Nour­ish­ing, freezer-friendly meals for can­cer pa­tients

The side ef­fects of can­cer treat­ment can mean that cook­ing, and even eat­ing, falls low on the pri­or­ity list. Point fam­ily and friends to these nu­tri­tious and freezer-friendly recipes from a new cook­book writ­ten spe­cially for can­cer pa­tients

NEXT (New Zealand) - - At A Glance -

Authors Sam Man­ner­ing and Karen McMil­lan know first hand what it’s like to go through can­cer treat­ment and the ef­fects on ap­petite and well­ness. Their new book Ev­ery­day Strength: Recipes and Well­be­ing Tips for Can­cer Pa­tients aims to help fam­i­lies get through this dif­fi­cult time with easy, nu­tri­tious meals and prac­ti­cal ad­vice.

Rag pasta with pump­kin, hazel­nuts, soft cheese and sage but­ter

½ large but­ter­nut pump­kin, peeled and de­seeded

Olive oil

Salt and pep­per

200g lasagne sheets 200g but­ter

Hand­ful of sage leaves 100g soft white cheese, (eg ri­cotta, buf­falo moz­zarella or chèvre) ½ cup toasted hazel­nuts, chopped

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. 2 Bring a large saucepan of salted wa­ter to the boil. In the mean­time, cut the pump­kin into cres­cents and add to an oiled bak­ing dish. Sea­son well with salt and pep­per and roast in the oven for about 25 min­utes un­til ten­der and a bit caramelised.

3 While the pump­kin is cook­ing, break the lasagne sheets into large-ish shards and drop into the sim­mer­ing wa­ter. Cook un­til al dente, then drain well.

4 Melt the but­ter in a saucepan over a low heat un­til the white milk solids have sep­a­rated out. Strain off the milk solids and dis­card, then re­turn the clar­i­fied but­ter to the pan. Once it is quite hot, add the sage leaves and fry quickly un­til crisp. 5 On a warm plat­ter ar­range the cooked pasta and pump­kin and sea­son ev­ery­thing well. Scat­ter the cheese and hazel­nuts over, then lastly spoon the sage but­ter over and serve im­me­di­ately.

Serves 4-6

Sam:

The pump­kin, hazel­nut and soft cheese combo is a crowd-pleas­ing win­ner, but you can fill the pasta with any­thing you like; sauteéd mush­rooms, spinach and ri­cotta or cour­gette, feta and lemon.

Karen:

The hum­ble pump­kin is packed with fi­bre, and the beta-carotene is con­verted to vi­ta­min A in the body, making it a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant.

As­para­gus frit­tata with feta, pine nuts and mint

2 Tbsp pine nuts

Olive oil

2 bunches as­para­gus, stems trimmed and cut into 3cm-long pieces

8 eggs

150g feta

Hand­ful of mint, chopped

Salt and pep­per

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Pre­heat the oven to 200ºC on fan bake.

2 Get a heavy oven-friendly pan going over a low heat and gen­tly toast the pine nuts un­til golden brown. Trans­fer to a plate and set aside. To the same pan add a ta­ble­spoon of olive oil and add the as­para­gus. Fry gen­tly for 2-3 min­utes just to cook them slightly, then re­move to a plate as well. Keep the pan going over a medium-high heat.

3 Whisk the eggs to­gether well, then crum­ble in about half the feta, half the mint, some salt and pep­per and the lemon zest. Mix ev­ery­thing through to com­bine. Add a lit­tle more olive oil to the pan and al­low it to heat up. Pour in the egg mix­ture, then spread the as­para­gus evenly over the top, fol­lowed by the pine nuts. Cook for about 2 min­utes, then place in the oven for about 10-15 min­utes un­til the frit­tata is golden brown and cooked through.

4 Re­move from the oven and al­low to cool slightly for 5 min­utes. Crum­ble the re­main­ing feta and mint over the top. Slice into gen­er­ous wedges and serve.

Serves 6

Sam:

Frit­tata is an ex­cel­lent way of us­ing up left­overs; roasted veg­eta­bles, ba­con, cheese and so on.

