Vegan Wellington


Last year we cooked up a plant based Christmas feast fit for a king – wholefood plant based or not. Vegan, vegetarien, pesciterian, flexitarian, paleo, keto… Christmas is a time of year for inclusion and one thing that we’re all in agreement on is plants are included!

This year we continued our Plantie Christmas Feast new tradition. Christmas Day is spent with family which includes a traditional Christmas dinner. So me and my little plant chomping crew now have a plant based Christmas feast together at the start of December with vegan eggnog to start, tonnes of veg, dessert and cheesy crackers (not cheese and crackers!).

Last year I made Beet Wellington. This year I wanted to mix it up a bit and I combined all I have learnt from making falafels, vegan sausages and veggie burgers, and came up with a new recipe which knocked the Christmas socks off my gang. This recipe makes three good sized rolls. We used one at our feast the second on our mock Stephens Day leftover day and will bring the third one on Christmas Day for those curious to try our way of eating.

Below is the recipe for this years Wellington. For the Beet Wellington and all the veg recipes see my Merry Plantie Christmas Recipes article.

1 tin chickpeas
1 tin cannellini beans
4 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1 punnet mushrooms
1tsp cumin
1tsp coriander
1tsp paprika
pinch of chilli
1tbsp milled flaxseed
1 lemon juice
1tbsp tamari
1dsp honey
100g walnuts
100g pumpkin seeds
3 slices sourdough bread (or your prefered bread)
100g oats
Handful fresh parsley, thyme
S&P to taste

  • Place your walnuts, pumpkin seeds, oats and chopped up bread into a processor, chop till broken down into nuggets and breadcrumbs. Put into a large mixing bowl.

  • Saute the finely chopped onion and garlic and fry till lightly brown. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, all the spices and half a teaspoon of salt & pepper. Gently saute for about 10min or until some of the mushroom juice has sweated off.

  • Place the saute veg mix into a processor and pulse. Leave some nice chunks. Add to the mixing bowl.

  • Place your chickpeas, cannellini bean, fresh herbs, lemon juice, tamari & honey in a processor and blend. Again leave some texture. Add to the mixing bowl.

  • Time to get your hands messy! Mush it all together with your hands, add more oats if the mixture is too wet. Add more salt & pepper at this stage if needed. It should be a malleable texture similar to a veggie burger mix.

  • Shape into three big rolls. They can be wrapped in greaseproof paper and stored in the freezer at this stage if not using immediately. You can also shape them into burger discs or falafel rounds to store in the freezer.

  • Preheat the oven to 200oC. Lay your pastry out and place your roll down the centre of the pastry. Brush along all edges of the pastry. Pull the sides up to and seal it along the centre of the roll and the ends. Glaze your whole Wellington and slash lightly along the sides. Bake for 30mins or until nicely browned.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Vegan pumpkin pie


As soon as October kicks in I go mad making and baking everything pumpkin – starting with our family favourite pumpkin pie! Pumpkins used to be very hard to come by in Ireland. In fact, I was reminded today that we used to use turnips as our jack-o-lantern. Which lead to many a halloween injury I’m sure! Now we can easily get them in the most amazing shapes, sizes and colours. Call me a veggie hugger but it breaks my heart to see them in all their Halloween festive beauty decorating front doorsteps, not fulfilling their job in life to fill our bellies with goodness. Pumpkins help fight inflammation, keep you regular, are full of magnesium, vitamin C and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. All that sitting on your front doorstep!

Best way to prep a pumpkin is to cut the whole pumpkin up into chunks, removing the skin and seeds, pop it into a big baking tray, cover it with tin foil and bake it till its nice and soft. Then you can use it throughout the week in Buddha bowls, stews, falafel, soups and flapjacks. I also sometimes puree the baked pumpkin with a few dates and keep it in jars in the fridge to add to porridge or as a spread on toast.


