Ger’s Monthly Update – The Japan Edition!

Ger's Monthly Update Only Natural
Anyone who knows me well knows that for a long time now I’ve had a deep interest in Japan, the country and its culture. In May I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to indulge myself with a trip over there and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it and where my fascination comes from. It wasn’t my first time in Japan and I hope I’ll get the chance to go again. I spent my time in Kyoto and Nara, both former Capitals of Japan and both regarded as places where the country’s traditional culture is still at its strongest.

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Recipe of the Month – Vegan, Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake

Vegan Orange and Almond Cake Only Natural
We’re particularly excited by our recipe suggestion this month because we hope you’ll also be seeing it in print quite soon. It’s part of Only Natural’s submission for a book which our supplier Wholefoods plan to bring out soon (hopefully before Christmas).
Wholefoods are collating recipes and background information from all their independent health store customers for the book (no title as yet) which they plan to make into a celebration of the Irish health food trade, it’s history and it’s personalities over the years, store owners and staff as well as suppliers. It’ll be part cook book, part potted history of the Irish Health Food trade and, having been part of the story from the very beginning, we’re hugely proud in Only Natural to be taking part in the project. We’ll keep you informed here on progress. We hope to be selling it for the Christmas season and profits will be going to Ireland’s Special Olympics funding.
For the moment why not just try Ruth’s delicious and super easy cake for a flavour of things to come?

Orange and Almond Cake

This vegan, gluten-free cake is utterly scrumptious and a great recipe to add to your repertoire! It can be served warm with spiced dairy-free cream in winter or with fresh berries and vegan ice-cream in summer … a perfect dinner-party staple. The texture is reminiscenty of a traditional steamed pudding, a real favourite for many!

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New and Notable

The idea with this blog is that it will grow month by month.  Each month Ger will pick a couple of new products that have come in store that he thinks are worth highlighting!

Kaqun Water Only Natural

Kaqun Water

From Hungary, Kaqun oxygenated water. Feed every cell in your body with oxygen. €3 for 500ml

Nature’s Plus Vegan Power Meal protein powder

An innovative, organic blend of protein from sunflower, quinoa and peas fortified with food state vitamins, minerals and enzymes to ensure optimal absorption. Ideal meal replacement during illness and convalescence. On promotion at €28.68 for 630g.

Only Natural VPM Only Natural
Hand Cream Only Natural

Dr Hauschka Regenerating Hand Cream

New to the Regeneration range – gives mature skin an even looking skin that feels silky, supple and nourished. Rich and creamy texture that it absorbed quickly and leaves a feeling of protection. RRP €29.95

Better you Magnesium Gel

Amazing after exercise, another super easy way to replenish those magnesium levels in a hurry or on the go. 150 ml. €17.39

Magnesium Gel Only Natural
Paleo Protein Only Natural

Nature’s Plus Paleo Protein Powder

A super combination of organic protein powder from coconut, flax, pumpkin, almond and sunflower. Easy to mix without a blender, tastes great, 20gr of protein per 45gr serving. 675gr promotional price €26.36

BetterYou Turmeric Oral Spray

All the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric in a highly absorbable oral spray (one month’s supply) €17.95

BetterYou Turmeric Only Natural
Blackwood Toothpaste Only Natural

Blackwood Whitening Toothpaste

With charcoal, the ingredient that gives Blackwood its black colour, whitens, absorbs smells and removes stains to leave teeth feeling fresh and clean. Juniper extract promotes gum health. The toothpaste significantly and safely whitens teeth, fights plaque buildup and maintains long-lasting fresh breath. €9.97

Mark McCue Ceramics

Beautiful and affordable traditionally hand crafted ceramics from County Mayo.  Beautiful gifts, tea pots and sets, neti pots and oil buners. Prices range from €14.95 – €27.95.

Gifts Only Natural
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Recipe of the Month – Chocolate Christmas “Pudding”

Recipe of the Month Ruth's Christmas Pudding

Christmas is a time for family, friends, fun …. and, well, food! While it isn’t ideal to scoff handfuls of chocolates and mince pies, a little indulgence over the festive period won’t do any harm. This recipe is based on a new tradition that has crept in over recent years …. a Chocolate Biscuit Cake made in the shape of a Plum Pudding – pure novelty!

Traditional Chocolate Biscuit Cake is laced with milk chocolate, sugar, sometimes condensed milk and is crammed with sugar-filled biscuits and treats. This version on the other hand is still indulgent, but is kinder to your body. It uses nuts instead of biscuits along with delicious dark chocolate, zingy crystallised ginger and is sweetened with Brown Rice Syrup (a fructose-free sweetener). A real treat for December 25th and one the whole family will love!


275g Butter
200g 75% Organic Chocolate
150ml Organic Brown Rice Syrup
60g Crystallised Ginger, roughly chopped
100g Ground Almonds
100g Organic Almonds, roughly chopped
100g Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
200g Organic Raisins


  • Line a 1 litre pudding bowl with 2 layers of cling film as smoothly as possible, leaving some hanging over the edges (you’ll use these to pull the pudding out once it sets)
  • In a large pot over a gently heat, melt the butter, chocolate and brown rice syrup, mixing regularly
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir through
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl. Tap the bowl gently on the worktop a few times to fill any air pockets.
  • Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours but preferably over night.

Use Ready-to-roll icing to decrate the pudding or simple top with crystallised fruit and chocolate shavings!

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Ruth’s Healthier Mince Pies Recipe!

Ruth's Healthier Mince Pies Image

Healthier Mincemeat

These mince pies are full of festive flavour. They would be perfect by the fire with a cuppa or with your favourite Christmas tipple! Traditional Mince Pies use quite a lot of sugar as well as shredded suet or butter. Now, I’m a firm believer in moderation and think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a traditional mince pie or three over the festive season! Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have an alternative that won’t leave you reaching for your stretchy pants!

For this recipe, I used large home-grown cooking apples as they are abundant in our garden at the moment. I love the tangy undertone of flavour that they give the mincemeat. Those of you with a sweeter palette should use 5 sweet eating apples instead though! Making sure to buy the best quality dried fruit you can is also important as they don’t have sugar and fat to hide behind. Treat yourself to the best that you can!


4 Apples, peeled and chopped
500g Raisins (400g +100g)
250g Dried Cranberries
100g Dried Cherries
4 Teaspoons Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Ginger
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
900ml Freshly Pressed Apple Juice (or good quality store bought)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
100g Flaked Almonds
Zest of an Orange
60ml Brandy

Ruth's healthier mince pies raisins pic


  • Combine the chopped apples, 400g raisins,  cranberries and cherries in a large pot over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the brandy, flaked almonds and the remainder 100g raisins).
  • Bring to a gently boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Add 30ml brandy and flaked almonds. Leave on a low heat to simmer for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the heat and add the remaining 100g of raisins and brandy.
  • Leave to cool and then store in an airtight containter in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
  • Make into mince pies using homemade or store-bought pastry (see below).


  • Omit the brandy for a booze free mince.
  • If you really want to add a touch more sweetness at the end, try adding Brown Rice Syrup. It’s a frutose-free sweetener so it won’t send your blood sugar haywire!
  • For a foolproof gluten-free alternative to making your own pastry, ask us in-store about Silly Yak Gluten Free Puff Pastry and Amy’s Gluten-free Shortcrust Pastry! Easy-peasy!
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Recipe of the Month – Ollie’s Mammy’s Stew

Irish Stew

What? Cocoa in a stew, who’d have thought?
I’m really loving Oliver McCabe’s new The FuelFood Cookbook and it was a great pleasure to have him signing copies in Only Natural recently. We’re equally excited at the prospect of having him do a demonstration day in Murphy’s Barn on Saturday May 7th. It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to benefit from Oliver’s unique wholefood cookery knowledge at first hand, on top of which we’ll be throwing in a delicious and wholesome lunch with recipes from the book and all in the most inspiring setting not far from Wexford town. Why not keep the date free? Tickets are now available online here.

Anyway back to the recipe. It’s Oliver’s mammy’s very own recipe for Irish Stew and, what with Paddy’s Day just round the corner we thought it might be good to remind you that, even in today’s multi cultured food world, our own tradition of simply prepared, wholesome dishes deserves to be honoured and enjoyed. This Irish Stew however has a bit of a twist, yes cocoa! I’ve added chocolate to chilli before and I must say that this works too. The result is a rounded, mellow flavour where the strong taste of the lamb isn’t quite so dominant. The quality of the ingredients is everything in a recipe like this so we’d suggest (A) supporting your local Craft Butcher for better quality meat and (B) buying organic vegetables where possible. The chilly season isn’t quite over yet and trust me, this is what you want when it’s cold and rainy outside. Do give it a try!

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