Simple carob cake

The finished cake (complete with icing sugar lumps!)

Carob makes a great alternative to chocolate, though it tastes a little different. In the UK, organic carob powder is available on Amazon, from Hatton Hill Organic and Buy Wholefoods Online as well as a few other vendors.

You will need a flour for this cake. In the UK you will find Dove’s Farm Spelt Flour is widely available at supermarkets and does not contain the usual additives. Alternatively, Stoate’s plain flour is currently available online at


  • 125g butter
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla powder
  • 100g carob powder
  • 120ml of boiling water
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 200g Stoate’s plain flour (you could use any other wheat flour free from additives or spelt flour)
  • large pinch of sea salt

For the icing

  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp carob powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 360F
  2. Butter a ceramic loaf tin or other vessel that does not have a PTFE ‘non-stick’ coating. You could use a muffin tin with paper cases, so that the cake does not touch the PTFE, but would need to reduce the baking time as these would cook faster.
  3. Add the sugar, butter and vanilla, to a food processor and mix well
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the boiling water and carob powder
  5. Add the water/carob mixture to the food processor and blend
  6. Add the eggs, flour, salt and baking powder to the food processor and mix well again
  7. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick or piece of spaghetti comes out clean when inserted
  9. The cake is not especially sweet so you may wish to add the icing. Do this by mixing the icing ingredients in a cup with a spoon (you will need to sieve the icing sugar or you will get the white lumps visible in the photo!)

Low Carb Y.A.C.S. Diet Cost Analysis

If you have wondered how much it would cost to go fully organic, while eating the foods recommonded for the low carbohydrate version of the YACS diet then this post is for you.

This analysis is quite specific to the UK so apologies to our global readers.

This post assumes:

  • You have shopped at Sainsburys for everything apart from your coconut milk which you have purchased from Holland and Barrett. This is because Sainsburys is currently lacking any suitable coconut milk. These two shops were chosen because they are widely available to consumers in the UK and because they have physical shops there was no need to take into account postage costs. Waitrose was also considered for its wide choice of organic food and availability of suitable coconut milk but ultimately not recommended for those on a budget as it increased the final shopping total by 18% for a similar basket.
  • That you are eating organically whenever possible, with the exception of a few items which aren’t available from either Sainsburys or Holland and Barrett. These include fennel, shallots, prosciutto and bacon without nitrates and sulphites.
  • That you are cooking for yourself alone. This means that the costing of the recipes are generally for 2 servings, and the extra serving from dinner is eaten the next day at lunch. If you are cooking for multiple people you may either wish to increase the quantities or cook them something different- if they are not YACS eaters.
  • That you want to eat reasonably well and have breakfast and a single snack per day.
  • Drinks weren’t included so you may need to add on the cost of bottled water if you are in a fluoride water region and don’t have a distiller, or you may want to add on the cost of some chammomile tea bags (for example).


The total for the week’s worth of food was £81.15. This compares to a national average of spending approximately £45 a week on food, and that means that the YACS low carb diet is quite expensive compared to a regular diet.


BreakfastLow carb granola2.49
LunchVegetable Curry (leftovers from Sunday)2.80
DinnerNut roast with butter cabbage4.35
SnackHalf a lettuce with almond butter1.15


BreakfastLow carb granola2.49
LunchNut roast with butter cabbage (leftovers)4.35
DinnerRoast chicken with shallots (from The Roasting Tin)5
SnackAvocado (non organic)0.75


BreakfastLow carb granola2.49
LunchRoast chicken with shallots (from The Roasting Tin, left overs)5
DinnerSalmon and broccoli (from The Roasting Tin)4.09
SnackLittle gem lettuce with almond butter1.15


BreakfastLow carb granola2.49
LunchSalmon and broccoli (from The Roasting Tin, leftovers)4.09
DinnerPork Pilbi with butter cabbage (from the Roasting Tin, but with substitutions)3.76


BreakfastLow carb granola2.49
LunchPork Pilbi (leftovers)3.76
DinnerThai Okra (from The Roasting Tin)1.86
SnackHalf a packet of prosciutto (non organic)0.45


BreakfastEggs and Naked bacon1.90
LunchThai Okra (leftovers)1.86
DinnerHalf a whole chicken low carb butter chicken6.85
SnackPacket of cranberries2.20


BreakfastEggs and bacon1.90
LunchHalf a whole chicken low carb butter chicken (leftovers)6.85
Dinnervegetable curry2.02
SnackPacket of walnuts1.90


Due to the Low Carb YACS diet’s expense you may find it difficult to afford depending on your circumstances.

  • If you are a student who finds that carbohydrate makes you feel lethargic or sleepy, you may have to make a compromise such as only eating Low Carb YACS during the exam and revision period, whilst eating a regular moderate carb YACS diet the rest of the year.
  • If the Low Carb YACS diet is within your budget and you find carbs make you lethargic then go for it! It is difficult to put a price on health and wellness.
  • If you want to eat low carb but really can’t afford the budgeted cost then consider not eating organically, (hopefully this will be a temporary decision for you) and making changes such as eating more eggs and more pork mince (e.g. homemade meatballs) as this is a cheaper cut of meat.

Recommended reading – The Roasting Tin – Around the World

This is a great book by Rukmini Iyer. It contains plenty of recipes that can be easily adapted for those on the YACS diet. Assuming you aren’t sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet then this book alone could be all you need to revolutionise your eating. If you are vegetarian or vegan then don’t despair – you just might need more than one recipe book in your life! There’s not much reliance on cooking with vinegar, soy or alcohol, which is one of the reasons it’s so good. Please note that regardless of whether the notes suggest it should be organic, everything should be organic where possible.

  • p24 roasted sweet pototo with feta etc. – Sub the feta cheese for two handfuls of whole organic almonds and half a jar of organic olives in vinegar free brine (e.g. organic green Gaea olives available from or Waitrose in the UK). Organic olives may contain Rotenone pesticide residue but this becomes concentrated in olive oil, and may be less of a reason to avoid whole olives in brine, but perhaps don’t eat them all the time.
  • p26 slow cooked pork – Use organic pork. replace the 250ml of orange juice with the juice of a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Skip the achiote paste and replace with 1 tbsp unsmoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp avocado oil or similar. Instead of serving with sour cream serve with organic whipped double cream soured with some lemon juice. Instead of serving with tortillas (which generally contain all sorts, including citric acid) use an organic piadina or eat by itself to reduce the number of carbs consumed.
  • p28 chipotle mushrooms – skip this one as chipotle and mushroom are both ‘not allowed’
  • p30 black beans and rice etc. – eat this one as is, but skip it if you have problems with carbs.
  • p32 slow cooked beef – skip the Worcestershire sauce and use coconut oil instead of olive oil. Use organic ingredients
  • p34 roast potatoes with chorizo etc. – Instead of using chorizo use pork sausages free from nitrates, sulphites, vinegar and yeast, for example from Piper’s Farm or even better – Coombe Organic. Instead of chicken stock (unless you can make your own) use vegetable stock such as 9 Meals From Anarchy Green Herb stock. This is one of the many recipes in the book which include coriander which you can get organically from e.g. Riverford Organic Farm as an addition to a weekly vegetable box. Alternatively substitute for parsley then you may grow it yourself.
  • p36 beef chilli with chocolate – skip the chocolate, use yeast free, vinegar free vegetable stock or your own stock. Use regular chilli flakes rather than chipotle.
  • p40 chipotle chicken etc – use a couple of sausages as described above instead of chorizo. Use regular chilli flakes instead of chipotle. Use avocado oil instead of olive oil in the salsa. Skip the feta without substitution, suggestions for substitutions welcome!
  • p42 roast pork with orange etc. – subsitute the oranges for 2 unwaxed, untreated organic lemons (check the label as some unwaxed lemons are still treated), as well as a little sugar to replace the natural sweetness of the orange.
  • p46 roasted sprouts with feta – skip this as there may be no good substitutions for the feta other than, and you could try, nuts.
  • p48 sweet & sour squash etc. – substitute the vinegar for the juice of a couple of organic lemons.
  • p50 peach and dulce de leche cake etc – you may have to make your own caramel to use instead of dulce de leche as it is likely to contain additives in shop brought form.
  • p56 baked polenta with prawns – substitute the 75g of mature cheddar for 100ml of organic double cream
  • p58 cauliflower ‘wings’ etc. – skip the dip and use unsmoked paprika in the main
  • p60 crab tarts etc. – you could possibly use 180g ground cashews instead of cream cheese, and chilli powder instead of hot sauce. You can buy puff pastry without additives from Waitrose in the UK. Skip the parmasan, and use a handful of blended wrap instead of bread crumbs
  • p62 avocado with walnuts, blue cheese etc.- skip the blue cheese
    p64 sausage casserole- skip the chorizo. Make sure you have the right kind of sulphite, nitrate, yeast free sausages which are generally only available outside of the supermarkets
  • p66 jerk chicken etc. – make your own jerk seasoning so as to avoid yeast extract, otherwise cook as is. This is one of the tastiest recipes in the book- it’s great!
  • p68 mac & cheese- use 300ml of double cream instead of 500g creme fraiche. Use nitrate, sulphite free bacon such as Naked Bacon – but better still, organic.
  • p70 squash gratin with parmesan – Use 350m of double cream instead of creme fraiche. Skip the black pepper and parmesan.
  • p72 salmon pasta bake – use 2 tbsp of cream instead of creme fraiche. Use small amount of blended wrap instead of breadcrumbs. Skip the parmesan.
  • p74 ribs with potatoes etc. – skip the soy and Worchestershire sauces. Use unsmoked paprika. Use whipped double cream soured with some lemon juice instead of soured cream. Use powdered mustard rather than normal mustard, as powdered mustard should not contain vinegar.
  • p76 rocky road etc. – skip this one unless you can source marshmellows free from additives
  • p82 tandoori chicken etc. – use cream instead of yoghurt. Make your own spice mix instead of using shop brought garam masala, unless you can find one without yeast extract. Use unsmoked paprika.
  • p86 mustard fish etc. – use powdered mustard instead of Dijon mustard
