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
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
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.
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.
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
2 bunches asparagus, stems trimmed and cut into 3cm-long pieces
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.
Frittata is an excellent way of using up leftovers; roasted vegetables, bacon, cheese and so on.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
from Everyday Strength:
Recipes and Wellbeing Tips for Cancer Patients by Sam Mannering
and Karen McMillan, Beatnik Publishing,