Sensational Summer Salads »
Comforting Soups »
Finger foods »
Winter chicken meals »
Sensational Summer Salads
Here we have a perfect lunch for the vegan – a complete meal providing vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, good fats – for energy to sustain the remainder of the day.
It’s simple and exquisite – the flavours of avocado and mango work so well. Combined with pinenuts, rumoured to be aphrodisiacs in ancient Greece and you create the ultimate seductress – a healthy entree for lovers. Choose slightly underripe mangos when making this dish. Avocado and pinenuts are both good sources of magnesium useful for relieving symptoms of PMT.
Large lumps of octopus tentacles can be visually off-putting and tough. Ask your fish merchant specifically for small pieces or trim them down in size before cooking. This marinade imparts a delicious sesame flavour through the octopus and also helps tenderize the pieces. It can be cooked on a grill indoors or the hot plate of your BBQ – either way it’s delicious.
To quote the words of a friend's son this Christmas - " Learn to make this mother!" It's really just a magnificent way to a high fibre fruit salad. I make a point of eating as many berries as possible over the season and here’s another way to present them. Topped with coconut toasted in maple syrup it will fool anyone to believing they’re eating the most decadent dessert. It's highly likely that you and the family will like this dish so much it will become a favourite out of season. The solution, vary the fruit and/or use frozen.
Anyone can make this salad - the trick it to but great quality figs and a nice soft moist goat's cheese.
Nine times out of ten, I’ll end up ordering the tuna salad, or if it’s a posh place the salade nicoise. It would seem the nicoise is made with real tuna; otherwise it’s straight from a can. Regardless, I like them both. Tuna is a good source of iron, perfect for non meat eaters and with the egg the whole salad provides almost enough protein for the day.
When you can step in the door and have a delicious healthy meal in front of you in less than 30 minutes its great news. Don’t attempt it without the relish as this dish will be very dry and exceptionally boring.
Traditional Italian lentils are called puy lentils and, compared to Australian grown, are relatively expensive. Australian grown are excellent quality (sometimes called blue) and like puy, retain their shape and provide the same nutrients.
Quinoa looks like a grain but in fact is a seed. It’s rich in protein, has a low GI and is gluten free. Quinoa can be used to make tabouleh, which in my opinion is much tastier than the traditional Middle Eastern dish which uses cracked wheat.
Served with wholegrain sourdough bread rolls this dish makes a delicious light lunch or without the bread as an entree before a main meal. The colours alone make the dish so visually appealing and that’s even before you taste how delicious it is.
This lovely salad is the perfect light meal to whip together for a quick summer lunch or dinner. Recipe courtesy of Toby Puttock & Australian Mangoes.
Recipe courtesy of Persimmons Australia Inc.
These rolls may take a little time to master, but persevere and your efforts will be rewarded when you do get the hang of it. Have fun with this recipe and be creative - tempeh works well as a filling, as does strips of avocado, ginger slices, pickles, salmon, chicken...the list is endless!
Finger food is typically deep fried, surrounded in pastry, or served with everything sitting on, or dipped in, bread. These polenta rounds make a nice change to the standard party fare. They are extremely easy to make and robust enough to hold heavier pieces of food including these little roma tomatoes. They freeze well so make more than you need in case unexpected visitors drop in. The recipe below makes approx 35 mini rounds.
How often do you see a group of women each armed with a spoon, each descending like seagulls onto a single plate of pudding? Women in particular enjoy the taste of something sweet to complete meal, but can’t, or won’t eat a dessert of their own because:
1. They can’t fit it all in, or
2. They’re worried about their weight.
Whatever the reason, these juicy strawberries coated in bittersweet chocolate are the perfect solution for a single sweet fix, and complete any evening meal. Share if you like, but it’s unlikely you’ll want to.
Now that it's fashionable to eat whole grains, and other foods our ancestors enjoyed, it's time to make leftovers fashionable. That's not to say we should go down the road of bubble and squeak - where everything is thrown together and fried! These rice balls could have guests fooled into thinking you've been slaving over a hot stove for ours. They are delicious and make an ideal lunch (or make them smaller and serve as finger food at a party).
