Roasted pumpkin, pear and chickpea soup

Roasted pumpkin, pear and chickpea soup

We love soup for Meatless Monday or after Saturday morning sport.  However often a plain vegetable soup can be low in protein and leave you hungry later on, so I’ve added chickpeas which are a terrific source of plant based protein and fibre.  Adding pear brings a beautiful sweetness to this dish.  This soup is very simple to put together with the oven doing the bulk of the work.

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Provencale kingfish

Provencale kingfish

I love this time of year with the hint of spring starting.  Here is a favourite recipe adapted from an old delicious magazine  that I have made with salmon, snapper and kingfish.  Easy, fresh and perfect for topping up your omega-3s

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Grilled vegetable and fig platter

Grilled vegetable and fig platter

Perfect for entertaining, or for a family dinner with the hopes of leftovers, here's how we've been enjoying our grilled veggies.  Our secret is to include a punnet of figs (so cheap at the moment - and they used to be such a luxury!) and to marinade before grilling.  This is a delicious side to barbecued steaks, sausages or halloumi.

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Roasted pumpkin salad with crispy chickpeas, pomegranate and mint

Roasted pumpkin salad with crispy chickpeas, pomegranate and mint

In worrying news for hummus fans the world over - we are facing a GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF CHICKPEAS! After the avocado crisis I'm not sure how I'll cope! In the meantime, while tinned chickpeas are still cheap I'll stock up. Here's how we had them last night - roasted til crispy tossed with coriander, cumin and oregano, roasted along side some pumpkin. Served with rocket, mint, toasted pepitas, pomegranate seeds and some halloumi too. 

Read More

Watermelon & Pomegranate Salad with Whipped Feta

Watermelon & Pomegranate Salad with Whipped Feta

If you are asked to bring a salad to a BBQ or Christmas party - this one is a winner!  Look at those colours!  And yum, any salad with pomegranate and feta is a winner in my books.  Then add in that beautiful refreshing watermelon and the crunch of almonds, so good.  

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've had a craving for this Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.   Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure,  and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  I've accompanied the salmon with salsa verde and some lovely roasted veggies.

Read More

Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

I love taking classic comfort foods and making them a whole lot more nutritious.  I've added lentils and plenty of veggies to my shepherds pie base and my mash is half cauliflower and half potato.  With the veggies, lean lamb and lentils this is a immune boosting recipe for winter that my kids love!

Read More
Print Friendly and PDF

Nicoise salad

Nicoise salad

Create this delicious classic french salad with loads of veggies and heart healthy tuna and eggs for a hot summer night to transport you to the south of France.

Read More

Bun Cha Bowls

Bun Cha Bowls

Hot summer evenings are calling for this divine BUN CHA bowl with a warm dipping sauce.  

Healthy, low carb, high protein, with heaps of veggies, Gluten Free and FODMAP friendly!

Read More

Mid-week Mojito

Presenting my mid week mojito...


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 peppermint tea bags
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • plenty of ice
  • maple syrup (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the teabags to 1 litre of boiling water and leave to steep in the fridge for 2 hours 
  2. Half fill a jug with ice, mint leaves and the lime juice.  Add the cooled tea.
  3. Stir through 1 tab table syrup if you like it sweet
  4. Enjoy in the sun!

Salmon Burgers

With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've been looking for a new way of including fish in our meals. Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure,  and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  Omega-3s are essential fats that must be obtained from our diet. These burgers are an excellent source of quality protein that can help build and repair lean muscle.

I modified a Teresa Cutter recipe here and it was a huge hit with the family.

salmon burgers

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices stale bread (preferably wholegrain)(gluten free if needed)
  • zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small bunch parsley
  • 2-4 spring onions
  • 600g salmon fillets, bones and skin removed
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil for shallow frying

METHOD

  1. In a food processor pulse bread, zest of one lemon, 1/3 bunch parsley.  Tip into wide, shallow bowl
  2. Add remaining lemon zest and parsley and spring onions to food processor, pulse.  Add salmon fillets and pulse again (so you have a chopped texture not a paste).  Add egg and lemon juice and briefly pulse again until just combined.  Season with salt and pepper
  3. Divide into 8 portions and form into burgers
  4. Roll burgers in herbed breadcrumbs and place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up
  5. Heat fry pan to a low - medium heat and cook in a little olive oil for  4-5 minutes on each side until golden outside and just a little pink in the middle

I serve the burgers on a bun for the kids and "naked" for me.  I like to serve along roast sweet potato and carrot wedges (cook at 200 C for 40 minutes, drizzled with evoo) and a big green salad.

Print Friendly and PDF

Moussaka with Cauliflower Béchamel

A few years ago we had an amazing holiday in Greece and although it was the height of summer I still enjoyed ordering moussaka.  It was absolutely delicious but also very rich and filling.  The other day across my Facebook feed came a "paleo moussaka" from Australia'a favourite Paleo Chef Pete Evans.  As a Nutritionist there are a few things I don't agree with about paleo eating (the exclusion of wholegrains and dairy) but there are a few things I love (plenty of veggies and lean protein).  I loved how the paleo recipe included cauliflower in the béchamel sauce and the layer of silver beet (swiss chard).   Cauliflower and silver beet are both a great source of Vitamin C.  Combining this with zinc from the lamb makes this a great immune boosting recipe for winter. I decided to combine the paleo recipe with a more traditional Greek recipe from George Colombaris to create a beautiful healthy moussaka.  


MOUSSAKA WITH CAULIFLOWER BÉCHAMEL

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplant (about 450 g), sliced 1-cm thick
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bunch of silverbeet or kale (about 200 g), central stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600 g lamb or beef mince
  • 1 red capsicum/red pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried organo
  • 2 crushed cardamon pods
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 400g tins of crushed tomatoes

Cauliflower béchamel

  • ½ head cauliflower (about 550 g), processed into "rice"
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot (see note)
  • 80g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook the eggplant in batches in a frying pan with a little olive oil over med-high heat until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan clean, add a little more olive oil and sauté the silverbeet or kale over medium heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the lamb or beef mince and spices, breaking up any lumps with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Add the tinned tomatoes, mix to combine and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower bechemal, bring half the milk to the boil with the cauliflower rice and simmer  for 15 minutes until very soft.  Process with a stick blender.  Whisk the arrowroot with the remaining  milk until combined. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the milk and arrowroot mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
  5. To assemble, lay half the eggplant slices in a single layer in a large baking dish. Spread the silverbeet or kale on top, then pour on the mince mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices. Finally, pour over the cauliflower béchamel.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving with a simple green salad

Serves 6

Click here for more simple, healthy and family friendly recipes

Print Friendly and PDF

One pan Mexican Quinoa and Black Bean bowl

This is my new favourite dinner that I could eat every day for a month and not tire of.  You will desperately hope there will be enough for leftovers for lunch!  This recipe is full of veggies, black beans and quinoa so it delivers plenty of fibre and plant based protein which is a winner for preventing lifestyle diseases such as some cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke plus it tastes amazing and will keep you full for ages.

This recipe was inspired by marin mama cooks but I've increased the veggies and beans a bit and "Australianised" the ingredients.  I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 red chilli, half the seeds removed and sliced

  • 1 cup well-rinsed and scrubbed quinoa

  • 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  • 2 rinsed and drained cans of black beans

  • 1 can tinned diced tomatoes

  • 1 medium zucchini diced

  • 2 red capsicums, diced

  • 1 tablespoon Mexican spice powder (I used Herbies but masterfoods do one too or use 1/2 tsp chilli, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander)

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

  • juice of one lime

  • chopped fresh coriander leaves, greek yoghurt and shredded sharp cheese to serve

METHOD

Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and fresh chilli and cook for one minute stirring well.

Add in the chicken stock, quinoa, black beans, tinned tomatoes, zucchini, capsicum, salt, and spices.  

Stir well, then bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer for 20 -25 minutes until cooked.

Before serving stir through the lime juice and chopped coriander.  Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of greek yoghurt.

Serves 6


mexican quinoa and black bean bowls

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Gado-gado with Chicken sates

gadogado.jpg

I adore chicken sates and gado-gado, both firm favourites from learning Indonesian at school and many many visits to our northern neighbour.  I love gado-gado as a fantastic way of having a filling salad at dinner with plenty left over for lunch the next day.  Here's my recipe, adjust it to suit your favourite veggies.


Ingredients

  • 600 gm, chicken, cubed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tab lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • sml knob of ginger peeled
  • 1-2 fresh red chillis (seeded if you don’t want it too hot)
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 1 tab brown sugar
  • 270ml coconut milk
  • ½ cup 100% crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 4 soft boiled eggs
  • 6 new potatoes, boiled until soft, about 10 mins
  • 2 carrots
  • big handful of green beans
  • 2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into long batons
  • bean shoots

Method

  1. In a food processor blitz the onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Mix in the tamari, lemon juice and sugar. Add to a ziplock bag with the chicken pieces. Leave to marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge. Soak 12 bamboo skewers.
  2. Prepare your gado-gado salad by assembling the veggies that you like, I’ve included a suggested list in the ingredients, but use the gado-gado to clean up your fridge. You can also include quickly fried firm tofu pieces.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread onto the skewers.
  4. Pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan, add the coconut milk and peanut butter. Bring to the boil and heat through until thickened. Taste and adjust for lemon juice, tamari and chili.
  5. Barbecue the chicken for 6 minutes or so until they are browned and cooked through. Serve sates with the gado-gado salad.

Print Friendly and PDF

Spanish gazpacho - drink your veggies

cropped-gazpacho1.jpg
gazpacho

A couple of years ago we had a beautiful holiday in Andalusia, Spain.  We'd sit out in the garden and start our meal with short glass of gazpacho which you could buy in tetra packs from the supermarket.  I've come up with this recipe which gets some veggies into everyone before the meal has started.  I tend to use tomato juice (no added salt or sugar), it would be better to use real tomatoes but I can't get that lovely rich tomato flavour from the disappointing supermarket tomatoes.  The advantage of tomato juice is there is no de-seeding or peeling.  Think of it as a red green smoothie!


Ingredients

  • 2 slices crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1L tomato juice
  • 1 red capsicum, seeded, chopped
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, seeded, chopped, plus extra finely chopped as a garnish
  • 1/2 long red chilli, seeded
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tabs olive oil

METHOD

  1. Break bread into large pieces and place in a bowl (or your thermomix bowl). Pour over red wine vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes
  2. Place bread in a blender or food processor. Add garlic, sugar, tomato juice, capsicum, cucumber, chilli and green onions, and blend until combined (1 minute speed 10 in thermomix). With processor running, pour in olive oil in a thin stream
  3. Transfer gazpacho to a large jug, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir well with ice cubes and add extra finely chopped cucumber as a garnish.

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Quinoa Tabouli

quinoa-tabouli.jpg

Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids?  It's  also a rich source of B vitamins, a good source of carbohydrates and easy to digest.  For these reasons  it is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied space flights! If you've had a quinoa fail before it might be because you haven't washed off the bitter tasting saponins on the outside of the quinoa.  Lightly rubbing the quinoa under running water gets rid of the saponins and improves the flavour.

With the lovely warm weather we've been enjoying a tabouli salad most nights.  I cook a cup of quinoa and use about 2/3 in the salad and then use the leftover quinoa for quick salads for lunch.

I like to serve the salad for dinner with some seared lamb loin fillets marinated in a little lemon and olive oil, perhaps a touch of sumac or smoked paprika. For a portable lunch the next day the salad is delicious with some feta or almonds.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1.75 cups of water
  • pinch of salt
  • generous handful of parsley, leaves picked, roughly chopped
  • generous handful of mint, leaves picked, roughly chopped
  • two big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 4 spring onions, white part only, chopped
  • 2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Seeds from half a pomegranate (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional, if you don't have it omit, do not substitute!)

METHOD

  1. Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes in plenty of water. Drain in a fine wire colander and gently rub the seeds to remove any saponins.
  2. Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, partly covered. The quinoa is cooked when the grain starts to spiral.
  4. Drain any remaining water.
  5. Leave in the saucepan with a clean tea towel or paper towel between the saucepan and the lid for 5 minutes or so. You'll need about 2/3 of the cooked quinoa for the tabouli, the rest will keep in the fridge for 48 hours.
  6. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper. Add half of the dressing to the quinoa.
  7. Put spinach, herbs, spring onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a salad bowl. Add the quinoa. Toss and add remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to serve.

Serves 4

Thai style beef salad

thaibeef.jpg

This is how I like to eat in summer - a big salad topped with delicious steak.  I discovered this salad when I was pregnant as I was trying to increase my iron stores and eat lots of leafy greens.  It's now a firm family favourite and perfect for my teenage children who need zinc and iron for growth, energy and immunity.

GF, LF, FF - see below for notes

ingredients

  • 400 g lean beef (I like sirloin or porterhouse)
  • plenty of black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls asian salad mix or baby spinach leaves
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 green beans, sugar snap peas or snow peas, blanched
  • 2 red capsicums,sliced
  • 2 Lebanese / Japanese cucumbers sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small bunch coriander picked
  • 1 small bunch mint picked
  • Cashews to sprinkle over

Dressing

  • juice from 2-3 limes
  • 1 sliced red chilli (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoon palm sugar (or castor sugar)

METHOD

  1. Season the steak with the pepper and cook in a hot pan with a little olive oil until medium rare. Remove from the pan, cover loosely and allow to rest for about 5 minutes then slice thinly.
  2. Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, green beans, capsicum, cucumber, onion and herbs.
  3. Add the sliced beef.
  4. Make the dressing by mixing the lime juice, chilli, fish sauce and sugar.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix through. Top with a small handful of cashews.
  6. Divide between serving bowls and enjoy. Lean chicken breast, grilled fish or grilled firm tofu can be used in place of the beef.

Serves 4

GF - check fish sauce,

FF (FODMAP friendly) - substitute green tops of spring onion for onion, limit portion of snow peas to five pods, substitute peanuts for cashews

 

 

Simon's baked beans

4262891398_027c949e57_z.jpg

Having a rustle around in the freezer I found the ham bone I had saved from Christmas.  I asked my husband to make his amazing baked beans and he also wrote down the recipe as we can never quite remember how he makes them.  These make a delicious breakfast, lunch or easy dinner.  You can cook an egg in the bean mixture as well.  If you don't have a frozen ham bone left over from Christmas then you can get a ham hock from the butcher or make a vegetarian version. A diet rich in legumes such as cannellini beans  is associated with lowered blood sugar and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol.   They’ve been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control.  Plus my kids love eating them!

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 red onions roughly chopped.
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Ham bone (frozen from after Christmas) or ham hock.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp of smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes (this gives it just a hint of heat but up to you)
  • 1 tsp of dry mustard powder
  • 4 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans (drained and rinse beans from 3 of the tins, but use liquid and beans from 4th)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
  2. Fry up garlic, onions and oil over a medium to high heat (choose a big pot that is also able to go in oven). Whack in the ham bone. Pour in 2 tins of tomatoes and the bay leaves. Then add the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
  3. Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse off the briney liquid from 3 of the tins, but chuck liquid and beans from the 4th. Give it all a stir.
  4. Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
  6. I like to cook it the beans long enough so that the meat has fallen off the ham bone but not so long the dish becomes too dry. I switch off oven and just leave the pot in until I'm ready to serve.
  7. Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad

You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.  

Serves 8

Oven baked sausages with ratatouille

This is a fabulous recipe for a night where you are tired - the oven can do all the work.  Our oven has a reliable oven timer so I often pop this on to cook while I am driving around to pick the kids up from rugby practice etc.  It won't spoil if you leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes.  You can vary the veggies depending on what the team will eat and also add a tin of cannellini beans to make a cheats' cassoulet.

LF, GF

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 red capsicums
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tins canned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary leaves
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 6 good quality pork sausages
  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans (optional)
  • 12 kalamata olives, unpitted
  • fresh rosemary and thyme for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. Cut the onion into quarters, and the head of garlic in half crosswise.
  3. Cut the eggplant into half and then rounds, the zucchinis into diagonal slices and the capsicums into thick slices, discarding core and seeds.
  4. Arrange in a large oiled baking tray, burying the garlic halves cut-side down. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, and a dash of water.
  5. Tuck in the pricked sausages, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the zucchini and turn the sausages. Cook for another 15 minutes, until the veggies are cooked and sausages are browned.
  7. To serve, scatter with olives, rosemary and thyme. Squeeze the roasted garlic on top, and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 4

Calories: 290 Fat:16g Saturated fat:4 Carbohydrates:28g Fiber:9g Protein:12g

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Roasted tomato and white bean soup

IMG_4864.jpg

Today I've got two sick children so I'm making soup for dinner.  Soup, particularly vegetable based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories.  Tonight's soup is full of tomatoes, my son is happy to eat this although he will "never, ever eat a tomato". Tomatoes are a wonderful source of vitamin B6, C, K, beta-carotene, potassium and manganese. The lycopene in tomatoes has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Ingredients

  • 1kg tomatoes, quartered or halved depending on size. I like a mixture of truss and romas.
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tab maple syrup
  • 400g tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 250 - 500 ml water to taste
  • Pesto to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200degrees.
  2. Put tomatoes, garlic and onion in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Season to taste.
  3. Roast for 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft
  4. Squish garlic out of skin, and discard skin. Add all vegetables and juice to saucepan.
  5. Add the canellini beans and process the mixture with a stick blender.
  6. Add water (I tend to use closer to 250 ml as I like a thick soup) and heat through gently.
  7. Serve with a dollop of pesto

Click here for more simple, healthy and family friendly recipes

 

Print Friendly and PDF