Mango, macadamia and basil salad

Twas the week before Christmas and the celebrations had already begun…

As there has been a lot to celebrate this past week, including finishing my double degree, last night good friends joined me for an early Christmas dinner. We’ve spent the last four years of university together and are now ready to graduate and face the ‘real world’. It was an evening filled with delicious food, fabulous drinks and even better company.

Celebrating in style

We started the celebrations in style as it’s not everyday you finish two degrees. Nibbles included goat cheese camembert, Mary’s Gone Crackers (my favourite crackers), Sicilian olives, fresh strawberries and macadamia nuts.

Christmas spread

Following the nibbles, we feasted on Christmas Dinner. The menu consisted of:

  • Chicken skewers with a spicy peanut sauce
  • Mango, macadamia and basil salad
  • Paprika sweet potato, parsnip, basil and lime salad – made without the chicken
  • Quinoa, chickpea, coriander and avocado salad
  • Wild caught king tiger prawns
  • Raw vanilla macadamia cream fruit tart
  • Christmas chocolate bark

All of these recipes will be posted this coming week so you too can hopefully enjoy them come Christmas Day! I’ll also be posting ideas on how to festively set the table for Christmas Day, including a way to keep the your guests entertained and create memories whilst you dine.

Here’s the first of the Christmas recipes for you to enjoy… Mango, macadamia and basil salad. This salad really complements seafood, especially prawns, as it’s very fresh – in both colour and taste.

Mango, macadamia and basil salad

I absolutely love the vibrant colours in the salad. Summer to me always signifies mangoes – growing up in Cairns they were definitely a staple in our household throughout the season.

The shallots, basil and chilli lend this dish a Christmassy feel in terms of colour whilst the macadamias provide a delicious crunch.

Fresh, vibrant salad

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.

Mango, macadamia and basil salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1/2 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Place mangoes, basil, macadamias, shallot and chilli in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Stir through lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

How will you be celebrating Christmas in style this year?

Paprika chicken, sweet potato, parsnip, lime and basil salad

I love making salads that are complete meals, not just an accompaniment to a meal. This makes life so much easier and encourages people to eat more vegetables.

This salad is full of contrasting flavours which somehow all come together to complement one another. It’s a tasty salad that can be served all year round.

Paprika sweet potato

Paprika is an earthy spice that really gives this salad depth and an element of warmth.

Paprika chicken strips

The chicken adds an element of protein to the salad. If you don’t have any or want to make it vegan, you can use chickpeas instead.

Parsnip and sweet potato all cooked

I think people often overlook cooking with parsnips. This vegetables belongs to the carrot family and is high in vitamin C. When cooked it takes on a sweet nutty flavour which really complements the flavour of the sweet potato.

Vibrant greens

The green beans, basil and spring onion really bring a freshness to this salad, both in colour and taste.

Tasty, healthy salad

This salad can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.

Paprika chicken, sweet potato, parsnip, lime and basil salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 4 TBSP paprika
  • 1 large sweet potato, washed and finely sliced
  • 1 parsnip, washed and finely sliced
  • 4 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 cup green beans, washed and ends cut
  • 4 sprigs of spring onion, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Coat parsnip and sweet potatoes in 2 TBSP of paprika and 2 TBSP coconut oil.
  3. Place on prepared baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, turning them over at 10 minutes.
  4. Coat chicken strips in 2 TBSP paprika.
  5. Heat a large frypan over medium heat and add 2 TBSP coconut oil.
  6. Cook chicken strips for 5 minutes or until golden and no longer pink the middle.
  7. Combine green beans, spring onion, basil and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Then add cooked sweet potato, parsnip and chicken and toss until well combined.
  8. Whisk lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Then pour dressing over salad.
  9. Enjoy!

Do you prefer to make salads as a complete meal, or as an accompaniment?

Coconut carrot cake pancakes with cashew lime dressing and maple walnuts

By now you have probably gathered that I love to cook! My favourite part about cooking (besides creating new dishes) is knowing that I’ve created delicious and nutritious food that my family and friends enjoy.

I made these pancakes for Mother’s Day as something special for Mum. Looking around the breakfast table, I loved seeing everyone devouring their stack of goodness and going back for seconds! It just reconfirmed to me that you can eat healthy and still really enjoy tasty food!

Pancakes cooking

I always like to test my food before serving so this little pancake in the middle was mine to taste!

Cashew dressing

This cashew dressing is so easy to make and really lifts the dish! It makes quite a lot but I always like to over cater to ensure everyone is able to enjoy plenty of food.

A MUST to make with this recipe!

The lime really contrasts well with the raisins in the pancakes and the maple walnuts.

Coated in sweet, earthy flavours

I prefer to make my pancakes without any form of sugar. Instead I like to add toppings, such as these maple walnuts, that bring out the flavours in the pancakes.

Maple walnuts

These maple walnuts provide the dish with a crunchy sweetness.

Indulgent breakfast!

Each dish will keep separately in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Coconut carrot cake pancakes with cashew lime dressing and maple walnuts

Makes 18 pancakes

Ingredients:
Coconut carrot cake pancakes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • Coconut oil for cooking
Cashew lime dressing
  • 2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
Maple walnuts
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
Method:
Coconut carrot cake pancakes
  1. Mix almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, raisins and desiccated coconut together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix carrots, eggs and almond milk together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix well.
  4. Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat and place 1 TBSP coconut oil in the pan.
  5. Spoon batter into small pancakes onto frypan. When you see little bubbles appear flip and continue to cook for 2 minutes, or until completely cooked.
Cashew lime dressing
  1. Combine cashews, water, lime juice, vanilla and maple syrup in a food processor/Vitamix/blender. Process on high until smooth.
  2. Place in a serving bowl and in the fridge until serving time.
Maple walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Spread walnuts on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  2. Place in the oven and roast for 8–10 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove walnuts from oven and set aside to slightly cool.
  3. Combine the maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. Add walnuts to the bowl and coat in mixture.
  5. Spread coated walnuts and the rest of the mixture on the same lined baking tray and return to oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven once cooked and with a spoon keep moving for the first few minutes to prevent them from sticking together.

Note: you can make the batter the night before to save time in the morning – keep it covered and refrigerated overnight!

Have you too had a moment that reconfirms your healthy lifestyle?

Thai pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup is one of my all-time favourites. Eating it always brings back fond memories of cooler nights and crusty bread.

This aromatic, spice-infused version definitely takes your taste buds on a ride. The zesty lime against the heat from the chili just seems to work so well.

Soup base all processed

The fresh lemongrass makes this base quite stringy. If you do use fresh lemongrass make sure you pick out the excess pieces so your soup isn’t stringy – however I am not guaranteeing this will definitely work.

If this is too tedious or you don’t want stringy pieces in your soup, just use lemongrass paste which can usually be found in the Asian aisle at the supermarket.

Pumpkin coated in fragrant spices

By coating the pumpkin in the spices, this ensures that the flavours will be well and truly infused.

Creamy smooth soup

This soup tastes great either smooth or chunky, it is entirely up to personal preference.

Served with a slice of lime

It will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively you can freezer portions for up to 1 month. Make sure you defrost it in the fridge overnight.

Pumpkin laksa soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into 5cm chunks
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 chili, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 sticks of lemongrass, remove outer leaves or use 1 TBSP lemongrass paste
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, washed and roughly chop stalks and keep leaves separate for later
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1.25L vegetable stock
  • 320mL coconut milk
  • 2 limes, freshly juiced
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a food processor/Vitamix, place lime leaves, chili, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks and cumin. Process for 2 minutes then remove any stringy bits that remain in the pulp. 
  2. In a large saucepan, place coconut oil, pulp and onion. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the pumpkin and coat with the pulp. Then add stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
  4. Place batches of soup in food processor and process until smooth. Return to pan and add coconut milk. Cook for a further 5 minutes.*
  5. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and decorate with coriander leaves. Enjoy!

Note: omit step 4 if you prefer your soup chunky and just add the coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Don’t be alarmed by the number of ingredients – most of them are to make the soup base! Once this is done, it’s very straight forward. Honestly, it is so worth it!