Cabbage with toasted coconut and lime

Thank goodness it’s (nearly) Friday. The daily routine of up and down to work and school has proved exhausting this week. I’m wrecked! Being 5 and half months pregnant is NOT helping, I’m just so tired these days and I still have at least another 4 months to go! Sorry about the rant but the reason I bring it up is because this week’s recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare which is about the limit timewise of what I can spend in front of the cooker most of the time most evenings. Peppers diced up quite finely and fried up with finely shredded green cabbage in coconut oil then tossed with toasted coconut. Tasty, satisfying yet nice and light. It’s not really a full meal although with a bowl of brown rice you’re nearly there and it makes a great snack at any time of the day. It would make a great add on to any Indian meal and Paul suggested serving it with some chicken or tofu satay which I can totally see working. Now if I can just get him on the case…

A quick dish of cabbage with toasted coconut                                      Cabbage

You’ll need:

Coconut (or vegetable) oil

2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 green ramiro style pepper or 1/2 bell pepper finely diced

1 red ramiro pepper or 1/2 bell pepper finely diced

1/2 long red chili very finely diced

1 medium onion finely diced

1/2 head green cabbage  finely shredded

4 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut

Salt and pepper

To serve: A few wedges of lime

Heat a tablespoon coconut oil in a wok. Throw in the cumin seeds and toss quickly then add the peppers, onions and chili.

Peppers in the wok

Toss until the vegetables are nicely softened. Add the cabbage

Peppers with cabbage in the wok

Keep tossing until it has wilted and reduced in volume by about a third. Toast the coconut on a dry pan until it turns golden.This will happen quickly (about 20 seconds should do it) so keep a close eye on things. Stir about 3/4 of the coconut through the cabbage and sprinkle the rest on top.

Marc Michel Organic Life

On the face of it the timing of our walk on Marc Michel’s farm last Saturday wasn’t great. Paul and I had been out the night before and as usual hadn’t had nearly enough sleep. It turns out it was the perfect antidote. The weather man had warned of storms but the day turned out to be pretty good for the most part although we did have to make a run for it towards the end of the walk. Many thanks to all those who came along – it was great to meet you all. Here are some snaps from the day….

We met up in Marc’s recently reopened farm shop where you can also buy some of his lovely food.

Menu at Marc Michel's organic life shop

Marc gave us some tea and we had some blueberry, almond and orange cake that I had made with the kids beforehand..

Blueberry, almond and orange cake

We headed off and saw the gorgeous flowers Marc’s been growing….


Marc Michel in a field of flowers

Then we saw some veg! Cucumbers, courgettes and of course those amazing tomatoes……..

Cucumber   Vine tomatoesCourgettes

There was lots of chatting and Marc answered everyone’s questions..

Chatting on the farm


Tasting a tomatoAnd the kids had a ball. Auggie and Guilia played in the dirt ………….

       ………….while Dan grabbed a tractor!

All in all, a brilliant way to spend the afternoon. Many,many thanks to everyone on the farm for making the walk so enjoyable.


Soba noodles with cima di rapa

Weather or not, it’s salad season. The summer season crops are all starting to kick in. It’s not just that we’re awash with courgettes and salad leaves, there are other  more unusual things, coming on too. This week we have cima di rapa courtesy of Denis Healy. As I’m sure most of you are wondering, what is that???? Well, despite the exotic name they are basically turnip greens.

Cima di rapa

Italians love them and eat them with orrecchiete pasta and Basques eat them all the time with everything I was told by a friend who is just back from there. In the past, I’ve made salads with chorizo and pine nuts which is a great way to go as the sausage really packs a punch against the greens.

This time however, I went for an Asian style salad with Japanese soba noodles which can be eaten warm or at room temperature so it’s perfect for a picnic or lunchbox. I’m a big fan of soba noodles which are made from buckwheat but normally when I cook them at home they never work out and come out gloopy and heavy.  I think I’ve cracked it though. Yesterday I had a chat with Yumi in the Hopsack my amazing local health food shop in Rathmines  about how to cook them. She said that rinsing in lots and lots of really cold water is the key. It gets rid of the gloop and stops them going mushy. If you want them warm you can then pour some boiling water over them but the cold rinse is key and it works.

I tossed my (perfectly cooked!) noodles with roughly chopped cima di rapa leaves, scallions, fresh chilli, corinader, peanuts and pan-fried marinated tofu. I made a dressing with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and a little honey to balance any bitterness from the cima di rapa (there actually wasn’t any but sometimes there can be). The result was so moreish that I nearly polished the whole lot (it was a very large bowl).

Soba noodles with cima di rapa, peanuts and tofu with a sesame lime dressing.

You’ll need:

300gr firm tofu (not silken) cut into slices about 1.5cm thick

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce to marinate

250gr buckwheat noodles

1 bunch cima di rapa with a tougher stalks removed or a couple of handfuls of other greens like spinach

1 bunch scallions chopped

1 mild fresh red chilli finely chopped

1 large handful coriander roughly chopped

4 heaped tablespoons (a generous handful) salted peanuts finely chopped

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons light olive oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon runny honey

2  tablespoons soy or tamari sauce

The juice of 1 lime plus a few thick wedges for spritzing while eating

An hour or two before you want to eat begin preparing the tofu. Tofu is like a sponge in that it absorbs and holds liquids. This means that you need to get some of its liquid out before you marinate and/or cook it. Do this by sandwiching it between 2 chopping boards (I have 2 of those cheap white ones from Ikea that I use for this) then put something heavy on top like a pot of water. Leave for about an hour letting the water pressed out run off. I do this beside the sink with the chopping boards slightly slanted. When this is done, cut the tofu into smallish cubes, put into a bowl with a tablespoon of soy or tamari. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

While the tofu is marinating you can get on with making the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together. Taste and add a little more oil, honey or soy if you think it needs it then set aside.

Drop the noodles into boiling salted water and cook as per the instructions on the packet. When they’re done, drain and rinse in lots of very cold running water. Drizzle with a light olive oil and mix well to be sure all the noodles get lightly coated in oil (I find hands are best for this) then set aside.

Heat some vegetable or coconut oil in a pan. Add the tofu cubes and fry until golden. This will probably take about 10 minutes.

To put the salad together toss the noodles with the scallions, cima di rapa, coriander, chilli and peanuts. Again I think hands work best here because if things aren’t mixed really well all the good stuff seems to end up at the bottom. Add the dressing and mix again. Top with the tofu and serve.

Borlotti beans

Borlotti beans are another one of those summer varieties that come and go very quickly so when I saw they were available this week I pounced. Unless you grow them yourself you probably won’t have huge quantities of these guys as they are pretty pricey so in our house they tend to be part of a dish rather than the main event. This weekend I used them to make a summer salad with rocket, roasted pepper and feta which will feed 2 comfortably for lunch or more if you make a simple omelette to go with. The beans take a while to cook but otherwise  it’s a cinch to put together.

Borlotti bean salad with roast pepper and rocket

A salad with roasted pepper, borlotti beans, feta cheese and rocket

You’ll need:

300gr borlotti beans

1 red pepper

100gr feta

100gr rocket (2 large handfuls)

The dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 balsamic vinegar

Pod the beans and cook in boiling water until tender which will take about 30 minutes. When they’re ready, drain and set aside. Roast the pepper in the oven or on the stovetop over a naked flame. Let it cool down them peel off the skin and slice into slivers. Toss the beans with the rocket and pepper Crumble in the  feta. Mix the vinegar and olive oil together and dress the salad and serve.

All this snow is really wearing thin at this stage. Getting to and from work usually means a hop on the bike for 10 minutes. These days it’s taking up to an hour. Need to pop to the shops? It’ll take so long that you’ll have forgotten what you need by the time you get there.  I think I’m over snow! With all this trying not to break my neck I don’t really have a whole lot of time (or energy) when it comes to cooking dinner. This week’s recipe is one I put together in about 10 minutes. Dan and I had scored a rake of Christmas movies in the charity shop (so glad we kept the video machine!) on the way home from school earlier on that day and I got this soup in the pot literally in the time it took all the “coming soon” bits to play. It’s sweet potato, coconut milk and red lentils with Thai spices. I used a green curry paste, Nam pla (Thai fish sauce) and a few kaffir lime leaves which you can get in the Asian shops or any decent deli. Yum Yum. I love these flavours. The great things about red lentils is that they take the same time as most root veg to cook so are brilliant for soups. Once you have fried the onions and garlic, added the spices you basically throw everything else in and let the heat do the rest.