100g spelt flour
100g ground almond
2 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of salt

150g cashews soaked for about 4 hours
50g dates
425g fresh or tinned pumpkin puree
80ml maple syrup
80ml oat milk
2 tbsp arrowroot
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

  • Place the cashews in a bowl cover with water and soak for about 3-4 hours

  • Place all the base ingredients into a processor and blend till a dough forms

  • Using the back of a spoon smooth out the base into a 20cmx18cm (approx) tin

  • Bake for 10 min and a preheated oven at 200oC

  • Chop your dates and soak them in boiled water for about 10 mins

  • Place your soaked cashews and dates into a processor and blend till smooth

  • Add your pumpkin, maple syrup, oat milk, arrowroot, spices and salt. Pulse till completely smooth

  • Spread the filling evenly over the baked base

  • Bake for 45 mins at 160oC

  • Allow to cool and set before cutting

It actually tastes even better when stored overnight in the fridge, if you can resist eating it all in one sitting! Next time you find yourself in the veggie aisel pick up a pumpkin and free it from sitting sadly on a doorstep.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Sourdough bread


The process of fermenting dates as far back as 7,000 BC when home brewing was first invented. Around 200 BC they discovered that by using similar techniques they could preserve the abundance of food from the harvesting season, to store and use throughout the winter months. Little did they know at the time that by fermenting their foods they were enriching their diets with, what we now know to be, the ultimate health food!

The fermentation process produces digestive enzymes and natural probiotics. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live inside the gut, that give diversity to your microbiome or gut flora. The more variety of microbiome the happier the gut. When these bacteria are balanced the gut is better able to absorb vitamins and nutrients from food, and eliminate toxins from the system.

There are many benefits to fermented foods:

  • Maintain a healthy gut flora

  • Boost the immune system

  • Promote regular bowel movements

  • Manage blood sugar levels

  • Produce antioxidants

  • Improving skin conditions

  • Prevent intestinal disorders

The process of fermentation in sourdoughs is called lacto-fermentation. When flour and water are combined and left to ferment, natural yeasts and bacteria from the air combine into the mix and start to grow. Flour is a carbohydrate, and like all carbohydrates, breaks down into energy in the form of sugars. The yeast and bacteria break down the carbohydrate in the flour into simple sugars to feed on. This converts the sugars into lactic acid which gives the distinguishable sour taste to a sourdough. The process of fermentation reduces the available carbohydrate sugar content in the bread. The lactic acid which is produced also helps us to process the bread more easily than regular bread.

Phytic acid found in all wheat flour can cause bloating, discomfort and inhibit the enzymes that helps us to absorb nutrients from our food. The slow fermentation process in sourdoughs breaks down this phytic acid – enabling you to maximise your nutrition absorption in a meal with sourdough v’s regular yeasted bread or brown bread. This makes it a preferable choice for those who find other bread hard to digest.

Sourdough is the purest form of bread. It is made of three simple ingredients – flour, water and salt. Commercial bread has lots of added preservative, fillers and sugar, to give it a longer shelf life, and encourage you to eat more. Sourdough is an incredible bread, like no other you’ll find in a supermarket. Benefits aside, it also has depth of flavour, a spectacular golden crust, and a lovely chewy texture. It stays fresh longer because of the ferment and makes the best toast ever!

I’ve been making sourdough for about 6 years and this method is by far the easiest method – with minimum effort and the best results. Since I started this method I’ve had the most spectacular rises, and the addition of cooking it in the Le Creuset has finally given me that characteristic golden, multi layered sourdough crust. If you’re just starting I recommend stick with white bread flour (sometimes called strong flour) initially. Once you’re comfortable with making and baking start experimenting with adding brown bread flour (not to be mixed with brown flour). It will be a slightly denser loaf but taste just as good, with a slightly nutty depth to it.

You can make your own starter by adding 75g of water to 75g flour in a large mason jar. Repeat this for about a week, decanting some of the mix if the jar gets too full, until you start to see some bubbles, and it smell nice and acidic. Better still find a friend who makes sourdough, and get some starter from them, or bring a jar to your local bakery and ask nicely if they could spare some of their starter. Odds are their starter will have much better depth of flavour. The older the starter the better the flavour and the rise results. My starter is 6 years old and has been shared out to many other sourdough converts.

