Paleo honey nut bars

These paleo honey nut bars make a delicious sweet treat that the whole family will love. They’re loaded with nutrition, provide a good source of protein for vegans and vegetarians and are a great way to incorporate a variety of nuts and seeds into the diets of children and teenagers. Scroll down to read more about the health benefits of the various ingredients.


  • 2 cups nuts – I use 1 x cup raw/activated almonds, half a cup of raw cashews and half a cup of raw/activated walnuts but you can use whatever you have available or like best
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • Half a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Quarter of a cup of honey/1 third of rice malt syrup if vegan (noting that honey tastes best in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/butter plus a little extra for greasing (or other oil of your choice, noting that coconut oil or butter work best)

Optional additions:

  • 2 dates, finely chopped OR
  • 12 dried sour cherries, cut into quarters OR
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit of your choice OR
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line an oven proof baking tin (i don’t have one at the moment so use a small lasagne dish) with greaseproof paper and grease the paper with a little coconut oil (or any other oil will work)
  3. Roughly chop the nuts or place in a food processor with the shredded coconut and blend for around 10 seconds, ensuring that the nuts retain a nice chunky consistency
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add the sesame and pumpkin seeds plus the dried fruit/cacao nibs if including them
  5. Place the honey/rice malt syrup and coconut oil/butter (or other oil if you’re using something different) in a small saucepan and heat over a very low heat until mixed and runny
  6. Pour the sweet mixture over the nut and seed mixture and stir through well
  7. Transfer to the oven proof baking dish that you prepared earlier
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes
  10. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool for at least half an hour before slicing

Serves 12-18

I make 18 small honey nut bars from this recipe but you could opt for a smaller number of larger bars

Health benefits

Almonds are a superfood in themselves. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, regular consumption of almonds helps the body fight heart disease. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats which have been credited in numerous studies for helping reduce the risk of heart disease and have been linked to helping the body fight LDL (bad) cholesterol. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, particularly when consumed whole (with the brown coating in tact). They’re also a good source of magnesium and potassium.

Like almonds, walnuts are a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, however they are higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. A single serve (30g or a quarter cup) contains 113% of the recommended daily intake of Omega 3. Much research into walnuts has been around they’re positive effect on the body’s cardiovascular system – like almonds they’re also more nutritious when eaten with their skins in tact.

Sesame seeds and cashews are both excellent sources of copper, which the body uses to fight free radicals. Copper has been credited for reducing some of the pain and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Pumpkin seeds/pepitas are high in minerals, particularly manganese, phosphorous and copper and zinc.

While I try very hard to limit the amount of sugar in my diet, I use raw honey in this recipe as it adds a wonderful flavour and helps bind everything together. Honey has antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant qualities, and the consumption of raw honey made locally is said to help those suffering from seasonal allergies, due to repeated exposure of local pollens.

Moroccan Fish with Preserved Lemon and Dukkah

I’m loving Moroccan flavours with fish at the moment, they transform a light and healthy meal into a dish with the most amazing flavour.

Preserved lemons are used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, made by rubbing the rinds of whole lemons with salt and leaving them to pickle in brine, lemon juice and spices for at least several weeks (often a lot longer).

I recently ran out of my own home made preserved lemons so bought some handmade ones from a good providore. They weren’t cheap but tasted excellent so were definitely worth the investment, plus you really don’t need to use a great deal to transform the flavour of any dish. Try to avoid buying mass produced preserved lemons from the supermarket as they just won’t taste the same.

Dukkah is also used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes and is made by grinding a variety nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds with sesame, cumin and coriander seeds. I’ll be posting a Dukkah recipe shortly but if you don’t have time to make your own, there are plenty of good options available from quality health food stores. I’ve tried the About Life dukkah made here in Sydney and it’s excellent.


  • 2 x fillets of your favourite white fish approx 180-200g / 6.5-7 oz
  • 1 x fresh lemon
  • Roughly a quarter or 2 tablespoons of preserved lemon
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • A large sheet of aluminium foil roughly 40cm/6 inches


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay out 2 squares of aluminium foil roughly 20cm / 8 inch each side
  3. Slice the fresh lemon into thin slices and place half on each of the foil squares to create a bed for each of the fish fillets
  4. Place the fish on top of the lemon beds and fold the foil back on itself to create a parcel for each of the fillets
  5. Roast for approximately 15 – 20 minutes (this works for fillets approximately 2.5cm /1 inch thick so adjust according to the thickness of your fillets and how well you like your fish cooked)
  6. Remove from the oven and test to ensure the fish is cooked to your liking. If not return to the oven for a couple of minutes
  7. Once cooked, remove the fish and lemon from the foil and place on two plates, drizzling any excess lemon juice from the foil parcels over the fish
  8. Chop the preserved lemon into small pieces and arrange over the fish then sprinkle with the dukkah and serve

Serves 2

This dish goes beautifully with my rocket and cauliflower cous cous salad.

Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes


This recipe comes courtesy of my aunt who is gluten, dairy and processed sugar free. It’s her favourite breakfast of the moment topped some seasonal fruit and is even popular with her husband and teenage kids – who like them drizzled with maple syrup.

Buckwheat is a wonderful grain substitute with a whole host of health promoting properties. It’s relatively high in protein and contains all eight essential amino acids making it a good option for vegetarians.

Evidence suggests that regular consumption of buckwheat can help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol (precursors to heart disease), thanks to the presence of a number of powerful flavonoids including rutin.

Regular consumption of buckwheat has also been linked to the reduction of type 2 diabetes according to an extensive Canadian research study published in 2003.

Raw cacao is one of the most nutrient rich foods on earth with the highest antioxidant concentration of any food in nature (thanks also to its high flavonoid content). Coconut flour is high in fibre and cinnamon provides both a subtle flavour enhancement and has also been linked to lowering blood sugar in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


  • Half a cup / 70g / 2.5 oz  buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • Stevia (equivalent to 2 teaspoons of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 4 teaspoons coconut oil or other oil for greasing


  1. Sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  2. Stir in the almond milk until completely mixed
  3. Beat in the egg until the batter is smooth
  4. Heat a small frying pan to a medium-high heat
  5. Add add a teaspoon of coconut oil to grease the frying pan
  6. Pour in a quarter of the batter
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the top starts to bubble and the bottom is sufficiently cooked that you can flip the pancake
  8. Cook the second side for approximately 3 minutes
  9. Remove from the pan and repeat the process for the remaining 3 pancakes
  10. Serve with fresh banana and berries, other seasonal fruit or your favourite topping

Serve 2

Makes 4 medium sized pancakes – 2 each

BBQ Steak with BBQ Vegetable Salad

What better than steak on the BBQ in summer?  Steak with BBQ vegetables of course!

I love this dish as it’s another one that’s quick and easy to make with very little prep time and a relatively short cooking time.

For cooking steak on the BBQ opt for a good quality premium cut – I choose eye fillet, known in the UK as fillet steak and in the US as beef tenderloin. Always choose grass fed and grass finished beef, it tastes better and is much better for the animal and better for the planet.

Beef steak is an excellent source of protein and is high in B12, zinc and iron and the iron is steak is highly absorbable by the body.

BBQ with your favourite vegetables – here I’ve suggested capsicum (belle pepper) and eggplant (aubergine) but zucchini (courgettes) work really well too, as does broccolini drizzled with some chilli oil.


  • 2 x eye fillet steak fillets – approx 150g – 200g / 5.5oz – 7oz each (these instructions are for fillets around 3cm or 1 ¼ inch thick)
  • 1 medium sized eggplant/augergine
  • 1 red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 yellow capsicum/belle pepper
  • 80g / 3 oz rocket/arugula
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons good quality balsamic
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Heat the BBQ to a high heat (for most BBQs you’ll need to allow at least 5 minutes to heat)
  2. Slice the eggplant/aubergine into slices approx 1.5cm or just over half an inch thick and drizzle with a little oil
  3. Cut the capsicum/belle pepper into chucks approx 2cm or ¾ of an inch thick and also drizzle with a little oil
  4. Place on the BBQ – the eggplant will need to cook for approx 10 minutes each side until golden brown. The capsicum will need to cook turning several times for about 12-15 minutes until lightly charred but not too black
  5. Season the steak on both sides and drizzle with a little olive oil olive oil (it should be lightly covered in oil all over)
  6. Place the steak on the BBQ and cook for approx 3 minutes each side then turn and cook for an additional 1.5 minutes each side for a medium-rare steak or an additional or 2-3 minutes each side if you prefer it more cooked.
  7. Remove the steak from the BBQ, cover in foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  8. When the vegetables are done, remove from the BBQ
  9. Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and place in a large salad bowl with the rocket/arugala
  10. Mix through half the capsicum/belle peppers and eggplant/aubergine (place the other half in the fridge, it will keep for several days and make a delicious marinated-style vegetable addition to your salads)
  11. Mix 1.5 tablespoons olive oil and 1.5 tablespoons balsamic, drizzle over the salad and mix through well
  12. Serve with the BBQ steak


Serves 2

Baked blue eye fillet with baby tomatoes and olives

baked-blue-eye-tomato-olivesThis dish has to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy fish. I make it with blue eye trevalla – a fish that’s widely available in the Southern Hemisphere, with a firm white flesh and a delicious mild flavour. However the recipe will work with pretty much any good-eating white fish so is adaptable for whatever’s available locally.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene – a phytonutrient that’s rich in antioxidants. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a study by Cornell University in the US in 2002 found that cooking tomatoes increases the body’s ability to absorb lycopene and also increases total antioxidant activity. In fact, the study found that amongst the different cooking times tested, the longest cooking times rendered the highest increases in lycopene and total antioxidant levels – great in this dish where the tomatoes are roasted for around 45 minutes.

If you’re not keen on olives, you can leave them out. The tomatoes and white wine will add enough flavour during cooking process as will garnishing with fresh parsley leaves prior to serving. Personally however, I find the olives add a delicious, intense flavour boost to the dish.


  • 1 x 400g – 500g / 14 -18 oz fillet of blue eye (or any other firm white fish) – or two smaller fillets
  • 150g /5 1/4 oz mixed baby tomatoes (I choose cherry tomatoes, baby roma and yellow tomatoes)
  • 12-18 pitted black olives (depending on size and how much you like olives)
  • 5 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to season


  1. Choose an overproof dish that your fish will fit snuggly into – I choose a smallish lasagna dish
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit – allow to heat for 10 minutes
  3. Season your fish fillet and place it into the dish
  4. Arrange the tomatoes and olives over the fish and around the dish
  5. Mix the white wine and olive oil and drizzle over the fish and tomatoes
  6. Tear the parsley leaves from the stalks and place the stalks around the dish
  7. Cover  the dish with foil, place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the fish is cooked through
  8. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
  9. Leave the fish to rest and return the tomatoes to the oven. Roast for an extra 10 minutes
  10. Chop the parsley leaves (not too fine – quarters to eighths should be sufficient)
  11. Divide the fish between 2 plates, drizzle with the juices from the dish and cover with the tomatoes
  12. Top with the chopped parsley

This dish is delicious served with a green salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette

Serves 2


Roast vegetable ratatouille

Roast-vegetable-ratatouilleThis is my take on the classic French Provencal vegetable stew. I love to make it a night or two ahead so that the flavours blend beautifully and I have a light and healthy vegetable dish ready for an easy after-work meal. It’s highly versatile and is suitable for those on a paleo diet, people looking to limit their calorie or starchy carbohydrate intake and vegans.

Traditionally, the vegetables are pan friend however I prefer to roast them with some garlic. This adds a delicious caramelised flavour to the dish which I balance by adding a generous serve of black olives. If you’re not a fan of olives, simply leave them out, the dish is delicious without them too.

I always have fresh basil on hand but if you have fresh thyme available throw in a handful of chopped leaves when you add the roast vegetables to the crushed tomatoes.


  • 2 medium sized red capsicum (or one red and one yellow)
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 2 small to medium zucchinis
  • 1 medium to large sized onion (I like Spanish but brown works too)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 x tin 400g tin/14 fl oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Large handful of fresh basil leaves to serve
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 18 black olives, pitted


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Peel the garlic cloves
  3. Chop up the rest of the vegetables into medium sized chunks
  4. Drizzle the chopped vegetables and garlic cloves with the olive oil
  5. Place on a baking tray and cook for in the oven for 50 minutes
  6. Remove and add to a large saucepan with the crushed tomatoes and optionally the black olives (if using them)
  7. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the flavours have merged well

Delicious served with cous cous (great for vegans), some baked white fish or with your favourite protein.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)


Tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with eggplant and poached chicken


In my opinion, buffalo mozzarella is one of the most delicious foods on earth – particularly when served with fresh ripe tomatoes and basil. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that milk and milk products from the domestic buffalo are easier on the digestive system that cow’s milk and cheese. Buffalo milk (and cheese) is also thought to help those with eczema and psoriasis and be beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome.

Rocket (known in the US as arugala) is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable (think broccoli, cauliflower and kale) and is high in vitamins K and A and provides a bitter flavour that is complimented wonderfully by the balsamic dressing.

For extra protein, I like to mix through some poached chicken breast which on its own can be bland but in this dish provides a good textural balance and a light flavour that doesn’t overpower the rest of the dish.


  • 1 large chicken breast (choose organic or free range)
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella (approximately 125g)
  • 100g rocket (you can substitute with mixed salad leaves)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced horizontally so that the pieces are about 1.5cm or half an inch thick
  • half an avocado
  • half a dozen basil leaves
  • 4 medium sized button mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic
  • 3 generous tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil


  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt and pepper
  2. Add the chicken breast and ensure that it’s completely covered by the water, then cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer
  3. Allow to cook for 15 minutes and check to make sure the chicken is cooked through. If not cook for a few minutes more ensuring not to overcook (otherwise it will become rubbery). Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  4. Meanwhile, bring a char grill pan to a medium high heat and while it’s heating brush the eggplant with ~2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place in the pan and cook for approximately 7 minutes each side until nicely charred then remove from the heat and set aside
  5. Place the remaining olive oil and balsamic in a small glass jar with a lid and mix well
  6. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and tear the basil leaves so that there’s enough to place on each of the tomatoes. Add to a salad bowl and combine with the salad leaves, avocado and mushrooms if you’re using them, then mix through half to 2 thirds of the dressing as required
  7. Divide into 2 bowls and place half the eggplant on top of each
  8. Tear the buffalo mozzarella and divide evenly between the two bowls
  9. Once the chicken has cooked down slice it and place half on each of the salads then drizzle with the remaining dressing

Serves 2

Cauliflower cous cous salad with rocket and goat’s cheese

This salad is another mid week star. It’s delicious, quick and easy to make and loaded with nutrition plus it’s wonderful for the digestive system thanks to the cumin seeds and fresh mint leaves.

I’ve written lots of posts on this blog about the health benefits of cauliflower. It’s a cruciferous vegetable that’s high in vitamin C, rich in antioxidants and has been credited for its cancer fighting properties.

Rocket/arugula is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable that contains some of the common compounds that give cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste. It’s thought that these compounds (glucosinolates) may be key to their cancer fighting properties. Rocket also contains high nitrate levels which are thought to help lower blood pressure.

Add this dish to your repertoire of recipes to help support your body in obtaining nutrients from a wide range of unprocessed foods.


  • Half a small to medium cauliflower
  • Half a medium sized onion (choose brown or red), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 100g/3.5 oz rocket/arugala
  • Good handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Good handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 60g/2oz good quality goat’s cheese
  • Palmful of tamari almonds (around 30g or 1oz) – roughly chopped
  • OPTIONAL: palmful of dried currants (around 30g or 1oz)


  1. Trim the cauliflower florets from the stem and place in a food processor. Whizz until the cauliflower resembles the consistency of cous cous
  2. Heat a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add the olive oil then fry the onion and cumin seeds until translucent
  3. Add the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and fry for around 5 minutes until the cauliflower is tender (taste it – it should taste lightly cooked). Add a little water if the pan starts to get dry
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl, allowing to cool slightly
  5. Add the rocket, mint and coriander to the cauliflower mixture and dress with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice
  6. Crumble the goat’s cheese and mix through – if using currants add them at this time also
  7. Sprinkle with the choped tamari almonds and serve

Delicious topped with poached chicken or served with white fish

Serves 2

Paleo friendly strawberry and coconut muffins

I’ve been playing around with paleo muffin recipes trying to find something that tastes good but is relatively low in sugar.

Rice malt syrup (also known as rice syrup and brown rice syrup) has become popular in Australia over the last few years thanks to the I Quit Sugar program.

According to the Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar for Life, rice malt syrup is “a relatively slow-releasing sweetener so it doesn’t dump on the liver as much as pure glucose”.

The challenge when cooking with rice malt syrup is that it’s not as sweet as regular sweeteners so does take a little adjusting to if you’re just starting out on the path of sugar reduction. In this recipe, I’ve given the option to substitute with a little honey if you prefer or are strictly paleo.

In place of regular flour I use almond meal which is delicious but can be a little heavy so to balance this and make the texture of the muffins as light as possible, I whisk the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. Be sure not to skip this step.


  • 3 eggs
  • 220g/7.75 oz/2 cups almond meal
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz rice malt syrup (if you prefer a little sweeter, substitute 2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup with 2 tablespoons of honey) OR for strictly paleo use half a cup of honey instead of the rice malt syrup
  • 125 ml/4.25 fl oz/half a cup of coconut oil
  • 60g/2oz/half cup shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (or I use substitute with half a teaspoon of bicarb of soda and quarter of a teaspoon of cream of tartar)
  • Couple of drops of natural vanilla essence
  • 12-16 strawberries (depending on the size)


  1. If the coconut oil is solid, place the container over a pot of hot water until the oil becomes runny
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius/340 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Trim the tops from the strawberries and cut into quarters (or more if using large strawberries)
  4. Separate the eggs and place into two separate bowls
  5. Add the rice malt syrup to the egg yolks and beat for 2 minutes at a high setting, then add the almond meal, baking powder (or substitute), cinnamon, shredded coconut, coconut oil and coconut cream and blend again until mixed well
  6. Stir through the strawberries
  7. Separate, whisk the egg whites for a couple of minutes until peaks start to form
  8. Gently fold the egg whites through the muffin batter mixture and pour into paper muffin cups (you’ll need about 12 large muffin cups)
  9. Bake for 35 minutes then test – if firm to the touch, insert a skewer and if it comes out dry remove from the oven. Otherwise bake for an additional 5 minutes or so until cooked through.

Makes 12 large muffins – suitable for freezing

Sesame crusted tuna salad with tamarind dressing

This tuna salad is another one of my mid week staples.

It’s light, tasty and can be made in around 15 minutes so is perfect as a healthy after-work meal when you have little time or energy to cook.

Fresh tuna is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids which promotes heart health and is particularly beneficial for those with high blood pressure. It’s an excellent source of high quality protein and contains selenium – an essential mineral that plays an important role in supporting the body’s immune system. Sesame seeds are loaded with minerals and also contain a good amount of selenium, making this a great dish to help the body maintain optimal health.

I’ve paired it here with a light salad and tamarind dressing but it also works well with a garden salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.


  • 2 medium sized fresh tuna steak
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 cups mixed lettuce
  • 1/2 avocado
  • generous handful of coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • generous handful of cashews

Tamarind dressing

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (should be about the juice of one lime)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind puree


  1. Make the salad dressing by adding the ingredients to a small glass jar with a lid and shaking well
  2. Place the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and keep the cashews set aside
  3. Mix the sesame seeds on a plate and season with a little salt and pepper then coat the tuna steaks with the mixture
  4. Bring a heavy based stainless steel frying pan to a high heat and add the olive oil
  5. Fry the tuna steaks for a couple of minutes each side so that they are seared. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, cook for around double the time but keep an eye on the fish as cooking time will depend on the thickness of the tuna steak and you don’t want to over-cook
  6. While the tuna is cooking, pour the dressing over the salad (you may not need the whole lot so be careful not to overdo it) then split between two bowls and sprinkle the cashews over the top
  7. Once the tuna steaks are cooked to your liking serve immediately

Serves 2

Note: as tuna is a large fish, it’s generally recommended to not consumer more than two serves a week due to the potential risk of mercury contamination.