Thursday 14 December 2017

The pleasure list: Tarty, healthy and oh so tasty

Hearty feast: Susan Jane White's new cookbook is full of delicious recipes that are good for you and your family.
Hearty feast: Susan Jane White's new cookbook is full of delicious recipes that are good for you and your family.
Guilt-free pizza

Susan Jane White's The Extra-Virgin Cookbook was a revelation - to the converted as much as the uninitiated. To discover that dishes free from refined sugar, dairy and wheat could be so delicious, so indulgent, so lacking in anything that smacks of denial, was a step on the road to better health for the many who bought it.

Now, her second, The Virtuous Tart, builds on that, with recipes that read like adventure stories: pressed coconut torte with tamarind and miso caramel; anti-cholesterol cookies; secret-agent gingerbread; along with a host of advice on the hows (and whys) of making your own nut milk, kombucha, matcho lattes and a luscious-sounding 'pina kaleada.'

The book begins with one of our favourite quotes: "The man who gives little time to health will one day give much time to illness", which is more or less the raison d'etre of the book in a nutshell - although it doesn't convey the sheer deliciousness of the contents.

Susan Jane is part of a revolution in the way we eat - to our minds, she is at the creative and inspiring forefront of it.

Lots of things to make and do ... hats off to a great party idea

Sick of the traditional hen night or bridal party, complete with L-plates and plastic penises? Of course you are. We all are. And so there is a growing, and welcome, trend for more interesting entertainment; the kind of thing where you might actually learn something and take something home, other than a headache. So far, we've seen cooking courses, embroidery/knitting, storytelling and now this - millinery workshops.

Caithriona King trained at the prestigious Wombourne School of Millinery in London and now creates head-turning pieces, from conservative designs to large creations for special occasions.

Under Caithriona's guidance, hat-party people will spend two hours working on their own creations, a fascinator or headpiece, at a time and in a place that suits, or in Caithriona's studio in Corofin, Co Galway.

She will supply all materials - although guests can also bring along accessories, trinkets or pieces of jewellery to add - and will help with choosing styles or colour schemes to match a particular outfit.

Guilt-free base for pizza fans

If there is one quest that never gets old, it must be the search for the perfect pizza - something that is largely a matter of basics, ie: dough. Well, it's clearly time to check out Irish company Base Wood Fired Pizza, who have teamed up with Dunany Flour to bring us the first organic whole-wheat pizza base in Ireland.

The base uses natural unblended whole-wheat and the flour has been worked into Base's dough recipe by their in-house baker Brid O'Shea over the last six months.

The dough is part of a most worthy mission Base WFP are on, to change the way we think about fast food, crucially, to take pizza out of the 'junk food' category and bring it back to its traditional roots. This taps right into the current trend for food that is fresh, healthy and high quality, as much as fast.

Right now, the company is offering a menu that includes eight classic pizzas and eight speciality pizzas, as well as a chance for customers to get creative with their own combinations.

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