The Magic of Macadamia Nuts


The mild buttery flavour and a soft crunch gives Macadamia nuts a top spot in cookies, cakes and salads. Paired with white chocolate and raspberries they add a super indulgent deliciousness to sweet treats.


These native Australian nuts have an unusual and unique nutritional profile. A 30g serve, provides our total daily requirement for vitamin B1 (Thiamine), a fair amount of B6 (pyridoxine), and about 20% of our daily requirement for iron and fibre.

The unusual feature of the Macadamia nut is the quantity of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that form a key part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. Like olive oil and avocados, Macadamia nuts are particularly rich in the MUFAs palmitoleic and oleic acids. These fatty acids are thought to promote a healthy lipid profile by reducing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol whilst maintaining levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. They may also improve blood vessel function and insulin sensitivity.

Macadamia nuts are best stored in the fridge or freezer, these precious fatty acids are prone to oxidation (going rancid).


Plenty of MUFAs means plenty of calories. The Mayo Clinic advises that we should eat MUFA rich foods instead of other fatty foods, not in addition to them.   They are excellent for people with low appetite who need energy dense snacks, but for most of us, it’s Macadamia nuts in our salad or avocado, but not both! Here’s a link to the delicious salad pictured below Baby spinach, orange and macadamia salad


Salad image: Steve Brown

ANZAC Biscuits

It’s ANZAC Day in Australia which is a day for solemn remembrance of those who fought and died at Gallipoli in WWI and many other wars.

ANZAC biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers as the ingredients do not spoil quickly and keep well during transportation. They are also very sustaining, delicious and worth eating at any time, not just on ANZAC Day.



1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup plain wholemeal flour

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1/4 cup canola or rice bran oil

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons water


Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine oats, flours, coconut and sugar in a bowl.

Combine golden syrup, oil and water in a microwave-proof bowl and stir to combine. Microwave on HIGH for 25–30 seconds. Whisk in baking soda until well combined.

Add syrup mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto baking tray, leaving space between them (they will spread). Flatten with a fork.

Bake for 10–15 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.


Enjoy with friends and family!

Sunflower Seeds – sunny bright flowers morphed into nutritious treats!


I’m in Northern Spain and September is harvest time for sunflowers. These nutritious treats are ubiquitous, munched at half time at the soccer, on loaves, in muesli. Tree nuts can be costly but tiny sunflower seeds are equally nutritious and very cheap.

IMG_20170911_124516560 copyFrom Sunflower to Food – what happens?

The salted sunflower snack that we crack open to eat the seed is usually prepared by soaking or boiling the seeds in salted water then roasting them. Although the seeds are high in calories, these are slow to eat and so long as the salt level isn’t high, we get a nutritious snack.

Whole seeds are mashed and processed to extract the oil – more on sunflower oil later.



Lots of calories but what about nutrients?IMG_0976

A 30g serve of sunflower seeds contains around:


6g protein

16g fat – 6g mono-unsaturates, mostly oleic 7g poly-unsaturates, mostly linoleic

3g fibre

Around half our daily requirement for vitamin E – 10.6mg

A little calcium and iron, B vitamins and Vitamin A

Plus squalene and sterols both of which are associated with a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease.

The raw seed is low in sodium


How About Cooking with sunflower oil?

On the face of it, sunflower oil looks good, excellent mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids, and a high smoking point (225). Oils like olive oil and butter have much lower smoking points which made them seem unsuitable for frying – but now we know better. Sunflower oil is great raw, but as with corn oil, at high temperatures they produce aldehydes which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Canola oil is a better choice for frying.

For more on this: