I was delighted to receive a copy of The Happy Pear: Recipes and Stories of the First Ten Years by David and Stephen Flynn for review. I had heard about the Happy Pear store and restaurant in Greystones and I’ve long been a follower of the facebook site on which they share many lovely and mostly dairy free recipes. Usually when I get a cookbook, I look through and dismiss a lot of recipes as they have dairy, choose some that can be made with small alterations to make them dairy free and I rule out some things completely. It was a new experience to have a recipe book in my hand which had a handy little code CD on the few recipes which contained dairy and that everything else in the book was completely safe without me adapting it. How lovely!
I put a little post it note on (way too many) pages with recipes I’d like to make, I’d love to make the no bake healthy brownies, caramel squares and the honey and seed flapjacks. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? I’ve plans to make some more of the soups, the falafels and to try some of the salads also.
The main theme of the book is the eat more vegetables message. I find it hard myself to eat enough veg and it can be difficult to get the five a day into the boys so anything which makes this easier is a bonus. The lovely photos of the fresh healthy vegetables used in a variety of interesting ways definitely would encourage me to eat more and to think more about how to use vegetables in different ways. I’m excited to try the courgette and lemon curd cake, sneaking courgette into the boys’ diet would delight me no end. (Note the icing in this recipe is made with cream cheese which contains dairy but the cake itself is dairy free).
I made the carrot, cashew nut and coriander soup which is delicious even without fresh coriander which I didn’t have to hand. The cashew nut makes a really creamy type soup. It was a hit with one dairy free boy and not the other but the fussy one is just that, fussy.
I made a quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette that would liven up any salad. I was looking forward to trying out a sweet treat and for this I made the coconut macaroons. Mine weren’t as pretty as the photo in the book but they were delicious and didn’t last very long warm out of the oven.
What I liked:
Knowing everything is dairy free except those denoted with the CD icon. There are other icons for other diets also so it is super clear which recipes are suitable for your diet.
All the recipes I tried I will definitely make again and often. I’m looking forward to trying more.
The photos, I suppose this is what makes a cookbook but the mouth-watering food photos are super.
The size of the book, it’s about the size of an airport edition of a novel, making it portable and handy to read in bed.
There is plenty of quick no bake options.
There is plenty of background and story about how the Flynn brothers began their food journey and fell into a vegan lifestyle separately in different countries and then made a lifestyle and career of it when they came back to Ireland. The book is a good read or can be used as a traditional recipe book you can dip in and out of.
The authors acknowledge that while they are vegetarian, the book is not designed to turn people vegetarian but just to eat right for health. There is a chapter on eating healthier for your heart with a list of do’s and don’ts. There is advice to follow strictly if you are very sick, need to lower cholesterol and lose weight and to make smaller changes if you just want to be a little healthier.
What might put you off:
Unusual ingredients such as tamari, goji berries, puy lentils, quinoa, dates, things that you might not have in the cupboard. I buy one new one every so often and try it in something and if we like it becomes a cupboard regular. This book has a good mix of ingredients you will already have and some new ones you can try. So if at first it might seem like you’d never make any of the items, you’d be surprised how many recipes contain regular store cupboard items.
There’s almost as many photos of the Flynn twins as the food. This might be a good thing if you’re a fan, but I know my husband was giving out about too many smiley photos of them. No denying their huge grins are a good advertisement for eating more vegetables though. :)
I would happily recommend the book to anyone whether cooking dairy free or not. Plenty in their for the dairy free home cook though.
The cookbook is available from thehappypear.ie website priced at €19.99. It is available country-wide in all good bookshops and I found it reduced on Amazon lately. It would make a great Christmas present, I’ve already bought a copy for one of my friends.
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