All Posts By

Susan Jane

Events

When times are tough …

For many people this column might read like a sonata to superfoods. Or exclusively for geezers who fetishise loose-leaf tea and home made facemasks.

I get that. I am, after all, a professional nut (short for nutritional cook).

Lately, writing about food feels ridiculous in the face of much wider global geopolitical events. Finding meaning in a recipe column can be hard when, all around us, horrific things are happening in the rising tide of racism and religious fever. For some time I’ve been feeling queasy about this.

It feels rather pathetic writing about a jar of salsa verde. I feel ashamed that food has colonised a rather large slice of my brain this week, while thousands of Syrian refugees continue to sleep rough in our ‘civilised’ Western world, and families in Manchester mourn their beloved.

And what now? Do I stop writing recipes? Stop feeding people in a mute sort of protest? Why can’t I stop feeling impotent? Is it shame for not helping or getting involved? Or is it raw, unadulterated guilt?

 

 

And then it hits me as ferociously as a fly swat. Food is not trivial. Food is an essential part of life, far beyond physical nourishment. Food is celebration. It is at the epicentre of our lives. We share stories of hope and fear at the dinner table. We find meaning over food – we come together and learn more about each other. Care for each other. Solve problems side-by-side. Navigate the world and its tumultuous prejudices together. It is through shared meals that we celebrate the essence of being.

I can’t adopt a Syrian child, or pick a family up at the Libyan boarder. But I can encourage you, dear reader, to eat together; to make meals together; to talk openly about issues affecting us both locally and globally; to invite new voices and new neighbours to the table; and, above all, to practice listening.

I ain’t no war correspondent. I’m a mother. A sister. A daughter. A wife. There’s a lot we can do in the war against Hate. It starts in the home.

 

 

Salsa Verde

For 150ml jar

 

1 good bunch flat parsley

Generous mint leaves

4 spring onions, chopped

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon capers

4 anchovy fillets

 

Roughly pull off the leaves from the parsley stalks, and drop them into a food processor. Compost the rougher stems – we won’t need them.

Add the remaining ingredients and pulse briefly until it looks like a chunky salsa. If you don’t have a processor, don’t panic. Finely chop it all and tumble together with clean fingers.

Serve on crostini with ricotta, beside white fish, alongside hummus, or crown a bowl of plain quinoa with this verde. During summer months, we toss it through spirulised carrot and apple and bring to BBQs. Your brilliance might piss everyone off, but that’s a pleasure in itself.

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

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Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Unicorn Bonbons

Unicorn toast sounds like something a softly spoken, vegan nanny makes for children after completing their origami homework and positive affirmation chanting. Right?

Wrong. It’s for spoiled brats living in L.A. and bonked-up adults like me. Unicorn toast is scorching hashtags all over the world, and accessing the deepest of crazy childhood recesses. Our synapses are trip wiring on the stuff, and our eyes are beating like voodoo drums. We. Can’t. Get. Enough.

Unicorn toast is set to be the biggest food trend of 2017. All you need is a thick slice from a square-shaped loaf, such as Irish brown bread. Some cream cheese (DIY recipe in my Sunday Independent column this weekend my friends). And food colouring. Breathe – I haven’t completely lost my mind. Wholefood junkies have thankfully hijacked the movement with Mother Nature’s library of colours; yellow turmeric, red raspberry, pink strawbs and green matcha powder. And guess who won the dance off? Let’s hear it for the plant-powered hippies!

 

 

Unicorn lattes have even started making guest appearances on Starbucks menus all over NYC, turning suited stock brokers into a gaggle of giddy girls on their coffee break. And now, the unicorn bonbon is exploding across the Irish countryside from Cobh to Cong.

You don’t need to stock up on 12 different plant colours. Stress gives you inflammation. Even I’m not that unreasonable. Just start by choosing two unicorn shades from the following …

pink raspberry powder
purple beetroot powder
blueberry powder
orange gojiberry powder
green barleygrass or wheatgrass powder
red strawberry
cherry powder
yellow turmeric*
pastel green Matcha green tea powder*

(*You’ll only need half a teaspoon for these final two colours, in the recipe below).

 

 

 

Unicorn Bonbons

Makes 26

1 teaspoon of plant-powered colouring (see options above)

120g desiccated coconut

45ml coconut oil

60ml honey (or rice malt syrup for vegans)

2 tablespoons coconut flour

Squeeze of lemon

Pinch of sea salt

 

 

1 Using a food processor, blitz the ingredients into a soft snowball. My food processor usually takes 20 seconds to do this.

2 Pinch a piece of dough and roll into a smooth bonbon. Repeat until all the dough is gone. Chill until set.

3 Repeat the recipe, with lots of different colours. These unicorn bonbons freeze really well if you run out of refrigerator storage or stomach space.

 

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive a new weekly recipe direct to your inbox.

 

Out next week, the paperback version of The Virtuous Tart, in all good Irish bookstores. New price too. Twit-twoooo!

Events

The Top 20 Irish Instagrammers, for foodie whores

This is my list of sonic wholefood Instagrammers I lovebomb everyday.

I think you will too.

All are Ir-ish and have a unique voice.

Think of Instagram like your own personal trainer on the path to better food choices. Surrounding yourself with thoughtful, inspiring cooks will change how you see food and seep into your kitchen like tea from a teabag; softly, slowly, but full of flavour.

Cooking for yourself and for those you love is a deeply meaningful experience. What makes food truly satisfying is not just the physical hunger-squashing sensation of mainlining food into an empty stomach. It’s the adoration poured into the preparation of ingredients, and the fulfillment of receiving someone’s time and dedication. Nothing beats the magic of homemade food.

High-vibing wholefood IG accounts feel like they can burst into my body’s engine room with an emergency toolbox and remedy a mood slump.

So here they are … in no particular order!

 

 

 

Happy to be home again in my own kitchen

A post shared by N I A M H B R O W N E (@niamhmbrowne) on

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Good morning #breakfast #berries #yoghurt #simple

A post shared by Helen James (@helenjamesdesign) on

Little gem going up in an hour ? link in profile ?

A post shared by Terry Cullen (@twowoodenhorses) on

I really hate strawberries. Like, REALLY | #onthetable #jetteswork #lifespantry

A post shared by Jette (@jettevirdi) on

Panna cotta in all its glory on what appears to be Spring starting. #foodstyling #foodphotography

A post shared by Zita (@afoxinthekitchen) on

We planted SO many radishes today. 3 different kinds. I have a big stack of empty egg boxes that I just can’t throw out and usually give them to someone with hens but today we filled them with compost and planted our tiny radish seeds! Once the seeds germinate in about 2 weeks we’ll slightly crush the outside of the egg box (top tip thanks @raedih ) and plant them outside in the soil. It was such a lovely way to spend an hour though and makes the smallies think even more about where their food comes from and what it takes to grow something. We are all VERY excited and have checked on them several times and watered them, again, before bed ?? #gardening #growyourown #radishes #growyourownfood #gardeningwithkids

A post shared by Lilly Higgins (@lilly_higgins_) on

 

An army of carrots.

A post shared by Keith Coleman (@keithjamescoleman) on

 

I know there are many more awesome Irish Instagrammers, so forgive me for not including them here today. These are my current faves, and represent where my headspace is right now (ego-free, meat-free, mindful, locally-sourced, veg-bombing beauts). If you’re a big meat eater, or a paleo fiend, then check out Natural Born Feeder, Domini Kemp and Little Green Spoon for extra inspo too. Love and peas! xxx SJ

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive a new weekly recipe direct to your inbox.