Here in Ireland we need to do much better on plastic, we are at the bottom of the European league tables when it comes to plastic waste per person. By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans.
On our farm and in our business, we have spent 3 years looking at our processes and removing plastic where we can. In contrast to the green washing of most of the larger retailers who have promised and yet have not delivered we are doing what we say.
We do not use plastic in any of our seasonal set boxes, we use paper, and we collect and reuse our boxes, this is a fundamental cornerstone of our business. We realise that paper too has its own carbon cost, and we are looking at ways of trying to reduce that further. It bothers me a bit though, when the idea of using a paper straw instead of a plastic one constitutes progress, it is a small step, but it diverts attention from the real issues, such as the large scale use of plastics in the food industry.
The strain that humankind’s excessive consumption is putting on our planet is eye watering and for the environment and biodiversity the price is too great. We all need to consume less, whether it be plastic or otherwise.
I recognise the irony of encouraging less consumption and at the same time trying to sell our organic veggies boxes. But I have no shame in this, we run a sustainable business, we employ a lot of people in a worthwhile industry we grow local organic food and support so many other small scale Irish organic producers too and in order to pay them we need to sell boxes.
Everybody needs to eat, and it is impossible to assess the environmental credentials of most food businesses. This Christmas and new year if you want to know your food has been sourced and grown sustainably then throwing your lot in with us for your food is the right thing to do.
Our Christmas boxes and many other lovely Christmassy things (gift vouchers, wine hampers, original art and many eco-hampers) are available on our website, and they will be delivered the week beginning the 20th of December. The boxes are brimming with organic local (where possible) freshly harvested sustainable food.
We can deliver by courier all over Ireland and if you can place your order by the 12th you will be entered into a draw for an amazing hamper, it also guarantees you a delivery slot on Christmas week and helps us out immeasurably with harvesting.
If you want the most amazing fresh ingredients and also keep Christmas plastic free, local and sustainable then get a delivery from us this year.
Being a chef, I do mostly make everything we eat from scratch, but Thai curry paste from scratch involves buying lots of specialist ingredients. Our organic sachets contain no nasty preservatives, have authentic, top quality ingredients and make life simple and delicious!
This is one of our most-made fakeaways at home. Thai yellow curry paste is absolutely delicious, quite mild so the kids love it, but absolutely packed with complex flavour. Simply simmer a sachet with a can of coconut milk, add some cooked veg and you’re good to hunker down with a steaming, vibrant bowl of Thai food. This quick method is so flexible, chuck whatever veg you have handy into the roasting dish with some firm tofu – cubed butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, aubergine, peppers etc… and simmer any tender green veg with the sauce – asparagus, kale, spinach… I love it with fragrant jasmine rice or quickly boiled wide, flat rice noodles.
Let me know if you try any of our organic, ready made sauces and what your best recipes are with them. I’m working my way through them all to give you some fuss-free fakeaway ideas for those days we really can’t be bothered to cook from scratch.
optional toppings – fresh coriander, lime wedges, chopped scallions, toasted cashews or sesame seeds, salted peanuts, sliced red chilli…
Preheat your oven to 200C. Cube up your tofu, carrots and sweet potato and add them to a roasting dish. Of course you should feel free to use alternative vegetables.
Drizzle the veg with a little oil and season simply with a big pinch of salt. Toss the vegetables with the oil and salt and put them in the hot oven to roast for around 20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile make the curry sauce. It’s as easy as emptying the contents of the sachet into a pot with the contents of the can of coconut milk. Turn the heat on and allow the ingredients to mingle and simmer.
Then put on your jasmine rice. For two people I measure out an espresso mug of rice into a fine sieve then give the rice a good rinse. Then tip the rinsed rice into a small pot with 2 scant espresso mugs of water. Put the lid on the pot and put it on the hob on the highest setting. As soon as the rice comes to the boil, turn the heat to the lowest setting and leave it to absorb all the water. Do not stir the rice or remove the lid. This whole process should take about 15 minutes for white jasmine rice – brown rice takes considerably longer.
While the rice is cooking and the veg is roasting, turn your attention back to the pot of curry sauce. You can add tender, fast cooking greens to the pot just before the veg is ready to come out of the oven. I used kale this time. Strip the leaves from the tough stems and slice the stems very thinly. Add them to the pot of simmering sauce to soften well before you add the leaves. Add the leaves 3 minutes before you take the veg out of the oven.
Once the roasted vegetables and tofu are cooked through, take them out of the oven and scrape them into the pot of curry sauce and kale and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. You may wish to add some lime juice or salt.
