Sunday 19 November 2017

Food files: five minutes with the Happy Pear's David Flynn

Happy Pear: David and Stephen Flynn
Happy Pear: David and Stephen Flynn
Oven baked sweet potato
Wellness Tea
Looking forward to the craft brew and food fair.
Oliver Bonas

David and his identical twin brother Stephen are the founders of vegetarian restaurant and store, The Happy Pear, in Greystones. Their first book, The Happy Pear: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Food to Change Your Life, was published last year.

Our food philosophy is about eating more veg

It's not about making anyone a vegan or a vegetarian. People get very emotionally charged by those words, whereas if they went out to a restaurant and had a decent pasta dish that they didn't necessarily know didn't have meat or cheese in it, they wouldn't bat an eyelid and they'd think it was lovely.

Turmeric is a hero ingredient

Most of us are familiar with it as a powder in curries but it's part of the ginger family so it's a root. It's loaded with antioxidants and it's great for brain and cardiovascular function; it's very good for dementia and Alzheimer's. I'm using lots of turmeric and ginger in juices right now.

The arguments for eating a plant-based diet are compelling

Plants are high in fibre, they're high in antioxidants, and they're high in vitamins and minerals. They're really low in calories and easy to absorb. To have them as the majority of your diet is a really sensible and clever thing to do.

It doesn't have to be organic

Lidl sell cheap vegetables, Aldi sell cheap vegetables - eat them! When there's a choice go for organic, which I prefer to support and eat. People might think: "It's so easy for those guys, they've got a shop full of it." But where we started, we never thought we'd be in this position. Here I am, 15 years later, eating plants and feeling healthier than I've ever felt.

The Happy Pear will be speaking at Cork Opera House and The Helix and Pavilion theatres in Dublin in Jan and Feb. Tickets €20, see

This month we're...

Brewing up a storm

Wellness Tea

January imbibing doesn't have to dull if you take a trip to the Dublin's Merrion Hotel. Tea master Laura McGinn has devised a menu of soothing Tchi drinks, which use berries and plants from Chinese medicine, to "harmonise the body and mind". There are three varieties to choose from including a Date, Longan and Goji tea, which has anti-inflammatory effects and can also help relieve stress. Tchi drinks, €6.50 each;

Scoffing without guilt

Oven baked sweet potato

A sweet potato fry is a most delicious, gluten-free thing, and it trumps ordinary chips in the health stakes. New Irish range Strong Roots has oven-ready frozen sweet potato fries. They're incredibly moreish so bear in mind the healthy aspect may be mitigated if you eat the entire bag in one go. Available in SuperValu and Spar, €3.99 per 500g

Planning ahead

Looking forward to the craft brew and food fair.

It's midway through dry January for many but something to look forward to is the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair. Taking place at Dublin's Convention Centre from February 5-7, the fair will feature stands from over 50 Irish and international craft brewers, distillers and cider makers, as well as food producers. Tickets from €16.50 at

Shake it up

Oliver Bonas

Tropical prints and motifs are one of 2016's big interior design trends so think exotic blooms, flamingos and, of course, pineapples (above). These salt and pepper shakers add a quirky touch to tables and make seasoning your food more fun. Set, €23.95,

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