About Me

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Three and a half years ago I became vegetarian. Three and a half weeks ago, anticipating a certain health diagnosis at any time, I also gave up all added sugar in my diet. My mother is of a certain generation and, although a very good cook, struggles to know what to offer guests with specific dietary restrictions. She once had a vegetarian and a coeliac for dinner at the same time, and nearly lost her reason! So, the idea for this blog was born. Every recipe that features here will be vegan (and, obviously, vegetarian), gluten free, sugar free, lactose and dairy free, and suitable for people on a low sodium diet. That's right, you read that correctly. Even if you have guests with each of these restrictions coming to the same meal, everything here is safe for them. And, before you expect weird and wonderful ingredients to make an appearance, everything I'm using can be bought in larger branches of all major supermarkets - you don't even need to visit health food stores. Try the recipes and tell me what you think!

So What's This Tweet Treats Thingy All About?

Watch the brilliant 30 second trailer below and all will become clear!

Tweet Treats Trailer from Catherine Ryan Howard on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Warning: Contains Nerdishness

Hi all, I'm going away for a week on Saturday so I've been just catching up with some of my spreadsheets etc. before I go. Want to know some of the latest nerdy statistics about #TweetTreat? Course you do!

So far, we have received:

1717 recipes from:
400 contributors, of whom:
95 are celebrities

Contributions to date have come from 17 different countries, and the combined total of followers of those 400 contributors is 5,895,407! Wowsers!

I know, I know, the celebrity box on the right hand side is seriously cluttered and out of date. I'll sort it as soon as I have a minute, I promise.

Anyhoo, while I'm on my holliers I'll be dropping in and out on Twitter (depending on connections etc) but I'm leaving my baby in the capable hands of celeb-chaser extraordinaire, @mduffywriter. :)

I'll be back in charge on Monday 9th August. If I can wrest the reins from @mduffywriter's grip, that is. ;)

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend, Irish people! ;)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Festival of World Cultures

This weekend saw the annual Festival of World Cultures return to Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin for two jam-packed days. I was contacted by @msf_ireland and asked if I would join the MSF staff at their tent on one of the days to tell members of the public about #tweettreat.

I was delighted, duly decorated a t-shirt with some information about #tweettreat and trotted along on Saturday 24th July. There I met fundraising officer Gareth and press officer Deirdre, both of whom I'd met before, as well as a number of other volunteers and staff. They are such an absolutely lovely bunch of people!

It was terrific to see a steady stream of traffic in and out of the MSF tent. Some were people who were very familiar with the organisation, others were hearing about it for the first time, and all had a chance for a good chat with members of the MSF team.

It was a very enjoyable day and it was great to see firsthand the fantastic goodwill that this organisation generates. I was also very chuffed to be there having reached the goal of 1700 recipes! People generally were fascinated by the celebrities who had contributed so far, so hopefully that interest will translate into sales once the book is published. 

Even the kids got involved, playing with toy doctors' kits, drawing pictures and looking at some of the equipment. My own darling daughter (with the pink leggings) was fascinated by the Plumpy'nut - a peanut based food fed to malnourished children - and with the MUAC tapes used to determine whether or not a child is in danger of starvation. Placing it around her own, well-nourished arm, she was able to see just how severely emaciated a starving child can be - an interesting lesson for a first-world child who has never been hungry.  

It was a thoroughly enjoyable, jam-packed day and I'm very grateful to the MSF staff for inviting me and for their huge enthusiasm for the #tweettreat project. I hope I can do them proud. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You know, for Kids! - Again

Hi all, today's challenge was children's food, even though we'd done it before. I noticed I hadn't as many children's recipes as I'd like, and boy am I glad I asked for more - some fantastic ones came in today!

As soon as I saw this one I knew it was a winner:

"Cup of milk, one egg, halfcup plain flour, pinch salt, drop blue food die. Pan fry in butter, add bacon.#greeneggsandham"

How fantastic is that?! Thanks once again to @emilyjaneross!

Now for some significant news; our #tweettreat total is now at 1706 recipes, which means that we've exceeded our target! It's utterly incredible that we've collected so many, in slightly under twelve weeks. Thanks again everyone for your help. :)

So, what does this mean? Well, basically it means that today's challenge was the last. Unless I discover a gap in the book somewhere, which might mean one or two more; but certainly today's was the last regular one. Boo, sniff. 

Now, our attention needs to turn more strongly towards celebrities. We have a great list of contributors so far, numbering 90; but our aim is to get 140, so we have 50 to go. Please, anyone and everyone, if you can help to get celebrities' attention on Twitter, I would be very, very grateful. 

So, now the work also begins on compiling the recipes I've received into a book. I've had so many offers of help with this, which are hugely appreciated. Most recently, @MJulieMiller, who is an indexer, offered to do the index for me. I'm astounded by her generosity, and have very gratefully accepted! @MJulieMiller is new to Twitter, and is well worth a follow. :)

I'll continue to blog daily, to keep you all posted on any news, updates and celebrity acquisitions, so don't go away! 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

Hi all and happy Monday! For starters, the results of the jury are in on the frozen #tweettreats from Friday, and the winner is....

1 banana, half punnet of strawberries, half a large pot natural yoghurt, blend, then pour into ice lolly molds, freeze - Well done to @Pamreader!

Now, today's challenge was Manic Monday - food that can be prepared very quickly when you're having a busy day! My favourite was this:

"Tin green lentils (drain, wash) salt, oil&vin & sliced scallion. Nice w Fennel Salad: slice, oil&vin, salt & toasted pinenuts"

I was completely won over when @aoifemcl told me it was her kids' favourite dish! Wow. 

That brings me rather nicely to tomorrow's challenge. We now have 1685 recipes and are very close to our notional target of 1700, so I'm starting to look at areas and categories in which I'm short. So, tomorrow's category that I need to pad out somewhat is Kids Food - it can be sweet or savoury, I don't mind. As ever, the best recipe will be rockstar. I wonder if we can get to 1700 tomorrow? 

Wow, that's kinda scary...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Freezer Friday

Hello all, and welcome to the weekend! Today's challenge was frozen food; hints or tips for freezing, meals to make and freeze ahead, ice-cream, etc. Got some great recipes, mostly ice-cream funnily enough... ;) We now have 1656 in total!

Having found these ridiculously hard to judge, I decided to put my favourites to the public vote. Vote for your personal favourite in the comments below by their number, please (and no, you can't vote for your own!) and the recipe with most votes will be declared rockstar on Monday.

1. Sugar High Cake: Mix 2 fave ice creams, add 2 fave candy bars (crushed). Pour into pan. Drizzle choc sauce. Freeze. @HOHWwriter

2. 1 banana, half punnet of strawberries, half a large pot natural yoghurt, blend, then pour into ice lolly molds, freeze @Pamreader

3. Mix 2 eggs & 2 tsp sugar. Dip a scoop of ice cream in mix. Roll in crushed corn flakes. Deep fry for 15 secs & serve w/coulis @EleanorFitz

4. Heat 1/2pt tonic &1oz sugar til sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in 1/4pt gin. Freeze in rigid container 3hrs. Stir. Freeze overnight. @rosamundi

5. IrishCreamsicles: 2/3c sug, 1/4c cornstrch, 1/4tsp salt, 3c milk, 3 yolks. Whisk&cook til thick. Add 1/2c IrishCream, freeze. @MontanaGael

6. Two frozen bananas-1 frozen mango-all in blender= raw vegan ice cream! :) @olivosartstudio

There's also another challenge for Monday - it's Manic Monday, and I'm looking for lightning-fast meals. :)

Have a great weekend everyone, and don't forget to vote!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Turkey Thursday

Thanks to a question from @Fictional100 I realised yesterday that I had rather a dearth of turkey recipes, hence today's challenge.

Today this one was my favourite:

"Sweat 6 leeks in butter for 30mins. Add wine, rosemary, thyme & cream, simmer. Add turkey & season well. Top with puffpastry." 

And so today's rockstar of tweettreat is @emilyjaneross - Thanks Emily!

Now, tomorrow's challenge is one suggested a while ago by @thejayfaulkner, and it is for frozen food. Either quick dishes you can rustle up from your freezer, or good meals to freeze till later, methods of freezing certain foods, anything goes. And, of course, ice-cream. :)

We've hit a total of 1,644 recipes today, which is a great number. We're so, so near our target (which is a notional 1700). Keep up the good work, everyone! Thanks for all your help. :)

Finally before you go, and in honour of Turkey Thursday, here is Ireland's unofficial mascot Dustin singing his version of Lemon Tree, "Christmas Tree". Enjoy. :)

Till tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Like Momma Used To Make

In ongoing honour of my recuperating husband (who had better stop overdoing it post-surgery or he'll have me to answer for), today's theme is convalescent food, the sort of thing your Mum used to make for you when you were sick.

Some lovely recipes came in, bringing us to the terrific total of 1630. My favourite was this:

"L'Aigo Boulido
4C water slt 12clv garlic To boil Add 1baylf chpd sage dash olvoil Ck 2m Steep 10m Slice brd in bowl Top olvoil grtd cheese soup."

Apparently it's a Provencal recipe, reputely an elixir for convalescents and new mothers - and a godsend for those with hangover! That's according to @JackyHSF, our rockstar for today. :)

Now, thanks to a question from @Fictional100, I've realised that we have a dearth of turkey recipes. So, tomorrow is Turkey Thursday - I'm looking for recipes for ground turkey/mince, turkey steaks, turkey legs, you name it. As ever, the best one will be rockstar. 

Till tomorrow!

Monday, July 12, 2010

This One's For My Other Half

Happy Monday everyone, and apologies for my absence over the last few days - I was dutifully nursing my beloved husband through a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (that's gall bladder removal to you).

Anyway, last Thursday's challenge - which carried over till today - was for low-fat, high-fibre foods in my husband's honour. You guys are amazing - you kept pushing and plugging away at the #tweettreats all weekend, and we now have a grand total of 1605 recipes! Hopefully another 100 should do the job. We're also close to 90 celebrities, which is incredible - 50 or so to go. :)

Today's winner was very hard to choose out of so many, but I really liked this one and can see myself using it:

"Low Fat Houmous:
1 tin chickpeas,1/2gn chilli,1/2tsp cumin,2tbsp lem/juice,3 minced garlic,1 tbsp chickpea liquid. Blend until smooth."

That's from @CountryLets - thank you! Thanks also to the various new contributors to #tweettreat who joined over the last few days - lovely to see you all. :)

My dear husband has also suggested tomorrow's challenge, which is for nice convalescent food - stuff your mom used to make when you were sick, chicken soup etc. 

As ever, if you try any of the #tweettreat recipes do let us know. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Toad-in-the-hole with Pavlova

Hi all, today's challenge was for food that was named after someone or something. It was also an opportunity for some ridiculously silly puns, and you didn't disappoint!

It was a hard choice, but here is my favourite for the day cos it's dead posh, so it is:

"Tournedos Rossini
Fry filet mignon in butter,place on a crouton,top w/slice foie gras,garnish w/black truffle,madeira sauce."

And today's rockstar is @LevParikian! :)

Now, I may not be around much tomorrow. My beloved husband is having surgery (nothing major - should be home tomorrow evening!) so I'll be in hospital for the day. I'll pop in and out of Twitter when I can. 

Anyway, hubby has been advised to eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet for a while after the surgery, so that's tomorrow's challenge - Hubby Helpers!

Talk to you all at some stage tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Happy Chews-day everyone! Today's challenge was simple - it was for chewy food. My willpower has been sorely tested today, as I received not one but two recipes for fudge - my greatest weakness! Both fudge recipes were fantastic, but I had to choose this one as rockstar (even if I had to edit this person's recipe down to 140 characters. AGAIN.)

"Baileys and White Chocolate Fudge
Heavy saucepn,stir500g sgr,500ml cream,50ml Baileys, simmer.Boilwhen sgr dissolved.Stir FTTT.Add150g white choc. 22cm LINED tin,cool.Cut"

Apparently FTTT means "from time to time". This one had to win cos as well as fudge, it also featured Baileys. Drool. And today's rockstar (for what, the third time? Fourth? Lost track) is @chiddle84! You're starting to sound positively domestic these days, you know.

Now, tomorrow's challenge came to me in a convoluted way. I was thinking about Wednesday, and how it was named after Odin or Wodin the Norse God, especially as I was thinking of @neilhimself's American Gods a lot. Then I started thinking about things that are named after other things, and the end result is this: Tomorrow's challenge is food that is named after animals (toad in the hole?) or people (Pavlova?). There you go, a fascinating insight into the working of my brain. ;)

See you all tomorrow!

Monday, July 5, 2010

'Merican Monday

Howdy y'all and I hope you had a great 4th of July if you were celebrating it!

Ok, I'll drop the awful accent. Today's challenge was 'Merican Monday, in honour of 4th of July. All American recipes were welcome, and some great (and peculiar!) ones came in. I especially liked this one:

"Hush Puppies
Mix 2 beaten eggs,1/2c sugar,1 diced onion,add 1c flour,1c cornmeal, drop by tsp into 2inches 350 degree oil, fry til golden"

I find that recipe fascinating, cos if you're Irish this is what Hush Puppies are. ;) Anyway, today's rockstar - who also happens to be a Yank - is @DazedPuckBunny! She's well worth a follow, too. Thanks for the recipes, hon. :)

Now, tomorrow's challenge; it's Chews-day. Did you see what I did there? Didja? Didja? Basically, anything chewy is welcome. That can be toffee or caramel, or fudgy brownies, or sticky flapjacks, or soft-baked cookies... oh boy, I'm drooling! Looking forward to tomorrow now. 

Tonight we hit 1555 recipes - what a lovely number! What are our chances of hitting 1600 tomorrow? It's a long shot... We've also received recipes from 86 lovely, charming and obliging celebrities. I wonder who'll join us next? 

Till tomorrow!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Welcome to the weekend, everyone! It was another great day on #tweettreat, starting with the receipt of a recipe from @heatherofficial - Heather Mills herself! Heather is a big campaigner for charity, so it's fantastic to have a contribution to #tweettreat from her. Kudos to @mduffywriter who tracked her down and asked her. :) We have now received 1525 recipes, exceeding our target for the week which was 1500. Our number of celebrity contributors is also up, and now stands at 83.

Today's challenge was fried food, particularly for food that you wouldn't normally expect to fry. As ever I got some great recipes in, some of them utterly intriguing. My favourite was this:

"Mix cream cheese, grated Cheddar, grated apple,Tabasco, salt, pepper. Make wholemeal bread sandwich. Fry in butter both sides."

And today's rockstar of #tweettreat is @ClodaghMMurphy - thanks Clodagh, I've got to try that one. :)

Now for Monday's challenge; as Sunday is the 4th of July, a big event on the American calendar, I hereby declare that Monday is 'Merican Monday. I'm looking for typical American food, particularly if you would normally eat it on July 4th. I know that 18% of contributors to #tweettreat thus far are from the US, so there should be no excuses! As ever though, I'm happy to take any recipe, any time. 

In other news there is now a Facebook page for #tweettreat thanks to @rebeccaebrown. Please go and "like" it to help spread the word!

Finally, in the spirit of Fry-day (and with thanks to @davidgilray), go to Google, type in 2204355 and click on "I'm feeling lucky". Enjoy! 

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you're celebrating 4th of July I hope you have a ball. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cakes and Bakes

It's almost the weekend! Time for a spot of baking, don't you think? Today's challenge was cakes and baked goods. Some of you found this challenge quite difficult, but came up with some good recipes nonetheless, bringing us to a total of 1509.

My favourite for today was this:

Lge mug,mix 4tbsp ea SR flour/sugar 2tbsp cocoa,1 egg then 3tbps ea milk,oil ½ tsp coffee essence M'wave 3mins @ max When risen/set tip out"

In fact, I liked the sound of this one so much I decided to try it with my daughter to see if it really worked. The results are here: 
Picture one
Picture two
And today's rockstar, for the second time, is @JackyHSF - well done!

Well, tomorrow is Friday. Since so many of you were horrified earlier this week by my fried jam sandwiches, I have declared tomorrow to be Fry-day. I want to hear about food that can be fried, especially food that you wouldn't normally fry but is somehow delicious! (Did I ever tell you about my father-in-law who discovered that he could cook an entire fried breakfast in his deep fat fryer? Sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, bread... only the eggs escaped. Now that's a real cholesterol special!)

I expect to be shocked, horrified, entertained and amused by tomorrow's offerings...  :-D