September 17, 2016

A Very Happy Dinner Party


I love foodI love eating. I love dinner parties. I love wine.

So last week I received an email, in amongst the work stuff and irrelevant press releases, and it instantly caught my eye. It went along the lines of:

“Hi, I’m Karen, we have a mutual friend, I have a food business I’d love to tell you about and I’m having a dinner party next week. Fancy coming?”

This, for many reasons, is a dream email to receive.

a) A nice friendly person who reads my blog is emailing me!

b) Attached is a YouTube clip of Karen dancing to Eye Of The Tiger making bread in her kitchen. I already love her.

c) We have a mutual friend, an awesome ex-colleague of mine who I really admire.

d) She lives up the road. 10 mins away.

e) She believes in sociable delicious food and cured her own IBS through baking her own special bread.

f) She’s having a dinner party with some friends/other writers and did I want to come along?

Errrrr yes. I would.


It was a super sunny afternoon and walked up to Karen’s house wearing my favourite jumpsuit and am met with a massive smile and her incredible dog called Biggie running through my legs. Promptly, her amazing friend Deirdre hands me an ice cold glass of white wine in a very lovely glass. Deirdre is an amazing woman who works with people will illnesses and recommends food diets that can help medication work better.

I stood by the fan which was swirling a cool breeze around the kitchen and the sun was still shining through the window, and we introduced ourselves and were shortly seated onto a gorgeous wooden dining table, surrounded by modern floor lamps, beautiful shelves and art which led onto an open plan kitchen. The perfect sociable area for hosting a dinner party.

Karen gave us a run down of her company Happy Tummy Company. Karen started making breads that would cure her IBS – and from that she grew a small but loyal community of customers who had IBS or coeliac disease or gluten intolerance and now Planet Organic stocks her food.

I love eating. I like social occasions with food. I don’t like diets. I don’t like restricting myself. I like feeling good. I like feeling healthy and I like having energy. I don’t like eating stuff that is overly-processed or gives me a bad tummy (obviously). But it’s hard to know what to stick to, pretty much every day I’m hit with contradicting studies or reports about “what to eat” and “what not to eat” and sometimes I just don’t know who to trust. There are so many “wellness gurus” out there – but are they really?

I like buying from local communities. I like eating natural food. It’s not so much about losing weight, but it is about looking after my body. So I was glad to have met someone like Karen. Her passion for food was infectious and it was about living well.


What we ate:

  • Sweet potato Teff bread & Sweet potato Quinoa bread
  • Spanish anchovies
  • Salted cod, Morcilla, foraged leaves
  • Slow Cooked Beef Ragu with quinoa corn pasta
  • Grains, nuts and seeds baked cheesecake with Sicilian hazelnuts
  • Sicilian Teff biscuits and coffee

img_1289Here’s some things I learned from an evening at Karen’s house:

  1. A thick slice of Karen’s Wholegrain Chia Teff Loaf for breakfast each morning can help you stay un-bloated throughout the day.
  2. Don’t peel your vegetables – there’s a lot of goodness and fibre in the skin.
  3. Getting fibre into your diet can be fun — Karen made a gorgeous cheesecake with the base made up of Silian Hazlenuts, it was delicious.
  4. It feels good supporting independent companies. We drank wine made from amazing all- female wine-makers made on Mount Etna.
  5. Add a tablespoon or 2 of flax or chia seeds to breakfast or sprinkled over other meals throughout the day.
  6. Eat fibre and have better poos!

Thank you Karen, for a brilliant evening with lovely people & teaching me a thing or too about food that can make you feel good. No diets or clean-eating – just fun yummy enjoyable food.

Happy Tummy Co will be starting deliveries of their bread throughout the UK again, as of this October.

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