we hoped, freshly cooked, totally delicious and presented beautifully.

My tofu scramble was mixed with vegetables and seasoned perfectly, a couple of home made falafels, baked beans and tomatoes.

Organic Deli cafe has a vibrabant energetic atmosphere, the staff are friendly, the food fresh, healthy and tastes amazing. They cater for everyone!

Will we be returning next time we visit Oxford? Most certainly!

01865 364853


Lemon Cake Loaf

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Preperation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30/35 mins


  • 200g Organic Spelt Flour
  • 75g Brown Rice flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 200g Raw cane sugar
  • 1 Lemon Zest and Juice
  • 100ml Melted Coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 165 ml Cold Water

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Cane Sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 200c

  1. In a clean bowl add flours, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest and combine.
  2. Add the wet indredients and mix well until all are conbined and you have a smooth batter.
  3. Pour the mix into a loaf tin lined with baking parchment.
  4. Bake in oven for 3o to 35 minutes until cooked
  5. Allow to cool in the tin for half an hour
  6. Make the glaze by gently heating the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Allow to bubble for a few seconds. Pour over the top of the cake and cool.
  7. The cake is ready to slice and serve when the gaze is cold and set


Santa’s First Vegan Christmas

Santa’s First Vegan Christmas is an enchanting story written by Robin Raven.

When Santa began his search to recruit new young reindeer to pull his sleigh, he wasn’t expecting the events that followed.

A bright young calf called Dana, was born with a conscience way beyond most reindeers capabilities, and a will to match.

When Santa tried to recruit Dana as a sleigh puller, he was shocked and supprised when she refused to co-operate.

It takes a while before Santa can undertand where Dana is coming from, but eventually Santa begins to get the message. You see, animals don’t want to be born to serve people. And the story of Father Christmas has always depicted animals doing so as the social norm.

Once Santa sees the error of his ways, he opens his mind and heart. All animals are set free, and he learns a better way to deliver Christmas.

This story, with beautiful illustrations by Kara Maria Schunk is a delightful bedtime book that would appeal to any family, vegan or non vegan. The message is subtle, without any hard core activism needed, encouraging young children to respect all living things.

Why does my baby wake in the night?

A relatively new mum asked me this morning “why does my baby wake during the night even when she isn’t hungry?” It’s simple really, the baby doesn’t know she is supposed to sleep in her own cot all night. She actually has no idea it’s supposed to happen this way. It’s obvious that she will get tired and need to sleep, but instinctively a tiny child would prefer to sleep with her mother or in the arms of an adult where she feels safe.

Take a peek into the lives of other mammals. Mostly they sleep with their mother or in a group where they feel secure and protected. You will rarely see a baby mammal sleeping alone as they tend to hang together for safety, its instinctive. Cows park their new borns in a safe place, like under a hedge or in long grass. The mother cow waits until the tiny calf has gone to sleep and then wanders off to graze. She always has her eye on the calf, who on waking will walk straight to is mother for milk. You will usually see a group of slightly older calves sleeping together, often with a mother cow or two looking out for the whole group; it’s like an animal nursery.

Sheep do the same; lambs hang out together, frolic and play with other lambs then sleep in close proximity. Foals sleep close to their mum too. Dogs and cats follow the same pattern, the mother feeds her litter, when they are sleeping soundly she will leave them for a while to eat and wash herself.

It’s not so surprising then that a human baby would feel safest and happiest in bed with its mother. Aren’t we just mammals after all? The problems arise when baby is put to bed already asleep, she wakes slightly during the night but instead of still being in some ones arms she is alone. For a moment imagine going to sleep for the night with another person beside you, then you wake to find you are alone but you didn’t see your sleeping companion leave. Wouldn’t this make you anxious or concerned?

A baby can often wake during the night because she has fallen asleep in the arms of a parent, instead of dropping off to sleep in their own bed; she woke during the night to find herself alone, not surprisingly she is in a screaming panic.

In order to drop off by herself and sleep independently (remembering mammals prefer to sleep with other mammals) a baby has to learn to go against instinct. So, if you are striving for a little more sleep, want your baby to sleep by herself and for longer stretches, you will need to teach her that’s its okay to do so. A gentle approach that gives the right message, helping her develop a positive association with her cot and sleeping alone will work just fine. Providing its done in a calm, kind and gentle way both parent and child can achieve a good nights sleep, waking refreshed and ready to start the day.


Mel’s Reiki Journey


When Reiki first touched my life, it was totally unexpected. I had been diagnosed with a cronic illness, and after a series of consultations with conventional medics, experts and professors I felt a little hopeless.

Each and everyone of them offered the same treatment options, none of which fitted with my way of living. Scary side effects with long term consequenses and the possibilty of developing further ilness just didn’t seem attractive.

I spent hours every evening researching websites, message boards, reading books and watching videos.

Eventually, it felt like I had a clearer picture and could choose a better path to follow. I began with nutrition healing, followed by acupuncture. I continued with both, feeling huge benefits from the dietary changes.


Dairy Free?

With more and more people feeling the health benefit of a dairy free diet the “Free from” market is booming. Sadly though farm shops and garden centre cafes aren’t up to date on the free from menu, and often found to be lacking in choices.

Recently, while visiting a garden centre and its large busy cafe with a 7 and 4 year old. I was surprised to see their ice cream menu badly lacking in dairy free options.

The 7 year old is dairy and gluten intolerant, the 4 year old gluten intolerant but can have dairy. Obviously one child can’t have an ice cream if there isn’t anything suitable for the other.

After lots of drama and quite a few tears (the 7 year old not me) we opted for lemon sorbet for one child and mango for the other.

Sobbing “I hate being dairy free” the 7 year old tried her lemon sorbet reluctantly and left about a third for the wasps. The mango sorbet was devourded with no complaints, it’s just a shame there are not  more dairy free options, as so many are now freely available in supermarkets and health food shops such as “Booja Booja” and “Almond Breeze”


Baby Sleep Help

With so much conflicting information available, it’s no wonder parents feel confused and frustrated. Mel offers positive parenting support to help you to retrain your baby into a good sleeper. By listening to your baby sleep problem with a sympathetic ear we are able to offer reassurance and empathy. Mel can then put by sleep plan of action together for you to follow with your baby.

In addition to home visits and private telephone consultations, Mel has a range of helpful books available to to download for instant viewing today. Mel can help you with these common baby sleep problems and feeding issues and many more positive parenting skills.

Any baby sleep training programme has to be sustainable and we believe that by setting parents a series of steps to follow with realistic goals to aim for, within a sensible time limit, can enable them to regain their confidence and succeed.