To feed your starter just add 75g flour and 75g water and mix well. In warmer weather you’ll notice it’s happier with daily feeding. In winter you will probably only need to feed it every second day. If you are going on holidays, or want to take a break from making your bread, give it a good feed and pop it in the fridge. This puts it to sleep and slow down the fermentation process. It can last for a few weeks in the fridge without feeding. It might separate and get a layer of dark liquid on top. Nothing to worry about, just feed it for a few days when you’re ready to go again, to get it nice and bubbly before you make your first post sleep bread.

300g starter
250g water
500g flour
10g honey
10g salt

  • Test that your starter is ready to go by dropping a teaspoon into a warm glass of water. It should float, or float for a second before dropping to the bottom

  • Measure out your starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water, salt and honey and mix

  • Add you flour and mix well with a spoon before you start using your hand

  • Kneed in the bowl by folding it over from the side to the centre 8 times, leave for 10 mins, then 8 x fold with a wet hand, leave for another 10 min

  • Fold again with a wet hand and get your proving basket ready with a dust of flour and a shower cap

  • Dust your dough with plenty of flour and pop it into the basket, cover with the shower cap, leave a bit of space between the cap and the dough

  • Leave for anything between 10 hours to 2 days to prove, for the longer times prove in the fridge

  • Pop the Le Creuset in the oven and heat the oven to 200oC

  • Take Le Creuset out (carefully it’s be very hot!), dust the top of your sourdough with more flour and gently flip your sourdough into the Le Creuset

  • Bake for 30 min with the lid on, bake for further 25 min with the lid of to get your crust

My optimum rises have come from feeding the starter early in the morning; prepping the bread an hour later; leaving the bread on the counter to prove throughout the day; popping it in the fridge overnight; and baking it the next morning. I always bake from fridge cold sourdough – so even if you’re doing a shorter prove end your prove with an hour or two in the fridge. It keeps its shape better without spreading, and the moisture make it rise better and gives it an amazing golden crust.

For a faster bake prep first thing in the morning; leave on the counter for the day; pop in the fridge for about an hour and then bake. Giving it a minimum of 9 hours to prove eg 7am prep and 5pm bake.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

The benefits of drinking water


I’m a big believer in the power of keeping the body well hydrated for optimal functionality. Whenever the kids come to me with an ailment, from headaches to tummy aches, the first question I’ll ask is have you drank enough water today. 60% of the human body is made up of water.

It is especially important to up the amount of water you drink during the warmer summer months. You may not feel you are sweating much but your body is constantly emitting perspiration to regulate your body temperature. You could end up quite dehydrated by the end of the day without even noticing it. Especially if you are drinking tea and coffee which are natural diuretics, in other words they make you pee out more than you’ve consumed. Rule of thumb is if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.

The recommended amount of water you drink per day varies depending on time of year, how much exercise you do, and if you have eaten enough fruit and veg in your diet. In general aim for a minimum of 2 litres per day which is about 8 glasses of water. You might find that initially you are taking lots more toilet trips, but your bladder adjusts as its capacity expands, and the sensors, which can be overstimulated by tea and coffee, balance out.

After oxygen water is our second most important source of fuel. We all know we should drink plenty of water but maybe understanding the importance of drinking water will help you to remember to get those daily dose of glasses in.

  • Keeps you regular - drinking plenty of water keeps everything moving and prevents constipation
  • Aids detoxification - the body works best when toxins, are regularly eliminated from the body. Water will help the bodied elimination system to do their job.
  • Boosts immune system - when the body is well hydrated and free of toxins the immune system can concentrate it’s resources on building strong.
  • Aids circulation - the blood is made up of 92% water, dehydration causes reduced blood capacity making it harder for you heart to pump blood efficiently.
  • Increases brain function - the brain is made up of 73% water. Drinking plenty of water help you to stay alert, focused and helps prevent headaches.
  • Relieves fatigue - one of the most common symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Drink a large glass of water wakes body up and jump starts all the cells of the body
  • Regulates body temperature - the body naturally sweats to regulate optimum body temperature. When you get dehydrated the body temperature raises.
  • Regulates weight management - often we think we’re hungry and reach for a snack wne actually we’re mixing our hunger and our thirst signals up. Try a glass of water first when you feel peckish.
  • Brightens skin - drinking plenty of water gives your skin a lovely healthy glow.
  • Aids gum health - water helps to wash out your mouth after eating and helps prevent bacteria and tooth decay.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Plantie curious


