Feel Good Berry Smoothie

by Susan Smith in

Bio-tiful’s organic kefir is made from organic whole milk from my beloved Riverford Organic Farmers’ own dairy herd. Kefir is a two thousand year old, bio-live, smooth, tangy, cultured milk drink that’s long been revered in Russia and Eastern Europe for its health benefits because it’s full of beneficial bacteria a.k.a ‘friendly’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria (the good guys) that help displace the harmful bacteria (the bad guys) in your gut. 

For people who are less than vigilant about eating healthily, the bad guys have no problem invading your body via your bloodstream causing chronic inflammation and ultimately disease. The good guys in kefir (known as probiotics) help to protect the delicate cells lining the gut, to efficiently move food through the gut, to synthesise certain vitamins and to ferment indigestible foods. In short, they are essential for good digestive health, strengthening the immune system, improving nutrient uptake and the absorption of minerals.

In addition to organic kefir, I’ve used raw organic milk (you can use goat’s, cow’s, coconut or homemade nut milk), fresh organic blueberries and frozen organic mixed berries. I then supercharged my Feel Good Berry Smoothie with a powerful antioxidant powder to create the most delightfully cool and luscious, nutritious drink. 

The word kefir means ‘feel good’ in Turkish. Precisely so. I find this quick-to-make Feel Good Berry Smoothie the most cheerfully delicious, fruit-packed way to energise my day. 

Feel Good Berry Smoothie (makes 2 large glasses)


250ml Bio-tiful kefir (or natural coconut yogurt)

250ml organic raw whole milk (or other milk of choice e.g. coconut, almond, tiger nut cashew etc.)

150g organic mixed frozen berries (I used Duchy Organic Berry Mix)

125g fresh organic blueberries

2 small/medium organic bananas

2 tsp organic Berry Radical Antioxidant Powder or organic Amla Powder (Indian Gooseberry powder)

2-3 drops natural liquid steviaoptional



Using a high-power blender, whizz all the ingredients together for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. 

Pour into two tall glasses and don’t wait to enjoy!


Carbohydrate 43g Protein 20g - per large glass serving

Almond Milk

by Susan Smith in ,

Almond milk and other milk alternatives are becoming increasingly popular as people turn their backs on dairy in search of a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. I personally enjoy cow’s milk and other dairy products but this is conditional upon the milk, butter and cheese being organic, grass-fed, full-fat, vegetarian (no animal rennet in my cheese please!) and preferably raw (unpasteurised).

Mass produced dairy products involve the use of antibiotics, bovine growth and milk producing hormones, feeding cows an unnatural diet of soy and other grains that have been grown with fertilisers and pesticides, and continuous milking, even throughout pregnancy. Treating dairy cows as mere ‘milking-machines’ rather than as intelligent animals, forces the animal to overproduce milk and robs mothers of their baby calves - the male calves (considered a waste product of the dairy industry) are shot, and the females are reared only to suffer the same fate as their mother. From a human health perspective, the cheap milk that’s produced is not only nutritionally inferior, it is also contaminated with the hormones, antibiotics and other toxic chemicals that have been forced upon these suffering animals throughout their short lives.

Unfortunately, most industrially-produced alternatives to dairy milk are not as healthful as you might imagine. Firstly, there is never a good reason to drink soy milk. But also shop-bought almond, rice and oat milks are frequently packed with chemicals - flavourings, thickeners, sugar or toxic sugar substitutes like aspartame. Organic coconut milk is a healthy drink but only reliably so if it’s free from BPA (a potential toxic found in the lining of canned goods containing coconut milk, soup, tomatoes etc.) and guar gum (that can cause digestive problems). As far as I’m concerned, if it’s a choice between factory-farming or industrially-processed dairy substitutes, they can all milk off! 

Fortunately, with just two ingredients, a decent blender and a nut milk bag it’s easy to make a healthier, better tasting ‘milk’ at home by simply blitzing nuts with water. 

