These sensational Sweet Crispy Chicken Wings are such a simple, tasty and budget friendly meal. My family go crazy for these and I often whip them up when a group of teens descend on me and are staaaarvving! These are also pretty fool-proof as you are not frying them- it’s a super easy method of…
With the warmer weather ahead of us, I thought it time to spring into summer with a fresh, delicious meal or snack. My family LOVES fresh rice paper rolls. We fill them with all kinds of things (including leftovers), but this is our go-to often. I think fresh herbs are really what makes rice paper rolls delicious – they add so much flavour so I never make them without some kind of herb inside.
I am so grateful for my little herb wall garden it helps to ensure I always have fresh, organic, in-season herbs and greens to flavour my meals and pack a healing, health supporting punch. I especially love that it’s not costing me a small fortune for a puny little bunch of nutritionally sub-standard, generally hydroponically grown herbs.
Remember to take a look at the variations (below the main recipe). Here, you’ll find suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your dietary goals.
Vegan Rice Paper Rolls
- 6 pieces rice paper (spring roll paper) I love the Spiral Organics Rice paper
- 100 g vermicelli rice noodles (approx.)
- 6 tsp sauerkraut or kim chi
- ½ red capsicum/s -sliced into 6 strips
- ½ avocado/s -sliced into 6 strips
- 6 lettuce leaves -small ones rolled up (or halve large ones)
- 6 sprigs fresh mint leaves (or Vietnamese mint)
- 6 sprigs fresh coriander or basil (regular or Thai basil)
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp water
- Pinch chill flakes -to taste
- Start by putting the noodles into a bowl and covering with boiling water whilst you prepare the other ingredients.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. If the sauce is too thick, you can always add a little more water, teaspoon by teaspoon.
- Prepare your vegetables on one plate so you can work quickly to assemble each roll. Drain the noodles once they have softened into a bowl.
- Wet a chopping board so it is damp. Take a sheet of rice paper and run it under luke warm water so both sides are wet. Lay it flat on the chopping board (it will continue to soften as it sits).
- Place the ingredients horizontally, across the middle of the rice paper. 1 tsp of the sauerkraut or kim chi, a slice of capsicum and avocado. A piece of rolled lettuce, a sprig of mint and coriander in each, followed by about ¼ cup noodles.
- Fold the top half of the rice paper down, then fold the sides in and roll towards you tucking the ingredients in to form a neat roll.
- You can also sprinkle with black sesame seeds to serve. Enjoy immediately with the dipping sauce.
- Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The rice paper rolls can be stored in an airtight container lined with baking paper and covered with a wet cloth. The paper does go a bit sticky with storage so they are best enjoyed fresh.
Add meatIf you’re not vegan, feel free to add in seafood or chicken or any leftover meat really.
Nut-freeReplace the peanut butter with tahini.
Soy-freeReplace the tamari with coconut or liquid aminos.
Sesame-freeLeave the black sesame seeds off.
More rice paper roll filling ideasClick here for lots more filling inspo.
I'd love to hear how you enjoy this fresh, light meal or snack. Post a comment below or rate this recipe.
This Vietnamese Meatball Soup recipe has become a bit of a staple this winter. Mainly because it’s delicious, easy and quick to make (and it can be customised to include what ever vegetables you have in your fridge). It’s also jam packed with immune supportive ingredients which is so handy at this time of the year.
My 14 year old daughter is a budding singer/ songwriter (you can hear her sing on Youtube, Instagram or Facebook) pages. I was talking to her the other day about her inspirations for the lyrics in her songs (which for her age are often very deep). She said she wrote lyrics based on stories or experiences she’s heard about or perhaps a feeling or emotion she’s felt. It got me thinking about how I come up with recipes and I discovered how similar our origins for creativity are. For me a recipe comes to pass based on flavours I’ve enjoyed (generally eating out or when travelling far away places) or based on what I feel like eating (often something my body craves).
In the case of this recipe it was a bit of both – I’ve traveled a lot of Asia (hubby and I backpacked South East Asia, India and Nepal for a year before kids) and I have memories of eating a soup like this in Vietnam. Also, through these colder months, my body has been craving the warming, immune supportive spices in this dish. Creativity comes in so many shapes and forms, for me cooking is one of my favourite creative releases.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary goals.