My journey towards whole food plant based definitely didn’t happen overnight like it does for some people. It might have had something to do with the fact that, as a mum of three, what I cook has to be right for more than just me. I’ve never been a big meat eater, but about eight years ago I started to get more curious about the idea of your whole plate being just plants when I read Hugh Fernley Whittingstalls book Veg Everyday. At that stage I had a four year old and a two year old, so I was still cooking meat for them, but I started to eat mainly plant based myself. Dairy was a more gradual process of reduction over the course of the last few years. When I’m asked about food choices I say I’m 'whole food plant based', although I’m probably Vegan I rather the all encompassing more welcoming term of plant based. We’ve gotten a bit obsessed with boxing everyone into categories and we all eat plants to some degree!

I was much slower to introduce the kids to this way of eating. I haven’t taken the step lightly. I have read an enormous amount about kids on plant based, and watched documentaries like What the Health and Forks over Knives. Happy that this is the best way for them too, we’ve all started to mainly eat the same way over the course of the last year. On special family occasions, and diners out, I encourage them to make their own choices. I feel helping them to embrace this way of eating as their own decision is an important part of their journey. And if it’s not part of the journey they choose there is no judgement.

What does meat and dairy add to your diet? The obvious answer being protein and calcium. Protein builds and repairs muscles, and calcium gives us strong bones. I’m not disputing that they are definitely essential nutrients, but animals don’t make these nutrients, so where do they get the protein and calcium? They eat it in their plant based diets. Why not cut out the ‘middle man’, so to speak, and go straight to source – eat plants! Not only is it a purer form of protein and calcium but it is more readily absorbed by our bodies. If you are eating a whole food plant based diet – full of a variety of veg, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains – you’ll meet your daily requirement of protein, calcium and all your nutritional requirements everyday, whether you lead a sedentary life or you’re training for a ultra marathon. It’s actually quite easy to over consume protein, leading to increased fat stores and unnecessary strain on the heart and the kidneys.

Meat causes inflammation in the system and is much harder for the body to digest. True carnivores have much shorter intestines to ensure the meat moves out of their system before it rots. Our intestine are more like herbivores and our canines are nothing like a carnivores, or in fact other omnivores. The function of cows milk is to create rapid grown in a small calf. When the calf is eating well it naturally weens – it no longer needs rapid cell growth. So why do humans (not even cows) feel we need rapid cell growth throughout our whole lives? This rapid cell growth, which all dairy causes, is what potentially causes problems with cancer patients who consume dairy.

We are living longer, but we are sicker and more medicated than ever before, and from an earlier age. We have made great leaps in prevention of death from infections, but through the way we live our lives we have created new health concerns. Our current four main risks, called ‘lifestyle diseases’, are heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. A plant based diet has been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity, prevent and reduce cell growth in cancer. There are many mixed messages from marketing campaigns created by the agriculture industry to cause confusion. In the hope that they will cause enough doubt to make the public stick with what they’ve been told is right, rather than question it.

I have to admit my springboard into plant based was about wanting to feel and look well in myself. As I go along on this exploration I’m learning more about the effects animal agriculture has on our environment – from deforestation to grow grain for livestock; water pollution from livestock; and that 51% of our gas emissions comes from livestock. 40% of the world’s surface is used for agriculture and of that 30% is used to rear animals. We can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and think ‘how can one person make a difference’. One burger takes 460 gallons of water, 1.5 acres of land, and the equivalent gas emissions of driving a car twenty miles. An average person on a western diet consumes 7,000 animals in their lifetime – that’s a lot of animals, water, deforestation and gas emissions per person!

So where do you start if you want to find out more information. Check out the Veganuary website to answer all your questions and get some plantie recipe to get you started. I’ve been doing the plantie thing for a few years now but I still feel I have so much to learn, and as a mum it’s my responsibility to keep delving. So I’ve just signed up to The Happy Pear online Happy Heart Course and look forward to lots more recipe ideas and some inspirational online talks with the Flynn twins. It’s about being well and feeling more inline with nature. Building a sustainable future for the next generation and being healthy and happy.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru