MASCARPONE AND BLACKBERRIES ON TOAST

An easy but special breakfast for busy mornings, our latest twist on cheese on toast is this deliciously different recipe featuring smooth, creamy mascarpone and tart blackberries.  

Method

  1. Toast your Vogel’s bread and slather generously with mascarpone
  2. Top with fresh blackberries
  3. Garnish with orange zest and mint

This month’s blog comes courtesy of Louise Norval RDH, an Edinburgh-based Dental Hygienist and Vogel’s superfan! Louise kindly took the time to write and thank Vogel’s for being the only bread brand she could find who did not to add sugar to their loaves – something very important to her personally, and in her line of work. Here, Louise tells us more about why she recommends Vogel’s to her patients… 

As a Dental Hygienist it is my responsibility to recommend and advise my patients to not only look after the health of their teeth and gums but to encourage them to consider their general health too. We know that having a healthy body contributes to a healthy immune system, which in turn will promote an efficient healing process, a factor we must consider in our preventative advice to our patients.

Tailoring this advice for patients doesn’t have to be complicated,  in fact I find that the more basic my recommendations are, the more willing my patients will be to try them.

In addition to the obvious dental health education I support my patients with, e.g. twice daily toothbrushing and daily interdental cleaning advice, I always highlight the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle with quality products.

Hopefully as a nation we are much more informed about the importance of reducing sugar in our diets and how sugar can impact on not only our physical health but also our dental health. With all of this in mind I always recommend Vogel’s bread to my patients when discussing healthy diet choices, without added sugar and with beneficial healthy ingredients what is there to lose? I personally found it incredibly difficult to find a savoury bread that hadn’t been sweetened and since discovering the delicious Vogel’s breads I am reassured that not only am I looking after my dental health but also my general health too, not to mention my patients’. So, thank you Vogel’s!

At Vogel’s, we bake with nature’s best ingredients. We pack in plenty of nutrition, taste and texture via an array of – small but mighty! – seeds, and are proud that our bread has the seal of approval from Louise. Thank you!

Find out more about the extraordinary health benefits of seeds here.

In our last blog post, we talked about the wonderful health benefits of eating seeds and the surprising amount of nutrition that’s packed inside each tiny bite!

Not only are seeds bursting with essential vitamins and minerals, but they also give us the protein, fibre and healthy fats that are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. In fact, seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of the essential fatty acid omega-3, which is necessary for so many of our bodily functions.

Our heart is one organ that benefits enormously from omega-3s, with studies showing how they help prevent cardiovascular illnesses like heart disease or strokes.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how eating seeds can help keep our hearts healthy.

What exactly are omega-3s?

This is the science bit!

Omega-3s are part of a group of polyunsaturated fats known as ‘essential fatty acids’. They are given the name ‘essential’ because our body requires them to perform some vital functions – rather than storing them as energy (or extra fat!).

We need to get omega-3s from our diet because our body can’t make them.

The three most important omega-3s are:

  • ALA – which are found in plants, seeds and nuts
  • EPA and DHA – which are mostly found in animal foods like fatty fish.

Each type gives us slightly different benefits, but don’t worry if you don’t eat fish – our body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA.

Omega-3 and a healthy heart

Back in 1946, scientists found that the Eskimos living in Newfoundland rarely suffered from cardiovascular disease, compared to the rest of the North American population. They attributed this to their diet, which was rich in oily fish and seafood.

Further research revealed that it was specifically the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids present in their diets that helped keep their hearts so healthy. Despite the high-fat content of the food they ate, heart disease was rare.

It’s now known that other countries where people consume lots of omega-3 rich foods – like in the Mediterranean and Japan – also experience very low levels of cardiovascular diseases.

When it comes to the heart, the benefits of omega-3s are enormous. They help:

  • Reduce triglycerides, a fat that enters the blood after eating
  • Reduce blood pressure (the single biggest risk factor for a stroke)
  • Raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels
  • Prevent blood clots by stopping blood platelets from clumping together.
  • Keep the rhythm of your heart steady.

Additionally, a diet rich in omega-3 is thought to help reduce some of the damage caused by  a stroke and even help with recovery. Charity Heart UK say that a diet high in omega-3 can help to prevent strokes, while according to the NHS, one of the best ways to prevent a stroke is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.

There is still a lot of ongoing research on the role that omega-3 plays in heart health, but doctors believe that the benefits come from eating whole foods rather than supplementation.

Seeds are rich in Omega 3

Because our body can’t store omega-3, we must try to get it through our diet to reap the benefits. Unfortunately, most of us in the UK don’t get enough.

Although there is no official recommendation for the ideal amount of omega-3s to consume, the UK government advises eating two portions of oily fish each week. But not everyone wants to eat fish regularly, and this recommendation doesn’t accommodate people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets. It can also be a challenge to get some children to eat fish!

Thankfully, eating seeds is both a very tasty and effective way to get omega-3s into your diet. Sprinkling them over your breakfast cereal, lunchtime salads or baked goods means that you can eat omega-3s every day, even multiple times a day, to make sure you benefit from their health-boosting qualities.

Some excellent sources of omega-3 are:

  • Linseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

As well as helping you keep up your omega-3 intake, eating a diet rich in seeds means that you will also get an abundance of other health benefits!

Our Vogel’s bread is full of delicious seeds, making it easy for you to get that all-important omega-3 into your diet. All our seeds are soaked for 12 hours before baking to make sure all of the goodness inside the shell can be absorbed by the body.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940554/#B2
2 https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-is-stroke/are-you-at-risk-of-stroke
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940554/
4 https://www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats
5 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/prevention/
6 https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/omega-3.html

Seeds are tiny yet they contain all the nutrients and energy needed to grow beautiful plants bursting with leaves, flowers and berries. It’s no surprise that these tiny powerhouses of nutrition are also jam-packed with the things we need to help maintain our health, vitality and happiness!

While every seed has a slightly different nutritional profile, they all share some similar properties. In this blog post, we’ll look at the wonderful benefits seeds can bring to our diets and take a closer look at some of our favourites.

1. Seeds are full of important heart-healthy fats

All seeds contain varying amounts of monounsaturated fats which increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in our body, alongside polyunsaturated fats which help lower the bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol.

Eating more healthy fats like seeds in place of unhealthy saturated fats is key to protecting against heart disease.

Fats are also essential for helping us absorb fat-soluble vitamins—K, D, A and E—another reason to start adding seeds to your diet!

2. They are rich in essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 cannot be made by the body – so you have to get them from food.

Omega-3 has been linked to a healthier heart[1], joints[2] and brain[3], as well as helping ease skin conditions[4] such as eczema and psoriasis. Omega-6 helps keep blood sugar in check[5] by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

It’s important to have a balance of both omegas, but unfortunately most of us don’t eat enough omega-3. Eating more seeds is an ideal way to change this!

Brown linseeds (like those found in Vogel’s bread) are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 available. We soak all our seeds for 12 hours before baking to make sure all of the goodness inside the shell can be absorbed by the body.

3. Seeds are rich in protein

For something so small, seeds provide a surprisingly large amount of protein!

For anyone on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to eat a range of different plant-based protein sources to get the full range of amino acids needed to form a complete protein. Snacking on a range of seeds throughout the week is a super simple way to do this, alongside other protein sources like legumes and grains.

Some seeds (including chia seeds and hemp seeds) even contain a complete source of protein. Hemp seeds contain around 11g of protein per serving!

  

4. Seeds are great sources of fibre

All seeds are rich in dietary fibre, helping keep your digestive system running smoothly and maintain a healthy gut, which is important for supporting your immune system.

Most of us don’t get enough fibre but adding a small serving of seeds to your diet each day can really help! Just one serving of chia seeds contains around 6g of the recommended 30g of fibre per day. In second place is linseeds giving 5g and poppy seeds with around 4g.

5. They are packed with vitamins and minerals

When you think about how tall a sunflower can grow, you can imagine how nutrient-dense a tiny seed must be! All seeds contain vitamins A, B, C and E along with the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, selenium and manganese in varying amounts. These are all important for maintaining a healthy body.

Sunflower seeds in particular are an amazing source of B Vitamins including folate, which helps to promote a healthy immune system and is important for people who are pregnant.

Pumpkin seeds provide nearly half the recommended dosage of magnesium in just 30g. They are also a rich source of zinc, which is vital for eye and skin health, cell growth and immunity.

Sesame seeds are a fantastic source of calcium for anyone on a dairy-free diet.

6. Seeds can help you manage your weight

Seeds are naturally a low GI food – they are an excellent source of slow-release energy, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and you feel fuller for longer.

7. They may reduce inflammation and help protect against disease

Studies have found that consuming seeds five or more times per week was associated with lower levels of inflammation—which may be why eating seeds is also related to a reduced risk of several chronic diseases.

Add seeds to your diet for a great way to give your immune system a helping hand!

8. They’re versatile and delicious!

Seeds add a delicious, nutty crunch to all sorts of foods. You can sprinkle them onto your breakfast or add to muffins and bread. In fact, vegans can make an easy egg replacement when baking by mixing one tablespoon of linseeds or chia seeds with two tablespoons of water.

You don’t need to eat very many seeds to reap the benefits. A typical serving size is around one tablespoon (7 grams) and you can easily eat them as a snack. Roast them with your favourite seasoning for a delicious movie-night snack or keep a jar on your desk for a quick energy boost!