Vietnamese Meatball Soup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 cm ginger root -finely grated
- 3 clove/s garlic -finely grated or crushed
- 750 ml chicken stock or bone broth (3 cups)
- 400 ml canned coconut milk
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or rapadura
- 4 kaffir lime leaves -vein removed and thinly sliced
- 6-8 spring onion/s -white part sliced
- Vegetables (of choice to add to soup) (optional) sliced very small is best so they cook quickly. I generally add whatever I have at the time, often broccoli, carrot, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, and a handful of kale or baby spinach added right at the end.
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper -to taste
- ¼ bunch/s fresh coriander leaves -to serve
- Chilli flakes -to serve
- 1 cm ginger root -finely grated
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves -finely chopped
- 1 carrot/s -finely grated
- 500 g chicken mince
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Ground black pepper -to taste
- 1 lime/s (large) zest only (add juice to soup to finish)
- In a large pot, heat the coconut oil. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute until the garlic just starts softening.
- Now add the chicken broth, coconut milk, turmeric, fish sauce, coconut sugar, kaffir lime leaves and spring onion and bring to a rolling simmer.
- Whilst that's heating, make your meatballs by putting the ginger, coriander, grated carrot, chicken mince, coconut flour, sea salt, black pepper, lime zest, into a large bowl. Mix together until well combined and form into golf sized balls.
- When the soup comes to a rolling simmer, add the meatballs and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so until cooked through (the larger the meatballs the longer they will need).
- If you are adding vegetables, carefully remove the meatballs and divide between the serving bowls and add the vegetables to the soup to blanch them for a couple of minutes (take care not to over cook them). Divide the vegetables between the bowls.
- Lastly, add the lime juice to the soup, taste and add more seasoning if needed (salt and black pepper).
- Divide the soup between the bowls, garnish with the coriander and serve with chilli flakes.
- Start with the meatballs. If you are going to make your own chicken mince, do this first and set aside.
- Chop the ginger and coriander, 5 seconds, speed 8. Add the carrot 10 seconds, speed 8.
- Add the chicken mince, coconut flour, sea salt, black pepper, lime zest, mix 30 seconds, reverse speed 2 (you may need to scrape the sides during the mixing) - make sure it is well combined and form into golf sized balls. Set aside.
- Now start the soup. Mince the ginger and garlic, 5 seconds, speed 8.
- At this point I transfer it to a pot as the blades will break up the meatballs when cooking them. Continue from step 4 in the method above.
- Re-heat in a pot over a low heat until just hot.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Can also be frozen.
Garlic-freeOmit and replace with a pinch of chilli flakes.
Onion-freeOmit the spring onions.
Seafood-freeReplace the fish sauce with a teaspoon of sea salt.
Home made Chicken Bone BrothRecipe HERE
Different meatballYou can also sub the chicken for pork or turkey.
VegetarianSub the chicken broth for vegetable broth and the meatballs for cubes of firm organic tofu.
Add noodlesIf my tribe are extra hungry, I cook up brown rice noodles, strain and divide between bowls. Then just add the above to it when ready (it heats the noodles). .
I'd love to hear how you enjoy this delicious, nourishing meal - post a comment or help it to reach more people by rating the recipe.
This Asian Noodle Soup is dairy, gluten and grain free and one of the most nutritious and nourishing meals about. When the weather is hot and humid as it is at this time of year, I often crave a simple soup. Not a heavy chunky or blended soup but an Asian style spicy broth. As I like to make everything I feed my family as nourishing and tasty as possible, I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to do so. So here it is and as always, with lots of versions to suit your taste and dietary requirements.
Starting with bone broth, the most nourishing ‘super food’ and digestive tonic of all. For all you need to know about bone broth and how to make it click here. Next is one of my favourite ingredients – rehydrating and mineral rich coconut water! For why it is so very nutritious, click here. A good dose of protein and stacks of vegetables…what more could you ask for from a meal?
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary requirements.
Asian Noodle Soup - (supercharged gluten and grain free version)
- 400 ml chicken stock or bone broth -or chicken stock
- 330 ml coconut water
- 3 cm ginger root -peeled and finely sliced
- 2 clove/s garlic -peeled and finely sliced
- 1 red onion/s -peeled, halved and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 kaffir lime leaf (optional but recommended)
- 500 g chicken thigh or breast
- 2-3 cups vegetables (I've used sliced carrot, broccoli florets, shitake mushrooms, snow peas)
- 200 g noodles (of your choice) (I used a mix of zucchini noodles and a small pack of konjac noodles which are grain free and very much like a rice noodle, available in the health section of the supermarket or health food shops). You could also use rice noodles which are available in the Asian section of the supermarket.