Serve the curry and rice in bowl and top with chopped coriander, spring onions, chilli and lime wedges. Additionally add toasted cashews or salted peanuts for some welcome crunch. Enjoy!
Easily get 10 portions of fruit and veg into your day with this plant based St Patrick’s Day menu. No green food colouring in sight but lots of vibrant, fun, healthy ideas. Hope you have a fab day off everyone! Let us know what you are cooking to celebrate the day in the comments or over on our friendly facebook page.
Green Smoothie Pancakes
Is it even St Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat something green? Avoid the food colouring and get out your blender for these sweet (but healthy) pancakes.
Ingredients (makes 10 pancakes)
a couple of large handfuls of rinsed kale (or spinach)
Put all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup into a smoothie maker and blend until smooth.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium then melt some butter and fry the pancakes in small batches for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. It’s better to cook them low and slow so that they are cooked through and not too dark on the outside.
Stack them up and serve simply with butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup or your favourite pancake toppings.
Golden Boxty with Rainbow Slaw
Traditional Irish potato griddle cakes (but with very non-traditional grated courgette in the mashed potato batter instead of grated raw potato) are fried in butter until golden brown. Serve these ‘pots of gold’ with a rainbow slaw of fresh, raw, crunchy veg and a dollop of mayo for the perfect lunch.
mayonnaise to serve (or make your own using my easy aquafaba recipe here)
Start with the slaw. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and thinly slice the peppers, spring onions and chives. Mix in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon to start with and the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.
Preheat a frying pan and mix up the boxty batter. Put the mashed potato, grated courgette (or raw potato), flour, milk, vinegar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. You should end up with a batter that’s a dropping consistency. If not, add more milk.
Fry in melted butter on a medium heat for about 5 or so minutes on each side. You can fry them in little fritters or in large rounds the size of the pan. Carefully flip them over when the bottom is golden brown. Add more butter to the pan before flipping if it’s looking a bit dry.
Serve warm with the rainbow slaw and a dollop of mayonnaise.
Irish Stew with Soda Dread Dumplings
Meaty mushrooms and bitter Guinness makes this stew rich and delicious and what better way to mop up the juices than with some Irish soda bread? I steam it as dumplings on top here for a hearty one pot supper but you could bake it separately if you prefer and serve it alongside. Looking for a gluten free alternative? Why not make some colcannon (mashed potato with wilted green cabbage or kale and spring onion stirred through) to go with the stew instead and use a gluten free stout in place of the Guinness?
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion
3 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 mug of green lentils
1 stock cube
1 can of Guinness
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional – to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives to serve
500g flour (I like 250g plain and 250g wholemeal)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Get a large pot on the hob and heat it to the highest setting.
Roughly dice the onion and add it to the pot with 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.
Roughly dice the carrots, celery and mushrooms and add them to the pot next.
Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to take on some colour and caramelised flavour for around 10 minutes. Then peel, chop and add the 4 cloves of garlic.
Rinse your mug of green lentils and add them to the pot with the can of Guinness, the stock cube and an additional mug of water. Season the stew with salt and lots of black pepper. Give the broth a taste and add some brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness if needed.
Then let the stew come up to a simmer while you make the soda bread dough.
Measure the dry ingredients (the flour, salt and bicarb) into a large mixing bowl and mix well to evenly disperse the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Check for lumps and sort them out now before you add the wet ingredients.
Measure the wet ingredients (the oat milk, oil and vinegar) into a measuring jug and give it a stir. This is the plant based alternative for the traditional buttermilk in the recipe. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. No need to knead, just stir well to ensure there are no dry, floury bits in the dough.
Use wet hands to form 6-8 balls of dough and place them carefully in the top of the simmering stew. Put the lid on the pot, make sure it’s turned down ow and allow the stew to simmer an the soda bread to steam for about 20-30 minutes.
Check that the lentils are cooked through then serve the hot stew and dumplings with chopped chives on top.
Mint Choc Chip Ice-Cream
This ice cream is vibrant green, creamy and sweet…but made with peas and bananas! Don’t be put off by the healthy ingredients, blended frozen banana is a creamy revelation and peas are naturally so sweet. It’s especially good if the banana is frozen when super-ripe. If you eat through your bananas from your weekly delivery then this recipe is a good way to use up those reduced over-ripe bananas at the shops. A win-win for you and for the epic food waste problem the planet is facing. I’ve used cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips because I love their bitter, dark chocolate flavour, but do feel free to substitute with real chocolate chips…especially if you are serving this to children.
optional sweetener of your choice to taste (eg maple syrup)
and a tbsp or so of cacao nibs (or sub with chocolate chips)
Peel and chop as many over-ripe bananas as you like. About one per person. Freeze them overnight on a tray until solid (with gaps between the pieces otherwise they’ll all freeze together and be very difficult to blend).
