Healthy body … healthy mind

By: Sharon Lurie

There are many ways to educate your children through food. A few simple ones that work so well are: Planting a vegetable garden with your children and ensuring they care for it, packing away the food after shopping, washing and cleaning fruit and vegetables, mixing ingredients in a bowl, kneading dough, teaching them the names of different herbs and spices and how to use them, and allowing them to choose a recipe to create a healthy meal, remembering, of course, food always tastes better when you eat it with your family.


The core ingredients to a great soup are celery, onions, carrots, turnips, parsley, and leeks. A minestrone includes ingredients such as tomatoes, cannellini beans, and pasta. When it comes to a minestrone soup this is where your creative juices can go to town by adding your favourite vegetable like baby marrow, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, and peas. However, let’s not forget it’s all about the timing with a minestrone soup, different ingredients are added at different stages otherwise the soup could become “stodgy”.

3 long sticks celery, chopped

2 cup onions, chopped

2 cups carrots, cubed

250g shredded cabbage

6 baby marrow roughly chopped

1 cup chopped green beans

2 litres boiling water

1 tsp Marmite

1 large can chopped Italian tomatoes (1 teaspoon of sugar)

Salt and pepper

1 tsp Celery salt

2 cups cubed potatoes

10g sachet tomato paste

2 Tbls powdered vegetable stock

1 packet tomato/minestrone soup mix (I like Imana – it just seems to bring it all together)

2 tins cannellini beans

2 cup FROZEN peas (allow to defrost while soup is cooking)

1 small bottle Basil Pesto (I use Freshfellows)

To decorate:

Parmesan cheese, Basil Pesto

In a large pot fry the celery, onions, carrots in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, ensuring nothing burns. Add cabbage and continue to cook for five minutes. Add baby marrow, green beans, water, marmite and tomatoes, bring to the boil and allow to cook until the vegetables are soft. This should take about 45 minutes. Depending on the size of the pot, you may need more water to cover the vegetables by about 3cm. Add salt and pepper to own taste. Add cubed potatoes, and allow to cook for a further 30 minutes, ensuring water covers the vegetables with a loosely lying lid on top of the soup pot. When potatoes are soft, add the tomato paste, vegetable stock, and packet of minestrone soup. This has to be added after the potatoes as the stock powders prevent the potatoes from cooking all the way through and may leave them hard. Finally add the beans, defrosted frozen peas, pasta and 2 tablespoons of Basil pesto. Allow to simmer until pasta is soft. If you are going to freeze the soup, don’t add pasta rather add it when you warm the soup up as pasta goes mushy. The soup can be transferred to a Crockpot for two to three hours and kept warm until ready to serve.

Decorate with drizzled pesto which I mix with a little water to make it a more pourable consistency. Add grated parmesan cheese or it can be served Parev without adding cheese.


Butternut provides an abundance of health benefits due to its richness in vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre.

1 large butternut with a long neck

1 x 250g tachina (I like Friends)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tin chickpeas


Pomegranates (optional)

Pumpkin seed brittle (Woolworths) crushed

Bobba shar’s “some like it hot” salad dressing

Wash butternut (skin on) and prick in 5 or 6 places with a fork. Place into microwave and cook on high for 20 minutes, this helps speed up the cooking process and softens the butternut for easier peeling and slicing. Allow butternut to cool by running under cold water. Peel, and cut the butternut rings into 1cm slices. The butternut should be easier to cut than when raw. Don’t use base of butternut that houses pips – use that in your minestrone soup! Combine Tahina, cumin and paprika in a bowl. Place butternut onto lined baking tray and paint with tahina mixture. Bake on 200C until completely soft and golden brown. This should take about 35-40 minutes, perhaps a little longer. Place over a bed of rocket, sprinkle chickpeas, coriander, and pomegranates around the butternut. Pour Bobba Shar’s “some like it hot” or poppy seed dressing over the salad just before serving. Finally sprinkle with crushed pumpkin seed brittle and serve.


When I heard that parsley helps in losing belly fat, I started using it in everything!!! Smoothies, salads, and sandwiches!! While parsley is low in calories, it contains vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as minerals such as iron and potassium.

1 onion chopped

12 Israeli cucumbers cut in half and slices 1cm thick

1 x 35 g parsley (finely chopped)

1 tsp freshly crushed garlic

¼ cup lemon juice

1 Tbl sugar or equivalent sweetener

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper


I love to slice the tops of the chicken in a # design as it opens up the surface area of the chicken breast allowing for more areas of crispiness.