- 1 lime/s -juice
- 1 red chilli/s -or chilli flakes, to taste
- ¼ bunch/s fresh Vietnamese mint leaves -or regular mint, coriander leaves and Thai basil are delicious (but optional)
- In a medium size pot, add the broth, ginger, garlic, red onion, kaffir lime leaf and fish sauce and bring to a slow simmer.
- Drop in your chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred or slice. Set aside.
- Now add your vegetables and simmer for a few minutes until they are just starting to soften. If you are using zucchini noodles, add these now too.
- Add the coconut water and lime juice and bring back up to a simmer and take off the heat immediately.
- Taste it and make sure it has a nice balance of sweetness (from the coconut water), saltiness from the fish sauce and sour from the lime juice. Adjust any of the flavours if needed.
- In a deep bowl place your rinsed and drained konjac noodles (or softened rice noodles). Pour over the broth and divide your vegetables and chicken (returning any juices from cutting) between the bowls.
- Garnish with chilli and fresh Asian herbs.
- You can also make this using left over cooked chicken. If you do this you can skip the second stage of the method.
- Re-heat in a pot over a low heat until just hot.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Gluten-freeChoose a gluten-free noodle.
Grain-freeChoose a grain-free noodle like zoodles.
Coconut-freeReplace the coconut water with more broth.
VegetarianYou can substitute the chicken with egg (I'd make a thin omelette and add that sliced) and replace the fish sauce with a good pinch of sea salt. Use a vegetable broth to replace the chicken broth.
VeganAdd extra mushrooms and tempeh and replace the fish sauce with a good pinch of sea salt. Use a vegetable broth to replace the chicken broth.
Onion and garlic-freeReplace the onion and garlic with an extra 2 cm piece of ginger.
Like this recipe or have a question? Post in the comments below.
I love this time of year when the beautiful Queensland mangoes appear at my local farmers market. So, today I thought I’d share a family favourite – a very healthy Asian Mango Salad recipe. As soon as my kids see mangoes in store this is what they request. I make it with both green (as photographed) and regular, sweet mangos. Just make sure that if you are using regular mango, that the flesh is firm and they are not overripe. Overripe fruits are best kept for smoothies.
Why is it so healthy?
As well as containing plant-based (Phyto) nutrients, the mango supports healthy digestion. Lots more antioxidant and phytonutrients are in the vegetables. The cashew nuts add a little protein and good fats. The mint and coriander are very detoxifying and cleansing.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit any specific dietary requirements.
For lots more sides and salad inspo, take a look at my hugely popular ebook ˜Well Nourished Sides and Salads’– where vegetables become the hero of the dish! It’s great value at just $9.95, click HERE to take a look.
Asian Mango Salad
- 1 mango/s (green or regular), julienned
- 1 red capsicum/s -thinly sliced
- 1 red onion/s -small or a bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 wombok cabbage -or Asian style cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 bunch/s fresh mint leaves -or Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
- 1 bunch/s fresh coriander leaves -leaves picked
- 75 g raw cashew nuts (1 cup) lightly toasted
- 2 kaffir lime leaves -thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 red chilli/s -sliced (optional)
- 2 tbsp fried shallots -to finish
- 1 lime/s -juice and zest
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp rice malt syrup (or the sweetener of your choice)
- Simply combine all of the salad ingredients in a salad bowl.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients well (shaking together in a little jar is easiest)- taste it and make sure you are happy with the balance between the sweet / salty / sour flavours. If it is too sour you may like to add a little more fish sauce (saltiness) or sweetener.
- Dress and toss the salad just prior to serving.
- Garnish with the shallots/ optional chilli.
Nut-freeReplace the cashews with toasted sunflower seeds.
Make a meal of itAdd grilled fish, chicken or pork, or a can of tuna. Boiled egg, grilled tofu or tempeh are good choices for vegetarians.
Vegan and seafood-freeReplace the fish sauce with sea salt to taste.
Onion-freeSimply omit the onion/spring onion/fried shallots.
Can't source mangoThis is also lovely with julienne apple.
I love this salad - do you? I'd love to receive your feedback in the comments below.
With a chill in the air and the bug season underway, I thought I’d follow up on my basic broth post with a simple yet totally nutritious and delicious immune boosting soup. This is a classic example of using food as medicine. It is something I always whip up if I think anyone in my family is run down (or we are in contact with sick people).
Even if this isn’t the case, I still make it, normally as a snack to boost our digestion and immune system. But I mostly make it because the whole family just loves it.
