Wholesome food for chilly days

Sarah Pound is all about fast, healthy-ish weeknight dinners for the family. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Sarah Pound is all about fast, healthy-ish weeknight dinners for the family. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

One of the joys of winter is a Sunday at home with something yummy in the oven or slow cooker, creating rich and delicious flavours with little or no work from the cook.

THE BOOK: Images and text from Wholesome by Sarah: Fast weeknight dinner ideas for the whole...
THE BOOK: Images and text from Wholesome by Sarah: Fast weeknight dinner ideas for the whole family, by Sarah Pound, published by MacMillan, RRP $49.99

Melbourne nutritionist, caterer and mother-of-two Sarah Pound is all about fast, healthy-ish weeknight dinners for the family, but she could not resist putting a section in her cookbook - Wholesome by Sarah - called “Sunday Sessions”, which features dishes cooked over a long period of time.

“I want to help you find joy in the cooking process, experiment with different flavours and create memorable dishes that fill you with a sense of accomplishment.”

During the cooler months, the oven and slow cooker come into their own, so she includes tips on how to use both to best advantage.

She also has a section on nourishing bowls of soup - “bowls of goodness to fill you up and nourish you from the inside” - some that are hearty enough to be a meal in themselves.

“Total comfort on a chilly day and true remedies for the soul.”

Ultimately, she says, she wants to show people that salads do not have to be tasteless, healthy food does not need to be boring and getting meals on the table definitely should not be a struggle.

My mum’s chicken & corn soup

I really love this soup; my mum has made it all my life and I now make it for my girls, who adore it, too.

Her secret is to cook the corn cobs in the stock to create lovely flavour.


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


1½ litres chicken stock

3 corn cobs

500g chicken tenderloins

2 400g cans creamed corn

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

4 spring onions, finely sliced

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 egg, lightly whisked

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper



First, get a good flavour base going. Place the chicken stock, corn cobs and chicken in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the corn and chicken and develop flavour.

Remove the corn cobs and chicken from the pan. Cut the kernels from the cobs.

Shred or chop the chicken. Set both aside.

Add the creamed corn and ginger to the pan and stir well. Return the corn kernels and chicken to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the spring onion and soy sauce, then pour in the egg and whisk with a fork for 2 minutes until the whisked egg forms fine ribbons in the soup. Check the seasoning - you may not need any salt because of the stock - and add pepper to your liking, then serve.


Asian slow-cooked lamb shoulder

I’m obsessed with this recipe and have served it many times when we have people over for dinner.

It is unbelievably simple to prepare and the result is succulent, fall-apart lamb that’s an absolute flavour bomb.



Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours


2kg lamb shoulder, bone in

1 Tbsp salt flakes

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

500ml (2 cups) water

spring onions, Asian herbs and squeezed lime juice to serve


Asian marinade

6 crushed garlic cloves

1 roughly chopped red onion

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

125ml (½ cup) soy sauce

3 Tbsp kecap manis

2 Tbsp oyster sauce

2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger


To serve

Rice and steamed Asian greens



Let’s go! Heat the oven to 220°C (fan-forced).

Place the lamb in a large, deep casserole dish.

Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle on the olive oil. Roast the lamb in the oven for 35 minutes until the skin is caramelised and lovely and brown.

On to the marinade. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then set aside.

Remove the lamb from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 140°C (fan-forced).

Time for some flavour. Pour the water around the lamb to cover the base. Spoon the marinade over the lamb, be very generous with this. Reserve a little to baste the lamb while cooking.

Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid. Slow-cook in the oven for 6-7 hours, basting with the marinade every couple of hours, until the lamb pulls away easily from the bone.

Transfer the lamb to a large serving plate. Drizzle on some of the pan juices and scatter with spring onion and Asian herbs and squeeze on some lime juice. Serve with rice and steamed Asian greens.


• If you don’t have a large enough casserole dish, you can cook the lamb in a deep roasting tin. Make sure when covering the tin with foil that it is very tightly wrapped to stop air and moisture escaping.

• Depending on your oven, the lamb may require slightly longer. It is perfect when a fork pulls the meat away from the bone easily.

Chicken korma curry pie

The best part of this dish is you can enjoy it as a beautiful curry, or you can go one step further and transform it into an incredible and comforting pie.



Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 1 ½ hours


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

4cm piece of ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp garam masala

3 heaped Tbsp good-quality korma paste

2 Tbsp plain flour

1.2kg boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4cm cubes

400ml can coconut cream

80ml (1/3 cup) chicken stock

200g (1½ cups) jap pumpkin, cut into 3cm cubes

2 large parsnips, cut into 2cm cubes

125g (1 cup) frozen green beans, thawed

1 handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

4 frozen puff pastry sheets, semi thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten


1 Tbsp sesame seeds



Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until starting to colour. Stir in the ginger and garlic and continue to stir for 2 minutes until softened. Add the garam masala and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the korma paste, stir well and cook for 3 minutes until fragrant and well combined. You can stir in a tablespoon of water or stock if everything is starting to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Now for the chicken. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, stir and cook out for 1-2 minutes. Tip in the chicken and stir through until well coated in the aromatics.

Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is browned. Pour in the coconut cream and chicken stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

Don’t forget the vegetables. Add the pumpkin and parsnip to the pan and stir to coat well in the sauce.

Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Turn off the heat, add the green beans and stir in the coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.

Get ready. Heat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced).

Grease a 2-litre capacity pie dish with the melted butter (you can use paper towel or a pastry brush to do this).

It’s time to assemble. Line the base and side of the dish with two slightly overlapping sheets of puff pastry, making sure you pinch the edges together to join at the centre seam and allow the pastry to overhang the side of the dish. Spoon the chicken korma filling into the pastry case and cover with the remaining joined puff pastry sheets. Trim the excess pastry and pinch the top and side together to seal.

You can be very casual with this and use your fingers to mould the edges together. Brush the pastry with the egg and cut two small slits on top. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is piping hot.