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The Hemsley sisters on their food philosophy, recipe inspiration & ultimate kitchen essentials

Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley open up on wholesome food, their inspiration and all time favourite recipes.

Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley
Loved by the food, fitness and fashion industries alike, UK sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have taken the health industry by storm since launching their wellness business in 2010.
Their first cookbook, The Art of Eating Well, was a bestseller and their second one, Good + Simple, has been a huge success as well. Their TV series Healthy + Delicious is currently screening in New Zealand on Monday nights on Food TV; get to know the sisters a little better and try out three of their delicious wholefoods recipes.
Their food philosophy:
We believe in simple, wholesome, home-cooked food. All our recipes are free from gluten, grains, refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils – but big on flavour! We love meat, fish, fruit, veggies and natural fats and champion whole foods that are packed with nutrients and taste delicious. We avoid refined and heavily processed carbohydrates and replace them with a feast of complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, for greater nutritional value. Our way of eating doesn’t involve counting calories – it’s not a fad diet – instead we focus on eating nourishing and nutritious food that makes you feel like the best possible version of yourself inside and out, hence our motto: Good food, good mood, good digestion, good health.
The Hemsley sisters
What’s the inspiration behind your recipes?
These recipes are really our everyday favourites - the ones we come back to time again because they are so easy but totally satisfying. We take a lot of inspiration from our Mum’s cooking because that’s what we grew up with; she’s Filipina so you’ll see a lot of those lovely, tangy Asian flavours in our recipes Green Goddess Noodle Salad and Asian Short-Rib Stew. Some of our recipes are classic dishes with an H+H twist and some are childhood favourites that we’ve reinvented. We’re often challenged by our friends and family to create new dishes based around a particular ingredient or theme, and we’re always inspired by our readers and clients who ask us to take their favourite foods and reinvent them H+H style while making them taste just as good as the original – like our Tahini Date Fridge Fudge.
Tahini Date Fridge Fudge
Recipe: Tahini Date Fridge Fudge
(Makes about 18 fudge squares)
Ingredients:
• 1/2 mugful of pitted dates (chewy dried dates rather than the larger soft ones) or to taste
• 1 x 340g jar of light tahini
• 4 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature, or extra-virgin olive oil
• Sea salt flakes
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and desiccated coconut, or goji berries to decorate (optional)
Instructions
● Line a small baking tin – about 11cm x 17cm – or similar-sized receptacle (we used a glass lunchbox) with baking parchment.
● Place the dates in a food processor with the tahini, coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and blend to a smooth, thick paste. Taste and add more salt if desired.
● Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and use a spatula to press the mixture down evenly.
● Decorate the top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and desiccated coconut or goji berries (if using), pour over any leftover oil from the food processor and press down gently.
● Freeze or chill in the fridge until firm – about 15 minutes in the freezer and 30 minutes in the fridge. Store in the fridge and serve chilled.
What’s your favourite recipe from G+S?
Our Flaxseed Buns because it’s a brilliant gluten- and grain- free recipe that tastes and feels like real bread – which is something everyone seems to miss when they stop eating gluten! We’ve been testing bread recipes for years in an attempt to hit upon a really good alternative to regular wheat bread this definitely ticks all the boxes. These buns are great for bringing filled sandwiches on the go, used as burger buns and can also be baked focaccia style. We also have an amazing Quinoa + Courgette loaf, which is packed with protein, tastes delish and is great toasted. When we brought out The Art Of Eating Well, our Avo Lime Cheesecake quickly became one of our most famous recipes, because nobody could believe that you could make such a delicious, sweet dessert from avocados.
Avocado and lime cheesecake
Recipe: Avocado and Lime Cheesecake
Ingredients
For the base:
● 125g pecans, soaked and dried as above
● 45g desiccated coconut
● 70g cacao nibs
● 185g pitted dates (approx 32)
● 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
For the filling:
● 560g avocado flesh (from approx 5 medium-large avocados)
● 200ml lime juice (roughly 8 to 10 limes)
● 175ml coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
● 1 tsp lime zest
● 190g honey
Instructions
● Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.
● Place the pecans and desiccated coconut on a lined baking-tray lined. Place in the oven for seven to eight minutes, until toasted.