The chicken bone stock, well I’ve raved about it here. The shitake mushrooms and garlic are extremely immune boosting. The ginger root is calming, very anti-inflammatory, aids digestion and stimulates circulation. Lemongrass is very nutritious, healing and anti-microbial. The fish sauce adds a salty taste and the lime balances the acidity and gives a wonderful tang, along with its immune boosting vitamin C content. The fresh herbs just add another dimension of nutrition and flavour.
Asian Immune Broth
- 750 ml chicken stock or bone broth (3 cups)
- 10 shiitake mushrooms -sliced (use fresh if available to you, otherwise use dried which are available in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
- 1.5 cm ginger root -thinly sliced
- 2 clove/s garlic -peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (or sea salt to taste)
- ½ lime/s -juice
- 2 stick/s lemongrass -no need to extract the heart, just chop it up roughly
- 1 red chilli/s (optional)
- ¼ bunch fresh Asian herbs -coriander, Thai basil, mint or Vietnamese mint leaves (added at the end to serve)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (or 3-4 slices of fresh root added with the ginger)
- 4 stem/s kale -chopped (added at the very end)
- Any veggies you like really can be included in the mix
- In a small saucepan place your stock (if it's frozen gently heat it gently to defrost), shitake mushrooms, ginger root, garlic and lemon grass and turmeric (if using) and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the fish sauce and lime juice and taste, (you can add more of either or both if you feel it needs more salt or acidity).
- You can strain off the solids, or I personally just pour them into the bowl or cup to serve as they sink to the bottom anyway. We actually enjoy eating them, hunks of ginger and all.
- Add the fresh herbs and chili if you like. Enjoy and feel the benefit!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Make it into a mealAdd chicken, more vegetables, noodles or rice to make this into a hearty meal. We love it with red rice noodles and poached eggs for breakfast.
VeganUse sea salt instead of fish sauce. Choose a vegetable broth. You can add shredded tofu and vegetables to make a meal of it.
Seafood-freeUse sea salt instead of fish sauce.
Garlic-freeSimply omit the garlic (there is enough flavour to replace it already).
This is delicious, don't you think? Post a comment below with your thoughts.
Would you love one reliable immune building, stress combatting, deliciously digestible tonic to nourish the whole family and keep them well through winter? Well, grandma’s old recipe book is where you will find it – good old fashioned chicken bone broth. The king of nourishment, nutrition, healing and repair and, it takes only a couple of minutes to prepare!
The use of bone broths to heal and nourish is steeped in history – chicken broth or ‘Jewish penicillin’ was considered a powerful remedy to fight a respiratory infection. This is due to many factors including the presence of the powerful immune boosting fat palmitoleic acid, found in the fat of the chicken. In Chinese medicine, bone broth is considered a potent digestive and blood tonic. I could write pages on the health benefits of bone broth, it is really THAT good. Today I’m going to focus on chicken broth though the many healing benefits are common to all meat-based stocks.
Sadly, with the advent of processed ‘stocks’ and stock cubes, bone broths have all but disappeared off the menu in most family homes. Unfortunately, these processed varieties yield none of the nourishment or healing qualities of the real thing. It’s time to pull out your biggest pot and start simmering!
So why is real bone broth SO nourishing?
Well getting back to digestion, bone broth is not only a very rich source of many bio-available minerals (especially calcium and trace minerals), but it also contains other nutrients which repair the gut, further assisting digestion and all of the other important roles the gut plays.
It is a concentrated source of gelatin which is essential for repairing the gut wall. If you suffer from any digestive complaints, food sensitivities, allergies, mood disorder or suffer from an autoimmune condition – then you need to consume bone broths regularly. Gelatin is what makes the broth wobbly or congealed. The gelatinous consistency of your broth (when cold), lets you know you have succeeded in extracting the good stuff!
Bone broth also provides your body with a group of collagens known to maintain and promote joint function and repair. You would have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin perhaps, which are two of the many collagens found in bone broth. These collagens are not only plentiful in bone broth, but they are delivered in a form that your body is able to absorb and benefit from directly. It’s much more beneficial and allot cheaper than supplementation.
In a last ditch attempt to get you consuming bone broths, I am going to appeal to your sense of vanity! It is not only the joints that love and need collagen but the hair, skin and nails. Seeking everlasting youth? Then this may just be your answer.
As well as collagen and gelatin, bone broth contains the amino acid glycine. Your liver is reliant on the availability of glycine to break down toxins. Drinking bone broth is not only incredibly nourishing, healing and repairing but also detoxifying to your body.
