Sunday 17 December 2017

Naughty or Nice?

Enjoying food is all about balance, so let foodies Aoife McElwain and Aoife Barry give you a naughty and a nice option each week. Choicenever tasted so good!

Events for the naughty...The Queens of Neon are back next weekend at the Body & Soul festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, where, alongside Wildside Catering, they’ll be creating a magical dinner celebrating Irish wild foods.

For €55, you can enjoy a five-course meal including bubbly and wine under the stars in the enchanted forest of Ballinlough Castle. We’ve been told to expect sinful decadence. For further details see www.body

Events for the Nice

If you want to eat healthily at the Body & Soul festival but have a bit of a sweet tooth, then make sure you pay a visit to Natasha’s Living Emporium. There, you can taste magical raw concoctions, desserts, super-power cacao smoothies and her cacao love drink while listening to world music and gypsy folk. See www.natashas


This month and next, McVitie's is asking people to take part in ‘Cookies That Care’ in aid of MS Ireland by hosting a cookie and coffee morning in their home, workplace or local community. Here’s some inspiration:

NAUGHTY: Chunky chocolate-chip cookies For a batch of around 15 cookies, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Mix 100g plain flour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate soda, ¼ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl. Cream together 125g unsalted butter, 175g soft brown sugar, 25g caster sugar, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture then add 50g chopped hazelnuts and 50g small chunks of dark chocolate until you have a cookie dough. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Make your cookies by dropping large tablespoons of the dough mixture on to the baking sheets, pressing down gently so they take more of a cookie shape. Bake for eight to 10 minutes until lightly golden. Let them cool for five minutes before moving them to a wire rack. Don't worry if they look underdone — they'll cook while sitting on the hot tray. If you're looking for an even bolder batch of cookies, try Margarita Cookies at

NICE: Vegan homestyle cookies These are my go-to cookies when I want a nice treat, created by renowned vegan cookery writer Dreena Burton. You need: 1 cup plain flour; 1 tsp baking powder; ½ tsp baking soda; ¼ cup unrefined sugar; ¼ tsp sea salt; one-third 1/3 cup pure maple syrup; ¼ tsp blackstrap molasses; 1½ tsps pure vanilla extract; ¼ cup canola (or sunflower) oil; 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, then line a baking tray with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl, add the sugar and salt and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until the liquids are all well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips and stir until combined; don't over-mix. Place spoonfuls of the batter on to the baking tray and bake for 11 minutes until just golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Makes nine to 12 cookies. See chocolate-chip-cookies.

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