Recipes 

Here’s a taste of the recipes you’ll find in my books as well as other healthy and delicious food ideas that come when the mood takes me. Enjoy!

 

01 Apr 2016

Fruit, Grain & Nut Bliss Balls

Posted by Nicole Senior on Friday, April 01, 2016

This is a great sweet, better-for-you, no-bake recipe for the lunchbox, packed with nutritious nuts, dried fruit and whole grains.

Makes 20-25

Ingredients

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup walnuts (or pecans or Brazil nuts)

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

½ cup pitted dates

½ cup pitted prunes

2Tablespoons sultanas (or raisins)

2 Tablespoon peanut (or almond) butter

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup shredded coconut (for coating)

 

Method

In a food processor, pulse the oats, pumpkin seeds, chia, walnuts and cocoa until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Add dates, prunes, sultanas, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and process until the mixture comes together.

Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls and roll in coconut to coat.

Store in an airtight container.

Store in the fridge if you like them cold or want them to keep longer.

 

09 Jul 2015

Taking it slow: healthified lamb shanks

Posted by Nicole Senior on Thursday, July 09, 2015

Taking it slow: healthified lamb shanks

I love my slow cooker and I'm not the only one. Their ability to produce warming flavoursome meals and turn cheap meat cuts into melt-in-the-mouth morsels is well known. For this appliance to cook a delicious meal while you're at work is a revolution in convenience; the working mum's best friend (apologies to the Dad's who are chief cooks in their household). Another marvellous thing about slow cookers is the recipes cry out for the addition of legumes. Stews, casseroles, tagines, hot-pots- whatever you want to call them - are perfect for combining meat and beans (or any legumes).

Lamb shanks are legendary in the slow cooker repertoire and in this recipe I increased the health-cred by adding loads of vegetables and red lentils. While some slow cooker recipes involve just throwing all the ingredients in, I find the extra effort to brown the shanks and vegetables in a pan first before adding to the slow cooker really pays off in flavour, but if you're in a rush just skip the browning step.

This quantity makes two adult portions, plus one portion of leftover sauce without meat. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lamb shanks

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 carrot, sliced

1 cup red cabbage, chopped

½ cup red lentils

¾ cup red wine

700ml tomato passata (or canned tomatoes, chopped)

1 beef stock cube, crushed

Zest of one lemon

Continental parsley, chopped

 

To serve:

Mashed potato

Green vegetables of choice

  

Method

Heat half the oil in a non-stick pan

Brown the lamb shanks both sides. Remove from pan and add to slow cooker.

Heat remaining oil and brown onions.

Add the remaining vegetables and garlic and cook until softened.

Add the lentils and stir until combined.

Add the red wine, stock cube and passata and heat through.

Pour over shanks in the slow cooker and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

 

Serve shanks over mash potato garnished with lemon zest and chopped parsley with steamed green veggies on the side.

 

Ideas for the leftover sauce

  • Filling for jaffles (toasties)
  • Toast topper with cheese
  • Sauce for steamed veggies
  • Pasta sauce
  • Enrich basic vegetable soup

11 Mar 2015

Make your own hummus - its easy!

Posted by Nicole Senior on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hummus is an example of a healthy food that's gone mainstream, and one of the few examples of a legume-based food that has taken off in the Western world. Its easy to find in the average supermarket and there are multiple brands all vying for your attention. And whether you spell it hummus or hoummous, it's wonderfully good- especially if you make it yourself. And cheap. The flavour is much better, and the texture more interesting when you're in control of the action. And you can tweak the recipe to your taste (personally, I love more lemon). I love it as a topping for wholegrain crackers, sandwich or wrap filling, healthy dip, or even a sauce for meat, chicken or fish. It's really versatile. And in the spirit of avoiding food waste, you can freeze whatever you don't use in a few days- always a bonus for any recipe. It's a great vegetarian meat-alternative, and has a smaller eco-footprint so you could say hummus is a sustainable dish as well. And to add to an already long list of charms, hummus is very good for you: its high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and has plenty of protein and beneficial natural phytochemicals. It's a heart-friendly food but doesn't just limit it's love to your heart; chickpeas are great for every part of you.