Karen:

As­para­gus is a low-calo­rie food that is packed with vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, in par­tic­u­lar vi­ta­min K, which helps with bone den­sity.

Gratin of pump­kin, leek, lentils and hazel­nuts

2kg crown or but­ter­nut pump­kin, peeled, de­seeded and diced into 2-3cm chunks

Olive oil

1 Tbsp but­ter

1 leek, washed and finely sliced

Sev­eral sprigs of rose­mary and thyme

1 tsp Di­jon mus­tard

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup cream

400g Puy lentils, cooked and drained

2-3 Tbsp grated parme­san

¼ cup hazel­nuts, toasted and chopped

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the pump­kin in a roast­ing tray, toss with a lit­tle olive oil and salt and pep­per and roast for 20-25 min­utes un­til ten­der.

2 In the mean­time, in a pan over a medium heat, add the but­ter and al­low to bub­ble up be­fore adding the leek and fresh herbs. Cook gen­tly for 5-10 min­utes un­til the leek is soft and translu­cent. Add the mus­tard and fry for 1 minute, then add the white wine and al­low it to re­duce a lit­tle. Fol­low with the cream and let it bub­ble up and cook for a minute or two. Fi­nally, add the cooked lentils, stir and take the pan off the heat.

3 Gen­tly fold the cooked pump­kin into the leek and lentil mix­ture. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly, then trans­fer the mix­ture to a ce­ramic bak­ing dish or oven­proof pan. Sprin­kle the grated parme­san over the top to cover the mix­ture. Pop in the oven and let the parme­san melt into the pump­kin mix­ture, then re­move from the oven and scat­ter over the hazel­nuts. Serve im­me­di­ately.

Serves 4-6

Sam:

Fresh lo­cal hazel­nuts always put im­ported ones to shame. Gen­tly toast them in the oven be­fore eat­ing; this will en­hance the flavour sig­nif­i­cantly. Swap in­gre­di­ents as you see fit – ku­mara or yams are good re­place­ments for pump­kin, as are toasted wal­nuts in lieu of hazel­nuts. This dish is a de­light on its own, or for those with a good ap­petite you can serve it as a sub­stan­tial side dish. Karen:

Lentils are packed with nu­tri­tion and are a great source of fi­bre, iron, pro­tein, vi­ta­mins B1 and B6, zinc and potas­sium. This is a small but mighty food.

Wild rice, sal­mon, edamame and pick­led gin­ger

400g wild rice

500g fresh sal­mon, pin-boned

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pep­per

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce

½ tsp wasabi paste

1½ cups shelled edamame

3 Tbsp pick­led gin­ger, roughly chopped

½ cup mung beans Hand­ful of bean sprouts or mi­cro­greens Small hand­ful of co­rian­der leaves

1 Pre­heat the oven to 200ºC.

2 Wash the rice sev­eral times un­der cold wa­ter, drain, and place in a saucepan with two and a half times as much wa­ter. Leave to sim­mer, cov­ered, for about 15 min­utes over a medium heat, top­ping up with more wa­ter if nec­es­sary un­til the rice is just ten­der. Rinse un­der cold wa­ter and drain well.

3 In the mean­time, driz­zle the sal­mon with a lit­tle olive oil, sea­son with salt and pep­per and roast in the oven for about 20 min­utes un­til it is cooked to your lik­ing. Al­low to cool a lit­tle.

4 In a small bowl com­bine the lime zest and juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and wasabi paste and mix into a dress­ing.

5 Com­bine the cooked rice with the edamame, chopped gin­ger, mung beans and the dress­ing mix­ture. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly. Break the cooked sal­mon into chunks and fold care­fully into the mix­ture. Scat­ter the bean sprouts and co­rian­der over the top and serve.

Serves 4-6

Karen:

Mung beans are a very fill­ing food, high in pro­tein, fi­bre and min­er­als and vi­ta­min B. In this recipe you get great taste and nu­tri­tion.

Edited ex­tract

from Ev­ery­day Strength:

Recipes and Well­be­ing Tips for Can­cer Pa­tients by Sam Man­ner­ing

and Karen McMil­lan, Beat­nik Pub­lish­ing,

$45.

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