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Vegan &/or Raw

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

Barbie Fudge

My giddy four year old came up with this recipe, when he accidentally dropped a small jar of beetroot powder into the pot while I was making a halva-style fudge. 

MacGyver has competition. Dynamite stuff.

Sesame are mighty little seeds. They are practically belching with B vitamins, the ones responsible for energy ignition and brain health. There’s a nifty plant-dose of calcium and iron too, for those of you who need to watch their intake (like pregnant wans and childer). This should help.


pretty pink barbie fudge


Pretty Pink Fudge

Marta, a very cool subscriber, sent me this video making one of my fudge recipes in the kitchen with her pet dog. Pharrell Williams even joins in. These fudge recipes are truly the easiest treats you’ll ever make, and possibly even the tastiest. No messin’.

While beetroot powder gives the best glow, freeze dried blackcurrant powder is practically inflated with vitamin C and therefore makes a better choice when your nippers are besieged by school germs. The Fresh As range are available in Wholefoods across the UK and hopefully soon in Ireland. 40g will set you back €5, but is the equivalent of 250g fresh blackcurrants. There’s an awesome freeze dried passionfruit powder too. 

The darkest pot in the picture is the latest Amazonian craze: acai berry. I’m not a huge fan because of its price tag, but it’s hot diggity with chocolate (more on acai berries here). I wouldn’t have bought a packet myself except that my little tinkers threw one into the shopping basket and I didn’t find out until I got home. Bugger. 125g costs €25.


3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

6 tablespoons raw pale honey (or light agave for diabetics)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt flakes

1 x 280g jar light tahini sesame paste

4-5 tablespoons beetroot powder

1 tablespoon dessicated coconut


On a very timid heat, gently melt the coconut oil. Let the honey, vanilla and salt join the party.

With a fork, beat through the beetroot powder and sea salt until the lumps dissolve. Whisk through the tahini.

Quickly scrape the mixture into a small rectangular container, lined with cling film. Lunch boxes are ideal. Decorate with dessicated coconut.

Freeze for 4 hours.


Raw Honey 




Lunchbox, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Big Bowl of Mexico

This is the only vegetable that sounds like an exciting substance. Maybe that’s why everyone loves a pepper. 

Most other veggies are used in a pejorative sense. Turnip reminds us of our Taoiseach. Pumpkin is one of the clumsy twits from a children’s novel. Aubergine belongs to a thousand bridesmaid dresses. And tomato is the shade many of us sport from May to August. That’s if you’re a ginger.

Pepper’s hell-raising nephews and nieces, the chillies, are indeed responsible for pepping up moods with their ability to release natural endorphins in our body. 

The larger equivalent however is juicier, sweeter and sensationally flavoursome minus the sting. Don’t ignore the plain pepper on your next supermarket trip, especially if you’re a smoker. Peppers contain plenty of beta-carotene, protective carotenoids and vitamin C to toughen up your immunity. Go for the yellow, orange and red ones raw. Green peppers are a little shy and therefore best roasted, grilled or ignored.


big bowl of mexico ingredients_edited-1


A Big Bowl of Mexico

This is the ultimate comfort food intended to feed indolent limbs and massage achy heads. You’ll find feisty chillis, potent garlic, sharp lime and fragrant coriander – a goblet of goodness. The recipe is a classic Jamie Oliver, morphed into the confines of my kitchen cupboard. He uses tortilla chips the way you would with croutons in a French soup. Let them soak up the soup and carry extra flavour.

Do try sourcing organic tortillas by R.W.Garcia. Celestial stuff. These particular tortillas don’t carry nasty fats or unpronounceable ingredients. You’ll find them in most health food stores and online from Ireland’s organic supermarket.


guacamole making with fresh limes

I like to lob in loads of fresh red onion. It’s a cheap superfood with a big personality. Think Katie Price. It can tart up a dish and lend some heat with its bite. Chefs, French men and scientists go mad for this bulbous little beaut.

Here’s why. Onions are flush with flavonoids, otherwise known as heavyweight antioxidants that fight ageing and disease. A growing body of research suggests that flavonoids help reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease (but not bad breath. Oh well. Small price to pay for a healthier hummer, no?). According to the Irish Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is the most common form of death in Ireland.  No harm in putting onions on your shopping list then, eh?

Quercetin is the red onion’s hallmark flavonoid, the one that robs all the limelight. Quercetin acts like an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory in the body. Interestingly, quercetin is not destroyed through cooking. It is thought to be transferred into the cooking liquid. That chicken soup granny does for indolent hangovers and the sniffles? It all makes sense now.  

Various studies also point to the onion’s role in maintaining strong bones. One such study, in the journal Nature, fed rats a small amount of dried onion and noted a 17% increase in calcium absorption. Imagine a pill that could promise the same?


For the soup:

1 large onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 carrots, peeled and cut into mouth-sized chunks

4 peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 cup of cooked black beans

2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 fresh bay leaves (pinch them from a neighbour’s tree)

4-5 cups good vegetable stock

1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika powder


For the best bit:

2 ripe avocados

1 lime

2 chillis, deseeded and finely sliced

organic tortilla chips

1 large handful of fresh coriander, torn


Put a large, deep-based pan on a low heat and splash in some olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, peppers and gently heat for 10-15 minutes until softened. Stir every-so-often to prevent burning at the bottom.

Add remaining soup ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the soup is gurgling away, peel and dice the avocado. Grate some lime zest over the avocado chunks, and squeeze on the juice to keep it from turning brown. Put in the centre of the table, next to the bowl of fragrant green chilli, torn coriander and plate of tortillas. You can also heat the tortillas in the oven for a few minutes at 180 degrees.

Have a taste of the soup, season, taste again, and once you’re happy, call in the troops.


black beans


Worried about the social side-effect of eating beans? I ask Harold McGee about the science behind trouser trumpets and beans, here on BBC’s food programme January 4th. Harold is everyone’s hero, but most famously, Heston Blumenthal’s culinary guru. ‘Nuff said.  


black beans tinned 


These beans are the best tinned variety on the market. Find them in Picado, a Mexican pantry on Portobello Bridge Dublin 2, or order them into your local grocers. The others are yaktastic in comparison …






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

Cooking with Donal, and raw chocolate

Apparently, women think about chocolate more than men. Some scientists think this is because eating cacao helps release a cavalry of dopamine in the female brain, the same substance released during orgasm. It’s even been suggested that when women eat raw chocolate, it affects activity in the cerebral hemisphere responsible for regulating sexual desire. Just saying. Like.

The brave Donal Skehan invited me into his kitchen, to test my theory.


But we did make a block of raw chocolate nib toffee, to help him and his missus kickstart their healthy new year resolutions. Join us over on Donal’s YouYube channel



Donal Skehan Susan Janecoffee bean halva


You can add some sneaky coffee beans on top, to cause some hipsteria.