These deliciously dark, squidgy brownies are an absolute treat (and shhh! contain a few tricks too). Make these for the little monsters in your life and trick them into eating beetroot, sunflower seeds and black beans. Hahahahahaaaaaaa! *evil laugh*
This tricky treat is packed full of plant protein and fibre. It is gluten, nut, dairy and egg free, but most definitely not flavour free! So it’s perfect for everyone to enjoy at your Halloween party. These are seriously good, let us know if you make them. All the ingredients can be added to your next order. Did you know we have compostable bags of nuts, seeds, oats etc in the grocery section of our shop? We deliver to every address in Ireland. Happy Halloween!
100g sunflower or pumpkin seeds
100g porridge oats (gluten free if needed)
100g sugar (or your choice of sweetener)
100ml oat milk (or any dairy free milk)
1 tin of black beans (including the liquid)
5 tbsp oil or butter
6 tbsp cacao powder
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
250g cooked beetroot
250g melted dark chocolate
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a baking dish (I used a 20x28cm one) with baking parchment.
In a food processor, blend the sunflower seeds and oats into flour.
Then add the rest of the ingredients except the melted chocolate. Blend until smooth.
Mix in the melted chocolate then pour the batter into the dish. Even it out, getting into the corners, then bake for 40 minutes or until cracked on top and still a little wobbly.
Allow the brownie to completely cool in the dish. Then remove onto a chopping board to decorate and slice as you like.
You’ll find countless iterations of this recipe on repeat in our house this time of year. Always hearty and wholesome, stuffed full of gorgeous autumnal vegetables and various pulses and grains. A pot of chilli is so versatile. Stick it in a bowl with rice or roasted potato wedges, scoop up with nachos, serve in wraps burrito style or make a batch for a messy-fun taco night. How do you serve your chilli non-carne?
Ingredients (serves 8)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
750g diced root veg (I used swede, carrot and beetroot this time)
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp each, ground cumin and coriander
3 bay leaves
100g each, dried lentils and quinoa
2 tins of black/kidney beans, drained
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml water or veg stock
salt and pepper to taste
*optional extra few tbsps of a ‘flavour bomb’ eg: soy sauce/coffee/cocoa
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft and starting to colour.
Then add the root vegetables and spices. Stir for a few minutes to release the flavours.
Add the lentils, quinoa, tin of tomatoes and water/stock. Season well with salt and pepper then simmer until the lentils are soft. This should take around 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking and burning on the base of the pot.
Then add the beans, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. I usually add about 3 tbsp of soy sauce or a tbsp or two of cocoa powder to enrich the chilli.
Serve with rice or wedges, in tacos or burritos or however you like! It’s even better the next day so make a big batch and get some in the freezer for a rainy day?
This is an Irish take on the traditional, spicy, fermented side dish from Korea, kimchi. The most common kimchi is traditionally made with Chinese leaf (or Napa) cabbages, but we love to make seasonal versions all year round with our incredible range of Irish cabbages. This recipe would work with any cabbage but my favourite cabbage for kimchi has got to be the beautiful Savoy. With its beautiful ruffled edged, crinkly leaves and deep ridges, it is the perfect vessel to hold the spice paste and it is hardy enough to keep its shape even after fermentation. We have a wonderful harvest of savoys this year, why not add some extras to your next order and give fermenting a go!
Fermenting vegetables can sound a little strange and like a lot of work. But it is actually a very simple way to preserve excess vegetables (just a case of salting or submerging vegetables in brine and leaving them to do their thing at room temperature for a week or so) and it is incredibly beneficial to our health. Fermented vegetables contain trillions of live beneficial bacteria which enhance our gut health. This has a positive knock-on effect to our entire wellbeing. As well as being easy and super-healthy, fermented vegetables are completely delicious! They have a complex flavour and cut through rich foods, think ‘salty pickles’. Just the thing for finishing off a dish or popping into a salad or sandwich. We have jars of ferments on the table for pretty much every meal. Kimchi, of course, goes particularly well with rice bowls and ramens or rolled into sushi, but we are a bit addicted to ‘kimcheese’ toasties. Kimchi is also amazing on peanut butter toast or as a side with macaroni cheese. How do you eat kimchi?
