My Favourite Thing about Ireland

Ah, summer in Ireland. It’s my favourite day of the year. But my second favourite thing about this beautiful country is roving through her towns and villages … and celebrating the place-names. It’s something I do with a mixture of pride and bewilderment, like watching your infant son picking up his first forkful of food before smearing it all over his face.

Wexford is a good place to start. That handsome county has always attracted its fair share of randy holidaymakers. You’ve got Heavenstown, which sounds nice, and it’s just up the road from Fannystown, of course. Except it’s all downhill from there. Literally. Take a left in Horetown and you’ll soon end up in Bastardstown. Woopsiedasies. Is it any wonder tourists find themselves bolting to Effin Limerick?

Ever been to Kinsale? It’s where my older brother threatened to take me when I irritated him. He was saving up for a Nintendo 64 and said he wouldn’t have use for me any longer. Marginally better than Kill, I suppose. Or Nobber.

Yes, Nobber, home to the legendary Muff Crescent. Not the town. The road. I like the town as well. Mind you, I often wonder what life is like up there in Muff. How’s the traffic? And the weather? Is it hot and sweaty, or icy cold this time of year? And tell me, does Muff have a diving club? (As it happens, yes.)

By the way, what sort of gal lives in Hackballscross? I know a lady who’s never been to Cum. (I’m not brave enough to Google Cum, Mayo). And then there’s Kilbrittain. Michael Collins country.

And Cavan, eh? A toddler’s dream address, with Legwee, Fartrim and Fartan. But Meelick is the genius child of Galway, not too far from Willyrogue Island. Beat that, Cavan.

And home, at last, to Dublin, with its wealth of suburban retreats. When I get sick of Stillorgan, I go straight to Curly’s Hole. It’s near the Bull Wall. And why did Dollymount Strand? To get a Fairview of Curly’s Hole. Don’t blame me. Blame history, darling. Embrace it. Or move to Shepherd’s Bush.



(originally featured in the Sunday Independent’s “Favourite Things About Ireland”)

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Cold Brew Cacao

This cold brew cacao tipple is a paean to hip hop and our new-age cooking. Try it without grooving. It gives a blood-gurgling boost of magnesium, the mineral us fillies can crave every month. Magnesium has shown to help alleviate circulatory problems such as varicose veins, headaches and cramps. Score.

Cold Brewing cacao nibs is the brainchild of Mike Cooper, Britain’s King Kong of Coffee. Cooper’s following is almost religious; such is the dedication of coffee lovers all over the world. Cold brewing coffee gives a deliciously complex cup, dancing with flavours and layers. Apply a similar technique to raw cacao beans, and you’ve got yourself an opera a cup. It’s my new food crush, sending my pheromones into orbit.



cold brew cacao nibs

Raw cacao wasn’t to be found in Ireland or conversations 10 years ago. Now every supermarket chain stocks some variety of it – cacao nibs, raw powder, cacao butter.

Little cafes from Bandon to Bray boast about using raw cacao beans in their desserts, straight from the chocolate tree. And if chocolate comes from a plant, it’s basically a vegetable, right?


Cold Brew Cacao
Makes 750ml

250 raw cacao nibs
750ml cold fresh water


Blitz the cacao nibs in a blender until they are roughly ground. You can also use your trusty pestle and mortar with some serious muscle.
Now transfer the roughly ground nibs to a large glass bowl and pour 750ml cold water on top. Give it a good smoosh, and let the flavours infuse and permeate the water for 16 hours (overnight).
Drain through a coffee filter, or a nut milk bag, or a very fine sieve to catch the residue. You can ditch or compost the solid collected in the filter.
Store the cold brewed cacao in your fridge and add to coffee or drink as is. You might like to soften it with agave or maple syrup.



reading list that excites me



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

Me on Jamie Oliver’s Channel

I filmed a quick recipe over on Jamie Oliver’s channel. This drinks owns the summer, like Miley Cyrus owns twerking (only more tasteful I promise).

You can even pour it into dinky lolly moulds to impress the in-laws.


Leave me your thoughts and comments on the box below the vid, and let me know which drinks you want to see up on DrinksTube. I’ll get my geek on. I do the research, so you won’t have to!

Until then!



(photo credits Saskia Vermeulen)