Saturday 21 February 2015

Plant the seeds: Chocolate Chip PB Cookies

You have two options. Scroll down for the recipe or read on. I love to write. It's part of this blog but if you've got a cookie munch pang, then get baking and come back to read while you get your cookie monster on.

I've had two beautiful invitations to friends' weddings in the last two weeks and it's been glorious. I considered why I was so happy for them. Genuinely. It's not that I've been waiting for this wedding phase of my life where everyone I know gets married; if anything I've been dreading it and all the gifts and customs that can go along with them and how some couples who had been so unique and individualistic suddenly becoming part of the pack, wanting the same version of everyone else's wedding. So why was I so happy for them? Because the beautiful people that are getting married to their beautiful partners are happy and they are using their wedding day not to display how much money they can spend or prove their happiness or their love but simply because they want to share that love and joy. Had these couples stayed together forever and never married, I would still be delighted for them but there's something about having a celebratory occasion that strengthens and stretches that joy out and makes me feel lucky to know them.

Listening to them announce their special day has triggered thoughts in me about what I'm doing with myself. 'Be where you are' is a mantra I held close to my heart last year and it paid dividends. I embraced where I was and the place that that meant to the best of my ability. It didn't always work. I had moments of wondering what the hell I was doing in Dublin but for the vast majority of 2014, I was thankful for that mantra and how it kept me grounded and settled in the choices I had made that year.

2015 is a new year. If you've read the last few posts, you'll know that I recently moved house into a little cottage close to the city center and the sea. It's cozy. It has a beautiful kitchen, sky lights, a garden full of wild garlic, and high ceilings. Arriving in the door the last three weeks, I've felt like I'm home but there's still been a nagging, unsettling feeling, an unsettling question: 'What am I doing?'. I know we all have this feeling, sometimes sporadically, other times everyday. When I try to answer the question, there's a duality in my answers. I'm settling for a year in a cottage, I'm working in a job I love, I'm trying to set up a sustainable home in the city center, I'm saving for some travelling next year, I'm learning, I'm figuring things out, I'm taking baby steps. One part of me knows that city living is temporary, that I'll have my place in the country by the sea with a garden and a man by my side and a community around me. The other recognizes that this is an awesome time in my life to be in the city, full of creatives my age with the potential to get involved in all the projects going on in Dublin. One side yearns for warm waters and simple living, adventures and travel and worries that Dublin will turn into forever. The other longs for a place to rest my head that's familiar, a community around me who knows me well, a garden that's mine that's not going anywhere until I'm ready to leave.

It's difficult to keep calm and the 2014 mantra of 'be where you are' seems outdated. It was perfect for last year as I built my life back up, made the foundations, the basics of my life solid and stable. When I think calmly about how I feel, I don't want to give all that up and I realize that I don't have to, that there are adventures to be found on my doorstep, once I open my eyes. I had spent January planning my move and February settling in. Today, sick with the flu and with plenty of time to think, I stopped the cyclical, sinking thinking and got a piece of paper and a pen out and wrote down the ideas in my mind and the image I have for 2015. I surprised myself. I'm not trekking in Peru or surfing in New Zealand. I won't get a tan for another few months and I won't be picking tropical fruit from a tree next to a surf camp but I do have a mantra for 2015 and I do have the image and the outlines for a pretty epic year carved out.

2014 was a year of sitting in the dirt pile that had been my life and based on my awesome friend Kane's advice, I composted that shit. Metaphorically, the foundation work of my life is sorted. I have a base like that of healthy soil. Friends, family, work, living situation, health. My little community is here, my support system. 2015 is the year to start planting seeds of what I want to grow in my life, getting my hands in the dirt, visualizing a  thriving and beautiful garden and taking steps to make that happen.

I wrote a list that grew and evolved and I'm getting excited. I may not be where I thought I would at this point in my life but that's the best part of life, once you learn to embrace it: change and its constant evolution. As I wrote my list, I inevitably got hungry but as I'm flu-ridden, thoughts of sugar laden cookies, as appealing as that sounded, weren't going to cut it. I made these in no time and while they baked and filled the kitchen with warmth, I made my list for 2015 and my mantra: Plant the seeds.

Here's just some of the ideas on my list:
1. Connect land, sea, garden, community and photography
2. Forage in the city, grow in the city, recycle in the city
3. Be part of a community
4. Collect seaweed, wild herbs, wild flowers
5. Learn, preserve, grow, share
6. Host a permablitz
7. Start something in the community
8. Bees in the city
9. Develop sustainable and growing series for Busylittlefoodie
10. Travel to friends, with friends
11. Go on a surf road trip
12. Help, share, love, laugh, grow, learn
13. Follow the moon, tides and seasons
14. Embrace change
15. Go with the flow
16. Watch the sunsets, breathe the air, sing
17. Trust my gut and take the big steps
18. Dream big, start small, spread out

What's your idea for 2015? What's important for you?

These cookies will surprise you. When I first attempted to make them, they blew my mind. When you eat them, it's like munching into raw cookie dough and crunchy choc chip cookies at the same time. Easy to make and bake and ready in no time. They are gonna be your new go to. Secret ingredient? Chickpeas. You read that right, chickpeas. Don't knock it till you've tried it. A little warning though. I made a batch of twelve and there are now four left. An hour after I made them. Just saying.

Ingredients: Makes 12
1 can chickpeas
6 Tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (the real stuff)
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 190 C. In a blender, add the drained chickpeas, maple syrup and cinnamon and blitz on high until you have a creamy paste. Place mix into the bowl and stir through the peanut butter, coconut and dark chocolate. Grease a baking tray or line with grease proof paper. Take tablespoon sized amounts of the mix and roll into a ball then flatten into a cookie with the palm of your hand. This mix makes approx 12 cookies, depending on the size. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes until they harden a little. Great to eat warm or cold. Store in airtight container for up to a week but don't bet on them lasting that long


  1. Had some awesome feedback from the wonderful Clare of Life of Clare. If you don't know about her beautiful food blog, get onto it at She's got a little bundle who can't eat honey yet so the maple syrup works great but as these are a crumbly type of cookie for more delicate hands like us grown ups, they don't fare so well with little ones learning to eat with their hands. She made an awesome suggestion to add an egg to bind them a little more and also to substitute the chocolate for sultanas, perfect for little ones and even healthier. Thanks lady! Any other comments, bring them on, would love to see more on my blog X

  2. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to make my kitchen more livable! I got to start baking your gorgeousness, thanks for all your GF tips lady!