1 savoy cabbage
natural sea salt
1/2 bulb garlic
4 red chillies (or to taste)
1 large ‘thumb’ of fresh ginger (or to taste)
First clean your work surface and the tools you will need – Find a large jar or several smaller jars and wash them and their lids well with dish soap. Rinse throughly with very hot water. Leave to air dry on a clean tea towel. Find your largest mixing bowl, or if you don’t have a very big one, use a large stock pot or plastic storage box. Clean it very well as above. Clean a large chopping board and knife and a small blender too. Now you are ready to start.
Pull a few of the tough, outer leaves off your cabbage, rinse and put to one side for later. These will be your ‘followers’ which will be important later. Rinse the rest of the cabbage, slice the leek in half lengthways, keeping the root end intact, and rinse out all the mud. Rinse your chillies and thumb of ginger too.
Chop the cabbage into quarters, remove the core from each quarter and thinly slice it and add it to the bowl. Then cut the rest of the cabbage into bite sized chunks and add them to the bowl. Chop up the leek into chunks too and add it to the bowl with the cabbage.
Now you need to add salt. If you want to be very precise, you can weigh the chopped cabbage and leek, work out what 2% of that weight is and use that amount of salt. Or you can do it by taste. I normally start with a heaped tbsp of salt for a whole cabbage and a leek. Mix it well and give the veg a bit of a squeeze and a massage, then taste. They should just taste pleasantly salty. Add more salt if needed, our cabbages are pretty big at the moment so you may well need to. Then let the salted vegetables sit while you make the spice paste.
Peel the garlic, slice off the stalks of the chillies and slice the ginger. Add them all to a small blender and blend into a paste. You may need to add a splash of water to help it blend.
The salt in the cabbage and leek will have started to draw out liquid from the vegetables and create a brine in the bottom of the bowl. You can help this along by giving the vegetables another massage. The vegetables will wilt and decrease in volume and should look quite wet. When you pick up a handful and squeeze, lots of lovely brine should drip down into the bowl. Then you know you are ready to mix in the spice paste and pack your jars.
Use a wooden spoon or gloved hands to mix the spice paste into the salted vegetables. Be careful not to get any of the spice paste on your skin or in your eyes as it can really sting. Then start packing your jar/s.
Do a small amount at a time and firmly press it into the jar ensuring there are no air pockets. Use gloved hands or a clean rolling pin or spoon to help you pack it firmly into place. Keep going until you have either used up the mixture or you have a couple of inches of headroom left in your jar. You don’t want to over-fill the jar as during fermentation the brine can bubble over and escape, making a bit of a mess in your kitchen.
Now you need to figure out a way to hold the vegetables safely down under the brine. Any veg exposed to air on the surface are likely to catch mould. So first use the outer leaves of the cabbage, that you saved at the beginning, to tuck the vegetables in so they won’t float up during fermentation. Take your time and press the edges of the leaves down around the insides of the jar to ensure there are no gaps for the chopped bits to escape through.
When you are happy that your ‘follower’ leaf has done its job, you can add a weight to hold everything down under brine. This needs to be something food safe that won’t react with the salt. So glass is best. A small water glass or ramekin which fits inside your jar and can be pinned down with the lid is good. Or fill a clean pesto jar or similar with water, make sure the metal lid isn’t touching brine, and pop that in. Other weight ideas are a large, very clean (boiled) beach pebble (just make sure it is not a limestone/chalk) or a ziplock bag filled with water.
Place the lid loosely on your jar so that gases can escape during fermentation but no bugs/dust can get in. Or you can put the lid on tight and ‘burp’ your jars every day by opening and closing them to release built up gases. If you have a clip-top jar like mine, you can simply remove the rubber seal during fermentation.
Put the jar on a tray or plate on your work surface out of direct sunlight. Let it ferment for 1 week then it should have transformed into a tangy, delicious pickle! If you would like to ferment for longer then you can of course, just find a cooler part of your house like a basement so that it ferments slowly. When you are happy with the flavour you can remove the weight and ‘follower’ and pop the jar into the fridge where it will keep for 3-12 months.
Make your kimchi last well by decanting it into smaller, very clean jars and just eat one jar at a time. This way the pickle will be exposed to less air. Also, never double dip when eating your kimchi as this would introduce new bacteria from your mouth into the jar. Enjoy!
Well, it is that time of year when you can legitimately have some fun with your food. As well as putting pumpkin in everything, let’s make our food a little spooky too! This pumpkin pasta sauce is a doddle, just bake it in the oven while you get on with something more important – making an elaborate Halloween costume perhaps? Then either serve the pasta and sauce as they are, or if you want to go the extra mile, bake some meatballs (my plant based recipe is below) and top with sliced cheese and olives to make them into eyeballs.
I’ll be sharing some other Halloween food inspo soon, but I would love to know your Halloween classics. Let me know in the comments.
Pumpkin Pasta Ingredients (serves 4-6 people)
1/2 a kuri squash pumpkin (or butternut), gutted and diced
6 cloves of garlic to ward off the vampires, peeled
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
500g dried pasta
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Find a deep baking dish.
Tumble the diced pumpkin/squash and peeled garlic cloves into the dish.
Drizzle generously with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands then bake for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Remove the dish from the oven, mash the vegetables with a fork then tip in the two tins of chopped tomatoes. Season again with some extra salt and pepper to taste.
Stir well then return the dish to the oven for another 20 minutes or so until hot and bubbling. Meanwhile cook your pasta in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.
Drain the pasta and stir it through the hot sauce. Enjoy as it is or with meatballs, cheese slices and olives (see below for my vegan meatball recipe).
Vegan Meatballs Ingredients (makes approx 40 small balls)
50g nuts (walnuts are brilliant here but any fatty nut will do)
50g pumpkin or sunflower seeds
150g porridge oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 onion & 4 cloves of garlic, diced and fried in a little olive oil until soft
2 tins of cooked lentils, drained
4 tbsp olive oil
a handful of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
You will need a food processor with an S blade attachment. Pulse the nuts and seeds first until they resemble course flour.
The add the remaining ingredients and pulse together, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally, until you have a thick, rustic paste. Don’t over-blend, it’s nice to retain a bit of texture.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper or herbs.
Then form the balls by squishing a small amount of the mixture together using your cupped palm and fingers. Gently roll between your palms into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Toss with a little vegetable oil and bake until hot. Around 20 minutes at 200C is sufficient, these veggie meatballs can get a little drier than their meaty counterparts so be careful not to overcook. Turn the meatballs halfway through cooking. Serve in pasta sauce or with mash and gravy.
Romanesco are the most stunning vegetables. Closely related to cauliflower and broccoli they can be used interchangeably in place of them in recipes. We have an incredible crop of them right now, in fact we have too many! The unseasonably warm autumn has meant our brassicas, which we hoped to harvest in the winter, are ready early! Will you help us prevent food waste by ordering an extra Romanesco or two with your next order? Why not steam and freeze some for a rainy day? Did you know that ensuring your freezer is always full makes it run more efficiently and use less electricity? Or another easy way to preserve the harvest is to make this delicious quick pickle.
This beautiful, pine-tree-like vegetable would be perfect on the Christmas table, and although ‘quick pickles’ don’t last as long as the canned variety, it should be fine for Christmas if you make some in the next few weeks. Just keep your jars in the back of the fridge. Delicious with crackers and cheese or on salads or stew, pickles are often that missing tangy ingredient.
1 romanesco, cut into small florets & the stem/core thinly sliced
1 white onion, peeled & sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
1 tbsp each: black pepper, mustard seeds, ground turmeric (or your choice of pickle spices)
600ml apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp salt
Sterilise enough jars to fit your vegetables. You can do this in a number of ways. I simply wash and rinse them then place them in a clean sink and fill up the jars and lids with freshly boiled water from a kettle. Leave to sit for a minute then carefully tip out the water (use oven gloves or a folded tea towel so you don’t burn your hands) and let the jars air dry.
Divide the garlic and spices between the jars then fill up with the Romanesco and onion slices.
Heat the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a pan until just boiling. Then pour the solution over the vegetables so that they are completely submerged. Make more of the vinegar solution if needed. It all depends on the size of your Romanesco!
Immediately secure the lids on the jars whilst they are still piping hot. Allow to cool on the counter and then place in the fridge. They should be ready to eat in 3 days and will last well for 2 or 3 months.
This humble half-soup, half-stew (stoup?) is so delicious. One of those perfect easy, one pot, mid-week meals that soothes and satisfies. Smooth, blended soups are great but this Autumnal twist on a minestrone is all about the combination of textures. Crunchy, delicate cabbage, floury, hearty beans, nutty, sticky brown rice (or swap with pasta) and melt-in-the-mouth pumpkin, all suspended in a silky broth.
All the ingredients can be delivered by us to your door. We have an abundance of autumn vegetables coming out of our fields at the moment. Why not cook up a few batches of this soup and freeze for a rainy day?
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small leek, rinsed & chopped
250g kuri squash pumpkin, diced
250g celeriac (or celery), diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme (or herbs of your choice)
1 tbsp dried mushrooms, chopped
100g short grain brown rice (or 200g pasta)
2 x 400g tins of white beans
1/2 a Savoy cabbage, rinsed & sliced
1/2 a lemon, juiced (or 1 tbsp vinegar)
salt & black pepper to taste
pesto/cheese/olive oil/pepper to serve
In a large pot, sauté the leek, pumpkin and celeriac/celery with the olive oil until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, season generously with salt and pepper and stir for 2 minutes.
Then add the dried mushrooms, rice (or pasta) and cover with a litre and a half of water. Stir briefly then put the lid on and simmer until the rice (or pasta) is cooked through.
Add the beans along with their starchy cooking liquid, and the chopped savoy. Brighten with the lemon juice (or vinegar) and add another litre or so of water so you reach the consistency you prefer.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Reheat to wilt the cabbage and serve.
This is delicious as it is or give it a little lift with a drizzle of good olive oil or pesto over each bowl. For added richness and flavour add grated cheese (or a sprinkle of cheesy nutritional yeast flakes if you want to keep it dairy free).
For a warming bowl of hearty food in a hurry, try this quick curry. Cabbage and potato are made for each other aren’t they? With the addition of some warming curry spices and creamy coconut milk, these humble ingredients can really sing! Of course you can tweak the recipe as you like with the addition of cooked chickpeas and some cauliflower/romanesco florets etc. Let us know if you tried it in the comments or over on our community facebook group.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
8 small/medium potatoes, chopped
1/2 a savoy cabbage, sliced
fresh chilli to taste, sliced
1 heaped tsp each: brown mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder, salt and black pepper
Cabbage rolls are so delicious! The simmered cabbage wrappers turn tender and sweet and are the perfect vessel to hold together a tasty filling. I lean towards herby brown rice, mushrooms and beans as in the recipe below, but of course you can fill them with whatever you like. Traditional minced meat and seasonings, a spiced mashed potato and chickpea curry, or make a twist on an enchilada and stuff your leaves with a tasty chilli? Bake in a rich tomato sauce, a curried coconut broth or simmer in a simple stock. Cabbage rolls can roll with whatever you are in the mood for. How do you make yours?
Ingredients (for 8 rolls)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
10 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 400g tin of black beans, drained
200g short grain brown rice, rinsed
1 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
8 savoy cabbage leaves, rinsed
natural yoghurt to serve
Start with the filling. In a small pot which has a lid, fry the mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and when the mushrooms start to take on some colour, add the rice, drained black beans, dill and water. Put the lid on the pot. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. The rice should absorb all the water and be perfectly cooked after around 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. In a wide, heavy bottomed pan which has a lid, fry the onions and 4 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden and soft. Add the bay leaves and the tin of tomatoes. Swirl the juices from the tin into the pot too with half a tin of water. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce gently simmer while you wait for the rice to cook.
Once the rice is cooked through, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper or dill. Then you can assemble the rolls.
Use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to flatten the tough stalk of each leaf. This will make it easier to roll. Then divide the rice between the 8 leaves and wrap them up. I find it easiest to have the stalk end closest to me, place the rice in the centre of the leaf, then roll the end of the stalk away from me, over the rice, tuck the sides of the leaf in, then roll on to the top of the leaf.
Place the parcels, seam side down into the tomato sauce. Tuck them in snuggly so that they don’t unravel as they cook. Then put the lid on, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Alternatively you can place the pot in a hot oven.
Overnight oats are so creamy and delicious, they fill you up and feel a bit special. Make these and give your past self a pat on the back in the morning! This autumnal version is probably my favourite. A creamy and sweetly-spiced pumpkin and cashew cream layer topped with an apple, oat, chia and pumpkin seed layer. I eat mine with a dollop of natural yoghurt on top.
