Looking after Your Gut

Joan Ransley, who writes our recipe column (below) and supplies her stunning food photographs (she’s won awards at the Pink Lady Food Photography comp.), has just had her first book published. Congratulations to Joan and her partner Nick with whom she co-wrote the book.


Salmon & quinoa salad 01Cooking for the Sensitive Gut is not the catchiest title, but it tells you just what’s inside.  If anyone knows about guts it’s Joan and Nick who are both nutritionists, proper qualified ones, not the so-called nutritionists who turn up in newspapers and magazines urging us to drink more water and eat superfoods. Joan holds a Masters and PhD in Human Nutrition, Nick is Professor of Integrated Medicine at Sheffield Uni. and chair and medical adviser for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Network.


The introduction explains all about gut problems and goes on to explain what you can eat rather than what you can’t, what to eat in small quantities and what alternatives there are. Importantly they stress the value of having a rich and varied diet and explain how even people with gut issues can enjoy their food without cutting out whole food groups.


But it’s the recipes that seduce: good everyday dishes, beautifully photographed, using ingredients to hand but deliciously tempting. You may have gathered from the amount of eating out Mandy and I do that we have iron-clad stomachs and no gut issues but that hasn’t stopped me cooking from this book. I’ve tried salmon with spinach and lemon and the shakshuka: spicy baked peppers and tomatoes with baked eggs. I’m tempted by the aubergines topped with quinoa, feta and herbs; the gluten free pancakes made with banana and blueberries and the beautiful lemon, cardamom and polenta cake.


You will find their recipe for salmon, quinoa and crispy potato salad with blueberry and maple syrup dressing,  in our recipe column below, but for the rest of the recipes you will have to buy the book.

Cooking for the Sensitive Gut by Dr Joan Ransley and Dr Nick Read is published by Pavilion Books and available from Amazon, Waterstones and other major book shops. For more information about managing your sensitive gut go to: www.cookingforthesensitivegut.com



Spoonfuls of Honey

“A teaspoon of honey sweetens and deepens a tisane or stew and adds lustre to a sauce. Sweet tarts, cakes and roasts are burnished by its glow. Syrup-drenched baklava, glazed chicken wings and sticky ribs are made special with a touch on honey”. Spoonfuls of Honey by Hattie Ellis


Hattie Ellis’s introduction to her new book  A Spoonful of Honey, is so evocative it will have you digging out that half empty jar of honey from the back of the cupboard and trying some of her recipes.

If you thought a single ingredient book might be a bit one dimensional, this  book confounds that.  Hattie Ellis knows her stuff, ten years ago she wrote a an award winning book, on the social history of the honey bee called  ‘Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee’.

This new book is primarily a recipe book covering both sweet and savoury dishes.I personally love the sweet and savoury combinations like her chorizo with wine and honey and chicken wings with honey and thyme and love the sound of honey roasted roots and blue cheese and honeyed walnuts. There are plenty of puddings, cakes and drinks too.

Well produced and beautifully photographed, it’s more than a recipe book, it’s also a good read with background on producing, buying, storing honey and how to use it in the kitchen. She writes knowledgeably but with a light touch explaining the importance of bees in the natural world which is increasingly under threat and analyses the best honeys from New Zealand’s manuka to Yorkshire heather honey.

With acres of heather moorland on the North York Moors we have some of the best heather honey in the world, for which this book makes a fitting partner.



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