BBQ eggplant and french onion salad with rocket, feta and pine nuts

bbq-eggplant-french-onion-rocket-salad-2It’s spring in Australia which means the weather is warming up and people are dusting off their BBQs (if they were ever out of use). Eggplants are in season so what better than a BBQ eggplant and french onion salad to accompany your favourite BBQ cut of meat or fish.

Cooked eggplant is a good source of fibre along with a host of other vitamins and minerals. Eggplants are rich in phytonutrients, many of which contain powerful antioxidant qualities including one of the most powerful free-radical scavengers in the plant kingdom.

French onions are also rich in phytonutrients, particular flavonoids (like eggplants, thanks to their purple colour). Flavonoids contain a host of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been widely credited for supporting cardiovascular health and helping reduce the risk of cancer.

Rocket/arugula is a lesser known member of the cruciferous vegetable family (think kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) and contains chlorophyll which is thought to help block the carcinogenic effects that may be caused by grilling foods at high temperatures.

This salad works beautifully topped with pine nuts and feta – I like to use goat’s feta but use whatever you like best.


  • 2 eggplant/aubergines (medium to large)
  • 3 french onions (medium to large)
  • 100g / 3.5oz rocket/arugula or mixed salad leaves
  • 100g / 3.5oz good quality feta (I like goat’s fetta)
  • 50g / 1.75oz pine nuts
  • Half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons good quality balsamic


  1. Pre-heat the BBQ to medium-high heat and allow to heat for 5-10 minutes
  2. Cut the eggplant/aubergine into slices around 1.5cm or half and inch thick and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  3. Cut the onion into wedges and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Place the eggplant/aubergine and french onion on the BBQ
  5. The eggplant will need to cook for around 12 minutes on the first side then around 8 minutes on the second side (check during this time however to make sure it doesn’t burn)
  6. The french onion will need to cook for around 10 minutes total – turn a couple of times during this period so that it’s nicely cooked all over
  7. Remove the eggplant and onion from the BBQ and allow to cool
  8. Bring a frying pan to a medium to high heat then add the pine nuts and toast for a minute or two until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn as the pine nuts cook quickly
  9. Meanwhile mix up the dressing and place the rocket in a large salad bowl
  10. Cut the eggplant/aubergine into large chunks and add to the salad along with the rocket and BBQ French onion
  11. Add the dressing a little at a time until the rocket and vegetables are lightly coated (you may not need the whole lot) then crumble through the feta and top with the toasted pine nuts


Serves 4

Snapper with capsicum, olive and caper salsa and wilted spinach

snapper-salsa-spinachThis is a delicious, light and tasty dish that’s easy to prepare and bursting with nutrition. Here are some of the health benefits.

Capsicum/belle peppers are rich in vitamin C and contain an abundance of carotenoids. Cartonoids are antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals, boost the immune system and if consumed regularly through diet help protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

Capers are high in antioxidants and are an excellent source of the flavonoid rutin which strengthens capillaries and support healthy blood circulation.

Olives are rich in a diverse range of phytonutrients noted for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, some of which are unique to olives. One special unique quality of olives is that they contain properties that have been shown to act as anti-histamines at a cellular level, which is particularly beneficial for those suffering from allergies.

Basil contains unique antibacterial qualities that have been linked to helping inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant commonly used antibiotics  (types of bacteria that can cause infection).

Spinach is well known for being rich in iron but it’s also an excellent source of magnesium and folate and just one cup serve (which is slightly less than that used in this recipe) contains almost 1000% of the RDI of vitamin K, which is plays an integral role in optimal bone health.

Snapper and other white fish fillets provide a good source of lean protein.



