Hello and welcome!

Monday, 21 May 2018

(Photo Credit: Jane Beadnell Photography (http://janebeadnellphotography.co.uk/)

Welcome to a blog that is all about wellness for the over 40s. Here you will find blog posts to help you maintain (or restore) your natural state of health. You will also find a vegan recipe each Monday and you can learn about growing organic food from the blog posts on the 40plusandalliswell allotment. 
If you like yoga I also have a 'sister' blog, Flexiladiesyoga.

I hope you enjoy my posts and will visit the blogs often!

Thank you for your support- sending my love to you all.

Please see below for my latest post!

Meatless Monday : Vegan Vietnamese Banh-Mi

Banh-Mi is a Vietnamese street food  - usually a sandwich filled with meat and vegetables, and mayonnaise.  In this vegan version tofu is used in place of meat and you can either use prepared vegan mayonnaise or make your own using the simple recipe below - this may make more than you need but the rest will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Vegan Vietnamese Banh-Mi

Serves 2

You will need

454g block firm tofu
Olive oil spray
Sesame seeds

3 tbsp tamari
1 rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
½  tsp stevia
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

baked tofu

Vegan mayonnaise
200ml olive oil
100ml soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp mustard

vegan mayonnaise

Drain the tofu and squeeze out the remaining liquid by squeezing the tofu between sheets of kitchen paper. Cube the tofu into small pieces.  Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl then add the tofu to the bowl.  Leave for at least an hour in the fridge.

Spray a baking tray with olive oil spray then place the marinade soaked tofu on the tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for the last few minutes.

To make the mayonnaise place the soy milk, olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a high speed blender.  Set the bender going on low and add the oil slowly. Increase the speed when all the oil is added until an emulsion forms.

To serve fill the baton halves with tofu, julienned carrot, shredded cabbage and cherry tomatoes.  Add the mayonnaise (or you could spread mayonnaise on the bread) and garnish with coriander. 


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This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 20 May 2018

This week we start a new series in which we use essential oils to deepen our yoga practice. In this first sequence we are grounding to reduce stress and anxiety.

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Spring planting 2018 - salads and herbs

Last week we looked at some of the crops we are growing this year.  This week we are focusing on salads and herbs.  

This year we are growing peas, and there are two ways that you can include them in your salads.  You can cut off the young pea shoots and more will grow, or you can let them grow naturally and use the peas fresh from the pod.  Either makes a great addition to salads.  We started our peas off in individual 8cm pots in the greenhouse.  The ones that emerged we planted out in a large planter.  If you want pea shoots, you can harvest these when the plants are about 12 cm tall.  If you want your peas to pod the pea plants need to grow taller, and for this you will need to train the plants up canes. They need very little encouragement to cling on to the canes- we find if you "hook" one of the little tendrils they put out over a cane, they will readily take the opportunity to wrap around and cling to it.

pea plant

pea flower

A first for us is rainbow chard.  A fellow allotment owner advised us not to plant this directly on the allotment, as it makes a tasty snack for slugs.  Forewarned, we started them off in the greenhouse.  A really cute thing about rainbow chard is that as soon as it starts to sprout, you can tell what colour the stalks are going to be. You can eat the young chard leaves in salads, or the fully grown leaves can be used in stir fries or sautéed- as you would spinach. The stems too can be added to stir fries.  We are really looking forward to harvesting it.

rainbow chard growing

Continuing the rainbow theme, this year we are trying out a ‘rainbow’ variety of radish - these should not only have white flesh but yellow, and red.  They are quick and easy to grow and so are perfect for growing between other crops.  If you sow them at two-weekly intervals you should have a steady supply of radish throughout the summer.  Sow at a depth of 1.5cm and if you are planting more than one row, these should be 23cm apart.


Another new plant for us this year is Bull’s Blood Salad- so called because it has delicate red streaks running through the leaf that look like veins.  It is a member of the beetroot family and makes a colourful addition to your salad.  It has a mildly bitter taste.  You can treat it as cut and come again salad, and it will re-grow for up to 4 cuts.  You can grow it either in the greenhouse or sow it outdoors from now until August in prepared beds or containers.  Harvest the leaves when they are around 7.5cm.

salad beetroot

We are also growing mixed salad leaves in tubs in the greenhouse. We find that ice cream parlours will often leave their tubs out for people to take for free- with a few holes punched in the bottom, these make perfect salad planters (be very careful when making the holes).  Sow thinly around 1.5 cm deep and leave 10cm between rows anytime up to August, and harvest when 5-7.5cm high.

mixed salad growing 

Even if you do not have a garden or allotment, you can grow herbs on a windowsill- it's really lovely to have fresh herbs to call on when you are cooking.

Once again this year we are growing borage.  This has edible flowers that add the ‘wow’ factor to any salad and has a mild cucumber flavour - not how you would expect a flower to taste!  We have sown the seeds in a large container in the greenhouse to a depth of 1.5cm.  Plant these now and through June.  Only eat the flowers and handle with gloves as the hairs on the stalks and leaves can irritate skin.


On our kitchen windowsill we are growing mixed types of basil - the one I tried the other day had a distinct aniseed taste.  You can grow it on your kitchen window throughout the summer - it just needs a light covering of compost.  You may like to see my recipe, 'Meatless Monday : Mushroom quinoa burger with surprise salad'.


Lemon balm is another of our favourites which add a citrus note to salads.  We are growing this on the kitchen windowsill and you can sow the seeds in the same way as basil now and through June. Keep moist and don’t worry if they don’t appear for a while - it may take a few weeks for them to grow.

lemon balm

New for us this year is sorrel.  This perennial herb can be eaten as salad leaves - choose the young leaves.  We are growing sorrel in the greenhouse at the moment- and as with the lemon balm germination can take a while, and as yet ours have not appeared. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

If you like Mexican recipes then you are sure to want to grow coriander on your windowsill. We are growing lemon coriander this year which has a citrus note.  You can grow this right into the autumn.  

lemon coriander

Lastly we are growing lovage.  We have sown the seeds but the seedlings can take up to 3 weeks to appear. Lovage leaves have a strong celery-like flavour - you can add the young leaves to salads or use them in casseroles.

You may also like 'Spring planting-It's all go!'

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Meatless Monday : Zingy chickpea salad

Monday, 14 May 2018

Many food outlets are now cottoning on to the fact that veganism is now mainstream and rightly so - it’s good for you and good for the planet.  Even so, packing your own lunch will save you money and who doesn’t want to save for treats?  In this salad I am using some lemon balm which we have grown and which has a citrusy flavour.  Later in the week I will show you how to grow your own herbs to add flavour to your salads. You can use whatever salad vegetables you have in the fridge. When something this tasty takes only minutes to prepare, and is good for you too, why buy your lunch?  

Zingy chickpea salad

Serves 2

You will need
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 spring onions, sliced
1 piece of celery, sliced
4 tbsp frozen sweetcorn kernals, defrosted
1/2 a red pepper, diced
4-6 plum tomatoes, halved
2 large cooked beetroot, diced1
1 avocado, skin removed using a tablespoon, stone removed and diced

For the dressing
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon
1 tsp stevia
1 flat tsp sumac
Lemon balm leaves (optional)

Place the chickpeas in a bowl.  In another bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing together and stir into the chickpeas.  Divide between two lunch boxes then divide the salad vegetables between the lunch boxes.  Give it a stir, add the lid and you are good to go!


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