Ellen’s Latex-free Super Berry Smoothie (Just Look at the Colour!)

img_2355Ellen is a writer, she is funny, talented, a new follower and she also happens to have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis. When she told me this, it was in the context of being unable to try most of my recipes and I assumed she meant she was allergic to nuts. I then proceeded to give her a list of potential substitutions. However, I got it very wrong, it seems that Ellen is fine with nuts but allergic to latex.

Now, I assumed that being allergic to latex meant you just had to avoid wearing rubber gloves, but no, it means avoiding a long list of fruits and vegetables too. I decided to set myself the challenge of coming up with a tasty, nutritious smoothie that Ellen could enjoy with complete peace of mind. She warned me how difficult she was to ‘cook’ for, but I pointed out that as I was a vegan, juicing, gluten-free raw foodie, I know how that is!

I had a couple of days to ponder this conundrum while Hurricane Fremily (aka my 2 toddler grandchildren) hit landfall, and I did a bit of research to make sure I understood the issues.

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in latex and can range from wheezing, itchy skin, hives to full-on anaphylaxic shock. Some people who have latex allergy may also have an allergic response to certain fruits including banana, cherries, plums, papaya, grapes, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry and soy.

Ellen seems ok with berries, oranges, lemons, melon (but not watermelon) and apples but she also can’t have squash, turnip, swede or broad beans due to a lifelong phobia! (Which I can totally understand as I have my parsnip phobia – shudders at the very word! See Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! )

So there you have it, my challenge.

This is my first attempt. It’s an amazing colour! It’s a little tart, so if you want to add a little sweetness, add a medjool date, or reduce the amount of blackberries and add another apple. To ring the changes, you can substitute different berries, use coconut water or other nut milk, add oats to make it more substantial and alternate the superfood powders. I read that açaí is ok, but please do your own research. I understand lucuma has a latex sap when immature so I’m guessing that would best be avoided.

Purple berries contain powerful antioxidants which aid healthy ageing, memory, help prevent cancer and other diseases caused by inflammation. Hemp seeds have protein and healthy omega fats and are smooth and creamy to taste (see Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!) Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which helps keep us calm, is essential for good mental health and prevents muscle cramps (see Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?). Apples are all-round good for us! They contain soluble fibre and are good for the lungs.

All ingredients are organic where possible, vegan and can be made gluten-free by substituting seeds or Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk) if you’re sure you’re not allergic.  Measurements approximate.


Large handful of Blackberries (I used frozen)

Handful of Blueberries

1 Sweet Apple, washed & chopped (peel on)

Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

Handful of Cashews

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

Generous glass of Homemade Almond Milk (click link to see how to make your own, it’s really easy).

 Blend until smooth, and may this gorgeous vibrant smoothie give you a bright start to your day!

(When I was looking for a video to accompany this smoothie recipe, I started typing ‘berry’ and it started coming up with Berry White songs which I found highly amusing and since his outfit matches the colour of the smoothie, I decided to go with it!)


Allergic To Latex? Foods And Products To Avoid


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Gluten-Free Almond & Apricot Scones – oh yes!

imageI haven’t had home-baked scones – or any scones for that matter – for soooo long! Many moons ago, before I became vegan, gluten-free, juicer and raw foodie, they were my favourite comfort food. They were so quick and easy to make.

I haven’t had anything resembling baked goods in years. I haven’t missed them at all. I love my raw treats. But you know how sometimes, you’re sitting or lying, minding your own business and suddenly, wham! it hits you: you just have to have that little something (as Winnie the Pooh called it). That very specific something. Nothing else will do. For me, in the early hours of this morning when I couldn’t sleep, it was scones! So I spent the next hours musing over how I could devise a recipe that ticked all my boxes.

So here it is, my first baking recipe! Don’t get too comfy, I’m not morphing into Delia! It’s a one-off.*

This was our first attempt, and I have to say, given all the guesswork involved, I am really pleased with them. I tried to make them as healthy as possible, so they have protein, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Iron and so on. Enjoy as an occasional treat.


1 Tbsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water for 10-15 mins. Stir vigorously every so often (known as a chia egg).

80z Organic Cornflour (it’s yellow, you know!)

1 oz freshly ground Almonds

1 Tsp Gluten-free Baking Powder

2 oz Solid Raw Virgin Coconut Oil 

1 oz Coconut Palm Sugar

4 Sulphur-free Organic Dried Apricots (pre-soaked if very dry)

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

1/2 Cup Almond Milk – preferably home-made, click this link for how to make your own


imageSift the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and coconut palm sugar into a large bowl.

Add the salt and coconut oil.

Using fingertips, blend into flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add chia egg and using a round bladed knife mix it into the flour mix.

Stir in dried apricots and add almond milk.

Using fingers, gather it together and knead. It should be quite soft and moist and combine into a ball.

imageGently roll it to out to just over an inch in depth. They won’t rise much so bear that in mind.

Using whatever shaped cutter you like, cut out about 7 or 8 scones. We used a medium size.

Place on baking parchment on a baking try – we didn’t have any and the scones got a little overdone on the underneath. Brush the tops with a little milk.

Place in the oven at 190C for a fan oven.

Cook for about 10 mins. but keep your eye on them. Ours were in a little too long, but they still tasted lovely.


Cool on a rack.

Split and add whatever takes your fancy, mine had strawberry fruit spread and peanut butter (didn’t have any almond). I would have much preferred my Nannie’s home-made Almond and Apricot jam, which would have been perfect. She used to make huge batches of it, as well as damson and apple, and distribute it amongst her family, it would last us all year!

*Ok, I lied! Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Crumble – Nice, But Not Too Naughty!

The Organic Chia Seeds and Organic Coconut Palm Sugar are from The Raw Chocolate Company

The Organic Cornflour and Organic Almonds are from  Buy Wholefoods Online UK

The Raw Virgin Coconut Oil is from Lucy Bee Coconut

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Pink Oats, Anyone?

imageThis is my second post on savoury oats and this one might throw you for a loop: people tend to either love them or hate them but beetroot should be your new veg friend.

It has been shown that regular juicing with beetroot can improve your circulation and lower your BP by dilating your blood vessels. It certainly worked for my husband. I wasn’t too sure about using beetroot when I first began juicing, but now I have it every other day. If you add lemon or pineapple, or a couple of apples along with other veg, it makes a refreshing and very healthy juice. (See post and juice recipe here).

All well and good, you might say, but adding it to porridge is going a little bit far!

I wasn’t sure either, but I had tried courgette (zucchini) oats (recipe here) and was pleasantly surprised, so in for a penny, in for a pound! Don’t forget, the benefit of having veg for breakfast is you have one of your daily portions of veg to give you a head start and it keeps you fuller for much longer.


1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Cup Home-made Almond Milk (see recipe)

1/2 Cup Water

1/4 to 1/2 Small Beetroot, peeled and grated

2 Medjool Dates, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Dsp Açaí Powder*

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt




Add all ingredients except chia seeds and açaí powder to a pan and warm up stirring occasionally, then cook for 5-10 minutes, keep giving it a stir.

Add chia seeds and açaí powder.

Stir well.

Transfer to a bowl.

Top with the fruit of your choice. I had plum and banana with raw chocolate mulberry chips.*

Add a drop of milk if you like it thinner.

imageBon Appetit!

Convinced? No? My husband will make it for me but won’t go near it himself. Although he has a daily beetroot juice, he draws the line at beetroot porridge. He prefers his plain, nothing added.

Watch out for my next version of Zoats, which turned out the best I think. It really does need practice to work out the right combination for your tastebuds.


Copyright Chris McGowan

Have You Tried Savoury Porridge Yet?


imageApparently, the latest health food trend is savoury porridge. Yep, that’s porridge with veg in. Weird, huh? Except that it’s not that weird. The Scots have been making their porridge with water and salt rather than milk and sugar since I don’t know when and I quite like it for a change. So when I saw Blogger of the Year Healthy and Psyched post a photo of her Zoats or Zucchini Oats, I decided to give it a go. We used her recipe as a template for the first try then we made another two recipes of my own. My husband wasn’t impressed! But he is a traditionalist and is very hard to shift when it comes to new culinary ideas. I liked them. They are extremely filling and satisfying, I didn’t need to eat again until halfway through the afternoon. Plus, you’re eating a portion of your day’s veg with your breakfast which gets your day off to a great start.

So don’t turn your nose up and click onto the next post. Give it a try at least once and stir up your breakfast routine a little! You don’t have to have it just for breakfast of course. It makes great comfort food on a chilly day. I promise you you can’t taste the courgette, it just adds a little texture and extra nutrients. It would be good for a weaning child, without all the extras of course!

Here’s the first effort:


1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Cup Almond Milk (try making your own recipe here)

1/4 Cup Water

1/2 Courgette/Zucchini, grated

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)*

Optional FlavouringsChoose your own combination:

2 Medjool Dates, chopped

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

1 Dsp Lucuma Powder (it has a mild malted flavour)*

1 Dsp Açaí Powder*

1 Tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar*

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder if you want to go hardcore!

Dried coconut to sprinkle on top

Extra milk if liked


Warm the oats, milk, water and grated courgette in a pan, stirring

Cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften and thicken.

We then added a chopped Medjool date for sweetness, saving the other to put on the finished porridge, and cooked for a couple more minutes.

In went some chia seeds to thicken it up, for healthy fats and protein and because I like them, but you don’t need them. Add a little more milk or water if necesary.

Next was cacao powder – the original recipe uses a lot more than here, but I found it too much, especially first thing in the morning.

Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite fruit. We used Blueberries and Red Grapes.

Sprinkle with coconut and extra date, add a little more milk if liked.


I’ll post the next 2 recipes separately: you’ll never guess what’s in the first one!

To sweeten the pudding, here’s a classic sketch from the BBC series ‘Porridge’ with the late Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. (If you’re reading via email, you need to click onto the blog).


Copyright: Chris McGowan