Browsing Category

Vegan &/or Raw

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

Umami Grenade – nori paste

Ocean vegetables are the Biggest Thing since Ron Burgundy’s sideburns.

Calling them ocean veg is, of course, diplomatic speak for seaweed. We Irish seem to think seaweed is only useful for deflecting annoying children on the beach. In fact, seaweed is full of anti-aging love bombs and disease-fighting lignans. But you already knew that, right?

So why don’t you eat more of it? I understand. It’s hard to get your head around those slimy straps of ominous weed. But I bet you horse into it at your local sushi bar, eh?! Yes – that shiny green wrapper cavorting on your sushi roll is called nori; the most popular form of seaweed in the West.



Nori is ace. One serving of this Japanese nori paste will give you just under half the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron. No iron, no mojo. Women in particular need more of this blood building mineral. Not saying why.

Both nori, and its brothers and sisters in the ocean veg world, deliver a cargo of calcium for strong bones. Not worried about your bones? You should be, especially if you’re female. One in four Irish women will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. That number jumps to one in every two women, over fifty. it’s a serious problem, one that, admittedly, ocean veg ain’t gonna solve. But think of it as artillery, along with weight bearing exercise like pilates which bones love.

At a recent Irish Osteoporosis Society annual meeting, speakers addressed Ireland’s unique problem. We have one of the highest fracture rates in the world. So eating dairy is definitely not curing the calcium conundrum. Clearly it’s more complex than scarfing into cheese. Our levels of vitamin D are intimately linked to calcium’s absorption, so I vote serving this calcium-rich nori paste with mackerel, high in vitamin D.



Nori Paste

This nori paste is a game changer, and will have your synapses doing somersaults. I now bestow this recipe upon you, with deference to my food crush Katie Sanderson. Hallowed be the paste. I hope it has you frolicking on the dance floor well into your nineties, and lepping after lovers.


10 sheets of nori
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or palm sugar
1-2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soya sauce
100ml (3.5 floz) water


Using a scissors, roughly chomp the nori sheets into bite sized pieces. Migrate to a saucepan, and add your choice of natural sugar, some brown rice vinegar and the soya sauce. If you are coeliac, you can find wheat-free soya sauce called tamari which will work beautifully. Leave everything to chillax for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, cook on a gentle heat with 100ml (3.5 floz) water. Remove from heat after 10 minutes, or when the nori collapses into a paste. Store in an air tight jar once cooled, and keep for up to 7 days in the fridge. Indecently tasty stuff.




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

Probiotic Peppermint Creams

Cacao (pronounced ka-kow) sounds like something a superhero would do to a villain. Which isn’t far from the truth.

These Probiotic Peppermint Creams will help jumpstart your evening, once your little vandals are sound asleep. It’s miraculous I’m still breathing after an entire day minding a team of toddlers. If my freezer didn’t have these Peppermint Creams waiting patiently for me, I’d be hitting the gin with a soup ladle.

One tiny sliver will deliver a dose of omega-3 to your hormone’s HQ. Yep. Thank you walnuts.

We make the peppermint cream filling from avocados and maple syrup. No one will know, except of course for your cholesterol levels which should benefit nicely too. Avocados have a jolly fine fat called monounsaturated oleic fat. This is the one your doc wants you to date. Monounsaturated fat has shown to help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, while simultaneously raising your HDL “good” cholesterol. Fist. Bump.


The Virtuous Tart cookbook

The Virtuous Tart cookbook


Cacao is basically the untreated cocoa chocolate bean. We’re told cacao has much fancier antioxidants than regular cocoa, by virtue of being raw and unprocessed. More antioxidants means more ninja moves on pathogens and free radicals in our system. I do like the idea of boosting my immune defence with chocolate.

But let’s not stop there. Let’s add some probiotics to the mix, and give our pipes a party. My eldest son can’t stand natural yoghurt, so I like to sneak probiotic powder into this Peppermint Cream filling instead. MacGyver would be proud. This stuff should be nominated for a Nobel Prize in chemistry. It’s lordly.

We use Udo’s Probiotic Powder, because it’s available nationwide in pharmacies as well as health stores. (And because I’ve been chosen as their goodwill ambassador, hurrah! Udo’s products are The Snazz).





Probiotic Peppermint Creams

Biscuit base:

2 cups walnuts
8 medjools, stones removed
3 tablespoons cocoa or raw cacao powder
Pinch of sea salt


Peppermint cream filling:

2 ripe avocados
50ml-80ml maple syrup (depends on your sweet tooth)
½ teaspoon real peppermint extract or 4 drops of culinary grade peppermint oil
80ml coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon probiotic powder


Raw chocolate frosting:

4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
½ teaspoon real vanilla or peppermint extract


In a food processor pulse the base ingredients together until it fraternises into a chocolatey lump. You might need a teaspoon of water to help it along. (A blender really won’t work here, as it’s too powerful). Scrape into a regular loaf tin, lined with cling or non-stick paper. Press and smooth down.

Using the same food processor bowl, now blitz the ingredients as listed for the peppermint cream filling. You’re looking for a sumptuous, glossy cream. Pour on top of the base, and freeze for at least 30 minutes before slicing little pieces of Narnia from it.

If you want a topping, gently melt the coconut oil with your maple syrup. Whisk in the cacao or cocoa, and a drop of peppermint extract. Pour across the peppermint cream layer. Return to freezer, and hide it behind the fish fingers.




! Giveaway !

If you got this far down the post, then you deserve to win a couple of my cookbooks!


Savour Kilkenny food festival are giving away front row tickets and two copies of The Virtuous Tart this weekend. Deadline is Monday, to tag a pal on their Instagram post right here.


Good luck! And see you at my cookery demo in Kilkenny’s Savour foodie fest – I’d really love to meet you all. 

x SJ



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

Back-to-School Bonbons

Nut-free bonbons for your little chap’s lunchbox.

A total game changer for their dimples and their diet.


back to school recipes


I made these at Electric Picnic last weekend, and used them as currency into the VIP porter-loos (oxymoron?) Must is a great master.

Those of you who didn’t manage to get your mitts on my cookbook at EP, my publishers have promised to give you 20% off online orders with free postage & packaging ANYWHERE in Ireland. Groovy, eh? Think of it as a highfive for your health.

Just use the code … EP2016 … when checking out. The special offer for The Virtuous Tart cookbook link is here. And also here for The Extra Virgin Kitchen paperback.

Much love to your pots and pans,

SJ x




Makes 30



1 & ½ cup squidgy medjool dates

Nearly 1 cup of Linwood’s milled sunflower & pumpkin seeds (or use a coffee grinder to mill the seeds yourself)

3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon spirulina or wheatgrass powder

4 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon real peppermint extract

Sea salt (for adults)   




Belt everything in a food processor (not a blender) until it forms a dough ball. Pinch a small blob off, and roll between your fingertips into a chocolate bonbon. You’ll get about 30 of these.

Chill until set. They also keep really well in the freezer, for lunchboxes later in the month.