Thai scented sweet potato soup with coconut and lime

You’ll need:

2 medium onions chopped

4-5 cloves garlic chopped

Vegetable oil – coconut is great if you have it

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 heaped teaspoon green curry paste

1 tin coconut milk

1 teaspoon Nam pla (Thai fish sauce) – vegetarians can leave this out, the soup will still taste great

3 teaspoons light soy sauce

600gr sweet potato peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 cup of red lentils

First off, stick the lentils in some water to lift any dust. I find this works better than simply rinsing. Heat some vegetable oil in a soup pot. If you’re using coconut oil, a generous tablespoon will do. Add the onions to the pot and fry over a gentle heat for a few minutes until soft and golden. Throw in the garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and lime leaves and cook for a minute then tip in the coconut milk. Heat everything gently then add the Nam pla and soy sauce. At this stage put on the kettle and while the water is heating, add the sweet potato and lentils to the pot. Stir everything well then add a litre of hot water. Bring everything to the boil then lower to a simmer and cook for another 25 minutes until the sweet potato and lentils are cooked. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little. Fish out the lime leaves then blast til smooth with your hand blender. To serve a spritz of lime juice is about all you need but if you want to go fancy you could toast a little coconut and sprinkle that on top too.  As usual I put a bowl of brown rice on the table so everyone gets nice and full. Enjoy!

This week I’ve included a variety never seen before in our bags – Broccoli sprouts which, like all sprouts, are packed with antioxidants which fight the signs of aging (always good!) as well as all kinds of phytoestrogens which help prevent cancer, heart disease,osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms.
Tastewise they have a light peppery flavour and of course they have that lovely crunch too. Add them to almost any salad, sandwich or wrap (we always throw them into burritos). They seem to work especially well with avocado and this week’s recipe combines the two in a salad that has to be one of my alltime favourites. It’s got a completely moreish dressing not unlike last week’s dipping sauce, with ginger and soy sauce along with another favourite flavour of mine – toasted sesame which adds a gorgeous nuttiness to things. The main ingredient is brown rice which, as you know, is amazing for your body. As I’ve mentioned before, I usually make this stuff in bulk, about a kilo at a time, then use it to make all kinds of quick meals during the (usually insanely hectic) week. I like the shortgrained kind but feel free to use long grain or Basmati. Everyone always moans that brown rice takes all day to cook and yes, it does take longer than white but if you soak it first for about an hour (even 20 minutes will do if you’re short of time) the cooking time is halved and it makes it easier for your body to digest.
This salad can be made in advance and is perfect for a pack lunch but add the sprouts just before you eat or they’ll go soggy…
Brown Rice and Bean Salad with Alfalfa and Avocado with an Oriental style dressing (for one)
You’ll need:

1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of beans or lentils (I generally use Adzuki beans but it’s really up to you)
1/2 Red Onion chopped,
1 ripe Avocado chopped,
1/2 tray Sprouts
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Seeds.

For the dressing:

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon walnut or olive oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari
1 Level teaspoon of grated ginger
The juice of half lemon (lime is also great)
Begin by making the dressing. To do this simple combine all the ingredients, taste then add more lemon juice if you think it needs it.
To make the salad simply combine the rice, beans, onion and avocado. Toast the sesame seeds on a dry pan and mix them through. Dress and serve – Yummy!!! ……………and healthy to boot.
In season now – Moro and Sevile Oranges
It’s orange season and the extra special blood variety are just hitting their stride. They’re in all our bags this week and will be for as long as they’re around (about 2 months). If you juice in the morning we’ve got 6.5k boxes that we can deliver along with your veg for 15E.
For marmalede makers we’ve got Seville oranges at 4E per kilo. If you’d like to mix it up we’ve got grapefruits too. Just let us know.
Hope you enjoy this recipe,
Have a fantastic weekend,

I know I dropped the ball on the whole healthy eating thing for the new year by proposing roast chicken with lots of trimmings for dinner last week but it was snowing. This week I’m making up for it with …….. ginger. Fantastic for digestion (pregnant ladies take note), ginger is also great for colds and flus and is reckoned to have properties which fight headaches and period pains. We often drink ginger tea in our house especially over the winter months and it’s so easy to make. Slice about an inch of ginger and simmer it in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Serve with honey and lemon juice.  It’s also fantastic in juices and carrot and ginger is a classic. Take 3 or 4 carrots and juice with a small piece of ginger – juice and drink immediately. You can throw an apple or orange in there if you’d like some more sweetness.

