Finn’s World is a food journey which began when Finn Ní Fhaoláin was diagnosed as a coeliac and became determined to recreate all her favourite dishes – this time without gluten. That difficult road led to a beautiful destination, where Finn has created food that’s not only nutritious, but tastes amazing too! Hailing from the west coast, by the age of 10 Finn had already sailed past a glacier in Alaska, stayed in a convent in the south of France and watched cobras dancing in India. She has a BSc in Earth and Ocean Science and an MSc in Marine Biology, and has completed a professional cookery course at the Lough Gill School of Culinary Arts. She lives, surfs and cooks in Bundoran on Ireland’s northwest coast.
Here are some gorgeous recipes from her book Finn’s World:
Finn’s World: Costa del Granola
Makes one 2 litre jar
- ½ cup (120ml) sunflower or
- coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup (170g) runny honey
- or cup (120ml ) maple syrup for a vegan option
- 3 cups (300g) GF oats
- ½ cup (80g) dried diced papaya
- ½ cup (80g) dried diced
- 3 tbsp linseeds
- ½ cup (70g) sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup (40g) desiccated
- coconut, toasted in a dry pan
- till lightly golden
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- In a small jug, mix the sunflower oil or coconut oil with the honey or maple syrup.
- In a big bowl, mix the oats, dried fruit, seeds and cinnamon together. Don’t put the desiccated coconut in at this point as it can burn!
- Pour the oil and honey mix into the big bowl and incorporate until everything is thoroughly coated. I recommend using a wooden spoon, not your hands. Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and spoon the granola mix onto the surface. Spread evenly.
- Bake for up to 30 minutes, mixing every 10 minutes to ensure even browning. The longer you cook it, the crunchier it will be.
- Some people like it super crunchy but I prefer the chewiness of the oats when taken out at around 15–20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven at the desired time, lash in the toasted desiccated coconut and allow to cool.
- To maintain the tropical vibe, I like to serve this with slightly exotic fruits. Not an apple in sight! Go with things like mangos, when they’re cheaper in season, kiwis and bananas. Top it off with a nice natural or coconut yogurt.
- If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me and suffer from dessert guilt, this can be served with Greek yogurt and a splash of maple syrup for a healthier treat.
- For a clumpier granola, add a bit more honey. With a little less honey, the granola will be very fine and can be used as an oaty cereal and served with fresh chilled milk.
Finn’s World: Healthy Taco Fries
- 4 large Rooster potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes, washed, skins on
- olive oil, for frying and roasting
- 1 red onion
- 1 large carrot
- 500g lean organic mince
- ½ packet (15g) taco seasoning or 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp oregano, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 400g tinned red kidney beans
- ½ tin (200g) refried beans – optional, just to give a smoother texture
- 6 tbsp free-range mayonnaise
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 big handful grated cheese – I like mature white cheddar here
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Cut your potatoes into wedge shapes. I do this by cutting them in half lengthways and the laying the flat side down on the chopping board and cutting into it at an angle. Depending on the size, you should get 6–8 wedges per potato. Put the wedges in a big bowl, pour over about a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and shake ’em all around. Feel free to do a little dance at the same time. I like to listen to the Desperado soundtrack when I’m cooking anything even vaguely Mexican. Slide the wedges out onto a tray and pop them in the oven. Reduce the heat to 180°C. While those bad boys are cooking away it’s time to make the chilli!
- Chop your onion up nice and fine. Wash and scrub your carrots and cut them up as teeny tiny as you can. We are just trying to sneak veggies and a bit of sweetness into the recipe – we don’t want the carrot to be a big deal! Drain and rinse your red kidney beans and open your refried beans tin if you’re using them.
- Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. When it’s nice and hot pour in about a tablespoon of olive oil. If you’re one of those folks who has trepidations about using olive oil, you can of course use a flavourless coconut oil instead. Pop in your onions and carrots and sauté till they are soft. Take them out and put them to one side.
- Next add a little more oil and then the mince. Fry until it browns. If it’s one of those sneaky packets where they chucked a load of water in, I pour that off – no one wants soggy chips. Add the taco seasoning or your own mix and fry for 3–4 more minutes.
- Add your tomato purée and beans, turn the heat way down low and let it simmer.
- Check on your wedges and give them a turn so they get golden all over.
- Make up the garlic mayo in a little bowl by mixing the mayo, garlic powder and oregano together. You can of course use fresh crushed garlic – I just prefer the powder.
- Take your wedges out of the oven and take the chilli off the heat.
- In a big bowl – go on, a big one – layer up with wedges, chilli and garlic mayo and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. If you want a little extra spice in your life I sometimes add Tabasco sauce, Frank’s hot sauce or pickled jalapenos.
Finn’s World: Jose’s Game-Changing Chicken Wrap
Makes 1–2 wraps, depending on the size
- 1 big free-range chicken breast happy chickens
- taste better and ar e better for y ou
- olive oil, for roasting
- salt and pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ avocado
- ½ ball low-fat mozzarella
- 1–2 GF tortilla wraps the bigger the better
- handful baby leaf spinach
- For the Dressing
- ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
- ¼ cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves raw garlic or 3 roasted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Pop the chicken breast into a small baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pop the whole pepper on its own dish and rub it with a little olive oil. Put the cloves of garlic for the dressing in with the pepper (with their skin still on). Roast garlic is even nicer than raw in the dressing and easier for your stomach to digest too!
- Lash both dishes in the oven. Cook the chicken for up to 30 minutes or until white the whole way through. The pepper will only take about 20 minutes (turn over once after 10 minutes) so remember to take it out early.
- When the pepper is blackened a little and nice and soft it’s done. Jose used to peel the peppers, but I like the blackened bits of skin on the outside. Cut off the top of the pepper and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the flesh into rough chunks.
- Cut the avocado into long strips. Finely slice the mozzarella.
- I like to ‘refresh’ the GF wraps for about 20 seconds on high in the microwave and then lay them out on a big sheet of tinfoil on a plate.
- Slice the chicken breast and line it along the centre of the wrap. Add the avocado, peppers, spinach and mozzarella. If the wrap is small, I just use half the pepper; if it’s a big’un, I use the lot for extra veganess!
- I like to make a jar of the dressing so I can use it for other salads as well.
- Simply mix the oil and vinegar and then season with salt and pepper. If you’re using roasted garlic, remove the skins, crush and add. If using raw garlic, chop 2 cloves into quarters and mix them in. The dressing will get more deliciously garlicky the longer it sits – just be careful not to pour the big chunks of garlic onto anything later!
- It’s delicious even without the dressing, but I’d totally encourage you to try it.
- This wrap is high in healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil. If you’re watching your calorie intake, ensure the cheese is low fat and sub in a tasty green leaf like rocket instead of the avocado.
- If you need to cut out dairy, simply leave out the mozzarella, as the avocado is perfectly creamy by itself!
- This is a fantastic weekday lunch staple – simply prepare a big batch of chicken and roasted peppers on a Sunday and make up the wraps cold during the week.
- For shear unadulterated yumminess, if you have a panini press or toasty maker, you could press the wrap, toasting the outside and melting the cheese!
Finn’s World: Do What You Love. Love What You Eat. published by Gill Books, is available online and from all good bookshops.