Guide to Ingredients

Guide to Ingredients

Hopefully most of you will be familiar with the ingredients used in my recipes, but just in case there are a few that you are unsure about I have created the reference list below to help out. If what you are looking for is not here, please email me or leave a comment on this post and I will add it on.


Agave Nectar or Syrup:

Once upon a time you could only get this online, now it is quite commonly found in supermarkets, either in the baking section or sugars/sweeteners section. It is a plant based alternative to honey and comes from the Agave plant. It is much sweeter than honey so you often find you don’t need so much in recipes.

Another plant based sweetener that you now find in supermarkets that can also be used in vegan recipes is fruit syrup, a brand I use is ‘Sweet Freedom’. This sweetener is derived from grapes, apples and carob and can be found in larger supermarkets in the same section.


Spelt Flour

I’ve been quite surprised to see that some food websites declare Spelt as a non-wheat grain. The absolute fact is, it is definitely a form of wheat!

It’s an ancient variety of wheat that is not as highly processed as modern wheat. This means that has a broader range of nutrients still intact, the gluten in it is more soluble than standard wheat making it easier to break down, and as it retains its outer hull it is said to be better protected from pests and elements.

You can buy spelt flour in most large supermarkets now, but failing that, wholefood shops will definitely have it in stock. Doves Farm is a go-to brand for me.


Raw Cacao Powder

Cacao in its raw form packs a great nutritional punch. When used in uncooked food, like my chocolate orange tart and chocolate mousse, you will benefit from it most.

Raw cacao is minimally processed which helps to preserve the vitamins and many antioxidants found in the beans that it comes from. The most helpful description I have found on this is from

 Nowadays the term cacao (ka-kow) has come to be known as the raw and unheated beans. When shopping for cocoa products, if the term cacao is used it most likely means the raw product.  If the term cocoa is used it most likely means there has been some heat processing involved.

It’s a great ingredient, packed with antioxidants, iron, calcium and magnesium.

This ingredient is starting to make an appearance on bigger supermarket shelves, but I tend to buy mine from wholefood shops or online as it is better value for money currently. Look for organic raw cacao powder on Google or ask in your local wholefood shop.


Quinoa, Buckwheat and other seeds/grains

Quinoa and buckwheat are actually both seeds. You can find dried varieties of these in most supermarkets now, failing that, head to your wholefood store.

If you struggle to prepare these types of seeds or other grains from a dried packet – I have often heard people say to me that they come out soggy, or sticky like glutinous rice – don’t be afraid to buy the already prepared versions. Many brands like Seeds of Change, Merchant Gourmet and many others now offer these types of food cooked and ready to add to the pan or dish and they taste great.

I do have a rather fail-safe way of preparing Buckwheat in my Mediterranean Buckwheat Salad recipe.



Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot Powder is a gluten free thickening agent that doesn’t cloud liquids like cornflour. Apparently it has twice the thickening power of wheat based flours, so it’s good for thickening sauces in gluten free recipes. It is also great for use in fruity dishes because it can stand up to fruit acids.

It is not so commonly found in supermarkets so I have sourced mine from wholefood shops in the past. Although it worth checking out of you can buy it in our online shop from bigger supermarkets.



Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is pretty widely available in supermarkets these days and can be found in the condiments isle or with the ethnic products.








Kombu is edible kelp that is used in South East Asian cooking. Kombu is commonly used in Japanese soup broths and stocks alongside other ingredients.

Not normally found in the popular UK supermarkets, you can order this product online (it comes dried in a sealed pack). It isn’t expensive and will keep if you pop it in an airtight container for a few weeks.





Miso Paste:

Miso is a Japanese fermented soya product that is prized for its rich and concentrated flavour. Sweet White Miso is lightly fermented to give a delicious savoury, yet sweet taste and a wonderfully creamy texture. Its light colour may darken over time due to natural ageing, but this does not alter the quality.

You can find it in most supermarkets these days, in the world food section.

Black Rice Ramen Noodles:

A staple of Asian food culture, the noodle is one of the most nourishing ‘fast foods’ on earth. These noodles are made with black rice -a deep purple coloured rice with a nutty flavour which is rich in minerals and fibre. They are also wheat and gluten free.
This particular brand is inexpensive and available online and from wholefood stores.