Overnight oats last well in the fridge for 3 days. Mix up the ingredients and layer them up in jars or glasses and that’s breakfast sorted for a few mornings. This recipe makes 6 portions. Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your recreations with us in the comments or over on our friendly communityFacebook group.
Ingredients (serves 6)
Pumpkin Cashew Cream:
500g kuri squash pumpkin (or sub with butternut squash or similar)
100g cashew nuts
6 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Apple Overnight Oats:
180g porridge oats
3 tbsp chia seeds
6 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 apples, grated
500g milk (any milk you prefer)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
Yoghurt to serve
Chop the kuri squash into bite sized chunks, no need to peel but do remove the seeds, and roast at 200C until soft. This usually takes around 20 minutes.
Spoon the cooked squash into a blender with the rest of the Pumpkin Cashew Cream ingredients and blend into a smooth, thick cream. Taste and add more maple syrup if you prefer it sweeter.
Mix all the Apple Overnight Oats ingredients in a large bowl.
Divide the pumpkin cream between 6 bowls/glasses/jars. Top with the apple-oat mixture.
Cover the portions and refrigerate overnight (or eat right away). They should stay fresh for 3 days in the fridge.
Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt. Scoop down to get a bit of both layers in each bite!
The traditional model of the family farm is we are told “unsustainable”. The powers that be are insistent that the best way forward for food, is large scale intensification.
Supermarkets are putting more and more distance between the farmer and the consumer; it is now impossible to understand where our food comes from our how it was produced.
While the conventional system ignores the true cost of food, and is driven by supermarket dictated prices, the sustainable food movement aims to value food fairly, create a connection between growers and consumers and reward those involved in the production fairly according to their input.
This week we were confronted with a task that is less than pleasurable and brings me to a particular bugbear of mine: should we discount our food to sell it? Should we stop supporting other small businesses because the backdrop of cheap food makes it increasingly difficult to pay a fair price to our own farm and to the other farmers that supply us? And the answer, whenever we think about the pressures this puts on our business, is always the same, no it is not the right thing to do.
We have so much good produce now, it is literally bursting out of the ground, and we have hired so many people to cater for an upturn in demand that the end of the summer usually brings, but has not yet materialised, and I am wondering what to do with all the cabbage, broccoli, kale and carrots parsnips and so much more that we have in our fields right now.
I know this is business and I should just get on with it and you would be right for saying that, and I totally get it. But there is a point in here that drives me a bit crazy: which is the devaluation of food by the supermarket model of selling and the inability for us as a small businesses to compete with retailers that can often sell cheap, imported produce for less than we can produce it for.
This is a fact. To give you a little example we buy cucumbers from a small organic farmer in Mayo, we pay him €1 per cucumber we collect them and the time and energy to get the cucumber to us adds another 20%, so the real cost of this cucumber is €1.20. We sell this cucumber for €1.99, that 80c needs to cover so many different things and so many different people in jobs: from customer service to packing jobs to everything in between (we now employ 45 people). So, when I see large supermarkets selling cucumbers for 49c I just can’t understand how that can be done.
There is no getting away from the fact that value is so important, but long-term value versus short term gain is the real issue here, fresh local organic produce will always give you better nutritional value, better sustainable value, better value for our localities and communities and better value for our health.
Of course, balancing a household budget can be very difficult too, and that we are mindful of. To help with this we have many options to help with this: such as the build your own box that gives excellent value, we also have now the added incentive that if you set up a repeat order you get double reward points for everything you buy. Finally, if you buy a cabbage or a swede from us it can be nearly double the size of those you get in the supermarket for the same price! That is double the food for the same cost!
But fundamentally your decision to support us is supporting not only your health; it is allowing an idea, a sector, a farm, individual’s livelihoods, biodiversity, the soil, the environment, and other sustainable businesses to flourish. You are sending a message to the powers that be that you believe there is a better way and crucially you are taking positive action for a more sustainable future.
Thank you for your support.
PS: Set up a repeat order (you can add extras to it whenever you need them) and collect DOUBLE POINTS on our new VIPeas loyalty scheme. This is a great way to save up for money off your big Christmas shop. Have a look at our website here for all the options. You can get a set box or pick and choose exactly what you need. We sell sustainable groceries too!