Smoked paprika roast vegetable soup

Winter is soup weather and this year I’ve been experimenting with different new flavours instead of just sticking to my old favourites.  This smoked paprika vegetable soup is one of the winning combinations I’ve come up with.

I used swede in this soup, a vegetable I’ve actually never had before!  Swedes are from Sweden (suprise suprise!) and are a hybrid between a turnip and a type of cabbage.  They are a non starchy vegetable and are quite versatile in how you use them.  They are a good source of vitamin C, and provide small amounts of some B vitamins. They are also a significant source of potassium.  The soup also contains onion, garlic, carrot and pumpkin all roasted to give the soup a rich and delicious flavour.

Here’s the recipe:


1 swede
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 large carrots500g pumpkin
1 small bulb of garlic
2 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups reduced salt chicken stock
2 cups water


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel vegetables and cut into similar sized pieces.  Place on an oven tray, drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the Moroccan seasoning and smoked paprika.  Place the whole bulb of garlic on the tray.  Roast for 35 minutes.  Remove vegetables from oven.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic from it’s skin and place into a pot. Add the other vegetables along with the stock and water and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend with a stick blender.

Serve with a little sour cream or natural yoghurt, chilli flakes and coriander.

Roasted Lamb with Caramalised Onion

Sunday dinners were nearly always roasts growing up and while this isn’t a tradition I’ve kept up, I do love a good Sunday roast every now and then. I was craving a homely roast meal last Sunday and decided that a butterflied leg of lamb was the way to go.  It’s quick to cook and easy to cut. Because the lamb is uneven in thickness it is cooked so that some is medium, some medium rare, which is perfect for our home as I like mine a little more well done than my husband.  This roast lamb with caramelised onion is the perfect recipe for a roast in a hurry – it only takes around 40 minutes to cook.

The caramelised onions add a delicious twist to an old time favourite.   I had this with roasted kumara and pumpkin with broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts.  The best bit is there was lots of left overs for lunch and dinner the next day.


1 butterflied leg of lamb
2 large white onions
1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar (yes sugar! a little won’t hurt)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius on fan bake.

Take lamb from packaging and place on a roasting tray.  Rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil, rosemary and the crushed garlic.   Leave to sit whist you prepare the caramalised onions.

Peel the onions, then cut in half and into thin slices.  Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the pan over a medium heat and add the onions.  Stir regularity for 4 minutes until they start to lightly brown.  Sprinkle over the brown sugar and the balsamic vinegar, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes.  Next add 1/2 a cup of water, and cook the onions until the water has evaporated.

Place the onions on top of the lamb so the top is covered in onions.

Cook for 20 minutes, remove from oven and turn the lamb over.  Cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, flip again and place onions back on top.  Leave to sit for 15 minutes, then cut into slices. Because the lamb not even in thickness, some will be medium rare, and some will be medium.  Cook for a little longer if you want it well done.

Serve with mint sauce.

Online shopping for the health and fitness enthusiast

I’ve been wanting to buy some Clean Lean Protein for ages, but to be honest, I’ve been put off by the price!  Recently I found the best deal at Mighty Ape and within 24 hours, I had this box of Vanilla Clean Lean Protein sachets at the door.  Mighty Ape ships super fast, if you live in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, you can get same day delivery.  For the rest of the country, it’s overnight shipping.

I’m a bit of a bargain hunter and love hunting online for a good deal.  While I’ve always thought of Mighty Ape as being more of a store for games and DVD’s,  they actually have a huge range of products including a good health and fitness section and some amazing homewares. I had a voucher to spend which was lots of fun as there was so much I wanted to buy.

In the end I settled on the following:

The Clean Lean Protein  – This was only $26.99, compared to $39 at other stores.  If you want to try the Clean Lean Protein, you can buy it here.  This was on special, which has now finished, but check back often as they quite often have promotions. Now other brands of natural protein powders are on sale instead of this.

General Eclectic Canister – I’ve got a couple of these already and they’re great for food storage.  This small sized one was perfect for storing my nuts in.  This was  $12.99 compared to $16.99 in other stores.

