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Warm Chickpea Summer Salad

The trillions of microflora that can be found in the gut play an essential role in supporting strong immune and digestive systems. At any one time, your gut can contain 1.5kg of bacteria. Giving them some TLC is pretty darn important in my experience, especially if you’ve had a recent course of antibiotics. I’ve joined forces with Bio Kult, bringing you a fibre-rich recipe to pimp up your pipes (see cookery demo at the bottom of this post) .

Fibre is a good source of fuel to get the party started for your gut’s metropolis of microflora. That, and a good serving of natural yoghurt on top. If you’re interested in learning more about the brilliance of our very own internal ecosystem, then I highly recommend Gut by Giulia Enders from your local book store. It’s so incredibly witty, intelligent and informative. Plus, it might just change your life.

Serves 6-8 as mains or side dish

2 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 large onions, diced
6 fat cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 fat thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground curry powder
2 tins chickpeas
500g rainbow chard, baby spinach or cavolo nero, sliced
Natural yoghurt, to serve


Heat the butter over a hot flame and tumble in your cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop (30 seconds), turn down the heat and add the onion. Sweat for 10 mins until softened before adding the garlic and ginger. Cook and stir for another 3-5 minutes until the onions have caramelised and before the garlic burns. Pour in the tin of tomatoes and cook down for 5 minutes until thick (see video above).

Parachute in the curry powder, sliced greens, and the drained chickpeas. You can loosen up the dish by adding a little chickpea juice from the tin. The greens need a few minutes to wilt down into the dish. Cook for a further 5 minutes before seasoning, plating up, and serving with poppadoms or rice and natural yoghurt.

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Aubergine Rendang

I have completely bastardised lamb rendang, and man, did it work. I use 75% less red meat than the traditional recipe and lob in lots of aubergine and gojis. Goji berries look like teensy chillies in the rendang and will scare the bejaysus out of your housemates. Small pleasures in tough times.

These teensy gnarled berries hide most of their beauty. Gram for gram, one serving of goji berries can deliver more vitamin C than those egotistical oranges. Gojis are a good plant source of iron and protein too. As a tonic, they’ve been central to Tibetan and Chinese medicine for over a thousand years. This berry’s immune-boosting reputation might stem from its specific polysaccharide permutation, just like mushrooms. Polysaccharides apparently work by influencing our immune response by stimulating certain ‘fighter’ cells. Fancy shmancy. But science is rarely that simple. Perhaps its impressive stash of antioxidants is responsible for all the hype? Nutritional yah-yah aside, I love their flavour in this dish. That’s good enough reason for me!

Zenning my face off. Photos by Joanne Murphy for Clever Batch cookbook


Serves 8 with rice

2 brown onions, chopped

5 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil or ghee

600g lamb chunks, preferably shoulder

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped

2 stalks of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped

2 fingers of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons black or yellow mustard seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons ground turmeric (or grated fresh root)

A good few turns of the salt and pepper mill

1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut milk

Generous handful of dried goji berries

4 large aubergines

Fresh coriander, to garnish


Start by sweating the onions on a gentle heat with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil or ghee until glassy (5–10 minutes). Add the lamb, garlic, chilli, lemongrass, ginger, spices and a few twists from the salt and pepper mill. No need to brown the lamb first. Whack up the heat for a few minutes to briefly sizzle and colour everything, then pour in the coconut milk and turn down to a putt-putter. I use the lowest setting on my cooker. It needs 2–3 hours over a low-medium heat on the hob with a lid securely fastened. Any higher and the lamb will toughen. Taste after 2 hours and see if the lamb has collapsed enough or needs longer in the pot. It should be juicy and flavoursome, not tough. Give it more time if required.

Remove the lid for the final 20–30 minutes of cooking and parachute the goji berries into the mix. This will add sweetness and nutrition while concentrating the flavours. Rendang is best when it’s strong and punchy rather than soupy or saucy.

About the same time as you are adding the gojis, fire up your oven to 220C and slice the aubergines into thick discs, then into quarters. Divide between two roasting trays. Service each tray with the remaining coconut oil or ghee and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until soft and caramelised.

Once the aubergines are roasted, stir them through the rendang, tickle with fresh coriander leaves. Sticky black rice is a fabulous accompaniment if you want the rendang to stretch to eight mouths. We also love chickpea poppadoms and pickled red onion on the side.

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Awesome Freezer Dressings

I’m freezing all my dressings now in an easy ice cube tray (see image below), making cabin fever practically enjoyable. Instead of lolloping to the shops with disproportionate urgency and an over-zealous face mask (I own a balaclava), now I just grab a frozen dressing and leave it to defrost within minutes.

These little flavour grenades are perfect on top of plain soups, rice, fish, toast, waffles, eggs, roasted veg or despondent-looking salads. No mess. No washing up. Just yumdingers in an ice cube, and less reason to go outside and shop.

All 4 recipes come from the Freezer Dressings chapter in Clever Batch cookbook, which I’m not supposed to be sharing with you for copyright reasons. But my publisher (hi Gill!) will understand I’m sure, given the current state of chasis we find ourselves in, and the drive to stay at home and out of the neighbourhood stores.

No freezer? No problem. They’ll store beautifully for up to two weeks in a fridge. Some light relief for the cabin fever.

Nori Paste

Ocean vegetables are the biggest thing since Ron Burgundy’s sideburns. Calling them ocean veg is, of course, Oprah-fied. Here in Ireland we call them seaweed (but I’m with Oprah on this one – ocean veg sounds like a sultry Billie Eilish song rather than a slimy sea weed).

Nori, and its brothers and sisters in the world of ocean veg, can deliver a cargo of calcium for strong bones. Go nori! 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. Jeesh.

10 sheets of nori (an ocean veg, and a sort of sushi paper)

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1–2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar (or a squirt of lemon in a pinch)

1 tablespoon soya sauce

Up to 150ml water

Using a scissors, roughly chomp the nori sheets into bite-sized pieces. Migrate to a saucepan and add maple syrup, some brown rice vinegar and the soya sauce. If you are coeliac, you can find wheat-free soya sauce, called tamari. Leave everything to chillax for 20 minutes.

Add the water and cook on a gentle heat. Remove from the heat after 10 minutes or when the nori collapses into a paste.

Store in an airtight jar once cooled and keep for up to seven days in the fridge. Indecently tasty stuff.


In truth, a forgotten dishcloth would taste good in chimichurri. Serve with fried eggs, falafel, meat, fish, hummus, roasted veg. Anything, actually.

1 red onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 fresh green chilli, deseeded and diced (optional)

2 bunches of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

125ml extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

4 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or thyme


I prefer stirring all the ingredients together. You can, of course, use a food processor to break it all up and marry the flavours, but the end result looks different – greener and thicker than if you were to stir the listed ingredients separately.

Mizzle over plain veg or excite an unsuspecting bowl of rice.

Harissa Butter

One blast of this butter will have you trotting like a fiery showhorse. There is electrifying happiness to be found inside cayenne pepper. It’s not simply the heat hot-wiring your dimples. It is, in fact, the active compounds within the pepper that tickle our feel-good endorphins (essential fodder for cabin fever, noh?)

Special Agent Capsaicin is responsible for this biochemical effect. Surprisingly, capsaicin’s real prowess does not lie within its antioxidant taekwondo moves. Capsaicin is a brilliant agitator. As we freak out to cope with the blaze of a hot chilli, for example, our body releases an armada of natural painkillers in direct response to the capsaicin content. These endorphins canter through our bloodstream like nectar in our veins. Is it any wonder why a Friday night Thai curry is so damn popular?

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 garlic clove, peeled

6 tablespoons butter or ghee, softened

1 tablespoon ground paprika

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Squeeze of lemon

Pinch of fine sea salt

Pinch of chipotle chilli or cayenne pepper or chilli powder


Fire up a frying pan and dry-toast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds until your nostrils start to party. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to avoid scorching.

Transfer to a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder and pulverise to a powder. Now beat in the remaining ingredients.

Spoon into a silicone ice cube tray, freeze until firm and pop into a marked freezer bag. It’s a thing of beauty.

When the mood beckons, pop a frozen cube of harissa butter on top of toast with eggs or you can snazzjazzle a boring soup.

Photographed by Joanne Murphy at home, for Clever Batch: wholefood recipes to save you time, money and patience

White Miso and Garlic Butter

Hot melted butter, smashed garlic and a few teaspoons of sweet white miso paste will transform any tired vegetable into a sultan of seduction. Hell, even a tired flip-flop would taste damn good with this!

3 tablespoons ghee or butter

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 garlic clove, crushed

Gently warm your ghee or butter until it’s runny. Whisk in your miso paste and crushed garlic. Mizzle over veg or crisp Cos leaves.

A special announcement

Join me on Substack

Howdy! I’ll be deleting this website shortly. Gah! But please stay in touch – I so appreciate your loyalty and lovebombs.

You can continue to access my recipe drops over on Substack.  Hope to see you there, and to continue frolicking on this veggie-fueled dance floor.