Winter hazlenut pesto

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, but parsley makes a yummy substitute for the cooler months when basil isn’t in season. Made with hazelnuts, this flavour filled, chunky style pesto can be used as a dip, spread or in cooking.

1 cup of hazelnuts
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 handfuls of parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Place the nuts, garlic, and parsley in a food processor and blend until combined but still chunky. Add the oil and continue to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

This will keep for a week in the fridge.

Polenta, Lemon and Chilli Crumbed Chicken

There’s something delicious about a crispy coat on a moist, nicely marinaded chicken pieces.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be of the deep fried variety that most think of when they think of crispy chicken.  I made this chicken to go in wraps with crispy cos lettuce, red onion, tomato and avocado . I think I have to say that it was officially the best wraps I’ve ever had. Would also be perfect for kids to enjoy as a healthier version of chicken nuggets. Maybe without the chilli.    Here’s how:


1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

500g chicken breast, cut into pieces

For the crumb:
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
chilli flakes

For cooking:
2 tablespoons oil
One lemon


Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl.   Mix through the chicken and leave to marinade for at least one hour.

On a large plate, mix together the bread crumbs, polenta, chilli flakes and salt and pepper.  Place the chopped chicken into the crumb mixture and roll around to coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non stick fry pan.  Add the chicken pieces, and squeeze over juice from one small lemon. Cook until the crumb is golden brown.

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Chia seeds – small seeds with big benefits

Chia is a small seed with big benefits.  Chia seeds are high in fibre, protein, antioxidants and are also a source of omega 3 fats.  1 tablespoon of seeds provides 5g of fibre, and considering many of us don’t get the 30g of fibre recommended daily, this is an easy way to boost your fibre intake.  Chia seeds are also gluten free and provide a source calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Chia seeds are from the plant Salvia hispsnica, a plant native to Mexico. There are two varieties – black and white. The black actually contains a mixture of black, white and grey seeds while the white seeds are selected out for the white variety.  They are very similar in nutrition composition.

You can find Chia seeds at most supermarkets or health food stores.

How to use:

– sprinkle on breakfast cereal

– add to baking

– sprinkle on top of salads

– add to smoothies

– sprinkle on top of yoghurt

Image via The Chia Co.  Check out their website for more information on Chia including a page of recipes using Chia.

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Carrot, Chickpea and Feta fritters

The combination of sweet carrot, salty feta and crunchy chickpeas make these fritters a unique and delicious flavour combination.

Recipe taken from Donna Hay’s new book “Simple Dinners”


2 carrots, peeled and grated
400g can chickpeas, drained
100g feta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped coriander

Makes around 12 fritters

Put chickpeas in a bowl and mash roughly with a fork.  Add grated carrots.  Crumble over the feta cheese.  Add the beaten eggs, rice flour, baking powder and chopped corriander.  Mix well.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan.  Shape mixture into fritters and fry until brown on both sides and cooked through.

Serve with chopped tomato, red onion and a dollop of low fat sour cream.  These fritters would also make a tasty burger filling with crispy ice burg lettuce, red onion, avocado and tomato.

Green Smoothies

Smoothies are the most delicious way to jam pack vegetables, fruit and other nutritious ingredients into a quick meal.  Smoothies have become my favourite after exercise snack while I’ve been doing my half marathon training runs.  A perfect mix of protein, carbohydrates and lots of nutrients to boot.

This is my latest favourite: Avocado, Kiwifruit and Banana

This smoothie is a source of healthy fats including omega 3 fats, fibre, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, vitamin C and calcium.

For one serving:

1/4 avocado
1 kiwifruit
1 frozen banana
3 teaspoons of flax seeds
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup milk

Blend ingredients together, and enjoy.

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