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Snacks

Ricotta bruschetta

Ricotta bruschetta

With a selection of Italian–style antipasto vegetables in your refrigerator, interesting light meals and snacks can be prepared in minutes, such as these tasty toasts topped with capsicum and ricotta. A salad is all that's needed to make a sustaining lunch.

Garlicky fresh cheese

Garlicky fresh cheese

This tangy, soft–textured yogurt cheese, flavoured with herbs and garlic, makes a healthy starter or snack, and is a great addition to a picnic basket, too. The garlic is blanched for a sweeter flavour. Serve with fresh vegetables for dipping, plus wholemeal bread, to be spread with the cheese.

Vegetable chips with peanut dip

Vegetable chips with peanut dip

Oven–baked chips are not only healthier than those that are fried, their flavour is fresher too. Here, thin slices of beetroot and potato are baked to make dippers for a spicy Southeast Asian dip. If possible, slice the vegetables with a mandolin to ensure they are all an even thickness.

Mushroom and thyme toasts

Mushroom and thyme toasts

Make this whenever you are short of time and want to prepare a satisfying snack quickly. The rich flavour of chestnut mushrooms is enhanced by cooking them with garlic, herbs and a dollop of tangy crème fraîche, and they taste wonderful piled on top of toast spread with ricotta.

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Spiced fruit, nuts and seeds

Spiced fruit, nuts and seeds

This mildly spiced mix of crunchy nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, tangy dried cranberries and sweet sultanas is great for nibbling as a healthy snack or with drinks. Children love it (although it is not suitable for young children who can choke on nuts). You can easily vary the mix of nuts.

Spiced root vegetable wedges with mustard dip

Spiced root vegetable wedges with mustard dip

Lightly crushed coriander seeds and a hint of cinnamon accentuate the flavours of sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots, baked in wedges to make dippers for a tangy mustard and yogurt dip. This is a terrific way to add more vegetables to your diet.

Sticky prune and ginger teabread

Sticky prune and ginger teabread

The texture of this irresistible teabread is a mixture of crumbly ginger–spiced cake and a sticky, sweet prune purée that is rippled through it. The teabread keeps well – in fact, it improves after being stored for a day or two – and is a good choice for an energy–giving lunch box sweet.

Tuscan bean crostini

Tuscan bean crostini

Here's a delicious snack to be enjoyed hot or cold — toasted slices of baguette topped with a creamy white bean purée flavoured with garlic and thyme, and finished with colourful slices of tomato and leaves of rocket.

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Apple and hazelnut pikelets

Apple and hazelnut pikelets

Pikelets are an almost instant sweet snack. The thick batter is made by simply stirring together a few basic pantry ingredients, and the pikelets cook in minutes. Here they are flavoured with diced apple and toasted hazelnuts. Top with a little maple syrup and enjoy them warm from the pan.

Chorizo, grilled capsicum and tomato bruschetta

Chorizo, grilled capsicum and tomato bruschetta

This open sandwich of toasted ciabatta bread with a mixed capsicum topping is typical of the style of food enjoyed in Mediterranean countries, where bread, along with plenty of fruit and vegetables, is a mainstay of the diet. A little chorizo sausage adds a spicy note to the sweet capsicum mix.

Herbed cheese bagels

Herbed cheese bagels

A little parsley adds a hint of freshness and colour to dishes, but when used in quantity its unique flavour can really be appreciated. It also makes a healthy contribution along with the vegetables to this delicious filling for bagels, which is based on creamy reduced–fat cream cheese.

Cauliflower with crispy crumbs

Cauliflower with crispy crumbs

The crispy golden topping in this simple side dish is usually made by frying the breadcrumbs in a generous quantity of butter. This version uses a modest portion of olive oil and fresh herbs to flavour a topping that tastes good with all steamed or boiled vegetables.

Chicken and vegetable filo rolls

Chicken and vegetable filo rolls

These filo pastry rolls make an excellent starter, or you could serve two rolls each for a light meal. The filling is a colourful mixture of low–fat chicken mince and plenty of vegetables, with a little ham and fresh herbs to add to the flavour. The rolls are served with a piquant cranberry relish.

Chicken and yellow capsicum loaf

Chicken and yellow capsicum loaf

This mustardy chicken and capsicum loaf, wrapped in thin slices of zucchini, is perfectly complemented by the fresh tomato and basil sauce – a very colourful dish, full of savoury flavours. Serve the loaf hot with a potato and leek mash, or try it cold with a crunchy raw–vegetable salad.

Sweet roast chicken bun

Sweet roast chicken bun

Few snacks can be more universally popular than sandwiches. Try this sweet and spicy combination of lean chicken roasted with a honey and mustard dressing, juicy mango slices and crisp lettuce leaves.

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