Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

New-dles … and a kickass harissa

spirulisercourgettes SJW

Move over kale.

Courgette is here with its own range of kitchen appliances.

That’s right. Sales of spiralisers in Dublin are tailing sales of teapots. To the tea drinkers of Ireland, this might constitute a national threat.

Spiralisers are those dinky kitchen gadgets that can twist and turn a courgette into glorious ribbons of vegetable spaghetti. Courgetti, to be precise.

Carrots work beautifully too. Tumble in some spicy olive oil to your spiralised carrot, add some fresh parsley and lemon, and you have yourself a carrot noodle dish in less than 60 seconds. Italians in LA came up with the ingenious concept of spiralisers. (Of course they did).


courgette spaghetti


Courgettes are not a sexy veg. This is why they’re called zucchinis in America.

These svelte green veggies are a type of summer squash. We’re probably more familiar with the sweeter, carbalicious winter squash, such as butternut. The zucchini is lighter and less fibrous than its wintry cousins (maybe that’s why it rhymes with bikini). But both varieties are rich in vitamin C. Our bodies need vitamin C for luminous skin. No wonder the Hemsley sisters are horsing into courgetti every day. They’ve even started manufacturing their own line of spiralisers. Smart girls.


harissa healthy recipe


Harissa (Courgetti)

Harissa is a spicy North African paste guaranteed to send your blood beating like a bodhrán. This version is designed to oil those squeaky knees and rusty wrists. It marries chilli pepper with omega-rich hemp seed oil to help reduce inflammation and pain. Food scientists have found that capsaicin, a compound found in chilli peppers, encourages the body to release its natural painkillers and stress-busting endorphins. So by all means, feel free to use more chillis than stated. Let your body levitate.

While hemp oil sounds like a member of the narcotic squad, don’t get too excited. It’s not. Unlike olive oil, hemp seed oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (psst, don’t fry with it!) Omega-3 enables our bodies to manufacture lots of good prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances involved in refereeing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is not confined to Sunday morning hangovers. It also covers bronchitis, arthritis, eczema, asthma, sprains and large egos.

This harissa keeps in the fridge for at least one week provided you hide it behind the stinky cheeses away from thieving mitts. Otherwise, expect it to last sixty seconds. Seriously good barbecue fodder and all-round friend.


3-4 red peppers

Splash EV olive oil

6 red chillis

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground

1 tablespoon caraway seeds, ground

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons EV hemp seed oil or olive oil


Slice the peppers into chunks, discarding the inner white film, stalk and seeds. Toss on a baking tray with a splash of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.

While the peppers cook, get going on the remaining ingredients. Using disposable gloves – if you have nappies to change later you’ll burn the bejaysus out of your nipper’s bottom – cut the chillis down the side and scoop out the seeds and pith with a teaspoon. Discard. Or rub on husband’s toothbrush if he hasn’t taken out the bins.

Blitz the chillis with the herbs, salt, garlic and tomato until it forms a smooth paste. Toasting the seeds on dry heat, or even frying on a hot pan with a lick of oilve oil helps bring out their bewitching aromas. Not necessary though – it will still taste amazeballs.

Now, and no sooner, add the roasted red pepper and vinegar. Pulverise to your satisfaction. Stir through hemp seed oil and scoop into your serving dish. Avoid adding the hemp seed oil while pulverising the former ingredients or the harissa will turn pink. And no one will eat it, even if it sounds mildly illicit.


harissa zoodles recipe




Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Videos

Pina Kaleada – me on Jamie Oliver’s channel

turmeric pina kaleadakale summer


I really dig Jamie Oliver’s online channel, DrinksTube.

You will too. Over the last few days I’ve learned how to make cold brew coffee with kitchen paper, nail a recipe for me own home-made cola, and submit to world champion free-runner Tim Shieff.

Gah! Why haven’t I subscribed sooner than this???

Head on over. I’m on it this week, doing a Pina Kale-ada recipe for hot summer days (ahhhh summer in Dublin. It’s my favourite day of the year).


Instagram PinaKale


Very stoked, and very nervous. (Unfortunately, I accidentally dressed like a bloody pineapple).

It’s a smashing tipple – I beg you to make it (click here to watch it). And give it a thumbs up if you fancy seeing more healthy recipes on Jamie’s channel.

Nope – you won’t taste the kale. If you could, I would be the first to spray it all over the kitchen counter.


Until next time!

x SJ





photos Saskia Vermeulen. Thank you Team DrinksTube!





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

Probiotic Brownies

I’m with Roseanne Barr. I don’t know why people hate PMT. It’s the only time of the month when I can actually be myself.

These pecan brownies contain zinc, a fancy mineral our body needs to manufacture hormones. Think of hormones as the call centre for mood, and for hundreds of other intricate biological processes inside the body.


probiotic brownies 2


We’re told that a deficit in zinc can result in hormonal imbalances, sharpened fangs and many code red situations.

I figure making brownies is considerably cheaper than attending a psychotherapist.

Zinc is also important for our front line defences. Without it, our immunity wheezes. Sometimes it can be easy to tell you have a deficiency – scrapes or bruises will take longer than usual to heal. Sound familiar? If you’re worried, always contact your GP or dietician.

Me? I tuck into these badass brownie bites. They contain very few ingredients and don’t require an oven or brain cells. Score.


probiotic brownies 3


Probiotic Brownie Bites

This raw brownie recipe was first published in my Sunday Independent column five years ago. It has since done laps on the international blogosphere, and features in many hip cookbooks. Fly my pretties, fly!

(P.S. yez can find bags of cheap medjool dates in Halal stores. Otherwise, you’ll be shelling out £3 per dozen in regular supermarkets).


2 cups pecans or walnuts (we use Lidl, top quality)

1 teapsoon probiotics (optional snazz, we use Udo’s)

9-12 medjool dates (regular dates won’t work)

Good pinch of sea salt flakes

6-8 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder  


Using a food processor, pulse the nuts and optional probiotics until they are crumbly.

Add each medjool date down the food processor chute, one by one, while the motor is still running. It’s important to bin the stones first, and to check for black dust. If you find that dreaded powdery black stuff, stop the motor, discard the date and any dates it happened to socialise with, then wash your hands thoroughly and proceed as usual. Black dust is a sign of plant mould and occurs with one in every sixty medjools in my experience. Gah!

When all the medjools have been added, spoon in the cacao or cocoa powder. A generous pinch of sea salt flakes is all that’s required now. Give it one last blast in the food processor. Pinch the brownie ‘dough’ together with your fingertips. It should stick like gum.

Scoop into a pre-lined loaf tin. I use baking parchment. Press down firmly with the back of a spoon and freeze. After 1 hour, remove from the freezer, chop into bite sized brownies, and return to the freezer in a glass or plastic container. This is where they will live until beckoned. The idea is to eat them straight from frozen. You’ll soon understand why.

Makes a lavish snack, which is what all snacks should be.




Taking the hell out of healthy.

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