Our Vogel’s bread is packed full of nutrient-dense seeds, making it easy to get a healthy serving of seeds into your daily diet.

[1] https://www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats

[2] http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/omega-3-fatty-acids-arthritis/

[3] https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/11/12/omega-3-may-boost-brain-health-in-people-with-a-common-heart-disease

[4] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1203475420929925

[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/no-need-to-avoid-healthy-omega-6-fats

CRUSHED PEAS ON TOAST WITH FETA AND PEA SHOOTS

Spring has sprung – the blossom is on the trees, green shoots are poking through the ground wherever you look and the sun is making an appearance – at least for now! You might be finding you’re after a lighter, fresher, midweek lunch or a special spring-like brunch to welcome in the new season. So why not give our new recipe a go…

Serves 1

Ingredients

150 g frozen peas

¼ lemon, juiced and zest finely grated

1 spring onion, finely chopped

4 mint leaves, finely chopped

2 slices Vogel’s Soya & Linseed

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp feta cheese

a handful pea shoots

¼ tsp chilli flakes

Method

  1. Put the peas in a bowl and pour over 300 ml boiling water. Leave to defrost and warm through for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain the peas, then crush with a fork or whizz with a stick blender.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, spring onion and chopped mint, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Toast the bread on a hot griddle pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Pile on the crushed peas and crumble over the feta, then garnish with pea shoots and chilli flakes.

Our immune system is an amazing, complex system that changes and develops throughout our lives. It’s impacted by everything from the foods we eat to the environment we live in and is our body’s way of keeping us healthy and thriving.

The role of the gut in supporting our immune system has had a lot of attention in recent years as more and more research shows just how important it is. Scientists now believe that around 70% of our immune system is based in our gut*, yet there is still so much to learn about it.

One thing that is agreed is that our diet is key to a healthy gut, but how does it work and what should we be doing to help? We’ll give a simple overview of the evidence below.

 

Our gut is a first line of defence

It’s easy to take the digestive process for granted, after all, it happens without us thinking about it! But it’s actually quite marvellous – our gut lining is an incredibly thin line of cells that create a barrier between what enters our bloodstream and what gets eliminated as waste.

Behind this lining are cells that are directly linked to our immune system. These cells continually monitor what’s in our gut and tell our body to make antibodies to fight anything that could make us sick.

This is where ‘gut health’ comes in.

 

Gut health and the ‘microbiome’

Our gut contains billions of bacteria that make up what is known as the ‘gut microbiome’. If we have too many ‘bad’ bacteria, it can confuse our immune system into attacking its own cells, including the healthy ones.

Not only does this make it easier for us to get sick, but it also makes it harder to recover.

As well as supporting our immune system, a healthy gut has other health-enhancing benefits too. When we have gut issues, we may experience bloating, cramps or IBS. It even affects our mood! The gut is where our body makes most of its serotonin, the happy hormone.

 

How to support a healthier gut

The key to a healthy microbiome is diversity – our bodies are at their best when we have lots of different types of bacteria. Here are five simple lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on creating this diversity:

1. Eat a variety of plant-based foods

Our healthy gut bacteria love to feed on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and legumes that are full of healthy fibre and phytonutrients. Eat a rainbow of colours to help your body feel light and vibrant! And don’t forget the fibre, a vital ingredient of digestive health; most of us are not getting the recommended daily 30g we need.

2. Get plenty of fresh air

Not only does it make you feel good, but spending time outdoors exposes your body to bacteria that are good for your body! It’s not good to spend too much time in sanitised environments, so go outside and walk barefoot, do some gardening and have a picnic in the park – when we’re allowed, of course!

3. Exercise

When we get our heart pumping it circulates blood through every organ in our body, including the gut. Some light exercise every day will help get things moving!

4. Reduce processed foods

Refined carbohydrates, sugar and fried foods can lead to an imbalance of bad bacteria in the gut and cause inflammation that your immune system has to spend precious resources fighting against. Do your gut a favour and reduce processed foods in favour of fresh, wholesome and tasty meals.

5. Eat mindfully

The act of chewing sends signals to our stomach to prepare for digestion, so sit down and enjoy your food! You’ll make it easier for your body to digest and you’ll be less likely to overeat.

 

We’re all looking for ways to support our immune system and maintaining a healthy gut has been proven to be one of the best things we can do to help. Every single one of us has a unique gut microbiome that is influenced by our lifestyle and diet, and the power is in our hands to improve our own health.

The diet and lifestyle recommended by Alfred Vogel in his Guiding Principles is completely supportive of a healthy gut and immune system. Vogel was certainly ahead of his time in his understanding of health, and science is now bringing to light even more information to support this!

 

*Dr Megan Rossi: “Eat Yourself Happy”

GORGONZOLA AND PEAR ON TOAST

Looking for an idea to liven up your midweek lunch, or for a special brunch? How about taking cheese on toast to the next level with our simple gorgonzola, pear, walnut and honey recipe.  

Method

  1. Toast your Vogel’s bread and spread with gorgonzola dolce
  2. Add thinly sliced ripe pear
  3. Break over a few walnut halves and drizzle with honey

Antipasti Strata

Looking for a new recipe to try? Fancy mixing things up a bit in the kitchen? Why not give our Antipasti Strata recipe a go and surprise the family with a new dish on the menu. This versatile dish is ideal for a filling snack, lunchtime meal, or accompaniment to other antipasti dishes.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 loaf Vogel’s Original Mixed Grain

150 g fresh pesto

250 g mixed vegetable antipasti (eg. sundried tomatoes, stoned olives, roasted peppers, preserved artichokes), drained of oil and chopped if large

2 balls mozzarella, sliced

3 large eggs, plus 3 extra yolks

300 ml double cream

600 ml whole milk

2 tbsp Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated

Method

  1. Toast all the bread slices in a toaster or under the grill until lightly browned.
  2. Spread each slice with pesto, then cut in half on the diagonal.
  3. Layer the pesto toast with the antipasti and mozzarella in a 30 cm x 20 cm baking dish.
  4. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, cream and milk together, then pour all over the bread.
  5. Cover the dish with foil, then weigh it down with a second baking dish. 
  6. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or make it the day before and chill overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180 fan) / gas 6. Remove the top baking dish, but leave the foil on.
  8. Bake the pudding for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with Pecorino and return to the oven, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until crisp on top and just set in the centre. Leave to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Salmon, Egg & Asparagus Breakfast

Is there anything better than spending the time making yourself a delicious breakfast at the weekend? If you’re looking for something new to make, why not give this salmon, egg and asparagus recipe a try for your next brunch.

Serves 2

Ingredients

16 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off

2 slices Vogel’s original mixed grain

4 slices smoked salmon

100 g butter

2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp tarragon or parsley, finely chopped

cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Steam the asparagus for 4 minutes while you toast the bread. Spread the toast sparingly with butter, then top with the asparagus and smoked salmon.
  2. Poach the eggs in simmering water for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and blot on a piece of kitchen paper. Sit them on top of the salmon.
  3. While the eggs are cooking, heat the rest of the butter in a small saucepan until sizzling.
  4. Put the egg yolks in a narrow measuring jug or mug, just a bit wider than your handheld stick blender. Stir in the lemon juice and mustard, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Put the stick blender into the egg yolk jug and turn it on, then pour in the hot butter in a thin stream. 
  6. As soon as all of the butter has been incorporated, spoon it over the eggs and serve immediately, sprinkled with herbs and cayenne pepper.

Cranberry & Walnut Stuffing Balls

The perfect roast dinner accompaniment, these cranberry and walnut stuffing balls are deliciously versatile. Why not try them with some bread sauce for dipping, made from our very own Soya and Linseed loaf. Alternatively, try making mini versions as a light bite or tapas dish!

Makes 16 Sunday roast balls 

Ingredients

3 slices Vogel’s soya & linseed

1 tbsp butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

150 g streaky bacon, finely chopped

300 g pork sausagemeat

6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

40 g dried cranberries, chopped

35 g walnuts, chopped

Method

  1. Tear the bread into pieces, then whizz to crumbs in a food processor.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan with a splash of oil and fry the onion over a low heat for 15 minutes or until soft and sweet. Stir in half of the breadcrumbs and sauté for 10 minutes until crisp and browned.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the rest of the breadcrumbs with the bacon, sausagemeat, sage, cranberries and walnuts and scrunch everything together with your hands to mix.
  4. Shape the stuffing into balls. You can either chill them in the fridge until needed, or bake straight away.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180 fan) | 400°F | gas 6 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  6. Spread out the stuffing balls on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Bread sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large shallots, peeled

6 cloves

1 bay leaf

2 blades mace

1 tsp white peppercorns

700 ml whole milk

5 slices Vogel’s Soya and Linseed

2 tbsp double cream

freshly grated nutmeg

Method

  1. Stud the shallots with the cloves and put in a small saucepan with the bay leaf, mace, peppercorns and milk. Bring almost to a simmer over a low heat, then take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the crusts and tear the bread into small pieces.
  3. Strain the milk into a clean pan and add the pieces of bread. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy.
  4. Stir in the cream, then taste and season with salt. Pour into a bowl and grate a little nutmeg on top.