  • 4 x 180-220g (roughly 7 oz) snapper fillets with skin on (or you can use any other similar tasting white fish fillets)
  • 2 x tablespoons ghee or if you prefer you can use grape skin oil (both have a high smoke point)


  • 1 x red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 x green capsicum/belle pepper
  • Half an onion (I like to use red/Spanish onions)
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 50g / 1.75oz pitted black olives
  • 1.5 x tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 x tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Good handful of fresh basil leaves (around 15g/half an oz)


  • 200g/7oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil



  1. Place the capsicum/belle peppers under a medium-high grill until the skin starts to turn black. Turn until blackened on all sides then place in a plastic bag (ideally a sealable plastic sandwich-type bag) for 10 minutes or so and allow to cool. You can achieve the same effect by cutting the capsicums/belle peppers in two, removing the seeds and placing on a bbq (skin side down) for around 10 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the onion, capers and black olives and place in a bowl then cover with the red wine vinegar and olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper
  3. Once the capsicums/belle peppers are ready, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the skin. Remove the seeds from the middle and roughly chop then add to the salsa mixture
  4. Finely chop the basil and mix through the salsa

Fish & Spinach

  1. Bring a stainless steel frying pan to a high heat. Once hot add the ghee or grape seed oil then add the fish, skin side down. It will want to curl up so if possible add a fish weight (the same effect can be achieved by pressing the fish down with a heavy stainless steel).
  2. Allow to the fish to cook for a couple of minutes until you can see it’s cooked almost half way through then turn and cook the other side for a couple of minutes
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach by bringing a separate frying pan to a medium high heat.
  4. When the fish is almost ready, add the the olive oil to the pan and fry the sliced garlic for 30 seconds or so then add the spinach and flash fry until it’s wilted (this shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to a minute)
  5. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper

Transfer the spinach to 4 plates, place the fish on top and top the fish with the salsa. If you prefer, this dish works nicely on a bed of steamed green beans or with a mixed leaf green salad.

Serves 4


Broccolini with toasted almonds and pancetta

broccolini-pancetta-almonds2It’s winter in Australia and broccolini is in season. A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccolini is rich vitamin C and just a single cup serve contains the recommended daily intake of this vitamin which is a powerful antioxidant. Broccolini is also rich in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for eye health and contains plenty of potassium which helps support brain function, muscle growth and a healthy nervous system.

This recipe makes a great side dish and the pancetta and almonds really boost the flavour making it appealing to the whole family.


  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 35g/1.25oz pancetta
  • 30g/1oz almonds (you can use raw or toasted if you prefer), roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Steam the broccolini for a couple of minutes until tender but still nice and crunchy
  2. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat, add a little olive oil and toast the almonds for a couple of minutes until they’re just starting to brown. Set aside
  3. Again, bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat, add a little olive oil and cook for a minute or two each side. Set aside
  4. For the last time, bring a frying pan to a medium heat, add a little olive oil and cook the garlic for 30 seconds or a little more until lightly turning brown then add the broccolini to the pan for another minute.
  5. Serve the garlic and broccolini sprinkled with the fried pancetta and toasted almonds

Serves 2

Pea and Broccoli Soup

I’m loving this green soup recipe at the moment. It’s tasty, nutritious and thanks to the potato leaves you feeling nicely satiated.

I like to make it with my own homemade chicken broth but if you’re vegan you can easily substitute with vegetable stock.

Health benefits

Peas are little powerhouses of nutrition packed with vitamins and minerals and because they’re actually part of the legume family they’re a good source of dietary fibre, contain protein, lots of B vitamins and even omega 3 essential fatty acids. Research has linked the consumption of peas to lowering the risk of stomach cancer and type 2 diabetes. They also have high levels of antioxidants and strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Broccoli is considered to be a superfood by many. Just a single cup serve provides 245% RDI of vitamin K which plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health and 135% RDI of vitamin C (a concentrated antioxidant source) which helps boost the immune system, supports cardiovascular and eye health and helps protect the body against cancer and strokes. Broccoli has a strong positive impact on the body’s detoxification process and helps lower levels of bad cholesterol.

If using real chicken broth, you’ll get an extra dose of minerals, gelatin and overall immune boosting properties.


  • 2 good sized broccoli heads (around 450g or 1 lb)
  • 2 cups good quality frozen peas (around 250g or ½ lb)
  • 1 litre / 2.1 pints good quality chicken stock/broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 good sized potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Bring a large saucepan to a medium-high heat and fry the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent
  2. Add the stock and potato and bring to the boil then allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are nice and soft
  3. Add the broccoli and peas and cook for a further 5 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool then blend until smooth
  5. Season with salt and pepper

Serve topped with your favourite chopped herbs and some natural yoghurt if you feel like something a little creamy

Serves 4

Red cabbage, goat’s cheese, walnut & sultana salad

red-cabbage-saladThis salad is extremely quick and easy to make, packed with nutrition and is particularly good for the stomach and digestive tract.