  • p88 jackfruit curry with tamarind etc. – you would most likely need to make your own tamarind paste from scratch to avoid citric acid or vinegar. Alternatively you could skip the tamarind paste. Use cream instead of yoghurt.
  • p90 festival lamb etc. – Use cream instead of yoghurt
  • p92 mushroom rice etc. – skip this one because it is largely mushrooms
  • p96 Korean bbq chicken etc. – skip this one as it contains fermented soybeans and mushrooms
  • p98 Spiced paneer with potatoes etc. – Skip the paneer. Where it says serve with rice or naans choose rice or a citric acid free piadina
  • p100 lime & coconut dal – cook as suggested, no changes needed!
  • p102 Sichuan chicken etc. – skip the soy sauce and rice vinegar but otherwise cook as is
  • p104 butter chicken etc. – use unsmoked paprika rather than smoked but otherwise cook as suggested
  • p106 korean style aubergines etc. – skip the soy sauce and rice vinegar in the dressing
  • p108 lamb meatballs etc. – cook as suggested but without the yoghurt to serve
  • p110 miso chicken etc. – skip the soy sauce in the dressing
  • p112 Indian rice pudding – cook as is, but, naturally, avoid this one if you are bad with carbs
  • p118 roasted carrot etc. – substitute avocado oil for olive oil. Check your za’ater spice/seed mix to ensure it doesn’t contain yeast extract or make your own.
  • p120 lamb tagine – substitute a lemon for the orange. Check it is as an organic, unwaxed, untreated lemon or alternatively do not add the zest to the dish
  • p124 roasted cod etc – Check the ras-el-hanout to ensure it doesn’t contain yeast extract or make your own. Substitute avocado oil or butter for the olive oil.
  • p126 Persian herb frittata – skip the mint and goats cheese
  • p128 peri-peri prawns – Use the lemon juice option instead of red wine vinegar
  • p130 black eyed beans etc. – cook as suggested
  • p132 spiced meatballs – Check your za’ater spice/seed mix to ensure it doesn’t contain yeast extract or make your own. Use a suitable yeast free vegetable stock or your own homemade chicken stock.
  • p134 roasted tuna etc. – skip the mint and white vinegar
  • p136 roasted squash etc. – cook as suggested but use the dill option, not mint. Skip the yoghurt to serve – it doesn’t need it anyway.
  • p140 pearl barley etc. – cook as suggested
  • p144 roasted cauliflower etc. – skip the feta cheese and use double the flaked almonds to make up for it. Serve without yoghurt and using a piadina instead of a flat bread.
  • p146 Persian love cake etc. – try making buttercream icing instead of mascarpone. There is a shortage of information on the yeast content of mascarpone available, however it may be similar to other cream cheeses which should generally be avoided. Skip the rosewater which may contain alchohol.
  • p152 beef panang etc. – skip the mushrooms
  • p154 roasted aubergine etc. – skip the soy sauce
  • p156 chicken laksa etc. – skip the mint and shrimp paste
  • p158 malaysian roast chicken – skip the tamarind paste unless you can find one that doesn’t include vinegar, or make your own paste
  • p160 steak and ale pie etc. – skip this recipe as it contains ale, mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce
  • p162 black pepper tofu etc. – skip this recipe as it contains mushrooms, tofu, soy sauce and rice vinegar
  • p164 mushroom and squash curry etc. – skip this recipe as it contains mushrooms and 2 pastes which may contain vinegar or citric acid
  • p168 aubergines and potatoes etc. – use avocado oil instead of sunflower or olive oil
  • p170 coconut rice with tofu etc. – substitute the tofu for diced chicken. Do not add the soy sauce to the sambal.
  • p172 roasted mushrooms & paneer etc. – The substitutions for this one may make it unidentifiable from the original! Use diced chicken instead of paneer. Use diced potatoes or another root vegetable instead of mushrooms. Skip the black pepper and use the coriander option instead of mint.
  • p174 salmon frittata etc. – use 200ml of cream instead of yoghurt. Skip the black pepper. Serve by itself.
  • p176 vegetable adobo etc. – Skip this one as it contains mushrooms, vinegar and soy sauce
  • p186 paella etc. – use 150g of nitrate and sulphite free organic sausages instead of chorizo. Use a yeast free, vinegar free vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, or make your own chicken stock.
  • p188 roast chicken with mushrooms etc. – use 500g of diced potatoes instead of mushrooms. Skip the black pepper. Use 300ml of cream instead of creme fraiche. Do not serve with bread- you could try rice or a piadina.
  • p192 chicken with olives etc. – choose vinegar free olives (see note about p24). You may struggle to find a jar of artichokes in oil that don’t contain vinegar or citric acid. In which case you can use pre-boiled (for approx 30mins) fresh globe artichokes x2- but this may be tough in parts.
  • p194 croque monsieur gratin etc. – skip this one as it contains croissants (risen with yeast), cheese, creme fraiche and ham (usually contains nitrates/sulphites)
  • p196 pesto chicken etc.- make your own pesto without adding cheese (i.e. a mix of avocado oil, pine nuts and fresh basil). Blend up a piadina to make breadcrumbs or skip the breadcrumbs.
  • p198 hazelnut salmon etc. – use avocado ouil instead of olive oil. Do not serve with yoghurt.
  • p200 – meatballs etc. – Use 150ml cream and juice of one lemon instead of sour cream
  • p202- roast peppers etc. – substitute the olive oil for avocado oil or butter. Don’t add the black pepper. Do not serve with bread but instead serve by itself or with a piadina.#
  • p206 – halloumi roast carrots etc. – use 225g of diced chicken instead of halloumi. Serve by itself or with a piadina.
  • p208 – stilton, pear tart etc. – Skip the cheese. Make sure you get unadulterated puff pastry (inc. no preservatives) such as is available from Waitrose in the UK.
  • p210 – quinoa etc. – Skip the feta cheese or substitute chicken. Skip the mint leaves and black pepper. Use organic butter or organic avocado oil instead of olive oil.
  • p212 – lemon pearl barley – Don’t add the black pepper, and do serve by itself (without the yoghurt)
  • p216 roasted plums etc – use a fruit you can buy that’s organic. Instead of using liqueur use a mini carton of pineapple or apple juice. Small amounts of alcohol that’s accumulated in the fruit juice should evaporate off partially in the oven. Serve with cream.