Rich and creamy almond milk can be drunk straight, in tea or coffee, poured over Primal Plate’s Nut & Seed Granola or as a substitute for cow’s milk in recipes for soups, smoothies, shakes, sauces, ice creams etc. It is particularly good when made into our Cream of Cauliflower Soup

A delicious health-food option for everyone, I think nut milks are an absolute boon for vegans, anyone who is lactose intolerant and not least of all, cows! 

Almond Milk (makes 750ml)


200g raw, organic, unblanched almonds, soaked overnight in cold water

600ml freshly filtered cold water (see note below)



The next day, drain the soaked almonds and rinse well under cold water. Drain again.

Tip the almonds into a blender and pour in 600ml of filtered cold water. Blitz for 3-4 minutes until completely homogenised and smooth.

Open up the nut milk bag and set it inside a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the mixture from the blender directly into the bag. 

Tighten the tie at the top of the bag to hold everything inside, then using your hands firmly squeeze out all the liquid until you’re left with only dry almond pulp.

Transfer the milk into a lidded glass jar or bottle and chill. 

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir or shake well before using. 



The above recipe is for unsweetened almond milk. To sweeten, add 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or raw organic runny honey) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 2 roughly chopped stoneless Medjool dates to the soaked almonds and water before blending. Alternatively, add organic liquid stevia to the finished milk to taste (approx 4-6 drops). 

You can make cashew nut, macadamia nut, hazelnut, tiger nut (see our recipe for Horchata) and coconut milk (with organic coconut chips instead of nuts) using the exact same method.

I strongly recommend freshly filtered water for making nut milks. I think this warrants the separate blog post entitled ‘Cool, Clear, Water’ to tell you why and how!


Carbohydrate 2g Protein 2g - per 100ml serving (unsweetened)

Cheese Cocktail Biscuits

by Susan Smith in , , , ,

Continuing the theme of keeping Christmas simple, please raise your glasses to these deliciously rich Cheese Cocktail Biscuits! Quick and easy to prepare, these grain-free, low-carb nibbles are just perfect for handing out with pre-dinner drinks. Plus, they’re so tasty, you don’t need to serve any other accompaniments with them.

To get the party started, simply pile these elegant-looking, cheesy, crispy, buttery delights onto a platter and serve with ice-cold dry martinis, chilled Champagne, Manzanilla sherry or frosty glasses of dry white wine. Talk about eat, drink and be merry!

Because they can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container, they’re also the ideal finger-food to accompany drinks when unexpected guests pop-by. 

In fact, I think they’re at their crispiest-best when ‘twice-baked’ and still warm from the oven. So if I’m not going to serve them as soon as they’re made, I just re-heat as many biscuits as I need later on. Simply lay the pre-baked biscuits out on a baking tray and bake at 180℃ for a further 5 minutes, cool briefly on a wire tray and then serve warm to your guests. Totally delicious and utterly brilliant - they must be one of the simplest and fastest party foods to make and bake ever!

Cheese Cocktail Biscuits (makes 20-24 biscuits)


55g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

100g organic ground almonds

1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

50g Sukrin reduced-fat organic almond flour

80g ‘Parmesan-style’ vegetarian cheese, finely grated

¼ tsp sea salt

large pinch of cayenne 

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp cold water

1 small organic egg, beaten

1 dsp each of fresh rosemary and thyme leaves

Maldon sea salt flakes



Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ /  350℉  / Gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the butter, ground almonds, almond flour, baking powder, cheese, sea salt, cayenne and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor and whizz until just starting to clump together - takes about 30 seconds.

Add the tablespoon of cold water and whizz again until a soft dough starts to form - takes about 15 seconds. 

Tip the dough onto a sheet of non-stick baking parchment and knead lightly until the mixture comes together into a ball. Flatten out into a disc with the palm of your hand, then place another sheet of non-stick paper on top of the dough - this will stop it sticking to your rolling pin. Roll out the dough evenly (do quarter turns of the paper every few rolls) to 4mm-6mm (½ cm / ¼ inch) then using a 5cm plain-edged cutter, cut into rounds.

Place the biscuits on the pre-lined baking sheet - they won’t spread much. Gather up the rest of the dough and re-roll the trimmings, cutting out rounds as before until all the dough is used up - you should end up with about 24 biscuits.

Lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with beaten egg, then sprinkle over the fresh thyme and rosemary leaves. Finally, add a small pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes to each biscuit. 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are crisp and golden brown. You may want to turn the baking tray around half way through the cooking time to ensure the biscuits bake evenly.

Transfer to a wire baking tray and allow to cool before serving, still slightly warm, with drinks.   



The quality and flavour of the cheese you use for this recipe is vitally important to the end result. I highly recommend you track down the Gran Moravia Parmesan-style vegetarian cheese I’ve used because it is so like Parmesan in both texture and flavour that even I am hard-pressed to tell the difference. It’s a real find for vegetarians who love the taste of Parmesan but don’t want to eat Parmesan Reggiano because it contains animal rennet. This Italian-made hard cheese is truly the one I rave about every time I need a cheese to look, taste and behave like Parmesan - not only is it vegetarian and costs a lot less money, even my pernickety Parmesan-eating cat loves it! 


Carbohydrate 1g Protein 3g - per biscuit

A more-ish accompaniment to pre-dinner drinks, these simple canapés are a real crowd pleaser. If you're making them ahead of time, pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp them up, before serving them to your guests!

A more-ish accompaniment to pre-dinner drinks, these simple canapés are a real crowd pleaser. If you're making them ahead of time, pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp them up, before serving them to your guests!

Fiery Ginger Ale

by Susan Smith in

I’m feeling disgruntled. A couple of months ago, sick of suffering leg cramps and night-after-night of disturbed sleep, I decided I’d better monitor my alcohol consumption. Don’t get me wrong, two or three small (less than 100ml) glasses of wine whilst preparing and eating our main meal of the day to help me ‘wind down’, didn’t seem excessive to me. In fact, I was convinced that if there was a downside to my relatively miserly alcohol intake, it was probably doing me less harm than sitting and stewing in my own stress hormones at the end of a hard day! I was deluded. Alcohol, even within the UK government’s drinking guidelines (3 units per day for women, 4 for men), is toxic to my system. A unit, by the way is 70ml (I always thought it was a small glass of wine as defined by bars and restaurants, namely 125ml!)

I’ve since discovered that the maximum amount of alcohol I can tolerate without any apparent adverse consequences is about 125-170ml of 11-12.5% table wine. Pathetic or what? I mean, how can you party? Still, as much as I might balk at the situation, it was timely that a BBC Horizon programme, broadcast on 20th May 2015, entitled ‘Is Binge Drinking Really That Bad?’ validated what I already knew. And, to give you the heads-up, binge drinking most certainly is bad! You can follow this link to check out the definition of binge drinking and the effect of your drinking habit.

But, the party still goes on - so, notwithstanding the odd glass of 11% ABV Prosecco, I now feel compelled to search out, test and/or create Primal-friendly mocktails: low-sugar, low-carb, non-alcoholic drinks - or at least alcoholic drinks with greater fluid content, which don’t get absorbed into your bloodstream so quickly, and hopefully last longer in your glass - so that I, and everyone else whose brain says “yes” but whose body is telling them “no”, can still feel like they’re part of the celebration.

Whether mixing cocktails or mocktails, a successful outcome isn’t so much about the headline ingredient - whether fruit or alcohol based - because both the taste and ‘fizz’ factor of your drink depends more on the quality of your mixer. This is tricky if you don’t want to load up on sugar and carbs, because it’s really difficult to find natural, sugar-free, low-carb ginger beer or ale, tonic water or lemonade for sale here in the UK. In my view, shop-bought, sugar-laden or artificially sweetened ‘soft’ drinks, colas, sodas and other mixers are completely unfit for human consumption!

Fever-Tree is the one exception I’ve found, which I think stands head and shoulders above the rest because it boasts the best ingredients, is all-natural and is relatively low-carb. Their Naturally Light Tonic Water and Naturally Light Ginger Beer are both sweetened with natural fruit sugar (pure fructose, not nasty high fructose corn-syrup) rather than the likes of “Ssh you know who”, whose slimline versions of these drinks contain the deadly artificial sweetener and neuro-toxin aspartame and saccharin. Remember that next time you’re out at a bar or pub!

Whilst it’s always best to get your fruit sugar (fructose) from fresh food (and to eat your carbohydrates rather than to drink them), Fever-Tree’s recipe for Naturally Light Gin & Tonic passes musters (2 units of alcohol and 6g carbohydrate per drink), so I’ve included it on my ‘allowed' list on the basis that one double G&T is my absolute limit (special note to Sarah, who’s been badgering me to lift the ban on Gin & Tonic for a long time!) Meanwhile, Fever-Tree’s Naturally Light Ginger Beer really stands up well against the flavour profile of my homemade Fiery Ginger Ale, so for sheer convenience and an enlivening ‘fizz’, go buy.

Other healthy mixers (no added sugar, zero carbs) include seltzer water, soda water, sparkling water, mineral water, club soda or just fizzy water! Basically these are all carbonated water. Some have carbon dioxide pumped into them, like my favourite San Pellegrino, to make them effervescent and others, such as Perrier, are naturally carbonated.

Our non-alcoholic, low-sugar, Fiery Ginger Ale needs a grown-up ginger ale concentrate as its base. I do so love the fantastically refreshing, spicy-heat of this cooling ginger ale (I know that sounds contradictory, but it’s true) that I could almost be persuaded to go tea-total! I’ve added fresh lemongrass to underline the citrusy aromas of fresh ginger and a pinch of chilli flakes to give extra kick to ginger’s heat. To sweeten my concentrate, I’ve used zero-carb liquid stevia in combination with raw honey (rather than using all honey or coconut palm sugar) because this effectively halves the grams of carbohydrate. Yey! only 1g carb per drink! It also minimises the potential aftertaste of stevia.

If further justification was needed, ginger is also really good for you. It’s an anti-inflammatory (that should take care of the inflammatory effects of alcohol then!) settles an upset stomach - including motion sickness, morning sickness, vomiting, nausea and loss of appetite - strengthens the immune system (brilliant treatment for colds and flu), lowers cholesterol, improves circulation, aids digestion and protects against cancer.

A brighter future for social drinkers starts here. Cheers!

Fiery Ginger Ale is perfect served in a long glass with plenty of ice - sunshine optional!

Fiery Ginger Ale is perfect served in a long glass with plenty of ice - sunshine optional!

Fiery Ginger Ale (makes approx 24 fl oz = 10 to 12 drinks)

Ingredients - for the concentrate 

200g (8oz) fresh ginger, sliced

1 stalk lemongrass, cut into small pieces

½ tsp organic chilli flakes

900ml (32 fl oz) filtered water

1 tablespoon raw organic clear honey + 8 drops liquid stevia


Instructions - for the concentrate

In a medium saucepan, combine water and ginger over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to very low, cover with the pan lid and leave to just barely simmer for one hour. 

Take off the heat and let stand for another 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. 

Stir in honey and liquid stevia, then cool completely. This is your ginger concentrate.

Pour it into a covered container and keep chilled. 


To Serve (makes 1 drink)

Put a handful (half a dozen) ice cubes into a highball glass (a tall, 250ml glass tumbler). Add 60ml ginger concentrate and 15ml (1tbsp) lime juice 

Fill the rest of the glass with 200ml of soda water or sparkling mineral water.  

Decorate with a sprig of fresh mint and enjoy!