A pre-dinner appetiser should be light, tasty and easy to prepare – even if you’re a beginner in the kitchen. Italian antipasti ticks all of these boxes and let’s face it, everyone loves a bit of Italian food.
Try these yummy antipasti dishes which are appropriate as an appetiser, snack with drinks, or part of a three course meal at home.
A traditional dish is nothing without a side of meat, and this is usually salami, pepperoni and prosciutto.
Olives are a must-have if you want to break up all the heavy meat and bread on the dish. Olive tapenade, black kalamata olives and a side of hummus is always a popular choice.
Experiment with a few different seafood styles such as smoked salmon strips, fresh tuna and sardines.
Delicious melon and seasonal grapes taste amazing with cold meats.
Salty nuts add a savoury side to the antipasto dish and complement any glass of red or white wine. Cashews, walnuts and roasted almonds are perfect for this dish.
Roast vegetables are another essential part of the antipasto dish because they are great with salty cheeses. Eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes are the best place to start.
Finish off a traditional antipasti dish with a soft cheese such as camembert (bring it out last so it doesn’t melt), savoury cheese such as feta and Gouda.
Image via Honestly Yum
Planning a fun day in the sun this summer? Instead of buying something pre-made, why not pack your very own picnic! We have a few of the best healthy snacks to entertain your guests, made from seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Make your very own fruit kebabs with the essentials such as strawberries, bananas, kiwi fruit, melon, and pineapple – yum!
Bring your favourite baguette bread packed with sliced tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, salami and a touch of garlic to taste.
Entertain your guests with this fresh berry salad boasting balsamic grilled cherry, blueberries, goats cheese and crunchy lettuce. Make sure to add the dressing just before you serve the meal so it doesn’t make the meal soggy.
Melon and cucumber salad
For another fresh salad recipe, slice some fresh melon and cucumber, then season with crumbled feta and coriander. Don’t be afraid to add a few chilli flakes for an extra kick!
Rice paper rolls
Prep these pre-made rice paper rolls with fresh chilli sauce the next time you want to impress your guests. Simply wrap them up, refrigerate and pack them into your picnic basket when you’re ready-to-go.
Strawberry caprese salad
For a modern take on a traditional classic, try this refreshing strawberry salad with fresh mozzarella.
Asparagus and haloumi sandwiches
We’re finishing up the list with these mouth-watering sandwiches with grilled asparagus, yummy mozzarella, and lemon and mint to taste.
Images via By Stephanie Lynn, Say Yes, Two Peas and Their Pod, Bakers Royale, Gourmet Traveller, How Sweet Eats
Rather than creating one main meal for lunch or dinner, mezzes are a great way to experiment with different foods each night.
Just like tapas, they are small, designed for sharing with 2 or more guests, and are really easy to create on a limited time frame.
Lemon feta dip
Ingredients: Reduced-fat cream cheese, feta cheese, garlic, olive oil, lemon, red pepper flakes, chives
A simple dip is perfect for any mezze meal, especially if you have an abundance of bread on the table. Sprinkle some cracked black pepper, coriander and serve with a side of olives.
Ingredients: cucumber, olives, tomato, feta cheese, olive oil, red onion
Make this quick and easy summer salad which tastes fresh, and is ideal with red or white wine. Cucumber, olives, feta cheese, tomato and red capsicum with a splash of olive oil is the best way to treat your guests. No lettuce.
Grilled cheese jalapenos
Ingredients: jalapeno peppers, goat cheese, smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic, sea salt
For those who like it spicy, these grilled jalapenos are the perfect starting dish. Slice in half, add some goats cheese with olive oil and cook until golden brown.
Ingredients: Red wine vinegar, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, octopus, olive oil, lemon juice
Prepare this delicious seafood dish which is so quick and easy! Simply wash the octopus, and carefully cut the tentacles into small pieces. Season, and grill until golden brown. Yum!
Ingredients: green lentils, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh mint, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, allspice, black pepper
Finish off with this fresh and healthy lentil salad which everyone is sure to enjoy. It’s the perfect summer salad which won’t leave you feeling too full after a few too many servings.
Images via A Nutritionist Eats, Travel and Leisure, Damn Delicious, Dana Slatkin, The Daily Meal, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Next time you’re throwing a dinner party, why not serve a few different appetisers instead of a main course? Not only are they quick and easy to prepare (seriously, each appetiser takes about 10 minutes), but they taste amazing and are so versatile!
Here is a few of our go-to appetisers which are appropriate for any type of occasion:
Spring garden salad
Try a classic spring salad featuring seasonal crunchy vegetables with a delicious dressing – perfect for the entire family. If you want to add a little extra texture to this salad, feel free to add some some asparagus and peas into the mix.
Who can resist a classic crostini? They’re bite-sized, easy to eat standing up and taste amazing! Experiment with some of your favourite toppings such as salmon, chicken, turkey and even vegetarian options.