6 chicken breasts (bone out)

1 bottle of your favourite Italian salad dressing

2 eggs

1 packet Ina Paarman stuffing

1 cup corn flake crumbs

1 cup panko crumbs (Woolworths in a tub)

Score the chicken breasts (two horizontal cuts and two vertical cuts across the surface of the breast – not too deep) to form a hashtag #. Marinade overnight in Italian salad dressing. Beat two eggs in a large bowl. Place the stuffing mix, corn flake crumbs and panko crumbs into a large rectangular dish and mix well. Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the chicken from the marinade and allow excess dressing to fall off, discard marinade. Dip the breasts into egg and then into crumb mixture. Paint with oil and bake at 200 for 15 to 20 minutes until dark and crispy. Turn over and paint the other side with oil and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

Tip: I like to place a ball of tin foil about the size of a golf ball underneath each breast to lift it in the middle to expose the inside of the breast, so that the breast almost curls while cooking so that you can see the open #.

Serve with baby carrots and beans


2 eggs

1 cup coconut milk

3 Tbls soy sauce

1 tsp chilli (fresh or bottled)

2 Tbls sesame oil

2 Tbls sweet chilli sauce

Beat eggs, coconut milk, soy sauce, chilli, sesame oil, and sweet chilli sauce together. Pour boiling water over ramen noodles and, when soft, drain and place into egg mixture. Place into well-greased ramekin dishes or small rectangular baking dish and bake at 200 for 20 to 25 minutes. Don’t leave it for too long in the oven as you don’t want it to dry out, it will set further once removed from oven.

Decorate with sweet chilli sauce, spring onion, and sesame seeds


6 large potatoes (skin on boiled until soft and you can insert a toothpick)

Remove potatoes from water and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the middle of the potato, leaving about ½cm of flesh around the edge of the potato and mash it or push it through a ricer and set aside. This is where the fun starts. Decide what you’d like to add to the potatoes. I added:

1 cup fried onions, 1 cup chopped and fried mushrooms, 1 cup chopped and fried peppers, and 250g sliced salami. Place a layer of salami into the scooped out shell of the potato. Combine the mashed potatoes with onions, fried mushrooms and peppers and ½ cup “Cheese sauce” (recipe below).


1 cup coconut milk canned – use rest of can later if sauce too thick.
3 Tbls (20 g) nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbls (15 g) tapioca flour
½ tsp sea salt (or to taste)
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
Pinch of smoked paprika

Combine by whisking all of the above (off the stove) in a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium to high heat and keep whisking until it thickens up to look like soft cheese. If you have any coconut milk left over and you feel the sauce is a bit thick you can add more coconut milk or water to achieve a pouring consistency.


A light but tasty option to add to your dessert platter

200g chopped pecan nuts

3 eggs

1 cup syrup

pinch of salt

½ cup brown treacle sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup vegetable/coconut oil (coconut oil should be melted).

Combine all of the above and pour into a 25cm round pie dish. Microwave on high heat for 4 minutes. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 180C. Unroll 6 sheets of pastry and cut them into 4 equal squares. Using one sheet at a time, place 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling in the bottom third of the pastry, pressing it flat so it spreads half way up the piece of pastry, fold in the sides and roll up. Paint with a little oil and bake at 180 for 20 minutes until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook them. Dust with icing sugar and serve. Best eaten on day made.


Different textured layers where crunch embraces smooth and soft is housed in a crisp topping is what I try to create in most of my deserts, so I thought I’d do the same with these brownies to give them that extra depth of delicious layering.

1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted

½ cup cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

1 ½ cups sugar, divided

1 cup oil (coconut or canola)

250g chocolate (chips or chopped slabs)

3 eggs

1 Tbls instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon boiling water


500g store bought chocolate mousse, It just makes this dessert a lot quicker and easier.

1 x 250g honeycomb (Chocolate Tree)

Preheat the oven to 170C. Spray a rectangle baking dish. In a food processor place hazelnuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, and ¼ cup of sugar and pulse until finely ground. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat vegetable/coconut oil over medium heat and add chocolate chips. Remove from heat and allow to stand until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk the oil and chocolate until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. This can also be done in the microwave. In a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the remaining 1¼ cups of sugar and coffee mixture on medium speed, about 5 minutes. With mixer on low, add the chocolate-oil mixture, followed by the cocoa-hazelnut mixture. With a spatula scrape batter into prepared pan (15x25cm) and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is glossy and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool. When cool spread chocolate mousse over brownie. Sprinkle crushed honeycomb over mousse. Cut into squares and serves with vanilla ice cream.


A gluten free option for a great Shabbos treat!

300g marshmallows

4 Tbls coconut oil/ margarine/butter (melted)

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup peanut butter

6 cups rice Krispies

200g chocolate melted (milk or dark chocolate for decorating)

Place marshmallows, oil, vanilla essence, and peanut butter into a large saucepan (big enough to hold the rice krispies when added). Melt ingredients over medium heat and when completed melted together, remove from heat and add rice krispies 2 cups at a time to incorporate all the rice krispies ensuring all the rice krispies are covered. Press lightly (too much pressure will make them too hard) into a greased rectangular dish 28cm x 20cm x 5cm. Too much pressure will make them hard. Cut into squares and decorate with white or dark chocolate (to keep them non-dairy) and sprinkles.

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