Cooking for chemo recipes: comfort food for winter | Leukaemia Foundation

Cooking for chemo recipes: comfort food for winter

Split Pea Soup with Tumeric & Fennel


500g yellow split peas
1 smoked ham hock (optional)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 large bulb fennel, roughly chopped, fronds reserved for garnish
5cm thumb ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 bay leaves 2cm thumb turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (or 1tsp powdered)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp oregano
2L water (or stock if not using ham hock)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
½ lemon, juice
50ml crème fraiche or yoghurt
salt and pepper


Optional: the night before, soak the split peas in water, then rinse and drain. This will reduce the cooking time by 30-40 minutes.

Heat olive oil in large cast iron pot or saucepan over medium heat.

Add all the chopped vegetables and cook until softened (~5 minutes). Season well with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and spices and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the split peas, ham hock and water (or stock if not using the ham) and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the split peas are falling apart.

Remove the ham hock and once cool, remove and roughly chop the meat. Blend the soup with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the ham, lemon juice and mustard seeds. Serve garnished with some crème fraiche, olive oil and reserved fennel fronds.

Makes 2 litres, serves 6 – 8

Recipe: courtesy Ben Macdonald

Apple & Pear Crumble


650g Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm chunks
350g pears, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm chunks
50g sultanas
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup castor sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
Pinch nutmeg

Crumble topping

170g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup castor sugar
130g chilled butter, cut into 1 cm cubes


Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large single dish (approx. 1.5 litre) or 6-8 smaller dishes with butter.

To make the crumble topping, a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. To make the filling, combine all other ingredients. Place into prepared dish(es) and cover with crumble topping. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes and then serve.

Tip: Add almonds/walnuts and shredded coconut to the topping mixture for extra crunch.

Serves 4-6

Recipe courtesy: James and Melanie Maddock

These recipes are from the Leukaemia Foundation’s Cooking for Chemo booklet.

Last updated on August 27th, 2019

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.

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