Browsing Tag


Birthday Celebration Tarts

June 3, 2013

Today is my birthday! I turn 26.

The day brought much reprieve and rest, along with ample sunshine. My fiancé and I packed a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon enjoying some lovely eats and the warm weather along the harbor. We even have some new freckles to prove it.

I don’t usually aim for anything too fancy on the big day. I like keeping things simple. I’m totally content with enjoying a nice meal with friends and sharing some dessert. There’s always some dancing involved too. Over the weekend I did just that. I set off gallivanting the streets of Cork with my dear friend Emma. You can be sure there was plenty of banter and laughter shared, the best kind of celebrating.

Upon arriving at Emma’s house on Saturday, she remarked, “You look like a tart.” This was funny for multiple reasons. First off, Irish insults are interesting terms of endearment which are abundant in the friendship between Emma and me. Secondly, as coincidence would have it, I just so happened to be experimenting with these raw tarts for my birthday. I went on to explain the intricacies of making raw tarts with nothing but nuts and dates. It turns out we both have bold minds. We collapsed in a huge fit of giggles. Who knew Veganism could be so risqué?

These tarts are pretty amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that they are vegan, gluten-free and raw, and just focus on the delectable elements that combine to create perfection. Raw desserts really are my fave (especially during the summer months.) I can enjoy an incredibly delicious, nutrient-dense dessert without post-dessert remorse. I can feel really good about what I am putting into my body, and what I am feeding the people I love. That is truly something to celebrate.


Raw Berry Tarts

Serves 6



  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup of medjool dates


  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup


  • fresh blackberries, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
  • mint leaves for garnish (optional)



  1. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the almonds and allspice until it becomes a fine consistency. Then add in the dates one by one until they have all been added and you have a sticky dough.
  2. Divide the mixture into 6 muffin or tart tins.  Then press the mixture into the tin forming the crust.
  3. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to fill them.


  1. Drain the cashews after they have been soaking for at least three hours and place them in a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice, zest, water and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding additional water as needed.


  1. Place the filling in each tart, heaping it up in the center, using up all the filling. Top each tart with berries and a garnish of mint leaves. Enjoy!

Tarts are best eaten same day but will keep in the fridge for up to two days. 

 Now it’s time to pop some bubbly and toast to another amazing year.

Grilled White Asparagus with Currant Jelly

April 16, 2013

How is it only now I’ve been introduced to white asparagus? I remember seeing it in the States, but for some reason I never gave it a try until moving to Europe. In Cork, white asparagus is coming into season and it can be found in every market.

I’m really beginning to love asparagus because it’s one of the few vegetables that can stand on their own – artichokes and leeks are the others -and can be served warm or cold. But white asparagus, with its ivory color, is also elegant. It has a special delicacy and less herbaceousness than the green and is less likely to be bitter. It is nutty, succulent and satisfying, which is why just three or four thick spears makes a substantial side dish. Since it’s season is short, I grab the white while I can.

White asparagus is grown completely underground, a process called etiolation. The spears are deprived of light which prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll, thus there is no green color to the stalks. Asparagus is a great source of many nutrients, including fiber, folic acid, calcium and iron. But one thing that may surprise you is that asparagus is loaded with the lesser-known vitamin K. Some vitamin K in our bodies is actually produced by the friendly bacteria in our gut, but the majority we get from the plants that we eat.

I chose to dress this veggie with a tart, juicy currant jelly which compliments the asparagus’ delicate flavor. It may sound crazy mixing veggies with berries, but it really works. Simply delicious.



Grilled White Asparagus with Currant Jelly & Lemon Zest

Serves 2


  • 6-8 spears white asparagus
  • melted coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • handful of fresh red currants
  • spinach
  • lemon zest


Preparing the asparagus

  1. Rinse the asparagus. Using a knife, remove the bottom 1/2 inch of each spear. Remove the tough peel from each spear using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Brush each spear with coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Place the spears on a grill rack over medium-low heat, taking care not to break any of the spears. Turn frequently, every minute or so, using tongs to prevent burning. Grilling uncovered is best due to the constant attention needed during cooking. Spears are ready to serve when there are light brown grill marks on each side. Cooking time will vary according to the specific temperature of the grill being used and the level of doneness desired.

Preparing the currant jelly

  1. Place currants in a bowl and mash with a spoon.


  1. Place grilled asparagus on top of a fresh bed of spinach and top with currant jelly and lemon zest. Enjoy.

Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Blood Orange, Beet & Fennel Salad

February 22, 2013

There’s nothing like a trip to the market to really get the creative juices flowing. I was so inspired in fact, that my walk to the market to buy every type of citrus fruit in sight, also yielded another bright idea: a citrus salad. How do you like them apples…err…oranges? I really do believe that eating seasonally is one of the most important steps to take towards personal health, which means choosing more locally-grown fruits and vegetables and preparing them in a way to support the body’s needs. However, it is possible to eat well according to the season, and still have lots of flavor and variety.

My fresh take on the classic Moroccan salad pairs shaved fennel and red onion with assorted beets, grapefruit and oranges for color contrast. Served alongside some gorgeous greens, it’s a complete meal to share with someone special. I hope you all enjoy this uncomplicated dish as much as I do. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so mind-blowingly tasty.

Get yourself to the shops quick and pick up some of your favorite fruits before they are out of season! And perhaps get into some of the lesser-known citrus that is sure to please. Ever tried a kumquat? How about a tangelo or minneola? Yum.


Blood Orange, Beet & Fennel Salad

Raw, Vegan & Gluten-free

Serves 2


  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1 medium red beetroot, top trimmed
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from oranges and grapefruit. Place sliced fruit in bowl and add lemon juice and lime juice.
  2. Remove the skin of the beetroot and slice crosswise into thin rounds.
  3. Layer beets,oranges and grapefruit on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion on top. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. Garnish salad with cilantro leaves.

(*Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Sweet Tart Juice

September 6, 2012

You want to know a funny thing about Irish people? They always talk about the weather. Always. Come rain or come shine, they will talk about it. Several times each day. It’s one of the first things they mention when arriving at work, buying lunch, taking a taxi or meeting a friend in town. And since I find myself progressing into Irish ways, I’ve decided to tell you about the weather we’ve been experiencing in Cork this week. It has been a little bit chilly during my early morning runs, but we’ve had blue skies and pretty nice temperatures. The perfect weather for lounging outside.

Here in Ireland we didn’t experience much of a summer, just rain upon rain. As soon as September arrived it seems so has our Indian Summer. You could have bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that this would happen after such a non-event of a summer – the kids go back to school and everyone’s knuckling down again, then the weather takes a turn for the better. I think it is a real treat to be savored and it makes reading a book in the sunshine a particular pleasure.

I created a refreshing summer drink that tastes surprisingly like Sweet Tarts – those mouth-puckering candies of childhood. A whole lemon tart up this juicy blend of apple, pineapple and kiwi, while carrot sweetens the affair. It’s candy in a glass. Enjoy this summer-inspired drink for your weekend barbeques, picnics, parties or just while hanging out with friends this weekend.

Sweet Tart Juice


  • 1 apple
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 small pineapple
  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 1 whole lemon, peeled


  1. Place everything in juicer and enjoy!

* Serve it frozen or chilled for extra perk.


(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –