These are lovely little naturally sweetened treats to produce for dessert or when the kids get home from school. They're very easy to make and take next to no time but do need to be eaten straight away otherwise the bread loses its scrunch.

Ingredients

1 green apple

50 grams walnuts, finely chopped and dry roasted

¼ tsp cinnamon

1½ tbsp honey

3 pieces barley mountain bread

1 tbsp apple juice concentrate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Remove the core from the apple and cut the apple into small cubes (approx ½ cm). 
Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the apple to prevent discolouring.

Combine the cinnamon, walnuts and honey into the apples. 
Cut the mountain bread into quarters. Brush each piece with a little apple concentrate. 
Brush the bottom and sides of a muffin tray with olive oil and press a piece of mountain bread into each divide. Line the bottom with another small piece of mountain bread to make the base stronger. 
Fill each cup with the apple and walnut mix and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Note: Apple concentrate is available from health food stores or some supermarkets.

Makes 6 servings (serve = 1 cup)

A healthier version of the classic Anzac biscuit, but this doesn't mean they can be eaten by the barrow load. They are still high in energy so enjoy them in moderation.

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup wholemeal spelt flour

pinch sea salt

¼ cup sunflower oil

3 tbsp rice syrup

1 tbsp boiling water

1 tsp low allergy baking powder

Method

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Add the oats into a mixing bowl with the flour and the salt. In a small pan heat the oil and rice syrup together. In a separate small bowl, add the boiling water to the baking powder and stir. Add it to the oil and syrup and stir continually while it fizzes up and the liquids combine. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and combine until it forms a ball.

Roll the biscuit mixture using a rolling pin or a floured bowl (or rolling sheet). Cut the biscuits using a biscuit cutter. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Tip: Dampen your rolling pin and cutter to make the biscuit mix less sticky and easier to manage.

Makes 12 servings

This dip can be served with so many dishes including roast lamb, lentil patties, and pitta bread. The dill, a good antioxidant is an alternative to mint, and compliments chickpea balls (see recipe list) beautifully.

Ingredients

300 grams sheep's yoghurt

1 medium cucumber

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

black pepper

1½ tbsp white wine vinegar

¼ cup dill, chopped

Method

Grate the cucumber and squeeze the liquid from it. Combine with the other ingredients and refrigerate before serving.

Note: Traditionally a thick Greek yoghurt is used in tzatziki. Sheep's yoghurt is also thick but may be tolerated better by those with a mild dairy sensitivity.

Makes 6 servings

When most drinks parties are handing out high fat dips made with cream cheese and sour cream - all which help to increase cholesterol levels - you can pass around cholesterol lowering chickpea balls. They're high in fibre, low in fat, and fill and sustain hunger better than most cocktail food.

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas

2 tsp low allergy baking powder

2 medium onions, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin powder

½ tsp chilli powder

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 free range eggs

¼ cup besan flour

salt and pepper

3 tbsp oleic safflower oil

Method

Soak the chickpeas in water and baking powder for 12 hours.

Drain chicpeas and thoroughly rinse and place in a processor to puree. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chilli, parsley, egg, flour and seasoning. 
Shape the mixture into small balls. 
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Heat a non stick pan with 1 tbs safflower oil and fry evenly in batches (approx 10 at a time).
Drain any excess oil but setting them down on absorbent kitchen paper. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm while you repeat the process and cook all the balls.

Serve with tzatziki dip and parsley sauce (see recipe list).

Note: Oleic safflower oil is specially developed stable oil suitable for cooking at high temperatures. It has a light taste and won't affect the flavour of the food. Available from health food stores.

Makes 30 servings (serve = 1 ball)

Nuts exposed to heat can go rancid quickly so it's always better to roast them from raw just before eating. The extra benefit is they taste so much more delicious. If you're watching your weight. remember- despite the many health benefits of nuts, they are still high in fat so exercise moderation!

Ingredients

1 cup mixed raw nuts, (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts are good)

½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 pinch dried chilli flakes

Method

Over a medium heat, add the ingredients to a heavy based fry pan and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the nuts brown slightly and you smell a delicious toasting aroma. Transfer to a dish and set aside to cool.

Makes 6 servings

Here's a variation on hummus - the natural oils in avocado gives the dip a lovely creamy rich consistency. Like hummus it's high in energy and monounsaturated fat and while it has numerous health benefits, if you're watching your weight, enjoy it in moderation.

Ingredients

1 400g can chickpeas, drained

1 avocado

1 tsp ground cumin

1 lemon juiced

2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Serve with crudités, crispy mountain bread or grainy sourdough with the beetroot and apple winter salad.

Note: Avocado and chickpeas are both excellent foods to help lower cholesterol.

Makes 6 servings

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Deborah Harrison
Health & Lifestyle Educator
Phone: 0422 130 731

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