Sweet Cravings & Hormones Behaving Badly!


As a young woman my life was largely controlled by hormones behaving badly. For two weeks each month I was plagued by anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and cravings, culminating in a week of period pain before returning to my ‘normal’ self for a short interlude, before it all kicked-off again.

I was in my mid-twenties before I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, which helped to explain my crazy symptoms, however it was nutritional therapy which finally allowed me to take control of my life again.

If you would like to learn more about how your diet and lifestyle affect your hormones and sample simple, delicious strategies to help ‘tame’ your hormones and reclaim your life, please join me at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Richmond:

Nutrition to Optimise Women’s Health – Saturday 26th October 2019, 10am – 4:30pm

PS – chocolate is definitely on the menu!


For more information, or to book: https://www.ion.ac.uk/Event/womens-nutrition-2019 

Winter Spices & Herbal Christmas Presents


Winter Spices & Herbal Christmas Presents

Sunday, November 24th 2019, 1pm-5pm

You are invited to join myself and medical herbalist Janine Gerhardt in our preparations for Christmas and the winter months ahead, in our festive workshop.

We start the afternoon with a bracing foraging walk, after which we will return to the warmth of the kitchen to enjoy an afternoon tea packed full of seasonal spice and then embark upon our wild food and herb workshop, making our own bespoke Christmas gifts and treats to take home.

Amongst other things, we will be making Janine’s delicious herbal chocolates, full of Christmas spice; fermented cranberry relish; your own personal bath-salts recipe; a fragrant body scrub and a little tipple to enjoy with your Christmas lunch…

£65.00 per person

Includes herb walk, afternoon tea, workshop, homemade foods & remedies to take home plus handouts

Places limited to a maximum of 8 people

Our December 1st workshop is already booked up, so please do contact me asap if you are interested in coming along on the 24th November.

For more details and to book, please contact:

Belinda Blake on 020 8941 9259 / blakenutrition@googlemail.com



Hedgerow Jelly


During our fabulous autumn herb walk this month, we gathered enough haws, rose hips, sloes, crab apples, blackberries and wild pears to make a delicious hedgerow jelly.

This amber-coloured, fruity jelly is delicious served with cold meat and cheese, can be added to enrich gravies and casseroles, or is just lovely simply spread on a piece of good quality bread!

Hedgerow Jelly

Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe


 1kg crab apples or pears, or cooking apples, washed and cut into chunks (no need to peel or core them)
1kg blackberries, rosehips, haws, sloes, elderberries or rowan berries (or whatever edible berries you find on your forage)
Granulated sugar


Put the apples and berries into a preserving pan. Add enough water to just cover the fruit, then bring to a simmer, and leave to cook gently until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Pour into a sterilized jelly bag and leave to drip overnight.

When ready to make the jelly, wash your jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse well, then leave to dry and keep warm in the oven (140C/120C fan/gas 1). If you are using kilner jars, do not put the rubber seals in the oven, but instead sterilise these by putting them in boiling water.

Put a saucer into the fridge to chill.

Measure the juice and transfer to a cleaned preserving pan. For every 600ml juice, add 450g sugar. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring up to a rolling boil and boil hard for eight minutes.

Now start testing for setting point. Turn off the heat, use a teaspoon to drip a little jelly on to the cold saucer and return to the fridge for a couple of minutes. Push the jelly with your fingertip: if it has formed a significant skin that wrinkles when it is pushed, then it has reached setting point. If not, turn the heat back on and boil for two to three minutes more, then test again.

Once setting point is reached, any ‘scum’ on the top of the jelly can be carefully skimmed off, but do avoid stirring the jelly now, as this may cause sugar crystals to form.

Pour the hot jelly into the hot, sterilised jars and seal at once. Leave to cool, label and store in a cool, dark place. Use within a year and refrigerate after opening.


Nutrition to Optimise Digestive Health


food on white background

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you suffer from digestive problems?  Perhaps you experience acid reflux, bloating, constipation or IBS-type symptoms?

Have you been advised to avoid wheat? gluten? dairy? caffeine? sugar? fibre?  All are potentially useful suggestions, but do you know what you actually can eat?

