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.




I was going to do a root vegetable soup recipe this week but when I saw our red cabbage coming in from the Healy’s farm in Wicklow I decided to change tack. They’re enormous!! Don’t worry though, they keep very well in the fridge even after you’ve cut into them.

Like all cabbage, the red kind is packed with iron, calcium, potassium and fibre and is also high in vitamins C, B1, B2. B3 and D.  I’ve always tended to use it in salads where it works really well with things like carrots, apple, pears, all kinds of nuts, avocado, goat’s cheese, feta , onion, Asian flavours like soy and mirin ….. Recently though, I’ve start cooking with it and find it works really well in soups and stirfries. As the weather’s turned so nippy my first recipe this week is for a kind of lentil soup/stew that is perfect for this kind of weather. It’s really simple to make and it’s a great way to get kids (big and small!) to eat loads of vegetables. As lentils are so nutritious (they also lower cholesterol I found out recently) this dish is a meal in itself, especially if you eat it with some brown rice. This recipe will give you enough for about 4 or 5 servings. Leftovers will freeze well or make a very quick lunch the next day.

I should say that the list of ingredients is not at all prescriptive but a guide – feel free to add any root veg you have lying around as well as celery, peppers and tomatoes. If you have spuds don’t add them until after the first half hour of cooking as they will fall apart and go to mush. Courgettes don’t really work as they just disintegrate and aubergines need too much precooking which just slows things down too much.

Chopped red cabbage

Puy Lentil Vegetable Soup

You’ll need:

Olive Oil

3 medium onions

3 medium carrots

200gr mushroom

1/2 head garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried (don’t worry too much if you don’t have this)

A couple of bay leaves

1/2 large red cabbage or 1 small  one

1 tin chopped tomatoes

250gr Puy lentils (or any other kind you have)

2L vegetable stock (as usual I use Marigold)

As time is almost always of the essence for me, rather than preparing all the veg before I start, I chop and add the ingredients to the pot as I go.

So, begin by chopping your onions then saute over a low to medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil (ie enough to stop you having to stir things constantly). As the onions get going, dice your carrots and throw them in followed by the mushrooms (roughly chopped). Add some salt, the thyme and bay leaves and turn up the heat slightly to allow the veg to fry rather than sweat for a few minutes. Roughly chop your garlic and throw it in turning down the heat slightly. Shred the cabbage and add that too. Cook for a few more minutes then add the tomatoes. Rinse the lentils and throw them in along with the stock.

Allow things to come to the boil then turn down the heat and cover. Cook for about 50 minutes stirring occasionally.

To serve drizzle a little Sherry vinegar or sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Another recent discovery for red cabbage has been stirfried with rice which goes well with fish, tofu or dahl. Either way, the red cabbage makes any dish look  gorgeous. I tend to cook some brown rice at the beginning of the week so I’ve always got something to take the panic out of cooking midweek. I prefer the shortgrain brown type which apart from being really, really good for you, has a delicious nutty flavour.  You’ll find it in your local healthfood shop (The Hopsack in Rathmines is my fav).

Red Cabbage & Rice

Stir-fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and toasted Pumpkin seeds(for 2)

You’ll need:

Enough brown rice for 2 people

2 medium onions                                                                            

1/2 red cabbage

4-5 cloves garlic roughly chopped

A piece of ginger about the size of your thumb peeled and minced

Fresh or dried chilli (optional)

A handful of pumpkin seeds

Begin by chopping the onions and shredding your cabbage. Heat some vegetable oil on the pan and throw on the onions and toss them over a medium to high heat for a few minutes. Add the Cabbage and continue to toss everything. Turn down the heat a bit and add the garlic and ginger along with a little chilli of you fancy some heat. Continue cooking until the cabbage has wilted and the garlic has softened.

Add the rice and continue cooking until it has warmed through then turn off the heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds on a dry pan over a medium heat until they have started to pop and change colour. Mix them through the rice along with a dash of soy sauce or tamari and serve.

Hi all

I am on hols !!
You wont miss me because I have a treat for you. Margaret who is a fab cook but in a completely different style will be doing the recipes for me. Enjoy something a bit different and new..