Forget super foods from some far away place, bone broths tick all the boxes and at a fraction of the price.
The best part about making bone broths is that it’s all the cheap cuts of the chicken, that give the best result. But just one word of warning. Use only the very best quality produce. You don’t want to extract a heap of toxins from the bone, its counter productive. You may pay extra for organic varieties, but the cheap bits really aren’t expensive at all. Investigate sourcing organic offcuts, I think you’ll be surprised how affordable they are.
How to make it?
There are many ways to make bone broth but this is the way I find easiest and one I can incorporate into my routine:
- Firstly, I buy a big organic chicken to roast for dinner. I roast up a storm and when I remove it from the oven, I collect any juices from the cavity (into a bowl).
- Then once the flesh has been served up in a delicious meal, I take the stripped carcass and even all the bones left over on the plates (it doesn’t matter if they are chewed up, they are going to be boiled) and throw them into the bowl with the reserved juices.
- I put it in the fridge overnight and the next morning, place them in a big pot with a pack or two of other cheap cuts – think all the gross bits like necks, legs, feet, wings or more carcasses, vegetables, vinegar and simmer all day.
- If I don’t have time to make broth within a day or so, I freeze the cooked bones until I do have the time. I also often freeze the offcuts of vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower stems, or any vegetable that has almost seen better days to throw into my next broth -waste not want not. FYI I throw it all in from frozen (it just takes longer to reach a boil).
Making broth is not a pretty process, but it couldn’t be simpler (it literally takes me two minutes to get the vegetables chopped up and on the stove with the carcasses). I usually get this going as soon as I wake up so I can keep an eye on it until it starts to boil. Once I’m happy it’s simmering gently, I can forget it until dinner time. Like many of my other recipes, there are no rules and you can’t possibly stuff this one up.
- 2 organic chicken carcass -leftover from a roast or you can buy them raw
- 700 g organic wings, feet, necks or legs -approx. (any gristly, boney bits)
- 2 carrot/s (large) roughly chopped (no need to be delicate, just big hunks will do)
- 2 stick/s celery -roughly chopped (I often use the tops with the leaves stripped to reduce waste)
- 1 stem from the base of the broccoli and/or cauliflower, -roughly chopped (again to reduce waste, plus there is lots of goodness in the stem)
- 1 onion/s -peeled and quartered (omit if you are onion-free)
- 3 clove/s garlic -unpeeled and halved (omit if you are garlic-free)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar -helps to extract the gelatin and minerals from the bone
- 1 tbsp dulse flakes -for extra minerals
- Any herbs extra vegetables -things like the stems of herbs or vegetables or any scraps can be thrown in. I keep the leaves of herbs for salads and garnishes and use the stems I would otherwise throw away in stocks. I also pick the leaves from my vegetable patch that are half eaten by caterpillars to add to the stock.
- Put all of the above into a big pot and add enough water to fill the pot. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a very low temperature so that the water is very gently simmering.
- Simmer for 12-24 hours, with the lid on. The longer the better as more of the good stuff is extracted with time (I personally aim for 24 hours). If a bit of scum develops, just skim it off. I find with organic chicken this is minimal.
- You may also need to add a little extra water to top the pot up once it's been cooking for a while.
- Let it cool at room temperature, then strain off the solids. If there are any meaty bits you can pick them off and use them for lunch or dinner.
- Season according to taste. I find a good amount of sea salt really transforms the flavour of broth.
- I fill different sized jars, glass pyrex containers and even ice cube trays with the broth and use for soups, casseroles, risotto or any other dishes needing stock. You can also freeze into silicon muffin trays for ¼ or ½ cup measures. The stock will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Let food be thy medicineSuffering from a digestive disorder, feeling run down or just plain down? Need nourishing? Then warm up a small cup of this wonderful tonic daily and attest to its amazing healing power. Healthy gut...healthy body and mind!
- To develop a richer, fuller flavoured broth, cook off your bones for a few minutes before adding vegetables and water. This can be done on the stove top or throw them in the oven for 10 minutes.
- I personably don't add lots of strong flavours to my broth like ginger in case I want to use it in say an Italian flavoured meal.
- For a real immune boost, see my recipe for my Asian Immune Boosting Broth.
- I've dedicated a whole post to ways to use bone broth (besides soups and casseroles), lots of great ideas you'll find here.
- If making broth with beef or lamb bone you will need to simmer it for much longer (24-48 hours) as the bigger the bones, the longer they need to extract the goodness.