Posted by in Features.

I have hit a wall and I cannot tell a lie. Being back in college for final year of my degree course is hard. The course work is harder (no surprise there) but I think what is hardest is the fact that I am away from the home and hearth almost five days a week. The kids, thankfully, are unfazed by this new shift in routine and scheduling because my Mum, Catherine, spends the afternoons helping them with their homework and we still all manage to get home and have dinner together as a family at the same time every day, thank God.

I feel so lucky to have her support and the support of my husband, Ron, to get me through the last three years of college and now this final hurdle. There are only twelve more weeks (after Christmas) of class for me and then I will be free to take our life off hold and just get back to having a job (I hope) and more of a normal life. While I am still a huge advocate of return to education for people like myself that never went to college as a youth—it is the biggest challenge I have yet to overcome and perhaps, as I enter the final furlong, I am beginning to let myself get anxious about what’s next. Although the country is still in the depths of a recession, I am excited about drafting an updated copy of my CV and cannot wait to start circulating it. Wish me luck!

This month I am sharing a recipe for one of our favourite veggie dishes. Bell peppers are beautiful and bold in colour and we find that when roasted they take on a lovely sweet texture and taste and the kids devour them no matter what the filling is.

We aim to eat meat free at least two nights a week and this is one of our favourite dishes. We hope you like it.

Thanks for reading along and for all the support and well wishes after the Irish Blog Awards (where we earned four awards!). We are well and truly delighted!

If there are any recipes you would like to see featured for the Christmas issue of Nuacht Chláir do not hesitate to drop me an email and we will do what we can to accommodate you.

Protein Packed Peppers


When attempting to go meat free it is important to substitute protein in the diet. Nuts are a great way to do that. If you want you could also add in a few beans to the recipe or even some grated cheese. Either way, I am sure you will love these delicious peppers.

What you need:

  • 135g Mushrooms (chestnut or shiitake)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced fine
  • 90g spinach, chopped
  • 1 cooking apple, grated
  • 450g brown basmati rice, cooked
  • 80g prunes, dried and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 6 bell peppers, any colour
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar, optional

How to prepare it:

Sauté the mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach in oil and butter. Add a bit of salt and pepper to season. Add in the cooked rice, the prunes and the grated apple and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. This is important as seasoning after it has baked inside the pepper will not be as effective. It should taste like more.

Slice the tops off the pepper, as close to the stem as possible. Remove the seeds and rub each pepper inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice a little off the bottom of each pepper to ensure they will stand straight up in the roasting pan or use small cast iron pan. Spoon the rice mixture into each pepper and bake in a hot oven (220ºC) for 25 minutes until the pepper skins start to blister.

Serve immediately.