In my Nutrition to Optimise Digestive Health workshop, we will explore the role that food plays in supporting good digestive health. We will discuss why nutritional therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and provide strategies to help you better understand your own (or your client’s) digestive symptoms. The day is packed full of delicious recipes to sample and the aim is that you will leave feeling much better informed, inspired and armed with lots of great ideas to try out at home.

28th September 2019 – Fabulous Foods for Digestive Health

For more information or to book, please contact The Institute for Optimum Nutrition  https://www.ion.ac.uk/Event/digestive-health-2019

Mellow Fruitfulness …


We stumbled upon this beautiful hawthorn at the Bristol Zoological Gardens this summer. The tree is over 100 years old and so full of character you could easily believe it is home to the faeries, as tradition suggests.

The hawthorn is the tree of love, protection and of the heart and there is no better time to celebrate this than in the autumn, when the tree is heavy with haw berries.

Join Janine and myself for our Autumn Wild Food Adventure and learn more about how this amazing tree can help support heart health, plus explore many of the other fruits of the season, and make and taste a range of delicious recipes and remedies to help keep you healthy during the winter months.

Autumn Wild Food Adventure: September 22nd, 2019.

For more information, or to book, please contact Belinda: 020 8941 9259  blakenutrition@googlemail.com

Summer Ramblings & Meadowsweet Cordial



We had the perfect summer afternoon for our Summer Wild Food Adventure on Sunday – a comfortable temperature, fabulous company and an abundance of herbs and flowers.

For the first time since running our herb walks in Molesey, we hit the season perfectly! Amongst some of our (almost) all-year-rounders (nettles, cleavers, dandelion, yarrow,  plantain, mare’s tail and Jack-by-the hedge) we were lucky enough to gather St John’s Wort, lime blossom and meadowsweet.

Meadowsweet has a creamy coloured flower, with a sweet fragrance reminiscent of baby talc (to me anyway) and was traditionally used to flavour mead (thus its folk name ‘mead wort’). It is a rich source of salicylic acid, which helps to reduce inflammation, however it also contains mucilage and other compounds which makes it gentle on the stomach. It also tastes delicious!


Janine’s Sugar-Free Meadowsweet Cordial

Makes 1 litre           


10 heads of meadowsweet flowers

10 dates, cut into small pieces

1 litre water

½ organic lemon, sliced


Add all ingredients into a jar or bottle, cover with a muslin cloth or tea towel, leave in a cool, airy place for a couple of days.

Strain, bottle & label. There is a slight chance that the cordial might ferment and will become bubbly (and alcoholic), in which case your Meadowsweet Cordial will have turned into a Meadowsweet Champagne!

Enjoy mixed with cold, sparkly water, some ice and some additional lemon slices.


If you would like to learn more about our Wild Food Adventures, please do get in touch. Our Autumn Adventure takes place on 22nd September 2019.

Adventures with Fermented Foods, March 3rd 2019


Janine and I are looking forward to continuing our seasonal herb walks and workshops and have been busy researching and trialling exciting new recipes for 2019. Why not celebrate the early spring by joining us on our fermented food adventure …

Adventures with Fermented Foods. March 3rd 2019, 1-5pm

In this workshop you will explore the traditions, flavours and health benefits of lacto-fermented foods. Learn how the inclusion of medicinal and culinary herbs will not only enhance the flavour of your preserves, but also their health properties.

Plus make and taste a range of delicious preserved foods which includes:

fermented fruits & vegetables …

• Preserved lemons • Sauerkraut • Fermented berries

… delicious probiotic drinks …

• Water kefir • Beetroot Kvass • Rejuvalac • Green Goddess Botanical Brew

 … & fermented milk / nut milk

• Almond milk yoghurt • Cultured butter & buttermilk • Cultured nut cheese


The workshop costs £65 per person and includes a delicious afternoon tea, handouts and recipes, plus homemade goodies to take home.

We only have 8 places for this workshop, so please do let us know if you are interested in coming along – these do get booked up quickly!