Busy? In a rush? Know that you should be eating more veggies and fish but not sure where to start? If you’re flying in the door after a busy day and need something easy to get on the table that’s healthy and tasty for your family here is a round up of my favourite vegetarian and pescatarian meals.Read More
Coming up with a lunch box day after day can do your head in! A healthy lunch box doesn't need to be full of expensive "super foods" that will get picked at - these ideas can be put together in 10 minutes max.Read More
Recently I was asked to review the afternoon tea menu of a group of Out of School Hours Care Centres. I thought this was a fabulous initiative by the centre because such centres are valuable in promoting healthy eating to children and their families. For busy working parents it would be a godsend to know that when you pick up your kid they have had something decent to eat. But maybe your kids don’t go to after care -what should you be including in afternoon tea at home?Read More
For the lazy cook like me, the tray bake has to be the ultimate dinner. I read a lot of recipe books and immediately turn the page if too much chopping or browning is involved. A tray bake is perfect because I can pop it in the oven while I am driving my kids around. And bonus - minimal washing up!Read More
This is our new family favourite, midweek pasta meal. If you don't want pasta it is just as good over zucchini noodles. For a warm lunch the next day I like to put in a tin of drained cannellini beans to the sauce mixture to increase the fibre content and make enough for left overs. Depending on how much energy I have at dinner time I either serve with a big salad or stir a large handful of spinach leaves through the sauce at the end. I get four types of veggies into this dish, plus chicken thigh fillets which are a good source of iron.Read More
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
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-3sRead More
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
It's sooooo cold in the morning in Sydney at the moment and I love a warm bowl of porridge, but I'm often hungry a couple of hours after I've eaten it. I've come up with a fabulous trick to increase the protein of your porridge to keep you full all morning.Read More
I developed this delicious granola recipe for my son and he loves it. He mixes it with yoghurt as a great second breakfast after early morning rugby training or after a game. The combination of protein and carbs makes it ideal for refuelling my hungry boy!Read More
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.
- 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
- In a food processor pulse bread, zest of one lemon, 1/3 bunch parsley. Tip into wide, shallow bowl
- 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
- Divide into 8 portions and form into burgers
- Roll burgers in herbed breadcrumbs and place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the chicken pieces from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread onto the skewers.
- 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.
- Barbecue the chicken for 6 minutes or so until they are browned and cooked through. Serve sates with the gado-gado salad.
I love homemade pizza on a hot summer night. I use a wholemeal spelt flour in my pizza base to improve the fibre content, and because I find the wholemeal spelt gives better results than wholemeal flour. If you have a sensitive tummy spelt can sometimes be better tolerated than a traditional wheat flour as it has less gluten (but it is NOT gluten free). If you're pushed for time you can use wholemeal pita breads - however a Thermomix or stand mixer means the making the dough is very painless as long as you have time to let it rise.
- 200 grams wholemeal spelt flour
- 200 grams bakers flour
- 125 grams semolina
- 5 grams salt
- 1 sachet dry yeast (7 grams)
- 300 ml mineral water
- 15 ml olive oil
- a mix of grilled veggies, I like eggplant and capsicum
- fresh bocconcini, drained
- A big rocket and spinach salad, with sliced pear and parmesan shavings, dressed with lemon and EVOO to serve
- If the mineral water is fridge cold, cook for 50 seconds at 90 degrees on speed 1
- Place the water, yeast, oil and salt in TM bowl. Mix for 5 seconds on speed 3.
- Add flours, mix for 6 seconds on speed 8. Set dial to closed lid position. Knead the dough for 2 minutes on Interval speed.
Stand mixer recipe
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the flour, semolina and salt. Whisk the yeast, mineral water and oil in a separate bowl. Turn the mixer to slow, add the liquid all at once, and bring together to a soft dough. Once combined, turn the speed to high and mix for a further 6 minutes until you have a smooth, silky, springy dough.
- Cover and allow to prove for 45 minutes in a warm spot.
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Knock back dough and shape into 4 small balls. Allow to rest for another 5 minutes, then roll out thinly.
- Top with passata and pizza toppings bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with a big green salad.
The weather is warming up in Sydney so I am making some quick chicken fajitas featuring lime and capsicum (peppers). This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen". Capsicums (red peppers) are low in fat, carbs and calories and high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene a precursor to vitamin A, helping to promote vision and support a healthy immune system. Capsicum is also packed full of vitamin C and their sweet flavour means they are a favourite with kids.
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into long strips (or you can use precut stirfry chicken)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tab extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 capsicums (red, yellow or orange) cored and cut into strips
- hot chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach, coriander leaves, 4 soft wholegrain tortillas (to serve)
- Combine the chicken with the oregano, cumin and lime juice. Leave to marinade while you slice up the onion and capsicum. Pop the tortillas in a low warm oven
- In a frying pan, saute the onion over medium heat with a little olive oil and one crushed garlic clove for five minutes. Add the capsicum to the frypan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and put in a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 tab of olive oil and other crushed garlic clove to the pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and its marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Check that the chicken is piping hot and cooked through, then add the onions and capsicum. Stir together, then transfer them to a serving dish.
- Take the warmed tortillas out of the oven and put them on the table alongside the chicken mixture, chilli sauce, avocado, baby spinach leaves and chopped coriander for everyone to assemble.
A vegetable hack I've been using a lot lately is to mix in half cauliflower rice with our brown basmati. Tonight I'm sharing my cauliflower fried rice which is a huge hit. I serve it with quickly pickled cucumber, a fried egg and some tamari almonds. I did wonder how the "rice" would be received - see picture below, but mixed in with aromatic ginger and coriander plus the colour somewhat disguised by turmeric no-one gave it a second thought!
Cauliflower is a fantastic vegetable being a source of cancer-fighting agents (glucosinolates). I've been using a lot of turmeric in my recipes recently as the active ingredient -curcumin - as it has been linked to warding off dementia and preventing cancer. The AIS is investigating the anti-inflammatory properties for use as a sports supplement.
(I am listing this a vegetarian, but you'll need to take out the ham)
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 200g packet of pre-cooked brown basmati rice
- 2 french shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cm piece of ginger
- 1 red chilli (seeds removed)
- 1 bunch of coriander
- 100g ham
- 2-3 tab tamari
- 2-3 tsp tomato sauce (I use sugar free)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- shallots to serve
- fried egg to serve
- cucumber pickle to serve
- In a food processor or by hand pulse together the cauliflower florets and broccolini. Remove and set aside.
- In food processor or by hand chop the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander.
- In a heavy bottom frypan or wok fry the processed shallot mixture in a tsp or so of coconut oil or olive oil. Stir fry for 3 minutes then add ham and fry for another minute or so.
- Add pulsed cauliflower, broccolini and rice and fry for another minute.
- Add turmeric, paprika, tamari and tomato sauce and fry for a few minutes.
- I like to serve with a fried egg, some pickled cucumber, a squeeze of lime and some tamari almonds
- Make a quick cucumber pickle by slicing up 2 cucumbers, pour over a little rice wine vinegar, a squeeze of lime juice and a tsp of sugar.
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!
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
- 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.
- Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad
You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.
I love a fish stew and this is my simple one. After watching a documentary last year about the fish farms in Vietnam I only buy Australian fish that has been sustainably farmed. You can buy cleaned bearded mussels in the supermarket. Mussels are a good source of omega -3 fatty acids. These fats have many beneficial effects, including improving brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Mussels are also a great source of vitamins such as zinc which helps build immunity. Plus they are fun to eat, the kids love them! http://gty.im/175816512
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 red onion
- ½ fresh red chilli
- 2 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 125 ml white wine
- 700 g passata
- 1 small bunch of fresh basil
- 400 g mixture of fish fillets, scaled and pin-boned. I used salmon but snapper or whiting would be good. Cut into large chunks
- 1kg mussels scrubbed, clean and debearded
- In a large, deep frypan (with lid) heat a splash of olive oil. Finely slice the fennel, onion, chill and garlic and add to the pan. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes then add the passata and most of the basil (chopped). Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the fish and simmer for a couple of minutes
- Add the mussels. Put the lid on the frypan and allow the mussels to open. When the mussels have opened (throw away any that remain closed), the fish will be cooked through (roughly four minutes).
- Serve with crusty bread and a big green salad.
For Australian supermarket shoppers you might have noticed the new "health star rating" system being slapped onto cereals, dips and other packaged food. The health star rating system is voluntary and it takes into account four aspects associated with increasing the risk factors of chronic diseases - energy, saturated fat, sodium and total sugars content. Fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content, and in some instances, dietary fibre and protein content are also considered.
If you've discovered that your favourite cereal has less stars than you'd like, how about a new 5 star health rated muesli?
I've been making my own muesli for a few years now, this recipe gets changed around depending on what I feel like, for example sometimes macadamia nuts instead of almonds. I keep a 1/2 cup scoop in my cereal container and measure it out each day and top with a generous handful of berries and a big scoop of greek yoghurt. Serve with your favourite milk.
Because I am a huge data nerd, I put my recipe through the health star rating calculator and it receives 5 stars, plus it tastes great, is full of fibre and protein and will keep you full until lunchtime!
- 500 g (17oz) rolled oats
- 30 g (1oz) flaked Coconut
- 100 g (3.5 oz) raw almonds
- 100 g (3.5oz) sunflower seeds
- 100 g (3.5oz) pepitas
- 60 g (2oz) dried blueberries or cherries (unsweetened)
- 50g (2oz) LSA mix (linseed/flaxseed, sunflower, almond) or flaxseed meal
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- Mix all the ingredients together and serve 1/2 cup with greek yogurt, your choice of milk and berries
285 cals 15g fat, 31g carbs, 10g protein, 7g fibre
If you need help sticking to your healthy eating goals I can help you. I'm a university qualified nutritionist based in Balmain, Sydney and the busy working mum of two teenagers, so I'm practical and realistic with my advice. Find out more about me here.
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Cut the onion into quarters, and the head of garlic in half crosswise.
- Cut the eggplant into half and then rounds, the zucchinis into diagonal slices and the capsicums into thick slices, discarding core and seeds.
- 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.
- Tuck in the pricked sausages, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.
- 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.
- To serve, scatter with olives, rosemary and thyme. Squeeze the roasted garlic on top, and drizzle with the pan juices.
Calories: 290 Fat:16g Saturated fat:4 Carbohydrates:28g Fiber:9g Protein:12g