Prawn stir fry
Prepare a delicious prawn stir fry for your guests for lunch or even a late dinner. Make sure you don’t forget to add the soy sauce before serving, and add something sweet such as grapefruit or orange essence for a sweet taste.
Tomato, feta and green beans
A classic green bean salad is a standard dish for most households, especially during the warmer months of the year. To make sure your salad has a little extra crunch, add the green beans at the end and cook for only 3-5 minutes.
Zucchini are so quick and easy to prepare, especially if time is not on your side! Drizzle the ciabatta bread with some olive oil and grill until golden brown.
Combine the best of eggs, red onion, parsley, chives and basil into a fine paste, then grill into small patties. Cook until golden brown, then serve with fresh vegetables at room temperature.
Red cabbage salad
There are few things which are healthier than a red cabbage salad, but we’re keeping things tasty here! For a light, tangy flavour, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top and add some of your favourite summer fruits into the recipe. We recommend sliced strawberries or red apples.
Cucumber and avocado rolls
To really impress your guests, create this easy cucumber roll recipe featuring delicious avocado. Simply slice the cucumber, then add one tablespoon of mashed avocado into the centre.
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
For a quick appetiser to enjoy on-the-go, nothing beats this amazing prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Grill for just a few minutes, then drizzle some olive oil and lemon over the top.
Fig and cheese flatbread
Finally, we’re finishing up with this delicious flatbread. Buy it made, warm it over a hot pan, and add some sliced gorgonzola cheese, fig and drizzled honey over the top.
Images via Sunset, Style and Cheek, Taste, J Bean Cuisine, BBC Good Food, Good To Know, The Perfect Pantry, Pure Ella, Eight Wild Boars
The initial thought of a crepe might bring about a mental image of sugar, chocolate, with a side of fruit. But it is important to say that not all crepes are bad for you! Indulge in our top 5 healthy crepe ideas which not only keep you full, but are so quick and easy to create.
Peanut butter and banana crepes
Stick to a slightly more conventional crepe which involves none other than banana and peanut butter. Use just one tablespoon of peanut butter for a savoury taste and why not add some honey to make it extra sweet?
Apple and cinnamon crepes
What’s better than a delicious rolled apple crepe? To keep with the soft consistency of the batter, gently grill the apple for 5-10 minutes, then sprinkle some cinnamon over the top before serving.
Strawberry fig crepes
Perfect if you have a few fruits around the kitchen which are too ripe to eat on their own. Mash together the strawberry and fig into a soft puree, then smooth over the inside of a crepe. That’s it, so easy!
Pear French crepes
Take that traditional French recipe and serve with a generous side of pear. Simply mash half of a ripe pear, then season with cinnamon for a taste sensation. Hold the cream if you’re watching your weight – it isn’t necessary for this recipe.
Lemon and raspberry crepes
Finally, one of our all-time favourites: the lemon and raspberry crepe. It might seem like a weird combination, but the result is a perfect fusion of sweet and sour without any nasty additives.
Which crepe would you try? We’re still very much sold on number 1…
Images via Foodie Fiasco, Julia’s Album, Crepini, Pinlavie, Diethood
If you don’t have time to make yourself a delicious dinner, try one of our quick wraps instead. They require less than 5 minutes of your evening, and taste amazing!
This week we’re featuring prawn and avocado (of course), with red capsicum and capers inside of a delicious wholemeal wrap.
200g freshly peeled prawns
1/2 red capsicum
1 cucumber (diced)
1 tomato (diced)
1 tsp capers
Handful of baby spinach and rocket
4 wholemeal wraps
- Lightly warm up the wraps over a pan, and set aside.
- Combine the prawn meat, capsicum, cucumber, tomato and avocado into a bowl.
- Transfer the mixture onto the centre of the wrap, then top with capers, baby spinach and rocket. Fold each wrap, and use a toothpick to keep them secure.
Image via Ocado
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
½ cup shredded coconut, plus extra to top muffins
1 cup papaya, peeled, deseeded and mashed
¼ cup papaya, peeled, deseeded and finely diced (for decoration)
1 large egg, whisked
2 tbsp butter
½ cup honey
- Pre-heat oven to 180oC.
- Over a low heat, heat butter on stove until melted. Allow to cool.
- Combine flour and coconut in a large bowl and mix.
- In a separate bowl, combine mashed papaya, egg, melted butter, honey and mix well. Add papaya mixture to flour and coconut bowl and mix well.
- Place muffin cases into a standard muffin tin and spoon a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each one.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.
- Top with extra shredded coconut and finely diced papaya.
More than just your typical ham and cheese toastie, a croque-monsieur is a delicious snack perfect for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Originating as a quick snack in French cafés and restaurants, there are also many variations which include tomato, smoked salmon (instead of ham), sliced potatoes, the list goes on!
