See you at The Book Doctor, 2pm May 23rd

So, apparently I’m a Book Doctor this weekend. And even get a prescription pad! What craic!

As part of the International Literature Festival, a “clinic” is being set up across various Dublin book stores. I will be taking the pulse of your reading habits, and prescribing you a brand new book.

Other Book Doctors include Ryan Tubridy, John Banville and Paul Howard (aka Ross O’Carroll-Kelly).

You can book here, with all proceeds going to the extraordinary charity ALONE. There are only 20 places available for each Book Doctor, with a suggested donation of €5 per ticket.

Tickets on sale now. 

If you can’t join us at The International Book Festival, but would like to make a donation to ALONE, I’d be whoppingly pleased to send you to this page here.

Grá mór. 




book offer Wednesday only


Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Videos, x For Freezer x

Gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

Rosemary ain’t just a pretty fragrance. Its medicinal properties – appreciated by herbalists and Granny Joan for hundreds of years – are now being confirmed by modern science. Yes, a daily round of Sudoku (or brushing your teeth with your left hand) helps to keep brain rust at bay. But so too might rosemary.

This woody herb contains several groovy compounds shown to inhibit the nasty breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter for optimum brain function. Some of the drugs available for Alzheimer’s disease work similarly by interfering with acetylcholine breakdown. Mother N! You clever beast!


rosemary and lemon flaxseed focaccia_edited-1


A few other racy compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, contribute to rosemary’s health-buffing reputation. These acids, along with vitamin E and assorted flavonoids from the plant, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body and the brain (hangover anyone?)

If Sudoku doesn’t tickle your brain cells, this bread should sort you out. Don’t forget flax is nature’s richest source of plant-based omega 3s. Body. Slam.



Paleo & gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

What is paleo? It’s a screamingly trendy caveman menu of fruit, nuts, meat, dairy and eggs. Disciples are not so fond of grains or carb-rich foods.

Being a giddy herbivore for 90% of my day, I’m not an acolyte but I appreciate the appeal. Paleo bread recipes have been cantering across restaurants and cookbooks from Dehli to Dunlaoghaire. This one is the best of them all, and freezes exceptionally well.


3 teaspoons dried rosemary
240g milled flaxseed / linseed
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
185ml regular or plant milk
2 tablespoons black strap molasses

½ unwaxed lemon, juice and zest
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Handful golden sultanas or mulberries
Sea salt flakes, to dust

Preheat conventional ovens to 180 degrees, gas mark 4, fan assisted 160. Line an 8×10 (20cm x 25cm) with greaseproof paper. This will look like a focaccia rather than a loaf, that’s why we use something bigger than a bread tin or a brownie tin. Size is really important.

Let 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the ground flax and your baking powder party in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, molasses, zest and juice of your small lemon and olive oil with a fork until happily glossed up. Parachute your sultanas into the mix. Dried mulberries are also awesome but are dastardly expensive.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl, and immediately pour into your pre-lined tin. Spread evenly, and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top with a flurry of sea salt flakes. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and its tin. Allow to cool for 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with smashed avocado, black olive tapenade or hummus. This kale pesto is particularly good smothered over a slice, even 3 days old.


p.s. I know some of my terribly clever readers are bound to ask why I use 3 eggs here, and not 4 like the last paleo flaxseed focaccia. Smart question! This recipe requires less hold, becasue it does not have the addition of olives and tomatoes. Ta dahhh!




Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

How to Make Sesame Milk

Practically humming with energy, sesame seeds will deliver a fleet of minerals to service your mojo. These seeds are also crammed with B vitamins to nourish frayed nerves and low batteries at a fraction of the price of a marriage counselor. You’re welcome!

I learned how to do a fancy version of this at Katie Sanderson’s wholefoods workshop. This chef is peerless. If you haven’t joined Katie’s mailing list, you are doing your kitchen a grave disservice.


1 cup (135g) raw cashews (I use Lidl)
3-4 cups water (750ml+)
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon your preferred sweetener
4 tablespoons sesame seeds


sesame milk recipe


1. Soak your cashew nuts in cold filtered water for 4 hours or overnight. Cashews are much cheaper than almonds at the moment, and require less soaking time. Nice one.

2. In the morning, drain and discard the soak liquid, rinsing the cashews under running water. Tumble the wet nuts into your blender (mine’s an Omniblend, the poor man’s Vitamix). Add fresh water, a touch of sweetener (we like using 1 Medjool date) and a pinch of sea salt.

3. At this stage you can just add the sesame seeds, but toasting them will bring out their extraordinary rhythm. Toss them onto a scorching-hot, dry frying pan for 30 seconds. That’s it. You can toast them on a dry baking tray in the oven too, but preheating the oven will take much longer.

4. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the neighbours start shouting. Place a nut-milk bag or muslin cloth over a bowl. Pour the contents of your blender into the cloth, and strain it. A fabulous creamy milk will collect in the bowl underneath. You’ll need to use your hands to squeeze everything through, not forgetting to secure the top by twisting the cloth or bag. Regular nut milk is much easier to make than sesame seed milk. The tiny seeds do take a while to squish. Forgive me. It’s worth it!

5. Discard or compost the leftover dry pulp, as most of the nutrition has been transferred to the milk at this stage. Pour your sesame milk into a scrupulously clean bottle with a screw-top lid. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

We trickle it over granola and porridge, and use it in baking. But it’s also criminally good with coffee.



In other news, we are in the middle of shooting my next cookbook, The Virtuous Tart. This one will be demystifying all the ‘natural’ sugars on the market, with emphasis on the ones I dig. You can follow Team Tart on Instagram at @JoMurphyPhotographer and @oneligan 

VT shootVT team