Tuesday, November 27, 2012


It's vegan Christmas cake time - woo! I love this boozy, fruity cake which I adapted from a recipe of Rose Elliott's. I made it yesterday with help from the two youngest. Each year I feel like trying a new recipe but I've been making this cake for years and it is utterly delish. It's a 'work' cake but if you can't put the work in for Christmas, when can you? I always get comments from people who've made this cake and loved it, so please comment!

It's a good idea to get all your ingredients weighed and ready in advance - it makes it all go smoothly.

Juno mixing, Finn waiting his turn
This recipe makes a lovely moist cake; we used it as our wedding cake in 2010. We eat it plain but you can buy vegan marzipan and icing to decorate it if you like.

Nollaig shona! Happy Christmas!

Leaving a collar of paper above the tin stops the top of the cake burning

350 gr wholegrain spelt flour (I use Doves Farm Organic)
175gr vegan marg
175gr light muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
150gr sultanas
200gr raisins
150gr dates
50 gr flaked almonds
1 tblsp treacle
100gr glacé cherries, halved
grated zest of an orange
2 tblsps ground almonds
120ml soya milk
2 tblsps red wine vinegar
¾ tsp of bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
6 tblsps (90ml) brandy


• Preheat oven to 150˚C
• Grease an 8" cake tin and line with a layer of greased greaseproof; leave a ridge of paper at the top
• Sieve the flour and spice
• Rub in the marg until the mix is like breadcrumbs
• Stir in the flaked almonds and treacle
• Add the sugar, dried fruit, cherries, orange zest and ground almonds and mix
• Warm half the soya milk in a small pot and add the vinegar
• Dissolve the bread soda in the rest of the soya milk, then add
this to the milk and vinegar mix (it will puff up nicely!)
• Stir this into flour and fruit mix until well combined
• Spoon mix into greased tin and smooth the top
• Bake for 2 hours, until a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean
• Leave cake in tin to cool, then turn out and peel off greaseproof
• Prick cake with a cocktail stick and feed with a third of the brandy
• Wrap cake in greaseproof and store in a tin
• Feed with the rest of the brandy at weekly intervals (if the cake lasts that long!)

The cake fresh from the oven

The finished cake

Monday, November 19, 2012


This sounds wonderful, a Christmassy cookery class with the lovely Liz Nolan - I would so be there if I weren't going to be in Lisbon. Liz is the author of My Goodness, a stunning book. Great Xmas prezzie - class or book! From Liz:

Next vegetarian cookery class - Saturday 8th December with a hint of Christmas!
For those of you interested in coming to my next vegetarian cookery class with a 'hint of Christmas' about it, please see the recipes I'll be cooking under the 'classes' section on my website and contact me if you'd like to put your name down.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Hallowe'en! Here is my brack recipe. The brandy really makes this cake - gives it a lovely richness. You could use whiskey or just use 210ml of tea if you don't want alcohol in the cake.

I had no ring to add to the cake this year so I wrapped a one cent coin in greaseproof paper and popped it in the centre of the brack. Traditionally, the person who finds the coin in their slice of brack will enjoy good fortune.

Eat plain or buttered with a cup of tea.


180ml tea
30ml brandy
250g raisins
75g brown sugar
1 beaten egg
25g melted marg
255g wholegrain spelt flour
1tsp bread soda
1 tsp mixed spice


- Soak the fruit, sugar, brandy and tea in a bowl - leave until cold
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Grease and line the bottom of an 8" round tin
- Add the melted marg to the fruit mix. Stir through.
- Add the beaten egg. Stir through.
- Sieve then fold in the flour, bread soda and spice
- Pour into the lined tin (insert wrapped coin or ring at this point, if using)
- Bake for 55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
- Cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

Hallowe'en breakfast with bat zogabongs

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Emily Dickinson by Nicole DeClerck

I have a poem coming out in the spring in the American journal Prairie Schooner. It's called 'Miss Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake' and is based on Dickinson's recipe and a little on her life. I've been a fan since I was very young. When I workshopped the poem at my writing group, I made the cake for our tea break. I've made it again today, so here is the recipe.

Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

This makes a lovely, simple, light cake. The recipe was adapted by some ED fans to suit modern weights/measures etc. I decided to use the American measurements as I own a set of measuring cups and am leaving them that way here. If you don't have measuring cups, be careful with the weights/volume. There's a conversion chart here.

1 cup dessicated coconut
2 cups flour (I used half self-raising, half wholemeal spelt)
1 cup sugar (I used light brown muscovado)
½ cup butter (I used Pure marg)
½ cup milk
2 eggs
½ tsp bread soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 180C
Line an 8" square cake tin on the bottom, grease the sides
Mix butter and sugar
Add beaten eggs and milk
Sieve the flour, bread soda and cream of tartar and mix
Add the coconut and mix
Bake for 30 minutes
Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out

I have also made this cake with raspberries. If you want to do this add in 150g of frozen raspberries with the coconut.

Coconut Cake with Raspberries

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I am madly excited to discover that Brendan Lynch from the Great British Bake Off has his own site chockers with recipes. Coffee and Walnut Cake anyone? Chocolate and Vanilla Bagels?!?

I'm not just rooting for Brendan because he is clearly the best baker there, he is also Irish :) His gingerbread birdhouse was masterful never mind what stuffy old Paul said.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


You can use wholewheat flour instead of spelt flour for these buns, if you prefer, but the spelt flour gives a lighter texture. These are a great snack: low in sugar but sweet because of the orange. This recipe makes 12 small, tasty, low GI buns.

Preheat oven to 180˚C


250g (9oz) wholegrain spelt flour
25g (1oz) light muscovado sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 tblsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice
zest of 1 large orange
juice of 1 large orange
50ml soya milk
1 beaten egg (OR 1tsp NoEgg mixed with 2tblsps water)
2 tblsps vegetable oil
12 muffin or bun cases


• Put muffin cases into bun tray
• Sieve the flour, spice, cocoa, sugar and baking powder into a bowl
• Zest and squeeze the orange
• If using, make up the NoEgg as per pack
• In a jug, mix together the soya milk, oil, orange juice and egg mixture
• Make a well in the flour and beat in the milky mixture
• Mix in the orange zest
• Divide the mixture between the muffin cases
• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes

We decorated ours with about 10 squares of dark chocolate, melted, with one teaspoon of icing sugar mixed in. Also jelly beans!

My chocolate splattered helper :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fundraising vegetarian cookery class

On Saturday 28th July Liz Nolan of WholeFoodMatters is running a special fundraising vegetarian cookery class in Galway.

This class is in aid of Lily Mae Morrison, the 4 year old daughter of dancers Judith Sibley and Leighton Morrison. Lily-Mae has been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. Class will run from 10am 'til 1pm. More details in ‘classes’ section of Liz's site. If you’d like to attend the class please ring or text Liz on 086 8099604. Cost is €50 and all proceeds will go to the Lily- Mae trust.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Cannellini Bean Burgers
Two of the kids have their party today, so there will be a few adults present too, including my sister. We always seem to serve the same food when she is here so today I decided to try something from Liz Nolan's beautiful book My Goodness. I've adapted her mung bean burger recipe, which she in turn adapted from one by Madhur Jaffrey.

The mixture
My mixture was loose (I gather it's meant to be) but I found that made it hard for turning the frying burgers so I added two small handfuls of wholegrain spelt flour to thicken the mix.

Makes 12 burgers


254g tin of cannellini beans, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped small
2 tsp mixed herbs (use 1 tsp if you don't want a very herby taste)
1 crushed Oxo veg stock cube
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium courgette, grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 small handfuls wholegrain spelt flour
rapeseed oil for frying


Using a hand blender, blend the cannellini beans, garlic, onion, herbs, stock cube, salt and olive oil until smooth
Grate the carrot and courgette into a large bowl
Add the sesame seeds and cannellini bean mixture and mix well
Heat oil in frying pan, when hot, use a tablespoon to drop a blob of the mixture, pat it down with the spoon
Cook on medium heat for 4 mins then carefully turn it over and cook the other side for a further 4 minutes
The burgers should look golden brown.
Serve on a wholemeal bun with salad and hummus. Yum! I just hope my sister approves :)

The burgers frying

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Life is very busy at the moment (new book out in June) so I am not able to post here as much as I'd like. I just want to quickly bring your attention to a fabulous new cook book from Galway-based cook and nutritionisit, Liz Nolan.

The book is called My Goodness and I went to the launch recently where I sampled some tasty treats from the recipes. Beautiful salads, pesto, hummus, dark choc truffles etc etc. I can't wait to start to try them myself. In the meantime, Liz runs veggie cookery classes and her website Wholefood Matters is here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I love lemon drizzle cake and this recipe is adapted by one from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella's wonderful book. I always adapt recipes to reduce the amount of sugar. Most recipes have far too much IMO and that results in super sweetness. I love sweet things but don't want to feel icky after eating cake. I also substitute some or all of the flour with spelt flour. I like spelt's denseness but didn't want this cake to be too dense either. Anyway, it turned out gorgeous: properly lemony, nice and sweet, and sticky on top. In fact, it is calling to me from the tin: Eat more of me!

125g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
75g spelt flour
125g butter
pinch of salt
zest of 1 large lemon
2 eggs
4 tblsps cow's or soya milk

75g icing sugar
juice of 1 large lemon (4 tblsps)

·        Preheat oven to 180˚C
·        Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
·        Cream the butter and caster sugar
·        Add the eggs and zest and beat well
·        Add flour and salt and fold in completely
·        Mix through the milk
·        Pour into the cake tin
·        Make the syrup while the cake is cooking by gently heating the lemon and icing sugar until the sugar is melted
·        Bake for 45 minutes or so, until golden on top, make sure it is cooked through with a cake tester/skewer
·        Using your skewer, puncture the top of the cake and pour the syrup evenly over the cake
·        Cool completely in the tin before turning out

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The Galway Food Festival takes place the Easter weekend. They have a great blog here featuring some of my favourite spots like Kai and Griffin's Bakery. Worth a look!

Friday, March 16, 2012


The finished buns
Juno and Finn decorating
Ahead of St Patrick's Day tomorrow (Happy Paddy's Day!) we made some lovely buns. This recipe is adapted from one of Nigella's.


125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
125g marg, melted a little (softened)
½ tsp vanilla essence (I used one vial of my Lidl Belbake Butter & Vanilla flavouring)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tblsp cow's or soya milk


1 large bar dark choc, melted
2 tsps of icing sugar, to thicken
green and orange jelly beans


Preheat oven to 200˚C
Line a 12-space bun tin (my mix made 16 buns)
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, except the milk; beat well with a wooden spoon
Add the milk slowly and beat in gently
Plop the (quite runny) mixture into the bun cases using two spoons
Bake for 18 minutes or so, until golden on top
Cool on a wire rack
Break the choc into squares, put in a large bowl over a small pot of hot water
When the choc melts, add 2 teasponns of icing sugar and mix through
Splodge onto the buns with a spatula, stick on the jelly beans and, voilá, Irish buns!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Look what I got in Lidl today for €1.99! These gorgeous Belbake flavourings. They are in little vials! The cuteness. They are mostly veg oil with natural flavourings: lemon, rum, almond, orange and butter & vanilla. And they are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. I can't wait to crack open a vial and make something. My 9 year old has already requested Butter & Vanilla Buns for Paddy's Day so that may well be what I make.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


My husband and I love food. As veggies it's not always easy to eat out. But Galway city is good. Fantastic veggie food can be found at Da Tang Noodle House; at Ard Bia at Nimmo's; and at Tamarind by the Spanish Arch. These are firm favourites with us.