From Margaret … some organic recipes

I love courgettes, they are so versatile eaten small, large or medium. I plan to grow again this year so I get the lovely flowers to stuff and deep fry. I also like marrow that dreaded and maligned veg. Courgettes are a great base and take strong flavours well. I eat courgette sliced lengthways to about 1/4 cm thick and then griddled with a little oil on a hot grill pan. Then marinate in chopped garlic and lemon juice for a few hours (and if I have in the garden lots of chopped parsley). This is good as a sandwich filling maybe with goats cheese, as part of a pizza topping or a veggie tart or as a side dish with other salads. It keeps in the fridge for a few days.

I like to fry courgettes in olive oil with some garlic on the pan and have as a side dish with maybe grilled chicken. This time of the year they can also be added to a risotto with whatever other greens you have around; young nettles if you have time to forage.

For a healthy option slice lengthways to 1/2 cm thick or in halves if courgettes are small and use instead of pasta in lasagne. Surprisingly nice and tasty…

Or chocolate courgette cake.. always moist. Here is a link to Riverford organic My 5 and 2 year old nephews love making cakes chocolate if possible so this or chocolate beetroot brownies are favourites. The great thing is these cakes cant really go wrong as they dont rise too much. You can add some healthy spelt flour instead of the white if you want.

For a light supper or a lunchbox try Courgette Fritters.
For 2-3 people
2 medium courgettes grated and then squeezed in a clean tea towel
1 egg beaten (or use 2 tbsp chickpea flour and water)
1 tbsp plain flour or potato flour
1 teaspoon cumin seed or cumin and caraway mixed (lightly toasted on dry frying pan)
black pepper
chopped red chile (optional)

Heat oven to 150 -175
Put the grated courgette into a bowl and season with pepper.
Mix in all other ingredients.
Roll into small balls with your fingertips. Or make into patties if easier.
Heat oil in a wok at about 3 inches depth.
Carefully brown fritters on all sides then remove and dry on kitchen paper.
Put on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes.

The fritters can be eaten hot of cold with a sour cream or greek yoghurt dip.

Sour Cream dip
To sour cream or greek yoghurt add a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander or parsley or chives or dill…. Whatever beckons. I like to grow herbs in the garden as they can add that needed bit of flavour. I had these first with a Munich friend of Indian descent made to take to the beer garden for a picnic!! Happy memories

Eat with some green salad for a light supper !!

To vary fritters
Add grated carrot or spinach and eat straight out of the oven with an Indian style tomato sauce.

Red Cabbage

I like red cabbage best slow braised with apples in the oven. Sarah already has a recipe on the blog for this. It is great with pork or duck or game. As with any cabbage red is also good shredded stir fried and wilted with
sesame oil, vinegar and rice wine/sake and soy or possibly try cider vinegar, mirin and pomegranate molasses.
Another classic is a hearty borchst with red cabbage, tomatoes and beetroot topped with sour cream.

For an alternative try a simple Indian style curry with Red Cabbage. The spices help to make the cabbage more digestible !!

red chillies

red chillies

Indian style curry with Red Cabbage

1 tsp mustard seed (optional)
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves or garlic finely chopped
1cm piece of ginger finely chopped
1 chile finely chopped (if you dont like too spicy go for half a chile and put some in a bowl on the table for other people to add)
2 tomatoes finely chopped (I find canned better for this)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 red cabbage shredded
a cup of sliced courgette or whatever other veg you have to hand like shredded carrot or beetroot
optional some cooked aduki beans
half can coconut milk or about 1/4 block of coconut
fresh chopped coriander or curry leaves
1 tbsp of garam masala
optional 1 tsp poppy seed 25g cashews ground together in food processor

Heat oil in deep pan and pop the mustard seed. Then add the onion and fry gently in some oil till softened. Add ginger and garlic and chile.
(a good trick here if busy is chop onion earlier in day with garlic add some oil and maybe some stock and roast in a low oven for 40 minutes then puree)
Then add tomatoes and fry gently.
Add sugar and sprinkling of salt.
Add the veg and stir and cook for a few minutes stirring and put lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes adding some water to nearly cover veg if needed.
Then add the coconut milk or shredded block coconut with little water .
Stir in the masala and the ground seed and nuts if using.
If you have a lime or lemon handy a squeeze is always good just before serving.
Serve with plain rice and some chutney.

Enjoy Margaret