While making falafel it occurred to me that the word palaver, meaning fuss or bother should be substituted for falafel, coining a new phrase “What a falafel”. But don’t let me put you off! OK so they are a bit of effort compared to a packet mix deep fried feast from the takeaway, but for the improved health properties, and taste, it’s well worth it.
In this recipe, the delicious flax seed coating adds numerous health benefits. Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans, helping to protect the body from oestrogen related cancers and regulating hormone levels.
A food processor is an absolute must when making these so if you don’t have one already, it’s a great excuse to go shopping.
Spring rolls make the best finger food for drinks party (get plenty of practice making them before you embark on rolls for 50!)
Typically, as you can see in this recipe, they’re made combining Asian flavours, but you can think outside the square, especially if you have a gluten allergy. The rice paper fills the role of bread and the filling can be many things you may use in a sandwich – with the salad!
This alternative to traditional oysters natural, Kilpatrick and mornay oysters is pretty and fresh. Oysters are known as an aphrodisiac possibly because they are such a good source of zinc - the mineral responsible in the production of healthy sperm. 6 oysters will give you 59 mg zinc - almost 5 times the recommended daily intake.
Mountain bread is paper thin unleavened bread available from supermarkets and health food stores. It can be used as a quick and healthy alternative to pastry and served as finger food to make a light entrée or pre-dinner canapé.
Since time, the oyster has been considered an aphrodisiac and as such is always on the menu for Valentine’s Day; maybe because it’s such a great source of zinc – the mineral responsible for healthy sperm production.
Gluten intolerant or not - everyone enjoys fresh spring rolls made with rice paper, veggies and vermicelli noodles. Make them the night before for the whole family to enjoy with enough left over for lunch the next day.
These are lovely little naturally sweetened treats to produce for dessert or when the kids get home from school. They’re very easy to make and take next to no time but do need to be eaten straight away otherwise the bread loses its scrunch.
This pate is a variation of “ Smokie pate’. Smokies are a haddock smoked in the small fishing town of Arbroath on the East coast of Scotland. They have an authentic smoked flavour but sadly we can’t get them here in Australia. The pate would typically be made with cream cheese therefore to use some creative license for health and availability, here’s a variation to serve on the classic Scottish oatcake.
Winter chicken meals
This is a lovely recipe that's ridiculously easy to make. It may seem slightly daunting to cut up and skin a chicken yourself but do it once and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. It's the cheapest and freshest way to go!
There's nothing to beat this winter warmer. It heats you up from the inside and fills you up for hours. Make sure you use a great quality stock though. It makes all the difference.
Pies don't have to be laden with saturated fat and gristle! These delicious pies are packed full of veggies and are perfect on a cold winters day.
These gourmet chicken burgers offer a twist on the traditional chicken burger, and contain substantially less fat.
This is one of my favourite recipes. The extent to which you make of it is up to you, but I like to make everything including the chilli sauce! Choose a couple of varieties of Asian greens to accompany the chicken. I like to combine a crunchy variety like Pac Choy or Buk Choy with a leafy green such as Gai Lan.
Here’s a healthy sandwich, with a fraction of the fat but just as much taste as a regular chicken and mayonnaise sandwich.
Who doesn't love a roast dinner? Many people buy those horrible rotisserie chickens from the supermarket but baking your own is so easy to do, and the taste is far superior.
This meal is sweet substantial and delicious and referred to as a meal because being a soup it contains complex carbohydrates, vegetables, lean protein and a little fat. Everything you need to feel sated and fulfilled.
Here's a lovely soup to enjoy for lunch or as a quick "pick me up" snack in afternoon when you really feel like something sweet.
Sweet? Well pumpkins are sweet and a good deal more healthy than that cake you might have chosen instead!
For an easy, inexpensive, flavoursome soup this one takes some beating.
Those of you unfamiliar with miso, it is a fermented soy bean paste used to flavour soups and casseroles. Like yoghurt, miso boosts the digestive system with friendly bacteria to aid digestion and strengthen the immune system. It is available from health food stores and Asian grocer.
The recipe below is not an authentic version of the classic mulligatawny, a traditional watery Indian soup. This version is anything but watery. It’s a complete meal in itself and the perfect way to boost your veggie intake in one hit.