Monday 21 May 2018

Mouthfuls of nostalgia - exclusive recipes from Roz Purcell for Mother's Day


Roz Purcell with her mother Cecily at Leopardstown. Picture: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Roz Purcell with her mother Cecily at Leopardstown. Picture: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Ratatouille Cauliflower Bake
Quick Rhubarb Crumble Skillet
Quick Rhubarb Crumble Skillet
Quick Rhubarb Crumble Skillet
Poached pears
Poached Pears with Oat cream
Simple Semolina with blackberry chia jam
Spoon the cauliflower topping bake over the ratatouille

These Mother's Day recipes were created exclusively for Weekend by Roz Purcell, the Natural Born Feeder, who readily admits she has been inspired hugely on food matters by her mother, Cecily

It's not just a pre-Mother's Day sentiment. Roz Purcell credits her mum, Cecily (pictured above and left with Roz as a child) for her positive attitude to food. "I developed a negative relationship with food after I started modelling and I was being constantly told to lose weight, but Mum took me aside and gave me some tough love and told me how important it was to feed your body to be happy and healthy. Mum was the inspiration for me starting my Natural Born Feeder blog and going into writing cookery books," says Roz.

Before her retirement, Cecily was a teacher and a school principal at Killurney, Co Tipperary, and she also breeds horses for National Hunt racing.

After watching Roz cook vegan food for them for a week when she was down home taking her driving test, Cecily and her husband John are following Roz's example and have turned to a plant-based diet.

Roz will be giving a demonstration, 'Become a Half Hour Hero', at Arnotts, Henry Street, Dublin, today between 2-3pm in the Kenwood Kitchen on the lower basement level.


Ratatouille Cauliflower Bake

Ratatouille Cauliflower Bake

My mum was definitely more into baking than cooking, however she did make an amazing ratatouille that made eating vegetables something to look forward to - even as kids. I have taken her original recipe and made it into more of a dinner dish with a comforting cauliflower topping.

Serves 4.

Timing: 45 mins


2 tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, peeled and diced into cubes

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 peppers, washed and diced

1 x tin plum tomatoes

2 large courgettes, washed and diced into chunks

1 large aubergine, washed and diced into cubes

A bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine, washed and stems removed (approx 20)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 sprigs of thyme

Pinch of salt & pepper to season

For the topping:

2 heads of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

2 tbsp coconut oil or butter

Season with salt & pepper

2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast for added flavour (optional)


1. In a large pot over a low-medium heat, add the olive oil and onion, place the lid on and sweat for 6-7 minutes until the onion is tender.

2. Turn the heat up, add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant.

3. Next toss in the peppers, tin of tomatoes, courgette, aubergine, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and thyme. Stir to fold veggies together.

4. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

5. The veggies should all be tender at this stage. Season well and transfer into a pie dish.

6. While the veggies are cooking I suggest making the topping. Steam the cauliflower until tender, roughly 15 minutes.

7. Remove and blend with the rest of the topping ingredients, including seasoning, until smooth.

8. Spoon the topping over the ratatouille base.

9. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C until lightly coloured on top and enjoy!

Growing up, our farm centred around the pear tree we have in the garden - it produces the best pears you will ever taste and we would freeze them for winter months to continue the pear love all year round. I distinctly remember getting greedy when Mum would give any away to friends or family - I didn't like sharing them! We would make pear sponge, crumble and salads, but the best was poached pears with cream. I have taken this simple dessert and put my own Natural Born Feeder twist on it - I hope you enjoy!


Poached Pears with Oat cream

Poached Pears with Oat cream

Serves 2.

Time: 50 mins


400ml water

1 tbsp turmeric powder

4 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick, to serve alongside

2 pears peeled and halved

50g mixed nuts and seeds (sesame are great)

For the oat cream: 150ml oat milk

30g oats

1 vanilla pod

1½ tbsp maple syrup or honey

3 tbsp coconut oil melted

If you don't want to make cream just use Greek yogurt


1. Starting with the oat cream, add the oat milk to the oats and let soak for 20-30 minutes.

2. Add the vanilla seeds, maple syrup or honey, coconut oil and blend in a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Transfer into a dish and place in the fridge.

3. In a large saucepan add the water, turmeric, honey, cinnamon stick and pears. Bring to boil and let simmer for 40 minutes until the pears are tender.

4. For the nuts, lightly crush using a pestle and mortar. Transfer to a pan over a high heat and toast for 2 minutes stirring to ensure even colouring until lightly browned.

5. Add the pears to a dish or bowl, drizzle over with some oat cream, and sprinkle on the toasted nuts and seed mix.


Quick Rhubarb Crumble Skillet

Quick Rhubarb Crumble Skillet

My mum grew rhubarb at home and baking a rhubarb crumble was one her specialities. So, there's no other way to celebrate Mother's Day with her than making this easy, healthier crumble, now that rhubarb is coming back into season (my advice is to load up on it and freeze some for winter compotes - perfect over porridge!). I used Champagne rhubarb for this recipe which is slightly bitter, so depending on your rhubarb it's worth having a taste when stewing it before adding in sweetener to ensure it's sweet enough or not too sweet.

Makes 6 portions. Time: 30 mins


8 large stalks of rhubarb, diced into small pieces

2 oranges, juiced

4in piece ginger, peeled and grated

6 tbsp honey or maple

1 vanilla pod (deseed it and use the seeds, you can discard the pod)

For the topping: 100g oats

100g ground almond

4 tbsp honey

100g mixed seeds

4 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. First, let's prepare the topping. Start by pulsing the oats into a flour using a food processor. In a medium-sized bowl, tip in the oat flour along with almonds, honey, seeds, olive oil and salt.

3. Mix well to combine into a breadcrumb-like texture.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, toss in the diced rhubarb, orange juice, ginger and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the rhubarb has softened and is mushy (broken down into purée).

5. Next, add the honey (or maple syrup if using) and vanilla seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes.

6. Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the topping evenly.

7. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

8. I recommend serving with a dollop of Greek/ coconut or soya yogurt.


Simple Semolina with blackberry chia jam

Simple Semolina with blackberry chia jam

Anyone else remember semolina growing up? It was a stable bowl of bliss on a cold evening in our house. Along with that, some of my fondest memories with my mum are picking blackberries on the farm and making jam. Semolina is widely available in most stores in the baking section and takes no time at all to whip up a treat.

Serves 2.

Time: 20 mins


500ml unsweetened almond milk

50g semolina

2 tbsp honey or maple

For the blackberry jam: 125g blackberries

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp honey/maple

2 tbsp chia seeds


1. Firstly start by making the jam. In a small saucepan over a high heat, add the blackberries and lemon, cook until dissolved (you can use a fork to help break up the berries).

2. Once the berries are cooked down into a purée, remove from the heat and stir in the honey or maple syrup and chia seeds. Let sit to one side for 15-20 minutes to thicken and bulk up. This makes 1 small jar and lasts up to 3 days in the fridge.

3. In saucepan over a medium heat add the milk. Once simmering, toss in the semolina and stir and cook for 15 minutes until it is smooth and has thickened.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey or maple syrup.

5. Dollop over with a spoon of jam and enjoy a mouthful of nostalgia.

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