It’s freezing. It’s been raining. The time for  mashed potato is upon us. Am I right? I am. Yeah, my kids and husband will gladly hoover up epic amounts of cous cous and quinoa during the rest of the year but when we get to this kind of deep winter it’s mash that really gets them excited. My mother, who has no truck with my weird grains (“but cous cous isn’t really food is it?……….and what’s quinoa?????????!”)  likes to give me knowing glances as they lorry into a third portion of shepherd’s pie.

Last week’s cabbage and spuds said colcannon to me from the start ( jeans can stretch!)  and as it was a week night I wanted to keep things really simple and just make one dish. Adding some smoked Gubbeen chorizo (you can get it in Sheridan’s and it’s well worth tracking down if you’re round town) not only takes an Irish classic to a whole new level it makes a meal out of this humble dish. If you want to go further, this version will make a simple piece of grilled fish sing.  A side of broccoli or romanesco lightly steamed then tossed in garlic and chilli and you’ll be practically taking things to dinner party level…..
Colcannon with smoked Gubbeen chorizo

You’ll need:

600gr potatoes

250 gr cabbage washed and finely shredded

1 large onion finely sliced


Olive oil


150gr chorizo (smoked Gubbeen if you can get it), sliced finely and cut into half moons.

Peel the spuds and cook in boiling salted water until tender. While the potatoes are cooking heat a large knob of butter on the pan with a drizzle of olive oil.  Sauté the onion gently until soft and caramelized. Throw in the cabbage and fry until wilted.

When the spuds are cooked, drain then mash til super creamy with a generous knob of butter and a dash of milk. Season well with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Heat a little oil in a pan, throw in the chorizo and fry until crispy. To finish off, stir the onions, cabbage and half the chorizo into mash. Top with the remaining chorizo and serve.

Enjoy x



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.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately but the weather is taking up all my time. This post’s from last year but I thought I’d move it up as lots of you have been asking for these recipes and it’s now less than 2 days to Christmas and I thought I’d make it a bit easier to find !!! These dishes are both killer and can be made in advance (ie tomorrow!!).

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple and Spices (This recipe will serve 4-6 as part of a roast meat meal but as it keeps well you may want to make more and freeze it)

You’ll need:

500gr red cabbage

1 large onion finely sliced


1 large apple grated

4-5 cloves,

Cinnamon stick (or generous pinch of powdered cinnamon)

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

150ml water

2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons blackcurrant jam or a dash of Ribena

Shred  the cabbage discarding the core and any tough leaves and set aside. Heat a generous knob of Butter in a pot and saute the onion over a medium heat until soft. While the onions are cooking, in a casserole dish (or any ovenproof dish with a lid) combine the cabbage, apple, Cloves, cinnamon stick or powder, allspice, nutmeg, red wine vinegar, water, dark brown sugar and blackcurrant jam or Ribena. Add the onions and a generous knob of butter then mix everything up seasoning well with salt and pepper.Cover and put into a medium oven for about an hour and a half stirring every 30 minutes or so.

And the gratin that’s possibly the best thing about Christmas (yes, really)…………

A gratin with Brussels sprouts, bacon and parmesan

You’ll need:

400gr Brussel sprouts

3 streaky rashers

4-5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

150ml double cream

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Prepare your Sprouts by peeling back any discoloured outer leaves and making a cross at the base with a sharp knife (nobody knows why you have to do this but you do). Bring them to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes until soft with a hint of bite (i.e. not the pulp you might be familiar with). Drain and allow  to cool down a bit while you chop up the rashers and sauté in a pan. When the sprouts have cooled, halve them then pop into an ovenproof dish and toss with the bacon and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Season well with salt and pepper then add the cream. Mix everything allowing the cream to coat all the sprouts and then top with another 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan and a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Bake in a hottish oven (Gas mark 6) for about 24 minutes until golden brown.
Vegetarians can leave out the Bacon and it still tastes great.

If you want to eat this on Christmas day (and you will)  prepare everything up to the oven stage the day before or on  the morning and then stick it in the oven 25 minutes  before you carve.

Or keep it simple by steaming your sprouts  then tossing them on the pan with ……….
sautéed Onions and Butter
flaked Almonds
toasted Hazelnuts
Sesame seeds, Sesame oil and a little Tamari or Soy sauce

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year.