plant-based irish soda bread

My dear friend, Bonnie, introduced me to Irish soda bread years ago. I couldn’t believe how simple and quick it was to make, let alone delicious and wholesome. AND, it does not require active dry yeast! Her recipe included a few more ingredients than this one calls for, and uses dairy as traditional Irish soda bread does.

Recently, I discovered a woman named Darina Allen. She is one of the founders of the slow food movement in Ireland and the proprietor of a 100-acre organic farm and cookery school. She is my hero, (as is Bonnie!), and from her absolutely charming tutorial video, I learned some very important pointers to bring this bread recipe to life:

Of course, the best part is the reminder to let the fairies out. Of course!

Note: We do not generally have dairy products on hand nor are the recipes on this blog intended to utilize ingredients other than plant-based, and so I simply replace the buttermilk with homemade almond or cashew milk, (you may use store bought as well), and a splash of apple cider vinegar to give it that tangy buttermilk zing. It works gorgeously.

First, add the following and let sit 10 minutes until curdled whilst gathering the rest of the ingredients:

1 ¾ c milk, cashew or almond, with a splash (~1 tsp) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and a sprinkle of flour. In a large bowl combine:

3 ½ c flour, I use 2 cups whole wheat and 1 ½  all-purpose. Spelt works too.

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp celtic sea salt

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the “buttermilk”.

With stiff fingers, insert your hand into the center of the well and begin circulating, from the center outward until the dough is almost combined.


Transfer the loose, flaky dough onto a floured surface and simply tidy it up a bit, tucking the edges under. Next, transfer to your prepared baking sheet and flatten the ball to between an inch and a half to two inches high.

Cut a cross on top of the dough and don’t forget to prick all four corners to let the fairies out!

Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn heat down to 400F and bake another 20 minutes. At this point, turn the bread over and bake upside down for 5-10 minutes more, until it sounds hollow when you knock the bottom.

Flip the loaf right-side-up onto a wire rack and let cool before breaking in half and slicing from the heel.

Enjoy this bread with a drizzle of olive oil and nutritional yeast or honey and a sprinkle of thick celtic salt.

lemon coconut cake

Amy Chaplin is my all time favorite cookbook author. A friend of mine introduced me to her not long ago and I have obsessively cooked from her gorgeous book, At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen, since. This book has become my bible. Recently, for my son’s 4th birthday, I made Chaplin’s Citrus Coconut Cupcakes that were heavenly. The recipe, which calls for boiled orange, inspired me to experiment with boiled lemons. I also wanted to make this gluten-free as much of my family avoids gluten, so I replaced her spelt flour with brown rice flour and it worked magically.

This light and lemony treat is the perfect addition to afternoon tea. It’s a simple recipe with desiccated coconut adding a rich textural component and charming rustic look. Doubling this recipe will provide a full-size bundt cake but I wanted this half-size version for the four of us to nibble on throughout the day.

Begin with mis-en-place. Gather your ingredients, organizing them in their proper measurements and separating wet from dry.

Now follow the steps below

Place two medium lemons in a small pot and cover with filtered water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer the lemons for 45 minutes or up to an hour. Remove from heat, strain and set the lemons aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Oil a bundt pan with olive oil or coconut oil.

In a medium bowl add:

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

Place 1/2 cup desiccated coconut in a food processor or blender and blitz on high for 30-45 seconds then add to the dry ingredients. Add an additional 1/4 cup desiccated coconut that has not been blitzed to the dry ingredients as well. (The total amount of coconut should be 3/4 cup.)

In the bowl of the food processor or the blender, (no need to rinse it out after having blitzed the coconut), add:

2 medium lemons, boiled, with tips and seeds removed

1/2 cup maple syrup

3 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil, melted)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2-3 tsp vanilla extract

Blitz on high until smooth, this can take minutes, then add this wet mixture to your dry and be careful not to over mix…

Once incorporated, the batter should feel light and fluffy. Pour this mixture into your oiled bundt pan and place it in the oven.

Bake the cake for 1 hour. (This is at altitude, if you live at sea level, check after 45 minutes.) Test that the cake is done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, pull the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a good 15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Dust it with lemon zest, if you like, as pictured below.

*This yummy lemon coconut cake will stay moist and delicious in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

creamy coconut curry with celery root and cauliflower

When I attended a cooking school course on vegan cooking, we made an amazing curry. The recipe called for a number of exotic ingredients, making it mind-blowingly delicious and also completely impossible to replicate on any given day. So this is what we indulge in instead and it does a profound job in satisfying our curry craving.

I first discovered the recipe that inspired my own in a lovely cookbook called Made In INDIA by Meera Sodha. I changed it a bit and added some heat to satisfy our… spicetooth… This recipe is one I make regularly as it works well with pretty much any vegetable combination. I’ve chosen to use celery root and cauliflower here because I think celery root is one of those veggies that people don’t always know what to do with. It’s delicious, healthy and adds a wonderful texture to this special dish. The necessary pantry items for this recipe are also ordinarily found in American cupboards.

Begin by gathering your ingredients

3 Tbsp coconut oil

2 white or yellow onions, small dice

4 inch piece of ginger, minced

2 chiles, jalapeno or serano, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp chile powder

1 tsp tumeric

½ 18 oz jar tomatoes or 2-3 fresh beefsteak tomatoes

2 cans coconut milk

2 cups filtered water

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1 celery root, medium dice (bite size)

salt to taste

Process:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium high heat.

Toss in the onions and give them a swirl, coating them in the oil. Saute the onions until translucent and almost brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the minced ginger, chile and garlic. Saute another 5 minutes or so until the ginger, chile and garlic soften.

Add the spices and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them in the pot, and partially cover the pot, lowering the heat slightly to allow the tomatoes to cook and absorb the flavors, about 5 more minutes. Make sure to stir every once in awhile so that nothing sticks to the bottom or burns.

Uncover the pot, turn the heat to high and pour in the coconut milk and water, bringing the curry to a boil.

Finally, add the chopped veggies and turn the heat down to a simmer, covering the pot partially. Allow veggies to cook 15 minutes or more if you have the time. The longer the curry simmers, the more flavorful it will be.

Adjust the seasoning as you will and enjoy with basmati rice and topped with chopped green onions.

*This curry is even better the next day, once all the flavors have had time to marinade. It can be enjoyed as a left-over for up to three days.