Baked apples

Please note, coring the apples is somewhat dangerous so only do this recipe if you are feeling alert!

Serves 2


  • 2 apples
  • 2 tbsp organic raisins
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • juice of half a lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C
  2. Core the apples
  3. Mix the raisins, sugar and mixed spice in a bowl
  4. Stuff the apples with the mixture
  5. Bake for 50 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice

Serve with organic double cream or by itself.

Roast chicken with sweet potatoes & cashews

Serves 4


  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chipped
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved

Spice mix

  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 4cm ginger peeled
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of lemongrass
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbs filtered water


  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Blend the spice mix in the food processor to make a paste
  3. Add the coconut milk and blend again
  4. Put the remaining ingredients in a roasting tin and cover with the spice mix sauce
  5. Place in the over and bake for 1 hour, checking the chicken is cooked through, and the sweet potato is soft before eating

Note the portions are quite small here – just 1 piece of chicken per person so if you need a bit more you could add twice as much chicken to stay low carb or serve with a piadina or rice.

Curried green veg, sweetcorn & celeriac soup


  • 1 green veg such as a small cabbage, diced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 handfuls of sweetcorn
  • Half a celeriac – grated or thinly sliced
  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • Half a litre of yeast free stock
  • Half a lemon, juice only
  • 2 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Sweat the green veg, onions, celeriac and garlic in the coconut oil for 10 minutes, stirring regularly
  2. Add the coconut milk, sweetcorn, lemon juice, salt, curry powder and stock and simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Blend with a stick blender or food processor
  4. Optional – heat a piadina in a frying pan, fold in half and dip as if eating bread. If tolerated you may be able to add a little mild cheddar.