Sunday 16 June 2019

Hollywood chef Aine McAteer shares a dessert recipe with her favourite ingredient

On Nov 4, Aine McAteer and her niece Ffion Thomas are hosting an event at the Fumbally Stables in Dublin to celebrate all things Hemp

Aine McAteer is a chef to Hollywood's elite.
Aine McAteer is a chef to Hollywood's elite.

Aine McAteer

Aine McAteer, who has cooked for Hollywood stars including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Robert Redford, reveals why hemp is a secret weapon in her cooking.

Why do you love hemp?

I’m always looking for interesting ingredients to incorporate into my creations, especially anything that offers good nutritional benefits. 

Hemp has a long history of being cultivated for fibre, construction material, food and also for medicinal/recreational purposes. 

The hemp seed, hemp protein powders and hemp oils, including CBD oils (Cannabidiol - a non-psychoactive chemical compound of the hemp plant) that are showing up in health food stores and supermarkets these days, even though they are in the Cannabis Sativa family, contain none of the psychoactive properties of the plant. 

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse.  The seeds are one of the only plant based foods that contain all the amino acids to make it a complete protein.  Three tablespoons of hemp seeds provide 11 grams of protein.

They are also a wonderful source of Omega 3 and 6 healthy fatty acids.  These fats are important for brain and heart health, reduce inflammation, help with menopausal symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis and can assist in regulating blood pressure. 

Hemp seeds are also a rich source of essential minerals including zinc, iron magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.

They’re a good source of fibre, essential for digestive health. 

Overall, I consider them one of my staple foods, especially when I’m cooking for clients who want to look and feel their best. And who doesn’t!

I also like to incorporate hemp oil into some dishes - I use it much like flax oil, to drizzle on salads and vegetable dishes or incorporate into a sauce or dressing. 

How many times a week do you include hemp in your cooking?

I would say that most days I include hemp in one form or another in my cooking.  Not only do I cook with it, much of my clothing is made with hemp fabric, which happens to be one of the most durable fabrics around.

When did you first discover hemp?

I think when you cook every day, you’re always on the lookout for interesting new ingredients to enhance your dishes.  About 10 years ago I discovered a company in California that was producing hemp seeds and I started to experiment with them.  Over time i saw them pop up all over - I even found them in a chemist shop close to where my parents lived in Dublin.  That’s when I knew they had hit the mainstream!

I also had a job that involved cooking with “medical marijuana” for a client in California and this was another learning curve.  Much research has been done on the benefits of cannabis/hemp to treat medical conditions.  This is usually done under a doctor's supervision and requires a medical prescription.

Why is hemp undergoing a revival?

The use of hemp is certainly not a new thing. I was contacted recently by Brian Houlihan, curator of the Hemp Museum in Dublin. He’s been educating me on the long and fascinating history of hemp in Ireland. In fact he will be one of the guest speakers at our Hemp Day at the Fumbally Stables on Nov 4th. so we’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this fascinating plant.

It seems in general that there’s been a revival of awareness of the benefits of a healthy plant based diet. Personally, I’ve been on this journey for over 40 years, when I first discovered the power of

food to influence my health and wellbeing. Hemp seems to be at the forefront of the super foods - foods that have been proven to have powerful nutritional properties.

Some Hemp Trivia:

Benjamin Franklin started one of the first American paper mills with hemp.

Various marijuana and hashish extracts were used as the primary medicines in the US from 1842 till 1890 and continued to be prescribed legally into the 1930s.

There are currently 16 farmers licensed to grow hemp in Ireland.


Inspired by Kama Hemp’s delicious hemp juice, this pie which is a vegan version of a cheesecake, is a delicious way to get your daily dose of nutrients. I made this one in a small 5 inch springform pan, so if you want a bigger one you can double or triple the quantities.



About 12 digestive biscuits

1/4 cup hulled hempseeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Zest of 1 lime


1 cup raw cashews

1 cup coconut yoghurt

2 Tbs cocoa butter - melted

2 kiwi - peeled and diced

1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbs lecithin granules

3 Cubes Kama Hemp hemp juice

1/2 tsp spirulina

TO MAKE CRUST:  Break up the biscuits and put them into a food processor or blender and process until crumbled. Add the remaining crust ingredients and blend to combine.

Press into the bottom of a springform cake pan.


Soak cashews for at least an hour then drain them and combine in a blender with the remaining ingredients.  Purée until smooth and creamy.  You can taste test and tweak to suit your personal taste, adding more lime or honey if you wish. You might want to add a little water if the mixture is too dry.

Pour the filling into the pan and put into freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

Slice and serve, creatively garnished with your choice of fresh kiwi, chopped pistachios, edible flowers, fresh berries or a drizzle of fruit coulis.


On Nov 4th, Aine and her niece Ffion Thomas are hosting an event at the Fumbally Stables to celebrate all things Hemp.   We will have guest speakers Brian Houlihan from Hemp Museum as well as the owners of Kama Hemp, Kate and Martin who have an extensive background in the hemp world.

The above is just one of the "hempalicious" recipes that Aine will be sharing in her cooking demo.

TIME: 4-9 pm

COST: 75 euro

To book a place, email or see the Facebook page "Hemp Day"

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Life