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Lunchbox, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

Celeriac and white bean puree

Not so pretty, these celeriac things. They look like a cross between the butt of a matted yak, and a swede with dermatitis. But damn, are they delicious.

Like Stephen Fry, you’ll find treasure beneath that exterior. There is a smooth understated elegance to a celeriac. And a faint nutty aroma. Indeed the celeriac is Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite root vegetable, so I became a disciple faster than green grass through a goose.

For a carbalicious root, celeriac is rather light on the tummy and even lighter on the wallet. Whizzed up in a blender with creamy white beans, it provides a comforting alternative to mashed spuds, when the mood yodels.

celeriac butter bean puree

 

And get this. Beans carry a cargo of B vitamins and fibre, making them the heavyweight champion food for healthy hearts. Gastroenterologists – the specialists who look after your pipes – recommend thirty to thirty five grams of daily dietary fibre. One cup of the popular red kidney beans provides eleven grams, while butterbeans ring in at sixteen grams per serving. Want to know the average daily intake in Ireland?  A measly ten grams. So forget that hideous childhood rhyme, and start loving beans. They love you.

While your colon gets a good spring clean, so too will your skin. Nutritionists are quick to remind us that a build-up of toxins in the body often manifests in skin complaints – spots, rashes, blotchiness, tantrums. Our skin is our body’s largest excretory organ. With the added vitamin C from celeriac, you’ll be well on your way to giving Angela Scanlon some competition.

 

celeriac butterbean

 

Celeriac and white bean puree

Makes 6 servings

 

1 teaspoon bicarb

350g dried butterbeans, soaked for 8 hours

½ head celeriac, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

A few twists of the salt and pepper mill

 

Bring a pan of water to the boil with your bicarb. Add the butterbeans and cook until tender (20-45 minutes). Drain the cooked beans, reserving 150ml of the cooking liquid for later.

Meanwhile, steam the chopped celeriac for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a blender along with the cooked beans, and whip until sumptuously smooth. You will need to add the reserved liquid, salt, pepper and excitement as you puree.

Scrape into a serving dish, smoothing the top, and mmmizzle with olive oil.

 

celeriac butter bean

 

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Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Milf Muffins – with chocolate chips

I wasn’t going to call them vuffins (vegan muffins) or millet n’ teff muffins. Maybe Milf muffins have been invented before, but I ain’t brave enough to Google the phrase.

Check out this recipe’s armament: chickpeas, teff, raspberries, millet, psyllium, olive oil and almond milk. A balistically good way to foxtrot some goodness into your system. Lots of anti-aging allies in there too. In theory these muffins don’t keep longer than two days. In practice, they won’t keep longer than two minutes.

I made them on TV3 tonight, with Lucy Kennedy and Martin King. Tune into The Seven O’Clock Show, to catch a playback of the demo, and I’ll join you in your kitchen!

 

milf muffins the virtuous tart
the dry ingredients:

up to 1 cup (100–140g) coconut sugar or jaggery powder (or whatever darn sugar you fancy)
1/2 cup (75g) teff flour
1/2 cup (55g) sorghum (sweet millet) flour
1/2 cup (55g) chickpea flour (brown rice flour will also work in this instance)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1–2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
palmful of dried mulberries and / or a generous palmful of dark chocolate chips

For the plant-based ‘buttermilk’:
1 1/2 cups (375ml) almond or other plant milk
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons psyllium husks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F. Line a 12-mould muffin or fairy cake tin with cupcake cases.

To make the ‘buttermilk’, whisk the plant milk, olive oil, psyllium and vanilla with a fork, then leave to rest while you get jiggy with the other ingredients.

In a food processor (or with a whisk and tenacity), blend all the dry ingredients except the mulberries together so that the baking powder is distributed evenly. If you have potato flour loitering in your pantry, you can replace half the sorghum with it. Very nice.

Add the plant ‘buttermilk’ and beat or purée until smooth. Avoid tasting the batter – wet chickpea flour tastes and smells like cat’s pee. The cooked result is awesome though, so do persist! Stir in the dried mulberries and / or chocolate chips.

Divide the dough between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for 28 minutes. When the muffins spring back to the touch, they’re ready. Remove from the oven, turn the muffins out of the tray and let them cool on a wire rack.

These are best eaten within 1-2 days, but I doubt that’s going to be a burden.

 

milf muffin the virtuous tart

 

From The Virtuous Tart cookbook, on sale on Amazon and all good bookstores across Ireland and the UK.

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

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Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Vegan Banana Bread

Coconut blossom sugar is a great sub for anyone looking to keep blood sugars a little more subdued. We’re not looking at a health food here – just a less evil variety of sweetener than that bad white bitch. This new exotic sugar is tastier than white sugar, and sufficiently pretentious to earn bragging rights with that annoying athletic dude in your office.

True disciples carry little dinky pouches of coconut sugar around in their hemp-woven tote bags, to sprinkle into beverages and conversations during the day. Let’s all blame Gwynnie (a favourite hobby of my husband’s).

Coconut sugar’s unique minerally taste comes from its modest stash of, erm, minerals. There’s a snifter of potassium, iron and zinc in there, causing great pandemonium among the glitterati in LA.

Aside from its titillating nutritional profile, this is one very tasty sugar with an equally spectacular price tag. So the fantastical fairy tale ends there I’m afraid. Gram for gram, it’s more expensive than quinoa hand-harvested-by-Justin-Bieber.

 

vegan buckwheat banana bread

 

 

2016 Banana Bread (egg-free, vegan, gluten-free)

When my nippers hound me for something trashy, I like to make this banana bread and drizzle dark chocolate over the top. The result is comically hypnotic. That’s because bananas and buckwheat go magically well together. They are the Amy and Brian of the breakfast table. One is naturally sweet, the other robust and burly. Add to this, coconut sugar’s spell, and you’ve got yourself a new BF.

And look, if the coconut sugar is a step too far, you can use fine rapadura sugar or muscovado. I won’t mind. Much.

 

100g extra virgin coconut oil (for vegans) or ghee, room temperature
160g coconut sugar
350g or 4 bananas, mashed
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon psyllium husks, soaked with 3 tablespoons plant milk (an egg replacer)
4 tablespoons natural soya yoghurt or any plant-based milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
200g buckwheat flour or brown rice flour (220g sprouted spelt flour is spanking delicious. Regular spelt flour will require only 180grams. Wholegrain flours can have very different levels of absorbency)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dusting of oats, to top (optional)

 

Fire up your oven to 180C.

Then beat the fat with the sugar. Add the mashed bananas, salt flakes, gooey pysllium ‘egg’, soya yoghurt or milk, and the vanilla extract. That’s your glue.

Tumble in the remaining ingredients (flour and raising agent). Top with thinly sliced banana if you have any leftover. Scrape into a large 25cm loaf tin, lined with non-stick parchment. Dust with oat flakes if you have some. Bake at 180 degrees for 60-70 minutes, until it doesn’t wobble in the centre. This banana bread doesn’t overcook too quickly, so relax if you left in in 10 minutes overtime.

Remove from the oven and let it settle for 5 minutes before ejecting from its tin and letting it to cool on a wire rack. This bread keeps really well all week in a bread basket, covered with parchment. When it gets old, a scrape of butter helps keep each slice moist.

 

 

In other news …

Very psyched that Jamie Oliver tweeted my flapjack recipe as part of his “10 Healthy Snacks to Kickstart 2016”. You can check his list out here: