Immune-boosting recipes to combat chronic inflammation

RECIPE: Mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake

Food
Pulses make an interesting addition to this mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake from Chrissy Freer's new book The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook. Photo: Julie Renouf

Pulses make an interesting addition to this mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake from Chrissy Freer's new book The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook. Photo: Julie Renouf

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Everyday recipes to soothe the immune system from The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook

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'EATING the rainbow' may be all the rage in health food circles right now, but this food fad is about more than just making your meals Instagram-worthy.

There is merit in making sure you eat plenty of different coloured fruit and vegies. That's according to nutritionist Chrissy Freer, who has a new book called The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook.

"Eat a rainbow of variety, as each colour has something unique to offer," she writes in the book's introduction, from anthocyanin pigment in blueberries, polyphenols in grapes and carotenoids in orange and red vegies.

Freer says including plenty of fruit and vegies, as well as legumes, seafood, wholegrains, fresh and dried spices as well as seeds, nuts and oils is key helping regaining control of your health and combatting chronic inflammation.

The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook by Chrissy Freer, photography by Julie Renouf (Murdoch Books) RRP $35.

The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook by Chrissy Freer, photography by Julie Renouf (Murdoch Books) RRP $35.

The book includes a two-week meal plan and 100 recipes that use unprocessed ingredients with anti-inflammatory properites, helping you boost your immunity and reducing inflammation.

In the book, Freer explains the difference between good and bad inflammation - which can range from arthiritis to inflammatory bowel diseases - and discusses some of the causes of chronic inflammation.

Food, she argues, can "come to the rescue" and diet can be used as an easy therapeutic tool to minimise the impact of inflammatory conditions.

Freer is keen to note, however "an anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating for life, rather than a 'diet'" and says the basic principles are relatively simple.

"Chronic inflammation is on the increase in our modern world, leading to common symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain," she said.

"The good news is that including anti-inflammatory in your diet can help relieve symptoms, reduce the risk of chromic inflammation and promote well-being."

Recipes range from breakfast, salad and soup ideas to sweet treats, with seafood and meat meal ideas also included.

Here's a recipe from the book to try.

Dairy-free mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake

Chickpeas in a cake may sound strange, but this cake is absolutely delicious. The chickpeas add a nutty taste, texture and body, and the cake does not contain any oil or butter.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 mandarins, unpeeled
  • 150 g (1 cup) pistachio kernels, plus 1 tablespoon extra, coarsely chopped, to garnish
  • 400 g (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see tips)
  • 175 g (1/2 cup) single origin floral honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) gluten-free or whole meal plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • Icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting (optional)

Method

1. Place the mandarins in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then drain. Cover with cold water again, return to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, adding a little more water to the pan as necessary. Drain the mandarins and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Lightly grease a 22 cm (81/2 inch) round cake tin and line it with baking paper.

3. Cut the mandarins into quarters, remove the seeds and discard. Process the pistachios in a food processor to fine crumbs. Remove; set aside. Add the chickpeas to the food processor and process to fine crumbs. Add the mandarins and process until smooth.

4. Use an electric mixer to whisk the honey and eggs in a large bowl until thick. Add the mandarin mixture and fold in until well combined, then add the ground pistachios, flour and baking powder and stir until well combined. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.

5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs. If the cake browns too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar and garnished with extra chopped pistachios.

Tips: You can replace the canned chickpeas with 225g (1 1/3 cups) cooked chickpeas.

This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

  • Images and text from The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook by Chrissy Freer, photography by Julie Renouf (Murdoch Books) RRP $35.

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