New places we love for food are Kai on Sea Road, where we had great curry recently, and the ever so cutesie tearoom Cupán Tae on Quay Lane. Think kitschy china, quirky teapots, net curtains and proper cake plates. We had scones, carrot cake and a divine lemon drizzle cake there lately. Droooool. And the staff are friendly! It's our new dessert place of choice but they also do salads and sambos, including a Veggie Deluxe. I look forward to our next trip into the city to sample more of what Cupán Tae has to offer. There are only 40 miles between me and their lemon drizzle cake :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Vegan squash & courgette risotto
Only make risotto if you have time - it's a dish that needs to be minded as it cooks. We are having a lazy Sunday so this was the perfect dish for today. I adapted the recipe from one by Catherine Fulvio from her lovely book Catherine's Italian Kitchen. Mr Vegan pitched in and we enjoyed making this together; it turned out delicious, so we enjoyed eating it together even more. I even have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Yum!


1 medium butternut squash
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 sml courgette, thinly sliced
handful of basil leaves
250g arborio rice
600mls veggie stock


·         Preheat the oven to 200C
·         Cut the squash into large chunks (no need to peel), remove the seeds and place in a roasting tray.
·         Add a good glug of olive oil, the garlic and half the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
·         Roast for 30 mins (or so) until golden and soft.
·         Allow the cooked squash to cool slightly then scrape the flesh from the rind and mash it with a fork.
·         While the squash is roasting, heat olive oil and fry off the onion and courgette until soft.
·         Add the rice and stir it through until the rice is coated with oil.
·         Add 100mls of stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer, while stirring constantly.
·         Reduce the heat and add stock one ladle at a time, always stirring.
·         Let the rice absorb the liquid then add more, always stirring.
·         After about 20 mins the rice should have softened and be creamy but still have some bite.
·         Add the mashed squash and stir through and serve.
·         OPTIONAL: You can grate some Parmesan over the top for non-vegans.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegan Coconut & Almond Bars

I love coconut. I made a coconut cake recently that I will share anon but first these coconut and almond bars - they are lovely and sweet and chewy and full of good things. I overbaked mine so they turned out a little too golden-brown, so I have reduced the cooking time here. They were still delicious though!


75g ground almonds
75g porridge oats
50g muesli
150g dessicated coconut
75g brown sugar
half teaspoon salt
185ml soya milk
1 teaspoon almond essence


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Grease a baking tray
  • Combine the almonds, oats, coconut, muesli, salt and sugar in a large bowl
  • Combine the soya milk and almond essence and add to the dry ingredients
  • Mix thoroughly, and firmly press (with your hands) onto a greased baking tray
  • Cook at 180C for 25 mins, then raise temp to 230C for another 5 mins, or until golden-brown
  • Mark into 20 squares while still warm (I used a fish-slice)
  • Cool and eat!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mam's Jam

My two sons made this blackberry jam for me for my birthday with their Dad. Very sweet.

I have a Summer Fruits Jam recipe here if you feel the need to make jam - frozen fruit is fine for jam making. Half the fun is picking the jars and making the labels, I find.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Vegan Three Bean Salad
Because Mr Vegan is a vegan and protein at mealtimes is always an issue, I decided we need to eat more beans. We already use them in soups, curries and chillis but, up until now, have not really incorporated them into salads. I took a pea salad recipe off Wise Móna's fantastic blog as a starting off point and made this delicious Three Bean Salad today.
Helper Juno with the beans
Tesco very handily sell a tin of mixed beans (cannellini, adzuki & flageolet) and I used that. You can, of course, cook your own dried beans.

  • 400g tin of mixed beans
  • 150g sweetcorn
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 small onion – chopped small
  • handful roughly chopped coriander
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • half tsp sugar
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 15 ml red wine vinegar
  • Mix the beans, sweetcorn, onion and carrot in a big bowl
  • In a small bowl mix the oil, sugar, vinegar and garlic
  • Mix dressing into salad then add the coriander