I’d heard of the Happy Pear Shop and Café in Greystones, Co. Wicklow long before the book of the same name was published but had never visited so I was very curious to see what all the fuss was about. The Flynn brothers, have been all over the media the last couple of weeks with the launch of their first book, unsurprisingly titled “The Happy Pear” and I was delighted to be offered a review copy of the book.
The Flynns, identical twins tell the story of the first ten years of the Happy Pear Café, ranging from how they started out in college to where they ended up – in a health food store and cafe in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, educating the masses about their way of life.
To the book. It’s healthy food. Some of the recipes call for unusual ingredients that I wouldn’t normally have in the house, then others have nothing more exotic than cinnamon. There’s a lot of reading in it too.
Recipe-laden chapters including “Breakfasts”, “Soups”, “Salads”, “Mains” and my personal favourite “Desserts, Cakes and Sweet Treats” are broken up by chapters where the Flynns explain their philosophy. The whole book is full of photographs, a must for a cookbook in my view. I like to know what the finished product is supposed to look like.
They also have a chapter on their “Happy Heart Course” which aims to reverse heart disease, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure by following their meat, dairy and processed food free diet for four weeks. (Not all of the recipes in the book are as hardcore)
The book is innovative in its size, think hardback novel as opposed to cookbook. This is a very clever move in my book (groan) as it makes the book a lot more readable and browseable, it even fits in my handbag quite easily.
While I love the food photos and it’s nice to see a bit of what the authors look like, there are well, A LOT of photos of the authors. Now I know they have their female fans but it was a bit much for me, especially (fan alert) the photo of them emerging from the sea on the back cover. It’s just too much for me. That didn’t put me off the book though. How could you be put off a book that makes HEALTHY caramel slices! I know, I made them. Gorgeous.
They make twists on less healthy treats, like the caramel slices that we tried, or the fake twix bars and bounty bars that are on the to do list.
The recipes are easy to follow and clearly marked “contains dairy”, “contains gluten” etc so it’s easy to identify what suits your diet.
The caramel slices were very easy to make, the most difficult thing being the need to wash the food processor three times. They tasted really, really good and were very simple to but together, and they’re challenging the way I think about how food is made, which is what the book and the Flynns are setting out to do.
We’ve (ie the kids have) decided that the cashew butter cookies are next on our list, and while the boys are resisting the photos of the dinners on the basis that there’s “too much stuff” (they mean visible veggies) in the photos I’m determined to try some of the curries and soups.
I want to try the Thai Coconut, Sweet Potato and Lemongrass Soup, Veronica’s Potato and Bean Curry (there is no chance the kids will even try this), I noticed that Simply Homemade made the Beetroot, Walnut and Feta Burgers and they looked delicious so I definitely want to try them too. and finally the Greek Pumpkin, Feta and Filo Pie. Every time I pick up the book I think of more things that I want to try.
The book is available on the Happy Pear website for €19.99 (plus a whopping €6.50 delivery charge) or from booksellers nationwide as they say (Easons have it on a 3 for 2 promotion at the moment). It would make a great Christmas present for anyone who cooks, don’t let the healthy sell put you off, it’s a genuinely lovely book.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review purposes, but I wasn’t paid for this review and the opinions in it are my own.