Friday, 29 July 2011

Homeopathy: Medicine or Magic?

I came across this video recently and it is well worth a look. It is an old QED documentary from the BBC which was made in the 1990's. Features interviews with a variety of people including Dr Peter Fisher (homeopath to the Queen!), Dr David Reilly and various satisfied patients, farmers and GPs. There is an excellent section on veterinary homeopathy featuring Christopher Day talking about his experiences with treating farm animals and pets. Also some dissenting voices including David Colquhoun wearing a quite fantastic jumper!

So - grab a cuppa and sit down and watch. 

And if you would like to find out more have a look at Extraordinary Medicine or the Society of Homeopaths website. Both have lots of information on history, research, case studies and more.

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Lemon polenta cake.. yum!

I bake this cake fairly often, especially if I know my gluten free friends will be visiting. Many people have asked me how to make it over the years so thought I'd put it on here for everyone to enjoy!

The recipe comes from the lovely people at Cafe Maitreya, an organic vegetarian restaurant in Easton in Bristol. Lots more interesting recipes on their website so it's well worth a look.

Cafe Maitreya  legendary lemon polenta cake - lush!

500g golden granulated sugar
500g butter (or margarine)
6 eggs
500g ground almonds
250g fine polenta
6 lemons
5g salt
10 g baking powder (gluten free if necessary)
an extra 150g caster sugar for topping

1.       beat the butter (or margarine) and sugar together 'til very smooth and creamy.
2.       one by one slowly beat in the eggs.
3.       separately mix together the polenta, almonds, lemon zest, salt and baking powder and fold into the cake mixture
4.       transfer to an 10 inch tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 150C for 1½ to 2 hours (or until you can pull a skewer cleanly out of the cake)
5.       whilst the cake is in the oven, juice the lemons and add the remaining 150g of caster sugar. place in a thick bottom pan and boil until the juice has reduced by about half and is syrupy.
6.       when the cake is out of the oven, make some holes in the top, pour on the lemon juice mixture and let in sink in
7.       leave to cool

serve up with a big slice of loving kindness

A word of warning - this makes one huge, catering size cake. I usually halve the amounts and do two cakes using one pound loaf tins. Cooks in about 45 minutes in smaller tins but keep an eye on it and poke with a skewer to check when it's done.


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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mud, mud, glorious mud.. and sunburn

I went to Glastonbury and then the following weekend to Beat Herder. At both festivals I was working for the Travelling Homeopaths Collective who provide low cost homeopathy clinics at various events over the summer. Glastonbury seems a long time ago now but thought I'd leave you a few words and pictures. the weather really wasn't great for most of the time - loads of rain and then scorching sun so a weekend of extremes but we still had a good time.

I really do need to mention the mud. It always amazes me that we only have one word for mud in English, when faced with a wet Glastonbury 'mud' just isn't enough to describe the array of conditions underfoot. Squelchy, rutted, slippery, spongy, welly-sucking are just a few of the words that spring to mind.

In the clinic at Glastonbury we saw the usual dodgy tummies, insect bites, hangovers and a lot of hayfever. On the Sunday when the sun came out we treated a fair bit of sunburn, cystitis and headaches. The clinics are always a great way of introducing homeopathy to people who haven't tried it or who want to find out more about what we do. It's great to get the instant positive feedback as many people we have treated pop back in to say they are feeling much better.

There are always loads of bands to see and highlights for me were Elbow and Mumford and Sons but there is so much more to festivals than the music. There are always some unusual outfits on display amongst the acts and the punters. See here for Cee Lo Green and his extraordinary shoulder pads! I can honestly say that one of the best dressed gentlemen on site this year was my husband, Lyndon. He was sporting a suit made from previous years Glastonbury cotton bags which was made by his very talented mum, Joyce. Whilst walking around we came across Colin the Oxfam steward. He had made himself a hoody out of bags whilst working in a quiet night shift.

Colin and Lyndon - snappy dressers

There are many great cabaret and circus acts too. We usually end up in the cabaret tent for a few hours - we saw Mitch Benn on Sunday who is best known for his musical contributions to radio programmes like The Now Show

Here is Mitch with his homage to Bruce Springsteen - 'Glastonbury - Born in Mud'

Beat Herder in the Ribble valley was a very different experience - much, much smaller and the sun was shining! It is a great venue with some quirky features like shops and a stage in the woods. They also have the unique Beat Herder and District Working Men's Social Club with real ales, barmaids in drag, Beat Herder's Got Talent, bands, cheesy disco and 70's pics on the walls. I could have spent all weekend in there!

A number of local organisations got involved which was nice to see. Project 6 from Keighley were there with info about what support they offer for people struggling to cope with drink and drug issues, Hudson's Ice Cream from Chatburn, Bowland Brewery had brewed a special Beat Herder ale just for the festival, Clitheroe Transition Town stall were giving away veg plants and fruit bush cuttings. The highlight for me was the Clitheroe Ladies Circle tea and cake stall. They were so dedicated to their task of providing cake to festival folk that some of them went home on Saturday night to do some more baking.

We were very busy with the homeopathy clinic at Beat Herder and the festival organisers had offered us a free tipi. Our tipi was opposite the Ladybird Project who were offering free workshops all day to show kids (and big kids) how to juggle, unicycle, hula hoop and much more. Ladybird are at several festivals over the summer and well worth a look - I can recommend their cabaret, great entertainment for all ages.

A pic of the THC Beat Herder team on Sunday night after we'd finished work.
Jane Clifford, me, Angie Zajac and Jenny Howarth

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