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Grana Parma
Salt and pepper
2 slices French crusty bread
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 slices smoked ham
3 slices Belgioioso Provolone Cheese
- Start by melting one tablespoon of butter into a small pan. In another bowl, add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes or until it begins to slightly foam.
- Add the milk and Grana Parma to the mixture, and keep whisking until it’s smooth and lump-free. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread one side of the bread with Dijon mustard, one layer of ham, and two slices of provolone. In the meantime, melt the other tablespoon of butter and preheat your broiler.
- Rest the bread into the melted butter and toast for 1 minute. The provolone should be sitting at the top of the bread – toast for an additional minute so the cheese can melt.
- Now place the bread over the ham and cheese, and top off with the remaining provolone. The bread should be toasty and golden brown by this point, so you can add some of the béchamel sauce over the top of the sandwich. Sprinkle with Grana Parmesan.
Image and Recipe via Foodness Gracious
Enjoy a delicious breakfast packed with natural fibre and sesame seeds as an essential way to start your day. If you wanted to make this even sweeter, drizzle some raw honey over the top for some extra flavour – yum!
4 slices wholemeal bread
1 apple (cored and thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons organic tahini (or you can make it yourself)
2 tablespoons raw honey
Sea salt (optional)
1. Toast your bread, and let it cool down on a rack. If you want the bread to be extra crunchy, pop it into the grill for 10 minutes at 180ºC.
2. Spread a thin layer of tahini on each slice of bread. Arrange the apple slices, drizzle with honey, then finish with some fresh thyme and optional sea salt for a tangy taste.
Image and Recipe via Tasty Yummies
The next time you’re feeling peckish and looking for an afternoon meal, pass on the preservative-filled snacks and try something that’s a little bit healthier for your overall wellbeing. Not only are sugar-free snacks quick and easy to whip-up, but can be enjoyed at almost any time of day.
Strawberry creme truffles
Make these delicious strawberry creme truffles if you have a soft spot for berries, or simply if they’re just in season! The filling is so soft that it just melts in your mouth, and they are also gluten free, grain free, and paleo friendly as well.
Who doesn’t love a traditional pretzel recipe? The great thing about this delicious snack is that the pretzels are gluten-free and completely made from scratch – so you know exactly what goes into the recipe. Serve with a side of sweet sauce to infuse the salty taste of the pretzel.
Pumpkin seed bars
Prepare these bars a few days earlier to enjoy them as a snack if you’re feeling hungry at home, or simply if you’re on-the-go. Use organic honey and your favourite seeds for a genuine taste without the hassle of any extra refined sugar.
Images via No Gluten No Problem, Lexie’s Kitchen, My Whole-food Life
Want to create something healthy and nutritional for the kids and the entire family? Muesli bars are a yummy snack which can be eaten both at home, or packed for a treat on-the-go. Free from milk and eggs, this recipe will be perfect for everyone since it’s full of antioxidants and makes a perfect snack for any time of the day.
200 g (2 cups / 7 oz) rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil (or you can use olive oil, coconut oil etc..)
- Start by preheating the oven to 180°C (or 350°F).
- Line your deep tray with baking paper, or alternatively spray with canola oil.
- Then mix all the ingredients together and spread onto the tray. Make sure to press down on the mixture so it is completely flat and even.
- Bake until the entire tray is golden brown, then remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once they have cooled down, cut them into even pieces and serve.
Recipe via Dani Stevens
Image via Butter Baking
Can you count how many times it’s late at night and you’re craving something to eat just, well, because? Eating past 7-8pm is not recommended since the body won’t get enough movement and instead the food is stored as fat. What if you’re really hungry and can’t quite resist a snack? Here are some foods which won’t cause a whole lot of trouble at night, but try to wait an least an hour before hitting the sack!
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and are full of fibre so enjoy a handful if you’re feeling peckish. Blueberries are also a superfood full of vitamin C and vitamin E, and have a relatively low sugar intake compared to other fruits. Enjoy over a cup of yoghurt if you’re feeling extra hungry.
If you’re craving a packet of dry chips late at night, try some chopped carrot pieces instead. The munching will make it seem like you’re eating chips, but with all the added health benefits of this versatile vegetable. Carrots are filled with vitamin A, help to improve vision and contribute to clear skin. Enjoy with some hummus for extra flavour.
Most of the time, many people confuse the feeling thirst and hunger. This almost always ends up in eating a big meal when we aren’t even craving it! Green tea is a fantastic option since it will relax your body right before bed, and is packed with L-theanine which is also a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.
A handful of air-popped popcorn is sure to do the trick if you’re feeling peckish at night. Don’t even think about adding salt and butter, rather sprinkle a bit of cinnamon to keep it sweet.