Ginger is  the basis of a great dipping sauce that is just fab with veggies like broccoli, green beans, courgette, peppers, sweet potato or butternut squash. Add  tahini, a paste made from crushed sesame seeds which you can get in your health food shop or any Middle Eastern shop which gives it a beautiful nutty flavour, with soy sauce and honey. Completely addictive it’ll definitely give you a reason to eat plenty of veggies. I’m not really one for special kitchen gadgets or tools but I can’t recommend getting a proper ginger grater highly enough if you like these kind asian flavours. It’ll separate all the stringiness from the ginger pulp. I got mine in Muji and we use it just about every week.

Ginger and Soy Dipping sauce

2 Tablespoons Light Tahini

2 Tablespoons Soy or Tamari

1 Teaspoon Honey

2 Teaspoons grated Ginger

4 Tablespoons hot water

Fancy something a little special? This week’s sweet potato is great in tempura. I combined it with broccoli and served it with that yummy dipping sauce. The proportions below will make enough for 4 people as a starter or a lunch for 2 very hungry people. The trick with tempura is to get the batter as light as possible. For this I use self-raising flour and sparkling water. Don’t make it too ahead of time as the air leaches out and you lose the lightness.

Tempura of Sweet Potato and Broccoli

The  Batter:

200gr Self-raising Flour

1 1/4 cups sparkling water

A pinch fine salt

The veg:

200gr Sweet Potato

200gr Broccoli


Vegetable oil

First of all prepare the dipping sauce as described above then get on with the veg. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into slices about 1 cm thick. Break the broccoli into bite-size florets and set aside. Whisk the flour, salt and sparkling water together. Heat about 3 cm of vegetable oil in the pan when you can get a drop of the tempura batter to sizzle it’s hot enough and you’re ready to go.

When you’re ready to cook, coat each piece of veg in batter and drop into the oil. This is a messy business and if you’re confident with chopsticks I find a large set is the way to go. If not just rinse you’re hands as needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or things will start to stick together. Last night I filled the pan 3 times to get through all the veg. This of course means that someone has to stand over the pan while other people get to tuck in as tempura is best eaten immediately. You can of course munch while you keep an eye on the pan or use 2 pans if you want to completely relax over your dinner. Generally it’ll take about 2 minutes on each side to get the tempura golden and that’s just the way you want it. Enjoy!!

This weeks’ oranges are the Moro Blood variety which are only for a couple of months each year and are especially popular. If you’d like to get a box to keep in good supply  just let us know and we’ll drop them with your bag next week. Like the other ones they cost 15E per 6.5k.

Have a great weekend,


This week we have oyster mushrooms, french beans and ginger so I decided to try an Asian style salad.  I lightly steamed the beans then tossed them with  the mushrooms (panfried til golden) and made a  dressing of soy sauce, grated ginger, finely chopped garlic and a little rice wine vinegar and honey. It was supposed to be for lunch today but it was so delicious that I actually ended up eating it at midnight last night.  I ate (ok, wolfed) it on its own but it’s fab with steamed rice and/or some stir-fried tofu……..

Warm Asian salad with Oyster mushrooms, French Beans and Ginger

You’ll need:

200-250gr french beans

200gr oyster mushroomsOyster Mushrooms

1 small onion finely chopped

The dressing:

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 piece of ginger about the size of your thumb peeled then finely grated with the stringy bits removed

2 medium cloves garlic very finely chopped

A scant half teaspoon honey

1 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Top and tail the beans and then stick them on to steam. This should take about 5-8 minutes;  enough time to get the mushrooms ready. First of all, give them a wipe with a barely damp cloth or piece of kitchen paper (mushrooms should never ever be immersed in water as they end up completely sodden and it’s next to impossible to fry them). So, a quick wipe then slice them into large bitesize pieces. Heat some oil on the pan and throw them on then toss until golden brown which should take about 7 minutes. By this time your beans should be just about ready – you want them with a bit of crunchy but with enough give so that they mix well with the other ingredients. Rinse them under the cold tap so they stop cooking and stay crunchy then drain completely and mix with the sauted mushrooms and the onion.

To make the dressing simple mix all the ingredients together. Taste and add more soy, vinegar or honey as you see fit (it should be fine but just in case!!). Dress the vegetables and then serve warm or at room temperature.

The potatoes in your bag this week are the Charlotte variety and they are pretty fancy. Exceptionally waxy (I know, not very popular in Ireland but we’ve got the rest of the winter for floury spuds) they are fab in salads. Try them with this week’s beans, rocket or lettuce, walnuts and goat’s cheese. Dress with your best olive oil and some sherry vinegar – Enjoy!!