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Irish Foodie Gift Guide

Black Friday feels like junk food for the soul. It muscles artisans, small producers, Irish growers, and sustainable eco brands out of the market. Now, more than ever, our local economy needs support as does our culture, our artists, our environment, the very fabric of our towns and cities need cheer leaders. I was on Amazon.de checkout last night with a freaking bobble head of Dwight Shrute for goodness sake! It’s so easy to end up buying rubbish under time pressure. I don’t know how it happens, but it does.

So I compiled this list to keep me on track. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying my best!

And I thought you might appreciate it too.

Here are some extraordinary goodies that we can delight in giving this Christmas, all local and Irish. Without our support, they just won’t survive. Our wallet is powerful. It’s how we can use our voice, especially when we feel unheard.


For the foodie:

Open Hive raw Irish honey, bee’s wax candles, and wild flower bee bombs. We took a tour of our nearest hive with Kyle and Sadhbh (photographed above) and fell in love with the majesty that is the Irish black bee.

Irish strawberry wine, made in Wicklow!

Mushroom growing kit or foraging event with Ballyhoura Shrooms.

My next cookery demo, as a gift! 3-class course of celebrating veggies for €49.

Nibbed Cacao and their raw chocolate melting spoons for €2.95.

Something celestial from the genius that is Bean and Goose. I usually get their 3 month tasting club as the ultimate gift for friends. (The gift that really does keep on giving!) Or a chocolate slab through the letterbox of someone you love.

Fermoyle pottery makes my food look 100% more beautiful. And if it looks better, it tastes better too!

Ireland’s first biodynamicly produced whiskey, called Luna. How awesome is this!

GIY grow boxes including a very special kids version, early spring edition, salad leaves grow box, all sorts of amazingness to help us connect with Mother N.

Organic blueberry bushes (2 are needed to pollinate) from Quick Crop Organic.

Clever Batch cookbook on sale this week for €16! I also love The Irish Cookbook by JP McMahon. And The Farmette Cookbook by Imen McDonnell.

Two Wooden Horses hand carved and torched serving boards. You’ll see mine hanging in my kitchen, they are that beautiful.

Nobo Christmas selection box, dairy-free chocolate with compostable wrappers and designed to fit through standard letterboxes. All you need is your pal’s postal addy!

Handmade Soap Co. for foodies who want to smell of mint, thyme and rosemary!

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Skin food freaks:

Bodhi Blends, food for the skin. I’m using Glow Drops right now, and love it.

Gua Sha tool at Oxmantown based in Dublin. Lots of face oils too, and fabulous scents if you want to smell as fresh as your kitchen garden.

Dublin Herbalists never disappoint. Sustainably packaged, and thoughtfully curated gift packs.

Baressential goodies for the face and the soul. Grá Mór.

Sprouted broccoli juice for glowing skin and a battery boost! I’ve been taking this for nearly 10 years, when my system feels under attack or my skin feels dull. A box of sprouted broccoli shots will make a really thoughtful gift to someone cocooning over winter. Admittedly they are not designed to casually sip and drink, I shoot mine back and chase it with a slice of lime (had plenty of practice for that in my twenties!)

Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks

Lunchbox Brack

Some get theirs following Wim Hof into iced water. Others rely on several espressos. The sensible among us find it hiking in nature. But I get my high from sneaking vegetables into family favourites. And brack is no exception.

My boys eat thick slices of brack at a speed that would rival a half-price sale at JD Sports. This made brack very vulnerable to a make-over, and a sly introduction to my Veggie Dance.

The result? Beetroot bombed. Parsnip wheezed. And courgette flopped like an exhausted backing dancer. Finally I figured we needed a sweet and spicy groove, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of baking. We found it in carrot and, yes, ginger. Feel free to add some crystalised ginger to raise the temperature like Fred would have wanted. We leave it out, to avoid screaming children.


320ml cooled rooibos tea

350g raisins

100g plain flour

100g wholemeal flour (or more plain flour, but GF flour won’t work sorry)

55g coarsely grated carrot

140g light muscovado or coconut sugar  

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice or mixed spice

1 egg


1 Soak your raisins in cooled tea overnight (or for 6-8 hours). Hot tea may sound preferable, but you’ll end up with no soaking liquid and a drier loaf.

2 The next morning, fire up your oven to 180°C. Line a 1lb loaf tin with non-stick parchment.

3 Beat the egg and stir through your puddle of soaked raisins.

4 Tumble in your flours, the grated carrot, your preferred sugar, some baking powder and a delicious smattering of spice. Rake through carefully. Spoon into your lined loaf tin and bake the brack for 75-80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Soggy centres are a common problem for brack beginners, so leave it in an extra 5 minutes if you’re unsure.)

5 Remove from the oven once cooked, leave to settle in the tin for 5-10 minutes, and turn out onto a wire rack. Let your nostrils twerk and boil the kettle! We love it toasted with a scrape of butter and a hot cuppa. If you want it to look really shiny on top, professional bakers brush it with a simple sugar syrup, which you can too.

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In other news, I’m holding a special vegetarian cookery demo on November 16 . Want to learn how to make some swift midweek vegetarian meals? That don’t break the bank or your tastebuds?! For more details, or to book your spot, click here. Come join me in my Zoom kitchen!

Events

Midweek Vegetarian Meals

Hello friends!

Will I see you in my home kitchen on November 16?

I’m holding a veggie-powered Zoom cookery class, to help us eat more plants and less meat.

Tickets on sale now! (To secure your place, you can click this link).

For €36, you’ll get two cookery demos with a focus on troubleshooting in the second session held on Nov 23; an interactive Q&A; a snazzy PDF of my favourite midweek vegetarian meals to get practicing; and guest appearances from random unscheduled children or pets.

Hope to see you there! Come and join me!

Love and peas,

Susan Jane