● Transfer the pecans to a food processor and add the rest of the base ingredients. Blend until the mixture is crumbly (don’t let it go completely smooth) and holds together when pinched.
● Line the base and sides of an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with baking-paper and tip in the base mixture. Press this down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon, ensuring it is neat and flat where it meets the tin. Transfer the tin to the fridge while you prepare the filling.
● Place all of the ingredients for the filling into the food processor and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and silky. Check for taste – add more lime juice, zest or honey according to preference, but it’s best to keep this deliciously tangy.
● Remove the cake tin from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Cover the tin, using a plate or clingfilm, and return it to the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
● To serve, run a knife between the tin and the cake and carefully push the base up from the bottom. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
The sisters swear by a spiralizer
What are your kitchen equipment essentials?
Our spiralizer always has pride of place in the kitchen! It’s a fantastic way of replacing starchy, refined carbs like pasta and noodles with loads of fresh, vitamin and mineral-rich vege and fruit. We use it for much more than just courgettes; celeriac, carrots, cucumber, butternut squash, beetroot, apple and sweet potato are just a few of our spiralizing favourites! A slow-cooker is a great piece of equipment to have in your kitchen. As well as making soups, stews and curries, it’s also the easiest way to make bone broth. We love it because it’s a no-fuss, one-pot solution to so many meals – which means you’re not standing over a stove for hours and there’s hardly any washing up! In Good + Simple we demonstrate some of our favourite slow-cooker recipes, like a Slow-Cooked ‘No-Fry’ Chicken Curry.
Chicken curry
Recipe: Slowcooked Chicken Curry
Ingredients:
● 4 medium onions, chopped
● 8 cloves of garlic, sliced
● Approx. 2-3 inches of ginger, roughly chopped (or to taste)
● 2 tablespoons tomato puree
● 4 tablespoons of garam masala
● 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
● 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
● 1 x 400ml tin chopped tomatoes
● 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
● 4 cups of bone-broth or water
● 6 chicken thighs
● 2 large handfuls of spinach
● Juice of ½ a lemon
Instructions:
Put the tomato puree, garam masala, paprika and cayenne into your slowcooker. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and bone broth.
  1. Add the onions, garlic and ginger.
  2. Finally, add the chicken thighs, nestling them in the sauce.
  3. Turn slowcooker on low and leave to cook for about 8 hours, or turn it on high and it will cook in about 3-4 hours.
  4. Just before serving, stir through 2 large handfuls of spinach and allow it to wilt in the curry. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the curry and serve.
Cauliflower Rice
Ingredients:
½ a head of cauliflower per person, (chopped roughly into florets if using food processor)
1-2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp bone broth
A pinch of salt
Instructions:
  1. Add the chopped cauliflower to a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles small, rice-sized pieces.
  2. Alternatively, you can simply grate the whole cauliflower into small rice-sized pieces.
  3. Add the cauliflower, bone broth, coconut oil and salt to a pan.
  4. Cover the saucepan and leave to steam for about 6-7 minutes, until tender.
Cutting refined sugar is one of the Hemsley sisters' golden three rules of eating healthier
What are three ways people can start eating healthier today?
  1. Swap refined sugar for natural sugars – and less of them! If you have a real sweet tooth, try to wean yourself off refined sugar by substituting it for small amounts of natural sweeteners, like raw honey, maple syrup, dates or other fruits. Remember though, that even natural sweeteners do contain sugar, so it’s still best not to have too many of these in your diet.
  1. Replace refined carbs like bread, pasta, noodles and rice with more nutritious whole foods. As well as enjoying spiralised veg instead of noodles and pasta, a great alternative to rice or couscous is Cauliflower and Broccoli rice, which take literally five minutes to prepare, are full of nutrients and taste delicious! Vary your diet by including pseudocereals like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, which are a great whole food alternative to other refined carbohydrates.
  1. Forget hydrogenated vegetable oils and start using coconut oil, ghee and grass-fed butter for frying and baking. Save the extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed oils for drizzling over the finished meal in their raw state, in order to preserve their natural flavour and nutrients, which can be destroyed when they are used for cooking at a high temperature.