Tag Archives: healthy

Vegan. No, Really. Chocolate Hazelnut Gooey Cupcakes

photo 2

Question: What do you do when you’re not sure you’re going to even see an oven for the next several months?

Answer: You go mad baking and force feed whoever is within a five mile radius.

Obviously.

I did this recently. I’m still not sure when I’m going to see an oven again – within the next few weeks and months I’m going to become a traveling vagabond and have some adventures while I build up my (other) career.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick, Easy, Amazing – Sweet Red Cabbage, Cashew & Fruity Bean Salad

image_2

So. It’s Saturday, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been spending these precious hours off so far finessing the art of balance between hedonism and total inactivity. The workweek still seems relatively far away and there are no problems on the horizon, as far as you’re concerned. Bring on the chocolate martinis. We’re done with the 9 to 5 for now.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Imperfect Eating – Or, An Argument For Cake

IMG_1948

And on the proposing side of the motion – cupcake selection boxes..

Here’s a few scenarios we’ve likely all been a part of, centrally, or peripherally.

There’s the group at the restaurant, an evening out to unwind, that turns – by stealth – into a subtle and resolutely unspoken competition between the women at the table. Who’s not eating bread, or pasta – who can pass off the most of the contents of their plate on their boyfriend? Who has eaten earlier and doesn’t particularly want more than two bites? Everybody remarks loudly and conspirationally on how full they are, once half (or less) of their main meal is dispatched. Four people can share a dessert, can’t they…? Most don’t want it, at all. Enjoyment of the night, and the food, erodes into a discomforting, uneasy struggle to eat without judgment and enjoy the calm of a night off.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan? Yup. Tropical Papaya, Cashew & Coconut CupCakes with a Coconut Rum Caramel Layer

IMG_3043

When you have a small number of weeks free between moving from one end of Ireland to the other for the mania and chaos of a new clinical practice block, you end up doing ridiculous things with your time.

Ever tried to put tofu in a cake?

Stop making that face, it’s nowhere near how you’re imagining.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Green Tree Cupcakes – Spinach? In a Cake? Really?

image_2

“Interesting.” This descriptor, as you probably all know, is the death toll sound for the experimental baker. It is typically used as a polite, indirect means of letting you know your confections haven’t come out of the oven looking or tasting as pretty as you may have hoped. However, it’s technical dictionary definition is a lot more complimentary to the adventurous amongst us – it’s synonymous with engaging, exciting, attention-catching and mentally pleasing.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Joanna’s Saturday Night Pizzas & Sunday Lunch Bread

image_5

Alright, so I thought it’s about time you lot were all introduced to the possibly genetic and very likely environmental cause of my total inability to leave a cook book alone, and my weakness for spending hours thinking about, looking at and experimenting with food. This is a double-recipe I’ve taken from my mum, Joanna, who is basically otherwise known as the black-belt lord master of catering.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Five Days of Quick, Easy & Amazing: Home Crafted Vegetarian “Fast Food”

20130227-130004.jpg

Another ‘normal’ food post – sorry, sugar addicts. I have sweet stuff in the pipeline!  This is a concept I accidentally invented during my undergrad, when I was trying to figure out an easy, cheap but still palatable means of eating well for an entire week, particularly around exam time when it felt like there would be no time for any fun in the kitchen.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan Cocoa Banana Nut Muffins

20130225-093410.jpg

Alright, another write up on a reader-tested creation before this weekend’s batch goes up. These were another scary batch to make (the recipe specifically asks you to curdle almond milk for the batter. Argh!) But they got enough happy feedback that I’m happy with them! Different, in a positive sense.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thai Peanut Turkey Stir-fry with Roasted Sweet Potato & Veggies

IMG_1023

Evening, lovely people! Just in case everyone is starting to get the idea that I do very little else besides mainline sugar and alcohol (and I wouldn’t blame them) – here’s an example of what I’d make and live on, a little more typically. If enough people are interested, I can do more stuff like this, and/or give y’all a breakdown of how I actually eat, exercise and stay healthy. (Despite the sugar and the cake. Up to interest, really :))

This is a meal that gets the balance exactly right. There’s no processed or refined carbodhydrate (though I’ll give you that there’s sugar in the peanut sauce). Overall there’s a pretty good balance of protein, good fats, complex carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and general health-building goodness.

I should note that although I give everyone precise measurements for baking (because, em, you have to, sorta), I won’t give precise measurements for cooking. This is because the following:

1. It depends entirely on how many people you’re planning to cook for

2. I’ve cooked for myself and others, a whole lot, since I was 14, and I’ve almost always done it with ideas in my head as opposed to recipe-following. This sounds like a horrible brag, but it isn’t – the real reason is I was too lazy to recipe-check when I started cooking, and it’s become a habit in my adulthood).

3. It’s much harder to go wrong with quantities when you’re cooking than when you’re baking. Honestly. Rely on your eye, and things will work out. If not, call me and I’ll come over and do it for you – I’m nice like that.

Ingredients (very roughly):

Sweet Potatoes

Onions

Broccoli Heads

Turkey Breast Strips

Spinach Leaves

Oil or fat of your choice (sunflower, rapeseed, butter – go wild. Spray for the extra-healthy).

Peanut Butter

Coconut Milk

Chilli Powder

Canned Tomatoes

Herbs (to your taste and preference)

Brown Sugar

Powdered Cinnamon

Directions: 

1. The first thing you want to do is cut up your various vegetables. Sweet Potatoes can be diced up or cut into chip-shapes, depending on your patience. Onions should be half ring-cut (for veggies) and dice-cut (for turkey). Make your broccoli into florets. My family love huge florets, you might like them little. Chopping board and a decent knife – get this done first and the hard work is out of the way. Set your oven to about 160 celsius if it’s a fan, 180 if it’s non-fan.

2. Set out a big ol’ saucepan (I use these lovelies), and a frying pan on your stove top. Pour or pat your oil or fat of choice into each (I used peanut oil for the frying pan and butter for the sauce pan). Leave them be for now. Pull out a baking tray and line it with baking paper.

3. Scatter your sweet potato chunks onto the lined baking tray. Grab your oil (I took olive oil for this) and sort of just lace-pour it across the chunks. Yay! Next, scatter over some brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. This turns out like heaven, seriously. Using clean hands, mix around the sweet potato in all the goodness so everything gets a good cover. Ensure all the chunks are relatively flat and even in the tray, and stick it in the oven. They can stay in there for the next twenty to twenty five minutes (after twenty minutes, check ’em – they’re ready when they smell amazing and a poke through them with a fork shows they’re soft).

4. Turn on the rings underneath the frying pan and the sauce pan. Let them warm up, then add diced onion to the frying pan and ringed onion to the sauce pan. Wait for noise and smells to happen. When that’s started up, take your diced turkey breast and throw it in the frying pan, ensuring even distribution. While that starts to brown and sizzle on one side, combine peanut butter and coconut milk in a bowl – a good mix with a spoon should even them up.

5. When your peanut-coconut mixture is all done, go back to your turkey and flip the strips. If they’re looking very happy and brown, turn down the heat. Turn down the heat on the onion rings in the sauce pan, too. Go get your broccoli florets, and tip them into the saucepan, put the lid on. This lets them sizzle AND steam, locking in goodness and flavour simultaneously.

6. Leave things a further five minutes or so before you do anything else (dance it out – I recommend this song).

7. Five minutes up! Go and flip/mix your turkey strips again, and this time pour in the coconut-peanut sauce you made. Sprinkle that with powdered chilli to taste. Monitor the heat – if you’re worried about burning, turn it down. It’s that simple! Place a pan-lid over the frying pan now – if you don’t have one, even a dinner plate will do. The aim is to permit some extra heat and steam to really permeate and soften the turkey and let the flavours sink in.

8. Tip your tinned tomatoes over your onions and broccoli. Lid on and let it do its thing. Leave it until the broccoli is as soft as you (and others) like – you’ll be able to tell by poking it with a fork. I like my broccoli fall-apart soft, but my fam & friends like it al dente – gotta compromise in this house!

9. When you think your turkey and veggies are ready, turn off the heat underneath them and let them sit a further couple of minutes. When your sweet potatoes are ready, pull ’em out the oven, allow a few minutes to cool and then plate the whole lot up

10. Absorb compliments and act like you totally know everything about cookery and food.

IMG_1024

IMG_0864

(That’s the outfit I wore makin’ em, cause you totally all wanted to know that). If you want to see more like this, or more health/nutrition stuff, personal or otherwise, let me know!

As a final note:

The healthy amazingness of sweet potatoes

– Why turkey deserves more attention 

– Why peanut butter is actually amazing

– The magic of combining broccoli and tomato 

– I get all my groceries from Lidl and Tesco like any Irish Student. Eating well doesn’t need to be expensive!

Enjoy y’all 🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan Apricot Banana Cashew Sunshine Bars

IMG_1077

Alright – these were another creation inspired by Sally. As you can see, I tweaked this recipe a little bit! I was a little nervous about ’em, being as they represented my first foray into the world of explicitly healthy/specialist bakes. Then I handed them out to people. And was met with a tidal wave of positivity, which made me very happy about telling everyone all about ’em.

Tried and tested on coeliacs, diet watchers, full time vegans, part time vegans and devoted carnivores. Everyone took to these. They’re filling, strangely healthy and that special kind of gorgeous. Did I mention they’re also very easy to do, and they keep a good four to five days after creation…?

Make sure you have a 20 by 20 or so cm baking tray for these babies. Apparently you can get sixteen bars out of these, but, uh, I cut big…I got about nine. Depends on your size preference 🙂

Ingredients: 

225g Rolled Oats

60g Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky to taste)

1 Large Banana, mashed up

125g Cashews (or more, to taste)

75g Soft Dried Apricots, chopped

75g Golden Raisins

230g Golden Syrup

1 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions: 

1. You want to preheat your oven – about 150 fan, or 170 non-fan. When it’s hit temperature, grab your nuts, quit giggling and throw them onto a baking tray. Shove ’em in the oven. You’re gonna toast them that way, which brings out their flavour much more. Give them ten minutes.

2. While all that’s going on, combine your banana mash, peanut butter, maple syrup and cinnamon. Attack it until it’s an even mixture. Please don’t literally attack it. You’ll make a mess.

3. Add in the oats to the mix and really mix them in thoroughly to get a complete combination – you’ll find that oats are evil and tend to hide in dry pockets in a mix. Be very diligent and get them all moistened and combined. If you’re finding your mix is a little too dry you can always add in some more maple syrup or peanut butter. The drier you do your mix, the crunchier you get your bars. Very moist mixes make gorgeous but rather impractical bars. Up to you really. I try and find the happy medium.

4. Remove nuts from oven. Assure them that everything will be okay. Now stir them into the oats. Add the chopped apricots and golden raisins. Please note that at this juncture you could add practically anything else that you want in here, along the healthy theme – dates? dried mango? vegan chocolate? There’s very little that could go wrong.

5. Press the mix into your baking tray. You may want to line it, you may not. Depends on how new your tray is 🙂 Make it even and bake for twenty five minutes. Dance while it bakes. Why not? Cool for at least an hour before cutting into squares – I left them for two, they turned out angelic.

IMG_1035

Enjoy!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,