Most of us start our day with coffee and a commute; Finn Ní Fhaoláin starts hers with a surf and a smoothie. With her twin passions for food and the sea, Finn’s philosophy is that as long as she is never far from either, it’s been a good day at the office!
When life is all about following your dreams and catching the best waves, it can be hard to find the time and money to feed yourself well. Enter Finn’s World, where you’ll discover how you can eat delicious, healthy food that won’t break the bank. You’ll also find out Finn’s tips on how to do more of what you love every day, as we all strive to live happier, more balanced lives.
Finn’s food journey began when she was diagnosed as a coeliac and became determined to recreate all her favourite dishes – without the gluten. 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!
Some Fresh, Tasty, Fun Recipes from Finn
Irish Malaysian Noodle Soup
Though my family have always been fairly multicultural in their dining tastes, this little number is inspired by one of my good friends from secondary school. It makes a fantastic light dinner or, alternatively, a good lunch to set you up for the rest of the day.
4 large / 6 small shallots
Coconut or sesame oil, for frying
2 portions rice noodles (always check packet for GF)
A handful Chinese broccoli (normal will do if you can’t find it)
10 GF fish balls – these are not as obscene as they sound and can be sourced from any good Asian market
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
5 thinly sliced mushrooms (shiitake, if you’re getting really authentic about it)
4 large pak choi leaves, shredded
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Splash GF tamari soy sauce
½ Knorr vegetable stock pot or sachet (18g)
instant miso soup (because of my marine science background I just can’t use fish sauces: I know too much)
2 umami eggs – hard boiled eggs that have been peeled and soaked for 6 hours in 3 tbsp tamari soy and 3 tbsp water
Fresh coriander leaves
Chilli and lime sauce
½ lime, cut into 2 wedges
Finely slice the shallots. Shallots have a more delicate flavour than normal onions, which is why I prefer them here. Fry in coconut or sesame oil at a high heat, stirring all the time, untilcrispy. Heap them on a kitchen towel and leave to one side. Try not to nibble on them!
Bring 4 cups (960ml) of water to the boil in a medium saucepan, then add the noodles.
Using a steamer, or a colander and the saucepan lid, steam the broccoli above the noodles.
Cut the fish balls in half and then, in a pan, stir-fry the ginger, chopped fish balls, mushrooms and pak choi, seasoning them with the Chinese five-spice powder.
When the broccoli is done, set it aside. When the noodles are al dente, drain them and pop them back in the pot with three cups (720ml) of fresh boiling water. This gives the soup a less starchy base. Add a dash of tamari soy sauce and the stock pot or miso sachet and simmer for 3 minutes.
Place the noodles and broth in large soup or ramen bowls. Arrange the stir-fry mix, broccoli and umami egg slices as you like. Garnish with lots of crispy shallots, fresh coriander, some beansprouts, a dollop of chilli sauce and a lime wedge. The chilli sauce is hot – 1 tsp for the normal, 2 for the brave, 3 for the insane. Some folks like a bit more soy sauce so leave this on the table.
TIP – For a veggie-friendly version, leave out the fish balls and add another egg. For a less spicy version, leave out fresh ginger and chilli sauce.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cardboard – Thick Crust Pizza
I love Italian food, but mostly I love pizza. When gluten-free pizzas started to pop up it was like the fates were taunting me. I’d eat gluten-free pizza in a restaurant and they’d cook it in the oven with regular ones and I get poisoned. Then I tried buying the extortionately priced pizza bases from supermarkets – the consistency of a stale bagel! It looked like the love affair was over.
Below is my favourite – a simple twist on the classic Hawaiian. Serve with gluten-free beer and a smug grin!
Makes enough for 4 mini (15cm) pizzas
120g GF self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling – Doves Farm Organic is my tip top: great ingredients and no chemicals!
Pinch of salt
250g Greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
30g grated mozzarella for each mini pizza
225g tomato frito – a wonderful Spanish invention where they have already added the garlic and seasoning to the tomato; if your local supermarket doesn’t have it, passata with some oregano, garlic powder and salt will do
2 chestnut mushrooms
2 pineapple rings in juice – not syrup, no need for that nastaay sugar
2 slices Serrano or Parma ham
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line two baking trays with baking parchment – this stops the pizzas from sticking and makes them easier to move.
Chuck the flour and salt in a big bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yogurt and olive oil. Mix the lot together with a wooden spoon to make a sticky dough.
Pour about ⅓ cup of flour on a big chopping board and smooth it out a bit. Working with a quarter of your dough at a time, grab a chunk and drop it on the floured board. Roll it around till you have a floury ball – if the dough feels too wet just add more flour.
Next, pop a ball of dough onto on side of your papered-up baking tray (you should fit two small pizzas on an average tray). Cover your rolling pin in flour to stop the dough sticking. Roll the pizza base out by moving the dough a quarter turn clockwise after each roll. This stops the dough from breaking and keeps the nice round shape. Using your hands, flatten the dough in the centre and squish the edges to create a thick-crust pizza.
Repeat till you have two mini pizzas for each tray. Pop the trays in the oven for 10 minutes to partially cook the dough.
For the toppings, thinly slice the mushrooms and chop the pineapple into chunks. I love Serrano ham for a little twist on the classic Hawaiian – it adds such a great flavour and you can cut thin strips using a scissors.
Take the pizza bases out of the oven, spoon on your sauce, spread it out then grab a good handful of cheese and sprinkle over each pizza. Pop the bases back in the oven for 5–10 mins to let the cheese melt. After this take them out, arrange your mushrooms, pineapple and ham and pop back in for another 10–15mins until the cheese is golden brown.
Serve and enjoy!
Finn’s World is published by Gill Books, priced at €22.99.