I am so honoured to have our next guest on The Flourishing Pantry.
Sinéad from wholefoods recipe blog Delalicious has become a great friend since my move to Ireland and I was absolutely thrilled (and unsurprised) when she told me earlier this year that she had gone and got herself a book deal through her beautiful blog. It's a dream of mine that I might one day follow in her footsteps, I'm hoping hanging out with her is going to have some magic effects!
So for the blog this week I've done a little interview with Sinéad so you and I can both get to know her a bit better. Sinéad then shares with us a tasty cashew bite recipe from her new book, make sure you pre-order your copy now.
Tell us about yourself and your background
I’m Sinéad, the face behind the Delalicious food blog, whilst also being a fulltime chartered Physiotherapist and a Gaelic footballer. I come from a long line of farmers and home cooks in rural Co. Tipperary, Ireland. It’s no wonder then that I love food, fitness and the outdoors.
For me, food isn’t just the end creation on your plate but the importance of the land and the riches it delivers daily to our lives. Growing up, every day was spent outside playing sport, down the farm helping my Dad or in the garden helping my Mam grow vegetables or creating some magical concoction in the kitchen.
Real food is all I know and all I think anyone should know as it is the basis for life. Fresh and seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, herbs, grains and spices are simple real food ingredients that anyone can afford and anyone can learn to cook with.
Why did you start blogging?
I initially started my blog in February 2015 to stop my older brother, Eoin, from pestering me! He had observed, tasted and criticised my cooking and thought I should share my creations with the world. I had major doubts and reservations and didn’t entertain this thought for some months until finally his pestering or encouragement wore me down.
What happened next was slightly crazy and really touching. Lots of friends, work colleagues and teammates started to read, recreate and start talking about my blog which eventually led to lots of other people doing the same thing and here I am three years later with the blog going from strength to strength.
Why do you think healthy living is important?
I believe that we get one life, one body and that we should challenge it, listen to it, nourish it, fuel it and enjoy it!
As a sportsperson, I first discovered how the way in which I fuelled and prepared my body through food, hydration and preparation maximised my sporting performance. As a physiotherapist, I encounter patients daily who are dealing with chronic conditions, sudden health deteriorations or life-changing events that require rehabilitation but also reflection on how to improve, enhance and maximise their lives.
Our bodies are designed to move and be challenged and that’s why movement and exercise are key components of my life. Without fuelling our bodies right however, moving our bodies is difficult to achieve. Therefore, I aim to fuel my body with balanced sources of energy, colour and food types to ensure I am prepared for whatever life throws at me.
Cooking and an appreciation for food also brings me closer to nature and to the simple wonder of growing as my family raise beef cattle, laying hens and grow numerous plants and vegetables in our garden.
Any advice for those wanting to eat healthier?
The most important thing to remember is that any change or modification to your life is going to take time, practice, perseverance and patience. It also isn’t going to be a smooth journey; there will be good and bad moments, moments of desperation and great moments of joy and satisfaction.
The first thing I would encourage anyone to do is start making one meal a day from scratch. The easiest meal is probably breakfast and a nice way to start your day on the path that you choose. Think about making some eggs, porridge, homemade granola, a smoothie or overnight oats. All of these can be prepped the night before and enjoyed in minutes come morning.
Secondly, I would advise to start planning your meals, shopping lists and preparing meals in batches. All three will save you time, money and effort in the long run.
Thirdly, for me I would consider adding lots of colour (think about your 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day), flavour and texture by eating varied food sources, a mixture of raw and cooked food and discovering the difference simple herbs and spices can make to your plate.
Finally, enjoy your food, cooking and the creations you create! Try new ingredients but don’t kill yourself to like certain foods if you don’t like the taste no matter how popular or “super” people think they are.
How do you balance your work and blogging?
Achieving a balance can be extremely challenging especially when I am in championship periods playing Gaelic football.
For about two years of blogging, I never scheduled or planned and really just created content on the fly which resulted in me being quite stressed and not one bit organised. In the last year, I have started to consistently use monthly blog schedules which help me keep on top of planning, creating and editing. This also allows me to apportion my time far more efficiently between all the different areas of my life and provides a sense of control or ownership over my blog instead of it owning me!
What is your favourite recipe from your own blog?
This is a tough question as I love different recipes for lots of different reasons. My Tuscan-Style Cod dish is especially important to me as I represented Ireland at the 2015 Cono Sur Food Bloggers final in Paris cooking this dish.
However, my favourite recipe would have to be my first ever recipe on the blog and one that I make weekly – my Homemade Granola. It is super simple, low in sugar, works with whatever you have in the cupboard and great to eat at any time of the day so a real winner for me!
What is your favourite recipe from The Flourishing Pantry?
All your recipes are bursting with colour and freshness but my favourite would be your Crayfish Stir Fry Salad. The colours are so inviting and I adore Asian cooking particularly salads as flavour, texture and simple ingredients are always the key components.
Tell us about your book!
My book is over a year in the making and is bursting with 90+ colourful, accessible real food recipes suitable for all. Not only will you find recipes but also all my secret kitchen tips and tricks, ideas for leftovers, meal planning advice and evidence based plate guides to help you fill a balanced plate for whatever your day brings. The ultimate aim of my book is to inspire others to cook, nourish and fill their lives and plates with lots of balanced real food sources.
SERVES: Makes 12
- 100g cashews, soaked for 3 hours
- 400g tin butter beans; drained and rinsed
- 4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 100g ground almonds
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
- Preheat an oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F. Drain the cashews, place in a baking tray and bake in the oven for 7 minutes whilst the oven heats up. Line a square baking tin with parchment paper.
- With a food processor or electric hand-held beater (if using an electric beater, mash or blend the beans first), blitz all the ingredients except the cashews and chocolate together until smooth.
- Stir through 75g cashews and 80g dark chocolate chunks.
- Pour into the tin and scatter the remaining cashews and dark chocolate over the top.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin, remove and cut into bites.