Healthy Eating

Herb and Orange Chicken with Pineapple and Capsicum served with Pomegranate, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


We are so lucky in Australia with our beautiful range of lovely, fresh fruit and vegetables. The pineapples this year have been spectacularly sweet and perfect. I haven’t been able to go past them in the supermarkets or fruit shops.


Then there is the trouble of trying not to eat an entire pineapple between two people in one sitting! It’s so tempting and lovely, the only reason I am able to stop myself is because I know I’ll want some the next day too!


Pineapples go well in fruit salads and a lot of sweet dishes and desserts, although surprisingly goes perfectly well with a fruit inspired, partly savoury, main meal.


One particular reason for my trial of this dish was to broaden the variety of salads I will eat, along with using some pomegranate seeds, which I haven’t really experimented with that much.

All in all, the flavours work beautifully together and this is a lovely summer dinner. It tastes like a wonderfully healthy main meal with great textures and flavours.


Herb and Orange Chicken with Pineapple and Capsicum served with Pomegranate, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

Recipes by me – Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Herb and Orange Chicken

Serves: 4

2 chicken breasts (cut through or left whole)
1 orange, juiced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
6 chives, chopped
3 oregano leaves, chopped
18 leaves basil, chopped
1 tablespoon honey

Place all ingredients in a bowl and marinate overnight.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium/high and cook the chicken on both sides, until cooked through. (Slice the chicken through the middle, if you would prefer to make the cooking easier and quicker)

Pomegranate, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

Serves: 4

2 handfuls baby spinach
1/2 pomegranate, seeded (60 seeds juiced or popped to get 2 teaspoons)
2 orange (1 segmented, 1 juiced)
1 teaspoon caster sugar

Place the washed baby spinach on a plate. Mix the sugar with the juice of half the orange and the teaspoon of pomegranate juice for dressing. Place the orange segments and pomegranate seeds on the spinach. Pour dressing over salad.


Pineapple and Capsicum addition

Serves: 4
1 red capscium, diced
2 slices pineapple diced
1-2 slices pineapple, cut into quarters (optional – for cooking with the chicken to get caramelised pineapple)

Place combined capsicum and pineapple on the cooked chicken.

If you are caramelising some pineapple, add it to the pan with the half cooked chicken (so it’s not cooking in raw meat juice), or cook separately on medium heat until both sides of the pineapple are caramelised.


Chicken Curry with Blueberries and Goji Berry Pilau

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


I know a number of people will have started this new year with the aim to eat healthier, so I thought I should post this recipe early as it has claimed to be the “world’s healthiest meal” (by it’s creator – check out the link). Even though it may not be the lowest in fat (which many people will be trying to reduce), it is quite high in antioxidants which are very important in a healthy diet.


Everyone who I trialed this dish out on (including me) was very skeptical – blueberry and curry don’t sound like two words that really go together. I got even more skeptical when I tried the dried goji berries we had bought. I’m not a big fan of them dried and by themselves. Although I still thought we may as well give the dish a go.


It was quite easy to cook and prepare. The blueberry and youghurt mix is a gorgeous bright purple and the dish remained like this for half the time it was cooking. Once it was finished cooking it looked like a normal beef curry – yes, just looking at it, it does look like beef. The flavours worked fabulously together and the goji berries plumped up a bit in the pilau. I even enjoyed a few thawed blueberries with the dish.


This may even be a good dish to try on someone who doesn’t eat enough fruit and vegetables (hahaha, my trick worked and my culprit ate all the sauce (pureed blueberries) and goji berries). We will be eating this again (time to go look out for some specials on blueberries, goji berries and spices). Perhaps in a few years I will be able to use some from my own blueberry bush:


Chicken Curry with Blueberries and Goji Berry Pilau

Recipe by Mr Bains

Serves: 4

20g coriander, chopped
200g fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
500g low-fat Greek yoghurt
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chilli powder (I used 1/2 teaspoon medium chilli powder)
500g of chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 teaspoon garam masala

For the Pilau Rice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 grated carrot
1 cup Basmati rice
1 3/4 cups of boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
50g goji berries
Handful of peas (I poured boiling water over some frozen peas before using)

Blend the chopped coriander, blueberries, ginger and salt with 500g of low-fat Greek yoghurt, and set aside.


Place the chopped garlic into a saucepan with the olive oil and heat on a low-medium flame until the garlic starts to turn brown – this should take no longer than one or two minutes. Add the turmeric, mix well and heat through for 20 seconds. Mix in the ground cinnamon and chilli powder and cook for a further 20 seconds.

Add the chopped chicken breast, and seal, stirring frequently – this should take no more than five minutes. Now slowly pour the yoghurt mixture, mixing into the chicken, and bring to a simmer on a low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, stirring from time to time. Mix through the garam masala and garnish with extra coriander.




To cook the pilau place the cumin seeds and olive oil into a saucepan and heat on a low-medium flame until the seeds begin to pop – about three minutes. Fry the onion and cook until soft. Then add the turmeric powder, stir and heat for 20 seconds and add one grated carrot. Cook for two minutes.

Place the onion mixture, basmati rice, pinch of salt and the 1 3/4 cups of boiling water into a large microwaveable bowl and mix with a fork. Cook uncovered in the microwave for 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes (800W) or 3 minutes (900W). Mix and cook for a further 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes(800W) or 3 minutes (900W). Finally cover and continue to cook for 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes (800W) or 3 minutes (900W). (For the rice, I left the onion mix in the saucepan, added the rice, salt and boiling water and when it came to the boil, turned it down to really low. I cooked this for 10 minutes, then added the goji berries and peas, turned the heat off and left for another 10 minutes covered before serving)

To finish add the goji berries and peas and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the pilau with a fork, and serve.


Feta and Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes and Asparagus, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta – Cooking Class 11

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009


Another cooking class, another new recipe (or two, possibly three – in this case).

Trying to fit quite a number of people in a small kitchen, all trying to find something to help with and space to actually do it, is quite a spectacle. Luckily the dessert for this cooking class was not too involved, as you will find out later…

Not being a fan of asparagus or raw tomatoes, I was a bit concerned when I saw what we were making. Fortunately, both these dishes were great and most of us are looking forward to eating them again, either as separate dishes or together.

The pasta bake was lovely and flavoursome with the bacon, cheese and even the asparagus (I guess I do like asparagus). The stuffed tomatoes had a great combination of olives, pinenuts and herbs and of course the feta and ricotta.


Dessert was described as a Jamie Oliver tried and tested, fantastic recipe. We were told it may take a while and could be quite involved… I was so intrigued as to what it could be and could not help but laugh when I saw the so-called “recipe”.

On the page was something I have made and eaten plenty of times before. At one stage I was eating it almost every night… it was…

Maltesers on Ice cream!


I kid you not. It was in Jamie’s book, with an understandably short recipe. Something like:
Ingredients: Ice cream and a bag of maltesers
Method: Crush maltesers, place on ice cream and serve.

Feta and Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes

Recipes from Party & Snack Perfection

Serves: 6

6 large firm tomatoes
105g feta cheese, crumbled
150g ricotta cheese
60g pine nuts, chopped
10 black olives, pitted and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons wholemeal breadcrumbs
freshly ground black pepper
6 block olives to garnish
extra oregano leaves to garnish

Preheat oven to 180C.

Cut a lid off the top of each tomatoes and set aside. Carefully scoop the centre of each tomatoes into and large bowl. Combine half the tomato mixture with the feta, ricotta, pine nuts, olives, oregano, breadcrumbs and pepper. Beat mixture together and spoon back into the cases (piling the tops high). Discard left over tomato flesh.


Place in a lightly greased shallow oven-proof dish and bake 20-25 minutes.


Garnish with an olive and oregano (we left this bit out) and serve.


Asparagus, Bacon and Parmesan Tortiglioni

Recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly Eating in

Serves: 4

500g tortiglioni pasta (or another tube-pasta, if you can’t find this)
500g asparagus, chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 bacon rashers, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g butter, chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup (40g) grated parmesan cheese
½ cup (50g) grates mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water, uncovered, until just tender. Drain and return to pan.

Meanwhile, boil, steam or microwave asparagus until just tender, drain.

Heat oil in large frying pan, add bacon, cook, stirring, until crisp. Add garlic, cook until fragrant.

Add bacon mixture to drained pasta with butter, asparagus, parsley and a quarter of the combined cheeses, toss gently

Preheat grill to hot. Transfer pasta mixture to shallow 2.5 litre ovenproof dish. Sprinkle top of pasta with remaining cheese. Place under grill until cheese has browned. (Alternatively place the dish in a moderate oven [180C] for 10-20 minutes until the cheese has browned)



Chicken and Leek Risotto – Cooking Class 9

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Trying to guess what we were having for this cooking class was difficult. The host for this evening isn’t known for being adventurous. Most vegetables are normally off the list and fruits too.

That’s why we were all pleasantly surprised finding out we were making a risotto, with both leek and lemon. This is one of the reasons these cooking classes are so good (like the Daring Bakers Challenges I do). It forces us to try dishes we never thought of making plus finally making those that we have wanted to make for a while and never got around to it.

This risotto is very flavoursome, easy to prepare and heats up well for lunch. So this will go on the list of easy risottos to make.

Chicken and Leek Risotto

(I will update the recipe source when I get a chance to ask the host)

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
600g chicken breast, roughly chopped
2 leeks, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups arborio/carnaroli rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups peas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
2 tablespoons mint, chopped
salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced oven).

Heat oil in frying pan over high heat, add chicken and cook until well browned. Remove chicken, set aside.

Put leeks and lemon zest into pan, cook until leeks soften.

Place leeks rice and stock in baking dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.


Add chicken pieces and peas, re-cover and bake for a further 20 minutes.


Risotto will still be liquid – add lemon juice, mint, parmean, salt and pepper, stir well for 2 minutes to thicken risotto. Serve immediately.



French Onion Soup

Monday, September 14th, 2009


I’ve been very busy in the last few weeks. I’ve been finishing off some photo albums (coffee table-style books) that I started almost a year ago. The deadline I had made for myself had been rapidly approaching and a sale prompted me to finish them off.

Finally it is completed, I’ve ordered the books and now I only have to worry about paying for them…

Sometimes in busy times and rough financial periods you need a quick, easy and cheap meal. What could be better than French Onion soup? (and yes, I finally got around to using up some more onions from that 10kg bag and I tried a new recipe)


I know spring is already quite warm at the moment and soup may not be on your list of meals to make on a warm night… but the option’s always there if you don’t have many ingredients at home and need a cheap eat.

(Hopefully I can get back to cooking, posting, replying and reading others blogs now) 🙂

French Onion Soup

Recipe from, Originally Good Taste – June 2001, Page 74

Serves: 4

50g (2 1/2 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
750g brown onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoons caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) beef stock
500ml (2 cups) water
250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy (optional – I didn’t use this)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 2cm-thick slices baguette (French bread stick)
90g (3/4 cup) coarsely grated gruyere cheese

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts. Increase heat to high. Add onions and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.


Reduce heat to medium. Add sugar and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until onions are golden and caramelised.

(You could even cook it a bit longer than this if you want)

(You could even cook it a bit longer than this if you want)

Add the stock, water, wine and brandy to the pan and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat grill on medium. Place the baguette slices under preheated grill and toast for 1-2 minutes each side or until lightly toasted. Sprinkle one side of each slice with a little of the cheese. Grill for a further 1-2 minutes or until the cheese melts and is golden.


Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls. Top with the cheese toasts and sprinkle with pepper just before serving.

The soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Spicy Pumpkin Bread

Friday, August 21st, 2009


Nick loves making breads… Naan bread, tortillas, bread rolls… and I love eating bread!!!! Therefore, I would say we work very well together 🙂

So when Nick said he wanted to make some pumpkin bread, I was all for it!

He was a little suspicious that it was an actual bread due to the exception of yeast… can you really have a bread without yeast? Maybe…


Either way, it is a lovely savoury pumpkin bread (or loaf) with a brilliant orange colour, great flavours of spices and works especially well for morning tea or with a meal.

Spicy Pumpkin Bread
Recipe slightly adapted from

Melted butter, to grease
300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
450g (1 cup) mashed cooked pumpkin
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
60g butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Place the pumpkin, milk, butter and egg in a jug, and use a whisk to stir until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and stir with a large metal spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle evenly with pepitas.


Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.


Note: You’ll need to steam about 500g peeled, deseeded, chopped pumpkin for this recipe. This bread is great for sandwiches and as an accompaniment to a chargrilled lamb salad.

Fajitas and Tortillas

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009


Now when it came to making some Fajita’s and homemade Tortillas, we went straight to the internet to see what advice there was and how easy tortillas were to make (we had made naan bread before, so were interested to see how it compared).

We found a great set of videos on youtube by Chef Jason Hill, which were very detailed and are brilliant for anyone wanting to learn how to make either fajitas and fajita marinade, tortillas, guacamole, salsa and many more recipes.

The tortillas were a lot easier than we were expecting. With only four ingredients and a few steps (mix, rest, roll, cook) it was easy and quite cheap to make and tasted much better than the bought tortillas.


The fajita marinade was full of great flavours and extremely fresh and lovely. We’ve already made this twice, but it’s certainly on the list of meals to make again and again…. Hope you all enjoy!

The meat for the fajitas takes a while to marinate, therefore start making that first.

Fajitas and Tortillas
Recipes adapted from Chef Jason Hill on youtube

Makes: 12-16 (Serves 6-8)

4 cups plain flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable shortening or butter (113g butter)
1½ teaspoons salt
1–1¼ cups warm water

Put flour, baking powder and shortening or butter together into a bowl. Work together with hands for a few minutes until you get a coarse meal.

Mix the salt in with the warm water and then add it to the flour mix. Mix it to form a dough – add the extra ¼ cup water if need be, I found this to be necessary. Work together to form a ball. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.

Break into 12-16 little balls. Preheat fry pan or crepe pan to medium heat.


Roll out balls on lightly floured work surface until a thin round tortilla is formed. Place on preheated saucepan and cook until the underside starts to brown 15-30seconds. Turn over and cook the other side.




Once cooked, place on half a tea towel and cover with the rest of the tea towel to keep warm, cook the fajita filling at this stage.

Makes enough for 12-16 tortillas

1 tablespoon olive oil
500g steak (we used rump), sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 red capsicums, deseeded and cut into strips
1 green capsicum, deseeded and cut into strips

Sour cream
Grated Cheese
re-fried beans (see recipe below)

Fajita marinade

1 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
pinch cloves, ground
4 cloves crushed garlic
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Small bunch of cilantro/coriander
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange

Put water in a bowl; add juices to water, then all other ingredients except the olive oil. Whisk in the olive oil slowly. Let it sit for 30 minutes before using.

Marinate the meat for 30minutes – 1 hour.

Heat a wok or pan to medium high. Place oil in pan and add onions, cooking for 5 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add a few tablespoons of the fajita marinade. Add capsicums and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl.

Add the marinated meat in a few batches and cook until just browned. Keep cooked batches covered while you finish the cooking. Remove all the meat and add the remaining marinade, cook until bubbling. Add vegetables to warm up and absorb some marinade.

Place a tortilla on a plate, add some of the meat, vegetables, grated cheese, guacamole and sour cream in a line in the centre, leaving room at one edge to fold up. Once the bottom is folded up, fold in the sides and eat.



Re-fried Beans
Nick’s recipe

1 can (400g) red kidney beans (or whole Pinto beans, if you can find them), rinsed in water
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the beans. Heat through, then use a potato masher and mash the beans until it forms a thick paste-like mixture. Serve with fajitas.

Cucumber Mint Raita

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I love Indian Food!!!


As I’m not fond of hot and/or very spicy food, many people were quite surprised to find out that I do love Indian food. Although I’m not suggesting that I actually make traditional Indian food, I probably tend to eat more Westernised Indian food.


Many of the dishes are easy to prepare, especially since once you’ve bought a few bags of spices, they sit in the cupboard waiting to be used and you don’t have to go and buy fresh ingredients as you need to do when making some other curry pastes. This is one of the reasons that an Indian banquet is one of our favourite meals.


Over the next few blogs I’ll describe all the preparations and dishes to prepare a great feast for all! I have never tried any Indian desserts or sweets before, but the ones I found on the internet were definitely a winner.

First off is the Cucumber Mint Raita
This Cucumber Mint Raita is lovely served with pappadums, cooked in oil as the pack says (I have heard of people cooking them in the microwave, but haven’t tried that yet).


It has many flavours throughout, made primarily with plain yoghurt, the addition of mint and cucumber make it quite refreshing and a great entrée.

Cucumber Mint Raita
(Recipe slightly adapted from epicurious)

Serves: 8-10

1 Lebanese cucumber
2 cups plain yoghurt
½ lemon, squeezed
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons caster sugar

Finely grate the cucumber and dab with a paper towel. Whisk yoghurt, lemon juice, mint, cumin, paprika, salt and sugar in a medium bowl to blend. Add cucumber and toss to coat. Season with more spices, as desired. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (It can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Sprinkle with a pinch of paprika and serve with pappadams.





Fried Rice

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


Looking for something easy, quick, tasty and reasonably cheap? Well, fried rice is a good way to use up whatever is left in the fridge and easy to alter the recipe by adding fresh ingredients.

Easy Fried Rice
Recipe from

Serves: 4

1 cup long grain white rice
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 bacon rashers, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 shallots, trimmed, finely sliced (I used a sliced onion)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra to serve
I added a few sliced mushrooms too, when cooking bacon and onion (capsicum would also go well in this dish)

Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

Using a whisk, lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Heat oil in non-stick wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs. Swirl over base to form an omelette. Cook 2 minutes. Turn over. Cook 2 minutes until set. Transfer to a chopping board. Set aside to cool slightly. Cut into short strips.


Add bacon to wok. Cook 4 minutes until light golden. Add carrot. Stir fry 1 minute. Add shallots, peas and rice. Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Add egg and soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Serve immediately, with extra soy.




Almond and Vanilla Porridge

Monday, June 22nd, 2009


We all know “someone”, who can’t go past a freebee. Who goes around and around to people handing around free samples just so they can collect as much as possible…

Well I know a couple of those people, and I can certainly relate to it, especially when I see something that looks particularly appealing. And let’s face it – it’s the best sort of bargain out there – you get something for nothing!


Even though I’ve never liked porridge that people have made (I’ve found they tend to be a bit plain, and since I don’t like dried fruit, it doesn’t even add an extra element that would entice me), I picked up a few samples of porridge in new flavours or a different brand being handed out. One had dried fruit, the other Vanilla and Almond Porridge. Well, the later actually sounds nice, so after trying it, I realised I would have it again. But samples don’t last long… they’re samples. And not finding them in the shops meant I would try and make it myself (and it’s likely to be both cheaper and healthier – as you know exactly what goes into it).

So, one trial for the recipe and I was pretty happy with the result (even more so than the original product, after being given another sample and doing a taste-test comparison)! This is great for our cold weather (and unfortunately weather that is going to get colder and rainier).


Almond and Vanilla Porridge

Serves: 1 small serving, feel free to double the quantity

1/3 cup rolled oats, blitzed in a food processor until chopped slightly (or Quick Oats)
1 tablespoon blitzed roasted almonds
1 teaspoon caster sugar
A sprinkle of ground cinnamon
2/3 cup milk (approximately)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the vanilla with the milk and pour into bowl. Mix together and microwave on high for 1 minute (Be careful, this will be hot). Stir mixture and cook on high for another 30sec – 1min, until as thick as you like. Add more milk depending on the consistency and temperature you like your porridge.