My go-to guy for a hummus recipe is Yotam Ottolenghi (and Sami Tamimi) from their beautiful book Jerusalem (2012, Ebury Press). Their 'basic hummus' has only 4 ingredients (plus salt and water) and the only ingredient you may need more effort to seek out is the tahini (sesame paste) - try the 'ethnic' aisle in your supermarket, or your nearest Middle Eastern deli. The only change I make from their original recipe is to omit the bicarb soda when cooking the chickpeas - I've never found this necessary. This recipe is quite garlicky - you have been warned!


Ingredients

250 g dried chickpeas

270 g tahini paste

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 garlic cloves

100 ml iced water

salt, to taste (I'd suggest up to 1 level teaspoon)


Method

Soak chickpeas in double the volume of water overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan with plenty of fresh water.

Bring to a boil and simmer for around 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft. Skim any foam that forms on top of the water.

Drain the chickpeas, place in a food processor and process until a stiff paste forms.

With the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.

Drizzle in the ice water until you achieve a smooth and creamy paste.

Serve on fresh wholemeal flat bread, or as a dip with vegetable sticks.

Store in the fridge for up to three days. Can be frozen for another day.



09 Mar 2015

Caramelised onion and kale tart

Posted by Nicole Senior on Monday, March 09, 2015

Caramelised Onion and kale tart

Ingredients

Olive oil

3 onions, sliced into thin rings

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3 stalks kale leaves, chopped

4 eggs

½ cup low fat milk

½ cup ricotta

2 tablespoons parmesan

6 sheets filo pastry


Method

Preheat oven to 180 C. Spray a pie dish with oil.

In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over kale to cover and leave to stand.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frypan. Add onion and cook over a medium heat until caramelised. Add a little water to prevent sticking if necessary.

Remove from heat and add sugar and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

Drain water from kale and squeeze out excess moisture with a towel.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, ricotta and parmesan.

Lay each filo sheet over the dish one by one in a fan pattern, spraying each with oil. Neaten the edges by folding into the dish.

Place the onions over the filo base, then the kale. Pour over the egg mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.


Tip: keep the stalks for your next stir fry or soup

Recipe credit: this recipe is adapted from a spinach recipe from 12wbt.com that appeared in Sunday Life, March 1, 2015




09 Mar 2015

Kale Chips

Posted by Nicole Senior on Monday, March 09, 2015

If you're into healthy food, making kale chips is a rite of passage. Give them a go at least once.


Kale chips (serves 1-2)


Ingredients


3-4 kale stalks

½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon spice, of your choice


Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C /350 F
  • Wash kale and dry with a towel or salad spinner
  • Remove stems and tear leaves into small pieces
  • Add extra virgin olive oil and massage into leaves to coat well.
  • Toss with a little salt and spices of your choice (eg chilli, paprika, sumac, Moroccan)
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread out in a single layer
  • Bake for around 20 minutes.
  • Remove tray from the oven and set aside for a few minutes to set
  • Enjoy immediately.


Tip: you could go in an Asian flavour direction and coat with a mixture of peanut and sesame oil and sprinkle with Chinese Five Spice.


NOTE: in the photo below I used very small kale leaves and left the stalks in but you're better off removing the stalks if they are large as they'll be tough. Also, I used purple kale, thus the dark colour- they aren't burnt.


02 Mar 2015

Nicole's Spanish Lentil Soup

Posted by Nicole Senior on Monday, March 02, 2015

Lentil Soup (sopa de lentejas)

(using a pressure cooker)

To serve 4-6


Ingredients

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 large onion, cut into large chunks

1 carrot, diced

1 red capsicum, cut into long strips

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 chorizo sausage, sliced thickly

1 cup Brown lentils

4 bay leaves

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

1 litre stock (chicken, vegetable or beef)

1 can (440g) peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups water

1/2 cup rice


Method

Heat the olive oil in the base of the pressure cooker. Add the onion, capsicum, carrot, garlic and chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add the lentils, bay leaves and parsley and cook for a few minutes stirring constantly to ensure the lentils are coated. Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Place the lid on the cooker and cook under pressure for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, release the steam pressure and leave to cool until safe to remove the lid. Add the rice and stir well. Replace the lid and allow the rice to cook by absorption over a low heat for 15 minutes (without pressure). Serve with crusty bread.


Side note

I have cooked this recipe many times and will often not use measurements, but simply throw in what I think looks good! You can alter the thickness by using less liquid, or add additional vegetables such as zucchini, carrot, celery or fennel. I’ve also used smoked paprika to up the flavour. Have fun experimenting yourself.

Nutrition information per serve (of 4)

1200kJ; 48g carbohydrates; 3g fat; 17g protein; 9g fibre; 850mg sodium (less if salt-reduced stock is used)


28 Mar 2014

Pumpkin Soup with Asian flavours

Posted by Nicole Senior on Friday, March 28, 2014

Serves 6-8

 Ingredients

1 whole Butternut pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded, flesh chopped into 2cm cubes

I large onion, diced

1 small (or half a large) red capsicum (AKA sweet bell pepper), de-seeded and diced

1 tablespoon oil (canola, sunflower)

1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

1 Tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 litre salt-reduced chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1 can light (reduced fat) coconut milk

Fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish

 Method

  • Place the pumpkin into a microwave safe container and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Fry the curry paste for a few minutes.
  • Add the onion and capsicum and stir fry until onion is transparent.
  • Add the peanut butter and stir until mixed.
  • Return the cooked pumpkin to the pot and stir until combined.
  • Add the stock and coconut milk to the pot and use a stick blender to puree until smooth (or transfer to a blender, puree, and return to the pot).
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, or until reduced to your liking.
  • Serve with fresh coriander as garnish.

 Notes: you could use other pumpkin varieties; substitute half a large pumpkin for the whole butternut.

You could also boil the pumpkin on the stove if you wish.

Delicious served with wholegrain sourdough


02 Dec 2013

Ensalada Rusa (Russian Salad)

Posted by Nicole Senior on Monday, December 02, 2013

This recipe is a festive feasting favourite in my family and despite the name is actually a traditional Spanish recipe. Christmas lunch just wouldn’t be the same without it. Read more about feasting in GI News.

Makes 10-12 serves

Ingredients

6 Carisma potatoes*, boiled

4 eggs, boiled

Large can (475g) tuna, drained

2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped (could use drained canned tomatoes or cherry tomatoes)

½ large green capsicum, diced

1 cup stuffed green olives

1 small can red capsicum, cut into long strips (could use 1 small roasted capsicum)

1 can/jar asparagus spears, drained

Mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

Dash of Spanish sherry vinegar (could use white wine vinegar)

*Carisma potatoes are specially developed to have a lower GI, but you could use other varieties suitable for boiling

 Method

  • Roughly chop potatoes while still warm. Chop three of the eggs and add to the potatoes in a large bowl.
  • Add the tuna, tomato, green capsicum and half the olives.
  • Prepare the mayonnaise in a food processor or with a stick blender. Start processing the egg yolks and slowly add the oil in a fine stream until all the oil is used. The consistency should be thick and pale in colour. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste*.
  • Add the mayonnaise to the potato mixture and combine.
  • To serve, spoon the mixture onto a serving platter and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
  • Decorate with the remaining olives, boiled egg slices, asparagus spears and red capsicum in an attractive pattern

*Making mayonnaise is a tricky business and my mum and my grandmother always makes it by hand using a bowl and a whisk because they have more control (and an upper body workout!). In the hope of saving time I’ve tried using a food processor and often fail – the eggs and oil separate out and once that happens it won’t revert (ever heard the expression you can’t unscramble an egg; it’s the same for ‘split’ mayonnaise) . To save waste I have managed to bring back a split mayonnaise by starting with 2 new egg yolks, whisking by hand, and gradually pouring in the split mixture. The mayonnaise will be more yellow than usual thanks to the extra egg yolks but still tastes marvellous. I reckon the taste of a home made olive oil mayonnaise is worth the effort and hope you agree.

                       


20 Aug 2013

Chocolate Tiramisu with Raspberries

Posted by Nicole Senior on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Serves 4
Each serving contains ½ serve of fruit

Bet you never thought you’d see a tiramisu in a healthy heart cookbook! It’s a deliciously creamy chocolaty treat with heart-healthy berries that will make you famous!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) hot strong black coffee
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
  • 6 (70 g/2½ oz) sponge-finger biscuits (savoiardi biscuits)
  • ½ cup (125 g/4½ oz) extra light cream cheese (5% fat)
  • 1/3 cup (100 g/3½ oz) light custard (1% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 20 g/¾ oz finely grated dark chocolate (80% cocoa)
  • 200 g/7 oz fresh raspberries
Method

  1. Stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved. Cool then stir the orange liqueur into the coffee.
  2. Roughly break up the sponge fingers and evenly divide them between four 150 ml/5 fl oz capacity glass cups or dishes. Pour over the coffee and liqueur mix and gently press down the sponge fingers.
  3. Using a wire whisk, gently whisk the cream cheese and custard until smooth. Whisk in the sugar and lemon zest. Pour over the sponge fingers. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator and bring just back to room temperature before serving sprinkled with grated chocolate and the fresh raspberries.

You choose

Instead of raspberries serve them with

  1. Strawberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. Cherries, pitted

Health beat

  • Low-moderate GI.
  • Red fruits such as berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins and proanthocyanins as well as vitamin C that help protect blood vessels.
  • Coffee and dark chocolate also contain antioxidants – the higher the cocoa content, the higher the antioxidants

Per serve
Kilojoules 802 (191 calories); Protein 7 g; Total fat 4 g Includes saturated fat 2 g; Carbohydrate 29 g ( 2 exchanges) ; Fibre 3 g ; Sodium 143 mg ; GI medium

Recipe adapted from Heart Food by Nicole Senior and Veronica Cuskelly. Available from bookstores and online from http://www.greatideas.net.au/heart-food-the-healthy-heart-cookbook.html


20 Aug 2013

Ginger and Coconut Pannacotta

Posted by Nicole Senior on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Serves 4
Each serving contains 1 serve of fruit, and is a source of calcium.

This panna cotta is delicately flavoured with ginger and coconut essence to retain the lovely caramel creamy taste achieved using the evaporated milk. Increase the ginger and coconut essence if a more intense flavour is desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 375 ml/13 oz can light evaporated milk (1.5% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 cm/ ¾ inch piece ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons powdered edible gelatine
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2 passionfruit, halved
  • 600 g/1 lb 5 oz paw paw (or papaya), sliced
Method

Place the evaporated milk, sugar and ginger in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. 

Add the gelatine to hot water and stir until dissolved. Stir into the milk mixture and mix well (make sure the dissolved gelatine and milk are the same temperature to avoid lumps). 

Strain the mixture into a jug, discarding the ginger. Stir in the coconut essence. Pour the mixture into 4 x 125 ml/4 fl oz capacity dishes and leave to cool. Cover and set in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight. 

Turn the pannacotta out onto serving plates – you may need to quickly dip dishes into warm water or run a knife around the edge of the dishes. Serve with passionfruit and paw paw.

Options

Instead of passionfruit and paw paw serve it with:

  1. Pineapple and lychees
  2. Papaya and lime juice
  3. Cherries and strawberries

Health beat

  • Low GI
  • Ginger is used in Chinese Traditional Medicine to boost circulation and digestion, and it has anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger contains an array of phytochemicals including gingerol compounds that have blood thinning effects similar to those of aspirin.

Per serve

Kilojoules 525 (126 calories); Protein 6 g; Total fat 1 g Includes saturated fat 1 g; Carbohydrate 24 g; Fibre 5 g ; Sodium 61 mg ;GI Low

This recipe is from Heart Food – the healthy heart cookbook, by Veronica Cuskelly and Nicole Senior, published by New Holland (RRP $29.95) and endorsed by the Heart Research Institute. Heart Food is available from bookstores and online at http://www.greatideas.net.au/heart-food-the-healthy-heart-cookbook.html