Recipes & How-To’s

An Island Anecdote & Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I couldn’t believe my good fortune one day many years ago when a born and raised islander came up to me in the Spar parking lot offering me milk kefir grains. I had been wanting them but didn’t want to buy them. Just like plants for the garden, they’re much more special when received from a loving space which they’ve outgrown rather than purchased from a shop.

Because fermenting cultures reproduce and eventually one has to either give them away, throw them out, compost, or feed to one pet or the other, I believed they’d eventually come to me fortuitously. So, this was my day and when she said ‘Someone told me you might like these’ (I had told no one I was seeking them), I squealed with delight and gratefully accepted. Never did I dream someone on the island had any or I certainly would have made my desire known. Anyhoo, my hobby of fermenting was no secret and now I had kefir grains so I immediately put them to use. Continue reading

Ukrainian Pierogi Recipe–Looking East Before Heading West

I’m heading off to the States today but before leaving I wanted to share the Ukranian pierogi recipe I mentioned in my last post.

What makes the Ukrainian pierogi different from the Chinese dumpling, the Italian ravioli, or the Japanese gyoza? A question that certainly deserves deeper investigation, but in my meagre two-hour internet research, I found similarities and differences that amounted to much grey area, leading me to believe they have more in common than not.

Other names for the eastern European product include pirogi, pirohy, pyrohy, varenyky, derelye, and coltunasi. They’re all very similar–some of the doughs have oil rather than butter or neither at all, some have eggs while some don’t. Like the dumpling, ravioli, and gyoza–pierogi are flour based doughs prepared with a variety of fillings. And the country of origin? It’s unclear. Could be Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, or Russia, and they could each possibly lay claim to their own original version.

The recipe I’m sharing today is from a Ukranian friend. After he served them at a dinner party, I was determined to make them myself. No surprise, there was a massive difference between his and the store bought ones I had had back in the States from the grocery store freezer section. He agreed to teach me and kindly gave a one on one cooking class. Now they’re a family favourite. Continue reading

Pumpkins, Pierogies, Megalithic Tombs & The Tale of Diarmuid agus Gráinne

Happy Halloween! Our pumpkin patch has been bare for a couple weeks already and seaweed has already been laid atop the soil in preparation for next spring’s planting.

Just as our gardens continue to grow and enrich our lives, so too do the students who visit us three times a year to sow, plant out, and harvest their pumpkins. Continue reading

A Recipe of Thanks-Veggie Burgers

A couple posts back I mentioned making a veggie burger that I was finally satisfied with, ‘No crumbling and falling apart, no mushy centre, and just the right balance between the creamy inside and the crunchy outside.’

I used black beans in that recipe and felt most beans would work well with it. This thought was put to the test after I attended a party at Urban Wellbeing, and gratefully won a hamper filled with an amazing array of nutritious and delicious food items from Evergreen Healthfoods via a raffle offered by the amazing Helen Finn of Combination Cooking. We were very excited with our basket of goodness and wanted to create something using the ingredients to express our appreciation. Continue reading

My Quiche ‘How-To’

After posting a picture of 3 quiches I recently made on my Facebook page I received a request to share the recipes with a group I’m in, Green Earth Organics health eating.  Now that I’ve done so, it seemed only right to also share that effort here on my blog.  I’ve called it a ‘how-to’ as it doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of a recipe but it does provide detailed and practical advice on how to make them yourself.


3 quiches- Latticed courgette, deep dish pumpkin & goat’s feta, and baby carrot, broccoli, & corn.

Continue reading

Garden to Table: Preserving Tomatoes


Start with some lovely fresh tomatoes of any shape, size, or colour.

Continue reading

Sugar Free Snacking

Inspired by this week’s photo prompt word, ‘zero’, I raided the pantry and came up with what my children are calling ‘granola balls’.  They have zero added sugar and are packed with ingredients that provide lots of energy.  I thought they were a bit too sweet, a taste testing friend thought they were not sweet enough, and the children thought they were perfectly delicious and moreish.  Success as far as I’m concerned as they are for the kiddos.  I had intended them to be bars, but with Monday morning school rush and all, balls were easier and quicker to assemble.

‘Flame & gem’ are Ronovan’s haiku words this week …

sweet gems give

energy to burn

from nature

Granola Balls

  • 100 g fresh or frozen 20160208_004120blueberries
  • 50 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 Tb water
  1. Heat berries and water until they are squishy then add:
  • 80 g maple syrup20160208_011707
  • 80 g coconut oil
  1. Stir well until oil is melted then turn off heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine together the following:
  • 150 g  whole oats
  • 40 g chia seeds
  • 40 g mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 35 g dried mango, chopped to raisin size
  • 65 g chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp spirulina powder20160208_011854
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Pour liquid into dry mixture
    and stir until well combined. Refrigerate three hours or until firm.20160208_084657
  1. Using a melon scooper or tablespoon, divide mix into 30 equal pieces.20160208_084710
  1. Roll in hands to make balls then coat in the following mixture:
  • 20 g ground pistachio nuts
  • 20 g dried coconut flakes

Store in refrigerator for up to ten days in airtight container.  They can also be frozen and thawed an hour before serving.

They neither taste nor smell like meatballs, honest. 🙂



Garden to Table: How To Make Traditional Korean Kimchi

While fermented foods are becoming ever more popular, they’re nothing new, having been around for thousands of years. Kimchi is a traditional food of Korea touted for its health benefits.  Like most fermented foods, it’s simple to make and well worth the wait for it to fully develop because the matured flavour is just outstanding.

There are nearly 200 versions of kimchi, but the most common use this method: salt cabbage then add a paste of red pepper powder, fish sauce, garlic, onions, and ginger to scallions and radishes (I also add in carrots)– that’s practically it in a single sentence. These nutritious foods are mixed and allowed to ferment until, voila, kimchi is created.

kimchi 1 Continue reading

Garden to Table: How To Make Pumpkin Soup

Tis the season for all things pumpkin       DSCF1162 (2)

Tonight my eight year old exclaimed “Mum, this is the best soup ever!” I’ll admit that he had just played football, therefore was “starving”, and he’s the most adventurous eater of the lot, but even my pickiest eater loves it (with extra croutons or a grilled cheese toasty). It’s a sure sign of recipe success when my husband and three or more of our five children like the dish served. If not, the recipe is binned or reworked. After several attempts, this is the pumpkin soup recipe that has them all asking for seconds. Continue reading

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