Cabbage contains sinigrin which has been linked to helping the body fight cancer, in particular bladder, colon and prostate cancer. It is high in fibre, has unique cholesterol lowering properties and is wonderful for the stomach and digestive tract (cabbage juice is often used as a tonic to help heal stomach ulcers). Red cabbage contains higher phytonutrient quantities than other cabbage varieties and up to 6-8 times more antioxidants.

Raw apple cider vinegar is a wonderful health tonic. It has been proven to help lower blood sugar levels which is particularly beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. Raw apple cider vinegar is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, has an alkalising effect on the body and is a marvelous digestive tonic that can help alleviate reflux, bloating and indigestion.

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and contain a form of vitamin E that is said to help protect the body against cardiovascular disease. They are also rich in copper and manganese.


  • Quarter of a red cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 100g/3.5 oz goat’s cheese or fetta
  • 70g/2.5oz walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 70g/2.5oz sultanas/raisins


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Make the dressing by placing the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and shaking well
  2. Place the cabbage in a salad bowl and gradually add the dressing until it gently coats all the cabbage – don’t overdo it (you may not need all the salad dressing)
  3. If you have time, allow to sit for 10 minutes then add the walnuts, sultanas/raisins and crumble the cheese through

Serves 4


Fish tacos

fish-tacosAs a student living in Mexico back in 1999, I recall how delicious the fresh salsas were and how they could transform the simplest dish.

This recipe is adapted from one made by my host mother. Rather than serving it with heavy fried food it works beautifully with soft corn tortillas, thick Greek yoghurt and a nice light white fish.

Health benefits

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a pigment that gives them their vibrant red colour. Lycopene is rich in antioxidants, supports good heart health, has been credited for fighting against a range of cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer, is beneficial for those suffering asthma and has been linked to stroke prevention.

Capsicum/bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (most highly concentrated in the red variety). They have been linked to helping reduce bad cholesterol, manage diabetes and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been credited for their cancer fighting properties.

Garlic and onions are great for the immune system, limes are wonderfully alkalising and good for digestion and chillies are said to help fight infection and also reduce inflammation.

White fish provides the body with good quality lean protein while avocado compliments by providing a good dose of healthy fats. Spread some good quality thick greek yoghurt on your tortillas and you’ll also give your body a serve of nourishing probiotics.


  • 4 skinless, boneless firm white fish fillets such as sea bass, flathead or other similar fish of your choice – approx 800g / 1.75 lb
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Large handful coriander/cilantro leaves around 15g / 5oz
  • 1 cup good quality natural greek yoghurt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum/(bell) pepper -I prefer to use yellow or green but red will work fine too
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium sized red chilli, seeds removed
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic/ 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 50g/1.75 oz pitted black olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the Salsa

  1. If using a food processor, add the onion, garlic and chilli until finely chopped then add the tomatoes for a few seconds until they’re reduced to small chunks but ideally not completely smooth. Remove and drain using a sieve until the excess moisture is removed. Alternatively you can finely chop all the ingredients by hand, again drain using a sieve to remove excess liquid.
  2. Chop the avocado into small chunks and add to the mixture
  3. Stir in the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cumin and season with salt and pepper
  4. Chop two thirds of the coriander/cilatro leaves (approx 10g or a third of an ounce) and mix through

The Fish & Corn Tortillas

  1. Heat the BBQ to a medium to high heat. If you prefer you can cook the fish in a frying pan and the tortillas in a char grill pan or according to packet instructions.
  2. Sprinkle each of the fish fillets with a little cumin, season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil
  3. Brush the tortillas with on each side with the remaining olive oil
  4. Cook the fish on the BBQ or in the frying pan for a couple of minutes each side and the tortillas on the BBQ or char grill pan for around a minute each side or until they just start to turn brown

To Serve

Enjoy the tortillas spread with plenty of natural Greek yoghurt, stuffed with the fish and salsa and topped with black olives and the remaining coriander/cilantro leaves.

For those on a paleo/low carb dinner, simply omit the tortillas.

Vary the salsa by adding fresh corn (from a single corn cob) or add extra chilli if you like things hot

Serves 4


Sauteed brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower and pine nuts

It wasn’t until recently that I fell in love with brussel sprouts. The bland vegetable that I loathed as a child has been revolutionised, appearing in delicious forms in modern cuisine.

A member of the cruciferous vegetable family (think broccoli, cauliflower, kale etc), brussel sprouts are extremely high in vitamins K and C and are a good source of minerals and antioxidants. Brussel sprouts have been credited for their ability to lower bad cholesterol and protect white blood cells within the body against DNA damage.

Cauliflower is nutrient dense vegetable and like brussel sprouts contains a compound called sulforaphane which has been linked to helping promote digestive health and is also used for the prevention of prostate cancer.

Green beans are high in antioxidants and support cardiovascular health. Like brussel sprouts and cauliflower, green beans have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body that helps fight against cancer.

I like to make this recipe with ghee which has a high smoke point and is revered in ayurvedic medicine for aiding digestion and detoxifying, however it’s just as tasty made with butter. It can also be made with olive oil for those who prefer to avoid dairy.


  • 400g/14oz brussel sprouts
  • 300g/10.5oz cauliflower
  • 300g/10.5oz green beans
  • 3 schallots/baby spring onions
  • 50g/1.75oz pine nuts
  • 50g/1.75oz ghee/butter or 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of around half a small lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a frying pan to a medium high heat and toast the pinenuts for a couple of minutes, tossing regularly until browned. Remove from heat and set aside
  2. Steam the green beans for a couple of minutes, ensuring they remain crunchy. Set aside
  3. Grate the brussel sprouts in a food processor, or by hand or alternatively they can be finely chopped
  4. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, not more than an inch in size
  5. Finely chop the shallots
  6. Bring a frying pan to a medium heat and add the ghee/butter or olive oil then fry the cauliflower for around a minute, then add the brussel sprouts and shallots and fry for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are starting to turn golden brown then add the beans and stir through until warm
  7. Stir through the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
  8. Remove from heat, sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve immediately

Serves 4 as a side

Pear, parsley, lime and ginger green smoothie


This smoothie is one of my favourite hangover tonics. The ginger helps alleviate nausea and is wonderful for the digestive system, stimulating saliva and digestive enzymes.

Green leafy vegetables (including parsley) are rich in vitamins and minerals. Kale is claimed to be one of healthiest foods on the planet and is extremely high in vitamin K (a one cup serving of raw kale gives more than 600% RDI of vitamin K!). It’s also extremely high in beta carotene which the body turns into vitamin A. Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants and have an anti inflammatory on the body. There has been a great deal of research in modern times into the cancer fighting effects these types of foods have on the body.

Cucumber has an extremely high water content so is great for hydration, and is wonderfully alkalising so perfect on a hangover when your body will likely be acidic. Much modern literature points to the benefits of consuming a diet of ~60% alkalising foods (or more) from the reduction of yeast and fungus in the body to helping fight cancer.

Lemons and limes are also alkalising, rich in vitamin C and contain folate which plays a role in the body helping repair DNA damage.

My partner and I enjoy this smoothie on regular basis but it’s a real winner on a hangover!


  • Approx 170g/6 oz dark green leafy vegetables (I use a mixture of kale, baby spinach, asian greens. Basically whatever I have on hand.)
  • 15g or ½ oz ginger
  • Generous handful parsley (around 15g or ½ oz)
  • 1 x medium sized lebanese cucumber or around a third of a telegraph cucumber (around 150g or 5.25 oz)
  • 1 x small lime or half a lemon
  • 300ml coconut water
  • 250ml water
  • half a cup of ice (or more if you like it really cold)


Add all the ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 2


Zucchini noodles with basil pesto

This is a super light and tasty dish that works beautifully topped with your favourite protein and smashed avocado for a good serve of healthy fats.

Zucchinis. known as courgettes in the UK, are wonderfully alkalising vegetables rich in antioxidants. They are beneficial for eye health and contain a special type of pectin which has been linked to helping the body regulate insulin and protect against diabetes. They’re also very low in calories so perfect for those trying to lose weight or on a low-carb diet.

Like many other green leafy vegetables, basil is rich in vitamin K which plays an important role in the body helping blood clot, building healthy bones and providing support for the cardiovascular system. Basil contains flavonoids that help protect the body’s white blood cells against DNA damage and have antibacterial qualities that help protect against unwanted bacterial growth. Basil oil has anti-inflammatory qualities that may be beneficial for those with arthritis.

Basil pesto

  • 2 cups basil approx 50g
  • 50g / 1.75oz parmesan
  • 50 / 1.75oz pine nuts
  • 1 large clove of garlic/1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or 4-5 tablespoons if you like a runnier pesto that will keep a little longer in the fridge)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Place the ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth. You will end up with the consistency of a thick paste. To thin I add water when cooking but prefer not to add it when making the pesto as it doesn’t tend to keep as long. Alternatively you can add a tablespoon or two extra of olive oil when blending and this will result in a runnier, more traditional style pesto and will also help it keep longer in the fridge.

Zucchini noodles

  • 6 medium to large zucchinis / courgettes (approx 600g / 21oz)
  • 18 cherry tomatoes
  • 30g /1oz pine nuts
  • OPTIONAL: half a ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 5 minutes
  2. Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes until soft
  3. Heat a pan to a medium heat and dry cook the pine nuts for a minute or two, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Create your zucchini noodles using either a food processor, mandolin slicer or if you don’t have one you can use a good old fashioned cheese grater (obviously this won’t be as pretty but the effect will be the same)
  5. If you have time and you wish to drain out the excess liquid from the zucchinis, place them in a food colander, sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so then rinse thoroughly and pat dry (I’m happy with a little extra liquid in my noodles so don’t worry about this step)
  6. If using avocado, mash it with a fork (and if you have a little fresh lemon, sprinkle a tiny bit of juice over the top to keep it nice and green)
  7. Heat a saucepan to a medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the zucchini for a minute until lightly warmed through then set aside
  8. Place 3 generous tablespoons of pesto in the pan. If you used 3 tablespoons of olive oil when making the pesto you will need to add approx 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. If you made the pesto with extra olive oil, you won’t need the water. Allow to heat and if using pesto and water stir with a wooden spool until mixed to a thin paste
  9. Return the zucchini to the pan with the pesto for a short time (less than a minute) until the pesto is mixed through the zucchini
  10. Top with the roasted baby tomatoes, pine nuts and smashed avocado (if using avocado)
  11. Serve with your favourite protein (I like poached chicken – if you’re vegetarian chickpeas work well)

Serves 2


Radish salad with avocado, mango & walnuts

This is a lovely salad to make in late summer, when mangoes, radishes and avocado are all in season.


  • 6 small round red radishes (or use any type of good eating radish that is available locally and in season)
  • Half a medium to large sized mango (or a whole small mango)
  • Half a medium to large sized avocado
  • 110g/3.5oz mixed leaves/ 4 tightly cupped packs
  • 30g/1oz walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • Dressing

    • Fresh juice of one lemon – should equate to roughly 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
    • Equal parts olive oil (I choose cold pressed) – again, should equate to roughly 3 tablespoons depending on how juicy your lemon is
    • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard


    • Make the dressing by adding the ingredients to a small glass jar with a lid. Shake well and set aside
    • Place the washed lettuce leaves in a large salad bowl
    • Wash the radish and slice using a vegetable peeler so that you get lovely thin slices
    • Cut the mango and avocado into small chunks and add to the salad bowl
    • Pour roughly 2 tablespoons of dressing over the salad – this should be plenty but if not add a little extra (the rest will keep in the fridge for several days – I keep mine for a week and it’s always fine)
    • Serve sprinkled with the chopped walnuts

    Enjoy with your favourite protein (poached chicken works well).

    Serves 2 – 4

    Makes 2 large salads or 4 smaller side salads

    Health benefits

    Revered by the Chinese for their health promoting properties, radishes are great for the stomach and liver and have wonderful detoxification properties. They’re rich in vitamin C and contain the flavonoid anthocyanins, which has been credited for its anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. Some research studies suggest that radishes are also good for cardiovascular health.

    Avocados are extremely rich in monounsaturated fats including oleic acid  which is said to enhance memory and brain activity and improve healthy cholesterol levels. Healthy fats play a vital role in helping the body absorb vitamin D.

    Mangoes are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and their delicious sweet flavour provides a pefect compliment to the radish in this salad.

    Walnuts are rich are extremely rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which promotes heart health and good cholesterol, they’re rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamin E.