You’ll need a strong food processor with an S blade attachment. A food processor works better that a jug/smoothie blender for this.
Put the frozen banana chunks and frozen peas into your blender along with fresh mint leaves to taste.
Blend into a frozen, crumbly texture then stop the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again until vibrant green and creamy.
Taste the mixture and add a sweetener or more mint leaves if you like and blend again.
Scrape the nice cream out into a tub and stir through cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and serve (they will be quite soft at this stage so for quickly) or move to the freezer to firm up until you are ready to serve.
Turn your oven to 200C. Find your biggest roasting dish and put it in the oven to heat up too.
Peel the potatoes and carrot, cut them into large chunks and just cover them with water in a big pot. Put the lid on the pot and get them on the stove to boil.
Meanwhile make the beetroot and butterbean loaf:
Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan and add them to a blender with the linseeds and oats. Pulse until coarsely combined, but still with some texture.
Grate the beetroots into a mixing bowl on the fine side of the grater. Add the drained tin of butterbeans to the bowl too.
Add the oat, sunflower seed and linseed mixture to the bowl, season well with salt and pepper (you could also add additional flavourings here like lemon zest, crushed garlic, herbs).
Using one hand, squish the mixture together into a stuffing-like mixture. You may need to add more oats as you go if your mixture is too wet. When you are at stuffing texture taste the mix for seasoning ad adjust as needed.
Then put the mixture into a baking dish or loaf tin lined with baking paper. Top with slices of mushroom a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then pop the dish in the oven to bake.
By now the potatoes and carrots will be par boiled so move them off the heat. Finely chop a generous couple of handfuls of herbs and put them into a bowl with the zest of a lemon, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper and enough sunflower oil to bring it into a loose sauce.
Remove the hot, large roasting dish from the oven and drizzle it with sunflower oil. Use a slotted spoon to move the potatoes and carrots onto the hot tray and keep all the water in the pot (you’ll need this to cook the cabbage and make gravy with later).
Add the garlic/lemon/herb oil to the roasting dish of potatoes and carrots and stir to coat the veg in the mixture. Cut the zested lemon in half and add it to the roasting tray. Return the dish to the oven and get on with the greens and gravy.
Add a stock cube to the water that the carrots and potatoes were cooked in. Then rinse and chop the cabbage and add it to the pot to poach in the stocky water. When it is still slightly undercooked, use the slotted spoon to pull out the cabbage and keep it in the pan you used earlier to toast the sunflower seeds (you’ll use this to re-heat and finish cooking the cabbage when the beetroot loaf and roast veg are nearly done).
Then make the gravy. Put a tsp of dried mushrooms into the stock and bring it to the boil. You can also dip the bowl that you mixed the lemon/garlic/herb oil for the roast veg in and get all those flavours added to the gravy.
Mix the cornflour with a little cold water into a smooth paste in a cup. Then add that to the stock and simmer and stir until it has thickened into a gravy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I like to add a couple of tbsp of soy sauce to add a punchy umami flavour. You may wish to add a splash of wine or a spoon of recurrent jelly to your gravy. When you are happy with the flavour and texture of your gravy you can pour it into a jug through a sieve and keep it warm.
The beetroot and butterbean loaf and roast veg should be ready after about 40-60 minutes in the oven. Just keep an eye on them. Then re-heat the cabbage and gravy and serve!
Carrots are such a staple you’d be forgiven if you’d never thought of them as the main event of a meal or barely even given carrots a second thought. But we love carrots over at Green Earth Organics and you’ll always find them in our subscription boxes. Covered in mud and fresh from the field here in Galway, I can honestly say these are the best carrots I’ve ever tasted. The scrubbed, plastic wrapped supermarket carrots just don’t compare. Muddy carrots seem to stay fresh longer and taste sweeter so if you get scrubbed ones, keep them in the fridge and use them in a week or so, the muddy ones are ok in a dark, cool kitchen cupboard or pantry for much longer.
I’ve had quite a few requests for carrot recipes as that’s what most people seem to end up with as their next box is arriving – so here are four ways I cook carrots regularly. You can also click on my raw carrot cake recipe which uses a whopping 600g of carrot, my smoked carrot strips which are fabulous for breakfast with wobbly scrambled tofu or on a toasted bagel with cream cheese or my butterbean barleyotto topped with roasted carrots and carrot top pesto if you’d like further carroty inspiration. Please do share your favourite carrot recipes with us too – in the comments or over on our friendly facebook group. Liz x
Carrot, Chickpea & Apricot Tagine
A warming Middle Eastern stew, simple to put together with punchy flavours from the chermoula paste.
Dice the onion and sauté it over a medium-high heat in a large pot. While it is cooking make the chermoula paste.
Crush the cumin and coriander seeds with a pestle and mortar until roughly broken up. Add the peeled cloves of garlic and crush some more. Then add the chilli flakes and smoked paprika and stir in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Finely dice the preserved lemon and stir it into the spices. Instead of using a pestle and mortar you could use a small blender and pulse the ingredients together into a rough paste.
Add the chermoula paste to the onions and stir for a few minutes to toast the cumin and coriander seeds. Once they are very fragrant, drain the tins of chickpeas and add them to the pot.
Chop the carrots into chunky slices and add them to the pot along with the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the tsp of ground cinnamon. Half fill the tomato tins with water and swirl out any remaining tomatoey juices into the pot.
Slice up the apricots and add them to the stew, season it really well with salt and pepper then put the lid on and simmer for an hour or so until the carrots are cooked through and the stew is rich and flavoursome.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed and serve with cous cous or rice or breads or even on it’s own. It’s fantastic with some freshly chopped parsley or coriander mixed through right before serving too. I’ve topped mine in the photo above with some homemade z’atar which is simply an even mix of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme and ground sumac.
Carrot Cake Porridge
Sweet spices, grated carrot, creamy oats…delicious topped with walnuts on a cold morning.
walnuts and extra cinnamon/maple syrup to top the porridge
Grate a carrot and put it in a small pot with the oat milk, oats, spices, raisins, oats and maple syrup.
Simmer and stir until hot and creamy, then serve topped with walnuts and a dusting of cinnamon. Add an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you like too!
Carrot & Mint Fritters with Yogurt, Leaves & Lemon
Fritters are a fantastic light lunch with salad leaves and a simple dip. Or have them as a sandwich filler? Very versatile, use whatever herbs, spices and veg you fancy. This combination is especially delicious though. Tastes like Spring is around the corner!
Whisk the gram flour and water together into a smooth batter, then season it well with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir in the grated carrot and chopped mint and then fry well spaced dollops of the mixture in a pre-heated to medium-high, well oiled frying pan. Fry on both sides for about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy and cooked through.
Serve hot with a couple of spoons of natural yogurt with a little lemon zested over it (lemon and mint work so well together), a few salad leaves and a wedge of fresh lemon to squeeze over the leaves and the fritters.
Carrot, Blood Orange & Sesame Salad
Toasty, salty, sweet, fresh and tangy – just the perfect combinations. This simple salad takes very little time to put together but has all the big time flavours!
For a healthy cake, this tastes incredibly decadent. It’s not too sweet and full of great flavours and satisfying whole-foods. So simple to make too – it’s simply a case of squishing together the base ingredients and blending up the cashew-cream cheese frosting, then putting it together and letting it set overnight in the fridge. Easy! I love this cake with a big mug of chai tea, have you tried our new Rooibos Cacao Chai?
Start off by soaking the cashew nuts – simply cover them with fresh water and leave to soak and swell up for at least an hour. Line a baking dish with baking parchment.
While the cashew nuts are softening, grate the carrots into a large mixing bowl. Then pulse the dates and walnuts together in a food processor until they are finely chopped and sticky. Scrape this mixture in with the carrots. Then add the desiccated coconut, ground spices and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to mix the base ingredients really well, then squish the mixture evenly into the lined baking dish.
Use the same blender you used to pulse the dates and walnuts, no need to clean it out, just make sure you scraped the date/walnut mixture out thoroughly. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and pop them in the processor with 50ml of water and the vanilla, lemon juice, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and pinch of salt. Blend until totally smooth, thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides every so often to get a silky smooth cream cheese frosting. When you are happy with the texture, pour it over the base, cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight to let the cake set. Then you can carefully take the cake out onto a chopping board, dust it with cinnamon and decorate it with walnuts. Slice it with a large, sharp knife and enjoy!
Tips: It’s best to keep the cake in the fridge when you are not serving it to make it last longer, and as the cashew cream can sometimes get a bit melty in a warm house. You can also portion it up and freeze it. It will last in the fridge for around 5 days and in the freezer much longer.
Did you make this recipe? Let us know in the comments how it went and please share your photos with us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram or on our Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating page on facebook. If you like this recipe you’ll love my book. Available to add to your regular order from the farm here.