The Happy Pear

by David and Stephen Flynn

Penguin Ireland, 2014



David and Stephen Flynn could have ended up like the rest of their university contemporaries: as accountants or solicitors or something else that involves wearing a suit. But fate had something else in mind: firstly, taking over a greengrocers in Greystones, near Dublin and then opening a café (of which there are now two).

This book is, in part, the fairly bald but enthusiastically related story of how they have got here and largely a collection of recipes based on their vast enthusiasm for the consumption of vegetables. They have been vegan and are now, I gather, vegetarian; but they don’t want to alienate the omnivores amongst us.  Their simple message – EAT MORE VEG! – is aimed at us all and, you know what? It’s a compelling one.

This isn’t the delicate, intricate, often highly skilled vegetarian cooking of Denis Cotter. It’s more chunky and blokey than that and there’s a pretty high fibre score. But, I have to say, it does look like fun and the two lads – as I think we should call them – look both cheerful and in positively rude health as they appear on the cover.

I can report that their aubergine, fennel and bean stew is the sort of thing that can fuel me for 24 hours, the Vietnamese sweet almond curry is curiously seductive and their fig rolls are simply brilliant. Okay, their aubergine Parmigiana is not a patch on mine (thank you, Marcella Hazan!) but this is one of those books that is staying on the shelf instead of being shunted off to the charity shop.

Finally, leafing through the pictures is an appetite enhancer. A book worth having.