When we saw Macmillan’s tasty new recipe book for people affected by cancer, we couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and have a go at making some. The Community admin team – Laura, Priscilla and Laura Su – got together with social media intern Amy to test out some of the recipes and let you know what we thought.

All the dishes in Macmillan’s recipe book are designed to meet different needs for people affected by cancer – whether that’s being quick and easy to prepare, suitable for those trying to gain or lose weight, or for those with side effects such as a sore mouth. An at-a-glance key with each recipe tells you which categories it falls into.

You can download the recipe book as a free pdf or view all them all on the beautiful recipes Pinterest board created by Amy.

Sweet potato and parsnip curry with coconut rice, made by Priscilla

Sweet potato and parsnip curry with coconut rice

Suitable for: vegetarians, people with problems chewing, loss of taste or smell, loss of weight or appetite

I chose a vegetarian recipe because my boyfriend’s a vegetarian, but this made a pretty substantial meal, and I think it should satisfy meat-eaters, too.

I didn’t have any saffron lying about in my cupboards (who does?), so I just added a tiny bit of turmeric to the rice instead to give that lovely yellow colour. The sauce was really creamy and delicious, and the coconut milk gave it a really distinctive flavour that was different to he curries I would normally make.

It was more time-consuming than some of the recipes in the book, so it might not be the best one to pick if you’re not feeling up to much effort.

I think another time I might try making it with some different vegetables, to vary the texture a bit.

Orange cake, made by Amy

Orange cakes

Suitable for: vegetarians, people with loss of weight or appetite, loss of taste or smell, sickness or nausea, problems chewing, dry or sore mouth

I chose to make the orange cake from the recipe book - I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth and this was a perfect little treat. The recipe is supposed to make one big cake, but I divided the mix into little cupcake cases, as I didn’t have the right size tin. It also meant that I didn’t have to try cut the cake up when sharing with my friends!

The mix was quite easy to make, but I added a little flour as it was quite liquidy. Smelt delicious when in the oven and I had to stop myself from eating them whilst they were still piping hot! The syrup was nice and sticky but very sweet. The cakes themselves were lovely and light and I’m excited to make them again.

Vegetarian chilli, made by Laura Su

Vegetarian chilli

Suitable for: vegetarians, people with problems chewing, loss of taste or smell

I decided to make the veggie chilli as I had most of the ingredients in my fridge and cupboard already, and I’m a big fan of spicy food, so I thought I could be a little generous with the chilli powder...

I’m also a big fan of ‘one pot’ recipes, as I’m not so keen on washing up...

The recipe was extremely easy to follow, and easy to adapt to what you have. I also added some haricot beans and yellow peppers (instead of green peppers). Then I just had half an hour for everything to simmer. A perfect amount of time to listen to the Radio 4 comedy news quiz podcast, with a short stop half way in, to add the sweetcorn.

As I’m a little bit lactose intolerant, I used mayonnaise instead of sour cream, and also cooked up a bit of rice with the chilli. All in all, a very easy and scrummy winter dish.

Perfect chilli for chilly weather!

Smoked fish chowder, made by Laura

Smoked fish chowder

Suitable for: People with a dry or sore mouth, problems chewing, loss of taste or smell, loss of weight or appetite

I decided to make the smoked haddock fish chowder, for friends coming round for dinner.

The first thing to mention is that picture doesn’t really match what it asks you to do. The recipe says to blend it all up, but the soup in the picture is definitely not blended.  I decided not to blend, partly to save on washing up, partly because it looked good chunky.  Also, the recipe doesn’t mention the green sprinkles which are in the photo – I took a guess and chopped up some parsley. It tasted fine, but I think you could chuck on any fresh, chopped herbs that you happen to have in.   

There’s a fair bit of chopping, which is time-consuming, but most of the ingredients are things you’d tend to have in any way, such as onions and carrots. No scouring special sections in the shop to find what you need for this one. Also, I think you could swap in any fish you like in place of the smoked haddock if you wanted to. I skipped the cream, and I don’t think it would make too much difference if you swapped the butter with cooking oil if you prefer to go easy on the dairy.

Lastly, and most importantly, it tasted great! Wholesome, comforting and moreish.  As you can see from the pic, it makes a lot so you can freeze what you don’t eat to enjoy another time.

If you've got any favourite recipes, either from our recipe book or elsewhere, we''d love to hear about them - let us know in the comments below.