Apples are a great option if you’re craving something sweet at night, since they are low in calories and also have a low GI. They are a naturally sweet fruit, and will surely keep you full and snack-free for the rest of the evening. If you just can’t resist, spread a small amount of peanut-butter for a sweet topping.
Unlike milk or white chocolate, remember that darker is better. Aim for dark chocolate which is higher than 70% since anything below that mark contains more added sugar per bar. Dark chocolate is filled with healthy antioxidants, so enjoy a few pieces if you aren’t afraid of the bitter taste.
Image via Stir Food
By Felicia Sapountzis
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, Philadelphia has created five exciting and inspiring recipes to help make something special for their mum next Sunday. Here is the first:
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 55 minutes
125g Philadelphia Block Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup white chocolate chips
1½ cups flour
1¼ cups caster sugar, extra
½ cup cocoa
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
150g butter, melted
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 eggs, extra, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g frozen raspberries
- Beat the Philly and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg then stir through the white chocolate chips.
- Sift the flour, extra sugar, cocoa and bicarb soda into a mixing bowl. Combine the butter, milk, vinegar, extra eggs and vanilla then stir into the dry ingredients until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a greased and paper lined 30cm x 25cm slice pan. Dot the top with spoonfuls of the Philly mixture and swirl through gently with a knife. Lightly press the raspberries over the top. Bake in a moderate oven 180°C for 40–45 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool then cut into squares. Serve as required.
Easter is a joyous occasion and we all look forward to enjoying some time off to relax, spend time with family and friends and of course indulge in Easter treats. And for most of us, food is at the heart of our Easter celebrations, but for those struggling with their weight, this can represent a stressful and confronting time.
But armed with some simple tips, from Andrea Baker from The Biggest Loser Retreat, Easter needn’t be a time where a focus on diet can spoil enjoyment or celebration.
1. Don’t deprive yourself. Depriving yourself at a time when temptation is high can lead to a binge or blow out. Instead, choose morning tea as the time to have your treats rather than later in the day or after dinner when your body will not have as much time to burn these extra calories as fuel.
2. Choose quality over quantity. Instead of buying mountains of cheap Easter eggs that you may feel compelled to eat ‘because they are there’, invest in good quality dark Belgium chocolate. The extra you spend will be saved in calories.
3. Make a pact with yourself to walk every day over Easter. An easy 30-minute walk everyday will help you burn the extra calories and make you feel in control of your eating when you are offsetting it with some exercise.
4. Distract your cravings. If you have had your quota of treats but are still craving more, let yourself be distracted by something else for 15 minutes to see if the craving passes. If it doesn’t, don’t deprive yourself, have some, but use the tips above to monitor your intake.
5. Choose a healthier chocolate option. Rather than store bought chocolate, why not make a healthy chocolate cake like the recipe provided by our Executive Chef David Hunter. It is not only delicious, nutritious and guilt free, but the kids will love it too.
Feel guilty about indulging in premium, high-flavoured snacks and meals? A leading premium food expert shows how indulgent foods can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime if you set boundaries, plan ahead and remain in control.
Michael Carp, managing director of Kez’s Kitchen, says: “Some of the tastiest, premium foods that we enjoy the most shouldn’t be associated with feelings of guilt – as long as you set boundaries, and you may need to adopt a new mindset around indulgences to set those boundaries.”
Michael suggests these 6 tips to indulging in high-flavour foods with self-control:
Many of us have a weak point in our day where we’re most likely to snack to get over a slump in energy. Know your weak point and reserve an indulgent snack for this time of the day, if you can.
Stick to a ‘once a day’ rule
If you’re allowing yourself one treat a day, make it something to look forward to. “Make it a small, high-quality treat that’s memorable. You don’t need to go overboard with a meal-sized muffin. Our Taking Cafe Home range was created for this exact purpose – so you can enjoy a premium, café-quality treat such as a Melting Moment or Vienna Éclair, without actually going to a café,” he says.
Develop the right mindset
Think snacking leads to weight gain? “Often, spreading your food consumption through the day in 5-6 smaller meals can help keep your metabolism firing and working faster. If you get overly hungry between meals, you could easily be tempted to eat larger amounts at set meal times, so snacking can potentially help curb your appetite so you eat a normal-sized meal for dinner rather than binge eating,” he says.
Choose the right environment
“Enjoying an indulgent snack with a good coffee or tea for 15 minutes in a quiet area will help you maximise enjoyment from it. It’s about the whole experience, not just the treat itself,” Michael says.
Share with others
Make an indulgence even more satisfying by enjoying a treat with someone else. “Having a treat over coffee with a friend, for instance, can help stimulate good conversation, boost your mood and increase your overall psychological wellbeing,” he says.
Try to avoid mindlessly snacking while you’re watching TV or at your desk working. These situations make it very easy to overindulge simply because you’re not focussed on how much you’re consuming.