General Eclectic Jug – this cute origami style jug was only $6.99 (It’s retail is $12.99)

There was lots of other things I wanted to get too, I think I might head back and buy a medicine ball for at home workouts.

All in all I was impressed with the service from Mighty Ape. The products arrived quickly (I ordered at 3.30pm and they arrived at 11am the next day), they were well wrapped and a good price.  Mighty Ape, I’ll be back 🙂

I was gifted a Mighty Ape voucher. This is an honest opinion of how I found their products and services

Simple homemade chocolates

Easter is so much more than chocolate.  But it is a lovely holiday to celebrate with a bit of a chocolately treat.  I made these delicious heart shaped chocolates in the weekend to share at easter.  When I say “homemade”,  it’s a bit of a cheat version since we’re simply melting chocolate and adding other goodies.  But hey it still takes more effort than buying a lindt bunny and they taste great too.   It’s the addition of passionfruit powder and freeze dried raspberries is what makes these special.

Here’s how to make them:


1 block Whittakers dark chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoon Fresh As passionfruit powder**
Freeze dried raspberries and extra passionfruit powder (optional)

Break up the chocolate into pieces.  Place in a microwaveable glass bowl.  Heat for 1 minute.  Take out and stir.  Continue heating in 30 second bursts, stiring well in between each one.  Once the chocolate is melted, stir through the passionfruit powder.

Spoon the chocolate into moulds. Sprinkle over top some of the freeze dried raspberries (optional) and refrigerate until set.

When the chocolate has set and you’ve popped them from the moulds, you can also add a little extra passion fruit powder as decoration and to add extra flavour.

I used silicone ice cube trays as moulds which work fine, otherwise you can use proper chocolate moulds.


**You can find the passionfruit powder at Moore Wilsons, Farro Fresh and other speciality food stores.  A little adds a lot of flavour, so it’s value for money.  The passionfruit powder is lovely stirred into natural yoghurt and I’ve even mixed it through my porridge, which was delicious.  You can add it to bliss balls and smoothies too.  There are lots of other flavours, but passionfruit pairs nicely with dark chocolate.

Raspberry, Almond and Coconut Chia pudding

This raspberry, almond and coconut chia pudding has become a new favourite for me, and not just as a  pudding, but as a snack or even breakfast served alongside some yoghurt and fruit.  It’s simple to make and you can easily double the dose to make more as it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Chia seeds are packed full of nutrients, including omega 3 fats. They’re high in fibre so help keep your digestive health in good order and this makes them filling too.  Chia seeds soak up loads of liquid and  you’re left with a smooth pudding that’s filling, tasty as well as nutritious.

The prep for this is really easy, the only thing that takes a little bit of time is letting the chia seeds soak up the almond milk mixture.

Raspberry, Almond and Coconut Chia Pudding


For 2 serves:

1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut
1 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2-3  teaspoons of honey (or sweetener of choice)
5 tablespoons chia seeds

In a blender, blend together the almond milk, coconut, berries, vanilla essence and honey until smooth.   Pour into a medium sized bowl.  Add the chia seeds, whisking the mixture together so the seeds don’t clump together.

Place in the fridge and leave for at least an hour.  I left mine overnight and it was perfect in the morning when I tasted it.

To serve, place some raspberries on top and you could also top with Greek yoghurt.




Tropical iced tea slushie recipe and WIN a set of teas

Fruit teas are one of my favourite things to drink when I feel like something sweet, and they’re especially delicious served cold on a hot day.  Fruit teas are hydrating, refreshing and good for you too!

Red Seal recently launched a new range of fruit teas, and I have to say they are really delicious.  The teas are sugar free, gluten free, contain no caffeine and are calorie free.  The good thing is they can be brewed both hot and cold, so you can make a refreshing iced tea without having to boil and cool it. Iced tea in an instant, now that’s a good thing!

For something even more delicious, I’ve created an iced tea slushy with one of my favourite Red Seal tea flavours, Exotic Fruits.   This flavour is a delicious blend of pineapple and melon with hints of passionfruit.  I’ve blended it with some fresh tropical fruits for a low sugar summer treat.

Ingredients for Tropical Iced Tea Slushie:

1 mango
3 slices of pineapple
juice from 1 lime
juice from half a small orange
4 Red Seal Exotic Fruits tea bags
1 cup of sparkling water/soda water

Cut up the mango into chunks and place the mango flesh in a freezer safe bowl.  Add the sliced pineapple.  Place in the freezer for 4-5 hours, or overnight.

When you’re ready for your slushy, take the frozen fruit from the freezer.  Set aside.  Pour the sparkling water into a large glass and add the teabags.  Leave to sit for 5 minutes, then dispose of the tea bags.

Place the frozen fruit, tea as well as the juice from the lime and orange in the blender and pulse until the fruit is blended up and it is well mixed.  Serve with wedges of lime, orange and pineapple and fresh mint.

This makes two drinks.


To check out the entire range of Red Seal fruit teas, visit their website here.


To celebrate the launch of the Red Seal Fruit Tea range, we’re giving away a full set of the teas. The flavours are:  Exotic Fruits, Blood Orange, Strawberry & Rhubarb, Apple & Elderflower, Lemon & Ginger and Peach & Pineapple.

To win, simply comment with what flavour tea you’d like to try the most. Winner will be drawn on Wednesday 18th February after 8pm and announced on both this post and my facebook page

Congratulations Rose Geden!!  You’re the winner. I’ve emailed you to arrange delivery of your prize.

Open to NZ readers only sorry.

This post was sponsored by Red Seal. All opinions are my own.


Fresh, healthy Christmas desserts + treats

Christmas is a time of celebration, and of course, celebration involves food. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little indulgence (pavlova and fresh berries is my favourite part of Christmas dinner!) , it can all get a bit much with lots of rich meals and desserts at multiple occasions.   Balancing out a few indulgences with lots of healthy options is a good way to get through the festive season without deprivation and without overdoing the treat foods.

Thanks to Sovereign, and their new #lifetakecharge mantra, I’ve got some amazing dessert and sweets options for the festive season to share with you. Sovereign are all about empowering New Zealander’s to take charge of their health and well being, so here’s some ideas that are all made with nutrient rich wholefood ingredients, varying from light fruit based dishes, to richer more decadent options.

1. Fruity Christmas Tree

This is such a neat idea for an edible centre piece. Simply buy a Styrofoam cone from a craft shop like Spotlight, choose some fresh fruits, and using toothpicks, press the fruit into the cone. Use star shaped cookie cutters to cut out melon. You can read more about how to do this here.

2. Santa Strawberries

A creative way to serve up strawberries and cream. Such a neat idea! Find instructions here

3. Watermelon, Blackberry and Mint Fruit Salad

Fruit is always a winner when it comes to fresh, healthy desserts. This fresh fruit salad looks amazing and the combination of flavours tastes great too. Serve with some thick, creamy Greek yoghurt for a fresh, light dessert. You can find the recipe here.

4. Raspberry and Banana Cheesecake

This cheesecake dessert is actually made with nuts, fruit and a little coconut cream for the filling rather than cream cheese. It’s rich, delicious and provides a source of vitamins and minerals. Serve in small slices with fresh berries. Find the recipe here.

5. Dark Chocolate Bark

For a sweet treat with a cup of tea or coffee you can’t go past a piece of chocolate bark. It’s easy to make, you can add whatever dried fruit and nuts you like and it’s ready to eat within 20 minutes. The raspberries, coconut and pistachios make a nice festive combination too. Find out how to make it here.

Do you have any nice ideas for healthier sweets and desserts?

This post was made possible thanks to Sovereign.


Tropical Raspberry Smoothie

There’s nothing like a patch of warm weather to put me in the mood for smoothies.  I made this one a few weeks back and it was too good not to share. This smoothie is almost like a slushy.  Thick, delicious and sweet, it’s perfect for replenishing carbohydrate after a tough exercise session.

I used a mango flavoured coconut water which was super delicious and added a nice flavour to this smoothie.  The banana taste doesn’t come through very strongly at all, but it does add a nice thickness to the smoothie.

The combination of banana and coconut water make this smoothie a good source of potassium.  A diet that is high in potassium is associated with maintaining good blood pressure control.

Here’s how to make this tropical raspberry smoothie

1/2 bottle of Mango Cocowater
1 small banana
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

You don’t have to add the chia seeds, but they do add some extra fibre and omega 3 fats.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the smoothie is thick and well blended.



Roasted carrot, parsnip and lentil salad

Roasted carrot, parsnip and lentil salad is an amazingly tasty salad that’s perfect for the cooler weather.  I’ll admit the title isn’t exactly enticing,  BUT don’t be put off  by the unenticing name as you’ll be missing out on a deliciously nourishing recipe that is destined to be a crowd favourite.  The vegetables are drizzled with a tangy, slightly sweet lemon drizzle  which really complements  the salty taste of feta and nutty flavour of the lentils.  It’s pretty easy to make too!  So go on, give it a go.  The girls at work had #foodenvy when I pulled this out at lunch time.


Roasted carrot, parsnip and lentil salad


8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into chunky batons
4 parsnips, peeled and sliced into chunky batons
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
2 spring onions, sliced.
1 can of brown lentils, drained
50g feta cheese, cut into cubes
A few sprigs of Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Place the chopped carrots and parsnips in an oven dish and drizzle over the olive oil. Brush evenly over the vegetables using a pastry brush, or rub in with clean hands.  Season with salt and pepper.   Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and browned.  Place the vegetables in a bowl.

Mix the lemon juice and honey together in a mug.  Heat slightly so the honey is runny and blends into the lemon juice.  Drizzle this over the hot carrots and parsnips.    Add the spring onions, lentils, feta cheese and parsley and mix gently until combined.  Serve warm.


Spanish style hash and eggs

I’m a fan of a cooked breakfast every now and then.  For a simple, yet delicious cooked breakfast I’d recommend these Spanish style hash and eggs.  It’s a healthier alternative to your usual fry up and contains a mixture of crispy potato, fried egg and chopped veges cooked in smoky paprika.  This is the type of recipe you can improvise quite well with.  For example, the original it calls for chorizo but I used rindless bacon as I had no chorizo.

This recipe is from Nadia Lim’s new cook book “Good Food”.  The combination of her Master Chef skills and dietetics background are a winning mix as this book is packed full of delicious and healthy recipes.  In fact this cook book won Best TV cookbook in NZ and it’s a finalist in The Gourmand Cookbook ‘Best in the World’ awards.

Ingredients for 2 serves of Spanish Style Hash and Eggs

2 medium Agria potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion
1/2 chorizo sausage or a slice of rindless bacon
1 red capsicum, diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 eggs
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender, about ten minutes.  Drain and set aside.Heat olive oil in a heavy based medium fry pan on a medium heat and cook onion, chorizo, capsicum and paprika until the onion is soft (around 4 minutes).  Add cooked potatoes and a drizzle of olive oil and fry potatoes, breaking them up slightly with a wooden spoon.  Fry for around 4-5 minutes until the bottom of the potatoes start to crisp up.Make two ‘holes’ in the potato mixture and carefully crack an egg into each cavity.  Squeeze over lemon juice and place a lid or plate on top (the steam created by the lemon juice will help cook the eggs).  Cook covered for 3-4 minutes for runny yolks, or 2-3 minutes longer if you prefer firmer yolks.

Turn off the heat, season eggs with salt and pepper, dollop over the Greek yoghurt and garnish with parsley.

To serve, use a large spoon to carefully place some of the potato hash and egg onto each plate

Nutritional information per serve:
Energy: 1510kj (360 calories)
Carbohydrate: 33.2g
Protein: 15.6g
Fat: 18.6
Saturated fat: 4.5