You may have read our last recipes blog where we shared our thoughts on the parsnip and coconut soup, watercress and leek soup and smoked fish chowder. This time we’re letting you know how we got on cooking three of the main courses.

We have a book full of recipes especially for people with cancer.  Each recipe is designed to be appetising and to encourage you to eat even when you don’t feel like it. We wanted to make sure they were up to scratch so we put a few of them to the test.

In the book, we’ve added the following symbols to the recipes, so you can quickly spot the ones that may suit you. These are a guideline only and you should talk to your doctor about which foods are suitable for you.

Illustration of symbols relating to the recipes: suitable for people with a dry or sore mouth; suitable for people with loss of weight or appetite;  suitable for people with problems chewing or swallowing; suitable for people with loss of taste or smell; suitable for people with sickness or nausea; a quick and simple recipe  

We’d love to hear from you too. So if you have any recipes of your own that you’d like to share, please leave a comment below or email us at

You can order a copy or download our book Recipes for people affected by cancer by visiting 


One-pot fish with black olives and tomatoes (contributed by Good Food magazine)

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking 20 minutes

Serves 4

Suitable for people with problems with chewing or swallowing, people with a loss of taste or smell. This is a quick and simple recipe, as well as healthy

Image shows One-pot fish with black olives and tomatoes before cooking. Ingredients include, tinned tomatoes, an onion, fish fillet, olives, salt and pepper and parsley

Olive oil (2 tbsp)

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g/14oz)

Salt and black pepper

Black olives (175g/6oz), stones removed

4 boneless white fish fillets, such as cod or hoki (175g/6oz each)

Fresh parsley (2 tbsp), chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

This recipe was tried by one of our Senior Editors Tess.

‘It was really quick and easy to get the ingredients and to cook this. I normally have most of these ingredients in the cupboard or freezer anyway.

I agree with the key – it’s very soft and flavoursome, so it’s good for people with problems chewing or loss of taste/smell. I've lost my sense of smell so I like making dishes with herbs and strong-tasting flavours, and I really enjoyed this. Olives taste strongly and because you cook this in the oven for 20 minutes, the tomatoes are nice and sweet.

This dish is low-fat, so it would also be a good healthy-eating option. Because it’s so tasty, healthy and quick to make, I’ll definitely add this to my repertoire!’

 Image shows One-pot fish with black olives and tomatoes in a baking tin after cooking

Broccoli Mornay (contributed by Elizabeth Ward)

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking 1 hour

Serves 4

Recipe is suitable for people with a dry sore mouth, problems with chewing or swallowing, people with a loss of taste or smell and loss of weight or appetite

Image shows all the ingredients for Broccoli Mornay in a glass dish ready for cooking.

Unsalted butter (115g/4oz)

4 large tomatoes, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

Salt and black pepper

Tomato ketchup (4 tbsp) or tomato puree (2 tbsp)

Broccoli (450g/1lb), cut into florets

For the white sauce

Butter (55g/2oz)

Milk (560ml/1 pint)

Flour (55g/2oz)

Salt and black pepper

Cayenne pepper (0.5 tsp)

Mustard powder (0.5 tsp)

Cheese (170g/6oz), grated

Our Managing Editor Abi baked this dish and had lots of helpful feedback. 

‘The recipe is definitely suitable for people with a dry or sore mouth or with chewing problems. It has tons of butter and cheese so it would be good for people who’ve lost weight or their appetite, but maybe not for people with sickness or nausea.

The ingredients were easy to find and it was handy to know that it didn’t matter which type of milk I used because skimmed, full fat or soya milk would all work.

I found that two medium sized heads of broccoli were about right to make up the weight (450g). I didn’t know I’d need two and had only brought one, but luckily had another in the fridge. 

It was very easy to make and didn’t take long to prepare and cook. It took me a little more than 15 minutes to prep (closer to 30 because the chopping took me a while!). I cooked it until the top turned brown and left it in a bit longer (about 30 mins) until the cheese was really crispy - it looked perfect.

I suspect any keen cooks would be happy to make it, but if you weren’t feeling 100% it might be too much. Because it’s a building-up recipe, I probably wouldn’t make it for myself again as it’s a lot of calories!’

Image shows Broccoli Mornay after it has been cooked.


Spring onion, garlic, and prawn risotto

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking 35 minutes

Serves 4

Recipe is suitable for people with a dry sore mouth, problems with chewing or swallowing, people with a loss of taste or smell. This is a healthier-eating recipe


Image shows Spring onion, garlic, and prawn risotto before cooking. There are two pans - one containing chicken stock and one containing rice

Olive oil (1 tbsp)

2 bunches of spring onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

Arborio rice (310g/11oz)

Chicken stock (560ml/1 pint)

Fish stock (560ml/1 pint)

20 large prawns

Juice of half a lemon

Parmesan cheese (1 tbsp)

Black pepper

Chives (1 tbsp), chopped

Aurélie, one of our Editors, had a go at cooking the risotto and was really pleased with how it turned out! 

‘The risotto is really good and simple and the recipe is clear. I used uncooked, peeled prawns to add more flavour. The advantage of this recipe is that it uses spring onions, because they cook much faster than regular onions and are really tender, which means you can prepare this dish really quickly.

The final comment I’d add is that for extra taste, I would not hesitate to add a bit more parmesan – makes it creamier and more flavoursome.’

Image shows Spring onion, garlic, and prawn risotto in a pot after it has been cooked. The prawns can be seen mixed with the rice and other ingredients.

There are lots of other main courses in the new edition of our recipe book, including: bacon and chorizo cassoulet, chicken curry and spring vegetable casserole. Download or order a copy and try them out!

To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

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