• Gooey fudgy vegan brownie
    love life and food

    Fudgy Gooey Vegan Brownies

    Finally, the long-promised recipe for my sweet potato brownies. It’s been in development for a while but I think (I hope) I’ve finally cracked it. Several attempts ended up more cake than brownie, but I really wanted to get that quintessential rich, fudgy gooeyness you’d expect from a brownie. As with a traditional brownie, the key is not to over bake it. The sweet potatoes really add to the gooey texture, but it’s important that you cook them only to the point that they will give a drier (not soggy) mashed potato. If the potatoes are overcooked they will add to the liquid content of the recipe and you’ll end…

  • Delicious vegan pâté perfect for finger food and sandwiches
    love life and food

    Red Lentil & Sun-Dried Tomato Pâté

    It has been exactly a year since I moved to France, and I supposed I hoped I’d be well on my way to mastering the language by now.  Not quite.  Mais petit à petit!  A couple of weeks ago I gave my lovely French teacher, Pascale, a pot of my red lentil and sun-dried tomato pâté.  She later asked for the recipe, and yesterday surprised me with these beautiful photographs.  It would be a shame not to share! I made this pâté for the series of cooking demonstrations at Rockhill House last October.  It’s full of flavour, and if you follow the quantities exactly, should provide a smooth, lush spread that…

  • Peanut butter caramel oat bars
    love life and food

    Peanut Butter Caramel Oat Bars

    Happy Friday, everyone. I’ve promised quite a few people this recipe, so here it is (finally)! If the photographs look familiar that’s because I’ve posted them before. I wish I could say I made a fresh batch for today’s blog but as I’m home alone I’d only eat them all myself, and some things are just better shared.   These scrumptious little bars are best eaten straight from the fridge. Rather excitingly, they freeze perfectly and can be eaten within a few minutes of being taken out of the freezer. This makes them a very handy treat to keep on hand for any unexpected guests (or if you run out of…

  • Red beans, polenta and spring greens vegan Malawi
    love life and food

    From Malawi with Love

    On a sunny day in February I set off for Malawi, where I would spend a little over three weeks leading a research project for Concern Worldwide. As with anywhere I travel, I’m always curious about the food culture, local ingredients and regional specialities, and Malawi did not disappoint. Today’s recipe – bean stew with polenta and braised green vegetables – was inspired by the delicious, flavourful meals I enjoyed during my stay. But before I get to that, a bit of background to the trip… Malawi is increasingly feeling the effects of climate change and is particularly susceptible to drought and extreme weather patterns. This can have a huge…

  • Zambia village
    love life and food

    Zambia: Neither Feast Nor Famine

    I was never a fussy eater as a child, but on the rare occasion I’d hesitate over a Brussels sprout I’d be treated to that set piece of Irish parenting many of you will recognise: “Eat your dinner – children are starving in Africa”. To my six-year-old mind, Africa was a faraway pit of mass starvation. As kids we competed to fill our Trocáire boxes with loose change every lent, and later harangued the neighbours for sponsorship after bravely signing up for a 24-hour fast. Still, every year emaciated children too weak to brush the flies from their faces gazed listlessly out of our TV screens during the ad breaks.…

  • Homemade vegan wheaten soda bread
    love life and food

    Grandmothers… The Beginning of Everything

    Some of my earliest childhood memories involve making a mess in the kitchen. As a five-year-old, there were the dogged attempts at replicating the chocolate truffles I’d seen my mum make. Enlisting the help of the kid next door, we’d hoist ourselves onto the kitchen worktop, raid the larder cupboard and deliberate over those jars and bottles whose contents were a mystery. We were indiscriminate with our ingredients and liberal with the quantities. Everything went into the bowl. Peanut butter, cocoa powder, brown sugar. So far, so good, right? Tabasco, soy sauce… It often started off promising – but somehow we could never resist the urge to find out what…