One year ago me and my husband decided to go back to Ireland after an year and a half in Rome and we’ve chose Greystones as our new home. Since then The Happy Pear, the local vegetarian restaurant and health shop, is being part of our routine. We eat and shop there, our little one loves their food, we always have a great time there, being very well received by their very friendly staff. In November they celebrated 10 years and as part of the celebrations they have launched a few months ago their first cookbook: The Happy Pear – Recipes and Stories From the First Ten Year, by David and Stephen Flynn and published by Penguin Ireland.
If you’re Irish or lives in Ireland, the book will give you the chance to get to know more about the charismatic twins, Stephen and David, who have already conquered the country, and take home a little bit of their delicious and healthy food. If you don’t know them, that’s a great opportunity to cook some different food. The book isn’t vegan (but vegetarian), but the majority of the recipes are vegan, so I’d say it’s a very vegan-friendly cookbook. Steve and Dave have changed their lifestyle around ten years ago while living outside Ireland (and in different countries) and decided to bring a healthier choice of foods to people back home, eating and cooking basically plant-based, vegan food. The book will give you a wide vision of them as people and business men in many pages of storing telling.
Their main goal? That people can eat more veggies and try to educate them to also eat healthier: “Health is so important, so fundamental and I think people don’t appreciate it until they’ve lost it. We take it for granted when we’re in our 20s or 30s and it’s only as we get older and start getting a little heavier, we aren’t this fitted and can’t exercise that much anymore, that’s when people start to worry about their health. And you know nearly one in two people die of heart diseases in Ireland… Most people understand that these must be lifestyle created diseases in nearly all cases except a few cases that are genetic ones. So adopting a healthy lifestyle, what we eat and exercising can create a great effect in our lives”, explains David. And this is what they take to their shop, restaurant and their Happy Heart course, an eating program focus on improving health and well-being (in the course they cook just vegan fat-free food).
Back to the book, recipes are really easy to make, going from breakfasts to mains and desserts. Of course the first section I’ve checked was the desserts one and I’ve made the Coconut Macaroons. They’re lovely (and usually they’re not vegan in the shop as they contain honey), very crispy outside and soft inside, not very sweet, a really great treat. I’ve topped some with chocolate ganache and others not and they were both versions delicious! My favourite of their treats is still their “Caramel” (“Twix” style) bars but I can get them every time I pop up in the shop, but if you can’t make sure to make them!
For the savoury dishes they have many curries, stews and dahls, very popular in Ireland among vegetarian restaurants and I opted for cooking first Veronica’s Potato and Bean Curry which was absolutely delicious, full of flavours and very simple to prepare (recipe and picture in the end of this review!).
In general I really enjoyed the book and found it vegan-friendly, my only negative aspect about it is the labeling. I didn’t get why marking the non-vegan recipes instead of the vegan ones and David explained to me that most of the recipes are vegan so it was easier to mark the non-vegans ones – and that the labeling was an editorial choice, not theirs. Which brings me to the second – and biggest issue for me – about it: there are many recipes with honey not labeled as non-vegan (sorry, honey isn’t vegan) and I also found one recipe with eggs not marked. Labeling should be about making things easier and not more confusing, right?
I also asked David if we could expect a 100% plant-based book in the future: “Sure! Absolutely! As long as it includes people and not exclude them, we could consider it for sure, I’d be happy to do it.” So I’m already waiting for the second book and till there, our family will keep going to The Happy Pear and I’ll cook as many vegan meals from the book as I can.
And how about a chance to WIN ONE COPY of The Happy Pear – Recipes and Stories From the First Ten Year? We’ve teamed up with the twins to give one copy of the book to one lucky reader around the world! Yes, that’s an worldwide giveaway! For a chance to win all you have to do is to answer these two questions in the comments: Do you eat healthy as a vegan (or vegetarian or in transition)? What’s your favourite healthy food or snack? Winner will be emailed on December 17th. Good luck!
Finally, here’s the recipe for Veronica’s Potato and Bean Curry*:
* Authorized by Penguin Ireland