chicken , veg and barley soup

This hearty chicken, veg and barley soup may be perfect for the weekend if you live on the East coast! A great source of protein, low GI carbs and healthy fats, this soup is a meal in a bowl. The barley contains beta glucans which help lower cholesterol levels AND the whole thing just tastes great! 

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large chicken breast, diced into bite sized pieces
2 litres chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup barley
4 sprigs of thyme (plus extra for garnish)
Pepper to season
2 handfuls chopped Silber beet (or kale or English spinach as alternatives)
½ bunch parley, leaves finely chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced  

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over a low to medium heat. Add leeks, carrot, celery and garlic and fry gently until vegetables start to soften.
2. Increase the medium heat and add chicken, cooking gently for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the stock, potatoes, barley and thyme. Season with pepper, cover and simmer for approximately one hour. Add silver beet and continue to cook until soft. Add some extra hot water if required. 
4. Remove from heat, stir through parsley and divide between bowls. Top with shallot and extra thyme. 


You can also pack it up for lunches or quick dinners through the week. 

baked tomatoes with cheesy rice filling

This is the perfect veggie recipe. Boasting good amounts of protein, low GI carbohydrate and fibre, it will sustain your energy levels and assist with muscle maintenance. 

It's such a versatile dish to make, as you can use whatever grain you prefer, add whatever herbs are in season, and use your favourite legumes. even swap the cheddar for some feta cheese - make it yours. 

Serves 4

1/2 cup low GI brown rice

1 cup (250ml) water

8 large ripe tomatoes

2 shallots, finely sliced

1 cup grated tasty cheese

125g can four bean mix, drained and rinsed

50g button mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1.  Preheat oven to 160°C. In a saucepan over high heat bring rice and water to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stand, covered for 5 – 10 minutes.

2.  Cut tops off tomatoes. Gently spoon pulp out of tomatoes into a bowl. Mash pulp with a fork. Combine cooked rice, tomato pulp, shallots, ½ cup grated cheese, four bean mix, mushrooms parsley and basil.

3.  Divide rice mixture into tomatoes, top with remaining grated cheese. Place tomatoes into oven proof dish with enough hot water to come 1cm up the side of tomatoes.

4.  Place dish into oven, bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and tomatoes have softened. Serve with green salad drizzled with olive oil.

Nutrition information (for two tomatoes): Kilojoules: 1311kJ (315cal) Protein: 17g Carbohydrate: 32g Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 7g Fibre: 7g sodium: 325g


Cajun chicken burgers

Caajun chicken burger .JPG

Makes 4 burgers


500g Chicken mince

1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix

2 shallots, finely sliced

1 bunch parsley, finely chop leaves and some of the stems

1 large (400g) tomato, sliced

1 large (300g) zucchini, shaved into wide ribbons with a vegetable peeler

2 cups leafy green mix e.g. baby spinach, rocket, lettuce

1 tablespoon of rice bran oil

½ cup Greek yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

4 wholegrain rolls


  1. Combine chicken mince, Cajun spice mix, shallots and half of the parsley leaves and stems. Mix well until combined then shape into 4 patties.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken patties and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile make herbed dressing by combining Greek yoghurt, lemon juice and the rest if the parsley leaves and stems.
  4. Make burger with pattie, salad, herbed yoghurt dressing and tomato chutney (see recipe).



Double the recipe to make more patties for lunches during the week.

Freeze extra patties for meals another week.


Nutrition information (per serve): Kilojoules: 1976kJ (470cal) Protein: 36g Carbohydrate: 43g Fat: 3g Saturated fat: 0g Fibre: 6g Sodium: 680mg


Friday night special - asparagus, zucchini and mushroom spaghetti

Last night was such a rainy, stormy night here in Newcastle. We aren't used to these wicked storms that end a humid day, because these are totally non-existent in Adelaide.

Anyway,  last night was stormy, really stormy. We are still living with my parents until our new home in Newcastle is ready (just a few more days), and the whole house hold felt like spaghetti - maybe it was the weather? For Nigel this was a given as this is his 'night before a game' ritual, and he has plenty of bolognese sauce frozen ready to go.  But I  seriously cannot stomach the stuff after almost 11 years. So, we needed an alternative. 

Don't you just love when you do a big shop at the start of the week and you still have some beautiful fresh veggies left at the end? Well, we had some asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms and parsley. I had also been given a whole bag of lemons from the Fruit Brothers (in Hamilton) for our stand at the Oyster Festival last week end (did you catch our pics on Facebook and onInstagram)?

Anyway, back to what I came up with. This vegetarian spaghetti dish was a winner and it took 15 minuets to make! 


This is a totally authentic quick snap (with poor lighting and styling) with my iPhone - no studio photography seen here.

This is a totally authentic quick snap (with poor lighting and styling) with my iPhone - no studio photography seen here.

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g dried spaghetti

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling

7 (100g) button mushrooms, thickly sliced (leave skin on)

1 bunch (120g) asparagus, woody ends removed and chopped into 3cm pieces

1/4 cup of pine nuts

1 large (250g) zucchini, use the vegetable peel to make zucchini strips

1 bunch of parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped 

1 long red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced (leave seeds if you like it hot) 

Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

Shaved parmesan and cracked pepper for serving 


Put spaghetti on to boil.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook mushrooms on each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, then set aside. - Intentionally cooking the mushrooms on each side versus stirring them around the pan will help them turn nice and brown/golden and prevent them from becoming watery. This will give a nice taste and texture for the pasta.

Wipe the frying pan out then with approximately 1-2 minutes until the spaghetti is ready heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive over a medium to high heat, add the asparagus and pine nuts and cook for approximately 1 minute.

Drain the spaghetti (reserving some water from the saucepan).

Add the zucchini strips, parsley, chilli and mushrooms to the frying pan and stir, heating through for approximately 30 seconds.

Add the lemon zest and juice, spaghetti and reserved water and stir through for another 30 seconds or until heated through.

Serve in bowls with shaved parmesan, cracked pepper and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

I promise this is the perfect Friday night spaghetti dish - ENJOY!!!