Archive | February, 2012

2 Reasons not to care about Lab Grown Meat

28 Feb

1.  Corn, wheat, rice and soybeans already provide enough protein to feed the world population

2.  4% of the world’s land surface is devoted to growing these crops compared to 30% for grazing and raising the crops   for livestock feed.  ”

In 2009 at its  World Food Summit, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation recognized that agricultural output will need to increase by 70% by 2050 in order to feed the world’s population, which is expected to
exceed 9 billion in this timeframe.

Demand for meat, diary products and eggs is set to rise with particular demands coming from China.  There will also be a corresponding demand for feed and in particular proteins.   At the moment there is also a rising demand for vegetable oils which means that the residue left over from oil production i.e. if we look at Soybeans, which is called “soybean meal” or soybean oil cake” can be  used in animal feed.

Four main crops oil palm, soybeans, sunflower seed and rapeseed are produced by a small number of developing countries, however as their own livestock sectors have developed they must now also import feed to meet demand.

Bangladesh which has a population of approx 142 million depends mainly on India to import soybean meal needed to produce feed for poultry.  They are rolling out this year, their third seed crushing plant which will reduce dependence on imported meal.  This extension will meet 44% of the demand for oilcake of the country and 7.82% of the demand for soybean oil.  Just as well they planned to do this because:-

JUST TODAY (Reuters)

India’s rapeseed output is expected to fall 8.5 percent to 6.3 million tonnes in 2012 on lower acreage of the oilseed crop, a trade body survey showed on Monday.  (mainly due to unfavourable weather at the beginning of the planting season.)

Reuters reported on Feb. 1 that the county could see a drop in the rapeseed crop, meaning that vegetable oil imports by the world’s top buyer could rise by about a half a million tonnes in the import year ending Oct. 31.

Patrick Browne, Professor of Biochemistry at Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Stanford University is putting together meat-substitutes made from PLANT materials.

His points at 1. & 2 above should steer agriculture towards growing more plant protein crops and also science to develop meat-substitutes from them.  Especially here in Ireland where we are somewhat obsessed with exporting meat and dairy products to China.  Yes, of course it is good for our economy but what about the bigger picture.  What if feed costs rise too high?  What if the price of meat goes so high? Poorer people cannot afford to eat?  (this is already happening) What if a deadly virus kills all the animals – yes, I know it is a doomsday scenario, but still we would be rightly in trouble then.  We should also be growing and using plant proteins for human consumption not just for animal feed.  Surely that makes more sense than trying to grow meat in a petri dish?

It makes sense that the protein that we will need to feed the world will come from plants.   We will have to change our meat consumption from an every day thing to a once a week treat.  Our bodies simply do not need to eat so much animal protein.  In the future could we be looking at “Meat-full”  Sundays  because every other day has become Meat-Free?   I think so.


5 Ingredients That Will Help You Eat Healthy & Save You Money

22 Feb

1.  Sign up for a local vegetable box delivery

Fruit and vegetables are delivered every week, it saves you petrol by not having to go to the supermarket to stock up and you get something different every week which challenges you to root out a cookery book and try new recipes! And you are not tempted to impulse buy those biscuits! Boil, roast, slice, dice or simply munch,  fruit and vegetables are full of enzymes,vitamins and minerals we NEED to live a healthy life.  If your diet consists of coffee, sandwiches, take-aways and general crap.  You will feel sick, tired and unhealthy.  FACT.

2.  Stock up with Wholegrains

Fill up your pantry with oats,  brown rice, spelt, buckwheat, farro, quinoa ; these are nutrient-rich, protein-rich and full of fibre which keep you feeling full and give you lots energy.  Do these sound unfamiliar or are you unsure what to do with them – Bet you have cooked rice before.  It’s the same thing, add water, boil, simmer until cooked.

3. Top up with Tofu

Keep tofu in your fridge, it is generally long life and can be used as the protein source for many meals.  You can also freeze tofu which results in a different texture suitable for grating.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Keep a stack of cashews and almonds – cashews can be thrown easily into fast asian stirfrys and are fabulous with broccoli, munch on a handful of almonds when you have your 11am piece of fruit, it keeps your blood sugar regulated until lunchtime.  You can use cashews in so many ways – making mayonaise and luscious desserts for instance.   Omega rich plant sources like flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts etc should also be eaten – these seeds can be ground freshly and sprinkled ontop of your oatmeal each morning.

5.  Herbs and Spices

Anything can be made tasty with herbs and spices keep paprika, cumin, chilli flakes, black pepper, five spice powder in your pantry to add that extra dimension to your dishes.

Finally, if you scrub all your vegetables well before cooking, you can keep the peelings in a lunchbox in the fridge and make soup out of them, mash in a few leftover potatoes and add an extra carrot and onion and you have enough soup for a few lunches.

A Very Veggie Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Today really felt like a beautiful spring day, flowers were beginning to bloom and romance was definitely in the air!  Our veggie cupid Emma wooed passersby with cute and colourful bouquets of vegetables.  Who needs chocolate!  The location was outside the English Market in Cork and everybody was delighted with their colourful gifts.

We love veg and we hope you do too!

Happy Valentines Day




Dee xx

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dee’s Rockin’ Raw Raspberry “Cheese” Cake – Dee’s Veggie Valentine’s Menu

9 Feb

Nuts have fats but it’s the type of fats that are good for you.   Your skin and hair will thank you, and you won’t be  freezing all the time either!  It’s easy to make and all you need is a good blender.  Coconut Oil is still a high fat ingredient, so don’t eat the whole cake in one go! A slice will do : )


For the base:-

100g almonds

75g pecans

180g medjool dates

1tsp sea salt


300g cashews (unsalted ) soak in cold water for 5 hours or boiling water for 2 hours.

Juice of one lemon

1tsp vanilla extract

150g coconut oil (melted)

150g honey or agave nectar

1 cup raspberries


Place almonds, pecans and dates in a food processor.  It should stick together in a ball when done.  Press into your dish – if using a dish that is not flexible line with cling-film to life the cake out.

Warm the coconut oil and agave nectar in a saucepan, whisk together and add to the cashews in the blender.  Blend the coconut oil, agave nectar, lemon juice and vanila extract together in the food processor until very smooth.  This could take a little while so perservere!  Adjust lemon juice if you wish.  Spoon a little over half of this mixture into your dish and flatten.  Add the raspberries or strawberries and mix again until smooth.  Spoon over the top and cover and freeze.  Remove from the freezer 30 mins before serving, top with fresh berries and serve.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vegan Main Course – Mega Marinated Portabella Mushrooms served with a Spelt & Beetroot Risotto

9 Feb

When I say these are Mega Marinated I mean it!  I used gorgeous Irish Portabella mushrooms from the Honest Farmer.  They hold up to a good soaking in all the fabulous flavours.  They were tested on a carnivore and he couldn’t get over the flavours and even had seconds!  Rice wine vinegar is an important ingredient that adds a unique flavour and can be food in most Asian food shops.  While the soup is cooking you can start making the first marinade.

Mega Marinated Portabella Mushrooms

5 large Portabella Mushrooms

1 large courgette

1st Marinade (cooking)


5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of freshly sqeezed lemon juice

2 Tablespoons of crushed garlic

pinch of salt

2nd Marinade (serving)

3 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

1 teaspoon of dried tarragon

pinch of salt

Method:  Mix all the ingredients for 1st Marinade together and put in a freezer bag, place the mushrooms in the bag and toss gently – leave for an hour or two at room temperature while making the risotto.

Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees and place mushrooms on a foil covered pyrex dish and cook for 10 mins.  Remove from oven.

Mix ingredients for 2nd marinade together.   Just before serving the main course, slice the mushrooms and place on a hot grill pan, you want to get nice grill marks on them.  Take off pan and toss in the 2nd marinade – serve.  You can leave for 10 – 15 mins if you wish.

Spelt & Beetroot Risotto

Spelt is a lovely nutty grain and keeps it’s shape and texture more than normal risotto rice and it should have a nice chewy texture when cooked.  It is very nutritious and is a warming grain – it can be grown in any climate without pesticides so we hope Irish farmers might start growing it soon!  Beetroot adds a nice earthy flavour to complement the nutty flavour of the spelt.  Goats cheese is a good addition too (if you are not vegan).


6 shallots

2 small beetroots

Spelt Grain

1 glass of white wine

1L of vegetable stock

Method:  Spelt Grain takes around 45-50 mins to cook properly so I like to give it a head start by boiling in water for 15 mins.  Chop the shallots really finely and add to some olive oil in a heated pan.  Fry until translucent but not brown.   Wear gloves when you peel the beetroot and chop into slivers.  Add to the shallots and cook for another 10 mins.  Drain the spelt and add to the pan.  Stir and cook for 5 mins.  Add the wine and let it bubble.  Add the stock and stir.  Simmer until the spelt has absorbed the stock.  Add more if necessary.   This can sit on a warm hob until the mushrooms are grilled.  After the mushrooms are grilled and placed in the 2nd marinade, use the pan to sear slices of courgettes.  Serve the risotto with the sliced grilled mushrooms and courgettes.  MMMMushroomy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2nd Course – Silky Celeriac Soup with White Truffle Oil – Dee’s Veggie Valentine’s Menu

9 Feb

I love this soup, traditionally it is made with loads of milk and butter but I have omitted these ingredients and used yukon gold potatoes – which I have to say I have only seen in M & S here.  But you can use any yellow potato.  It is coming to the end of the season for Irish winter vegetables so this is a great way to use up that veg box!

Ingredients: Serves 4

One large Celeriac (yes they are big and ugly looking but are yummy I promise!) chopped

2 small leeks or one large one – sliced

1.5l of a salt-free veg stock (Pure Brazen is a brill new Irish one)

2 potatoes – peeled, chopped and rinsed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy milk or any milk.  I used Kara.

truffle oil or a good dark extra virgin


Method: Heat a large pan and a tablespoon of oil, add your leeks and cook over a medium heat until softened.  Add the chopped celeriac and potatoes, stir and cook for 5 mins.  Add the stock and bayleaf and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer over a medium heat for 30 – 40 mins. Or until veg is soft.   Take off heat and using a stick-blender blend until smooth.  Add in the dairy-free milk and extra stock little by little if needs be until it is to your desired consistency.  Taste and season again if needs be.  Simmer for 5 mins and serve.   Drizzle oil on top and garnish with chives.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1st Course – Roast Radish & Avocado Salad – Dee’s Veggie Valentine’s Menu

9 Feb

If you have never char-grilled or roast radishes before, you are in for a treat.  The outer skin of the radish caramelises and gives a lovely smoky flavour.  Lots of lovely vitamin E from the avocado will make sure your skin will glow with love!

Ingredients:- Serves 2

Small bag of radishes – cut in half and trim off ends

1 avocado

4 handfuls of greens (can be baby spinach or a bag of mixed peppery greens like rocket)

For Dressing:- 2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey (or Agave Nectar if vegan)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper


Sprinkle sea salt and oil all over the radishes.  Heat a cast iron pan (if you have one)  medium to high.  Things always char better in cast iron! But any other pan will do.  Toss the radishes in the pan for about 3 mins each side, you want them nice and brown and even a few blackened parts will add more flavour.  Think of the mini padron peppers you get in Spain and you are on the right track : )

Place the leaves on a plate, and slice the avocado or scoop out the flesh and toss with the leaves.  Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, honey oil and mustard together, season with salt and pepper.  Place the radishes on the greens and toss the dressing over.  Serve immediately.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: