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Cover: Quick cuisine

April, 2012

30Apr 12

Chicken and bacon roulades with cream cheese and rosemary

chicken and bacon rouladesI never tire of roulades, and neither do my taste buds. My personal favourites are chicken and bacon roulades with cream cheese and rosemary. For me, there is something about mixing two distinct flavours into one that has a strange appeal. Besides being easy to prepare, roulades combine two or more different foods, and by doing so, often create a surprising culinary sensation.

Often roulades are considered a fantastic dessert option. This Chocolate Roulade is absolutely scrumptious.

I myself am a “meat and potatoes girl”. Veggies are delicious, but nothing beats the idea of mixing two kinds of meat into one dish and having potatoes as the carbohydrate base. And I know I’m not alone. My girlfriends are known to throw pot luck dinners, granting me the opportunity to show off my culinary skills as well as the possibility of tasting others’ dishes. I take lots of ideas away from those meals, but my friends always demand that I bring these roulades! And that is just fine with me.

For your next dinner function, I recommend this dish. Not only is it quick and easy, but your friends will vote you “Top Chef” of the night.

What we need:

  • 3 big potatoes
  • 4 thin chicken fillets
  • 250g bacon
  • 3 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

How to make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees celsius.
2. Put some oil in an oven-safe form.
3. Peel and slice the potatoes.
4. Place the potatoes in the form, pour the olive oil and sprinkle the rosemary and salt over them.
5. Take the chicken fillets and pat them as flat as possible.
6. Spread the cream cheese onto the chicken and sprinkle the pepper over them.
7. Roll the chicken fillets into tubes and wrap the bacon around them.
8. Place the chicken and bacon rolls on top of the potatoes.
9. Place in the middle of the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
10. Serve with an iceberg and tomato salad.

Serves: 8

Time needed: 20 minutes

Level: easy

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25Apr 12

Tagliatelle with salmon

Tagliatelle with salmon

 

This dish of Tagliatelle with salmon, horseradish and dill is not only easy to make, it is also tasty and healthy. Horseradish is thought to have both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory effects and can help boost the immune system. And lo and behold, some say it even has aphrodisiacal properties.

The more I research the benefits of horseradish, the more I find. This ingredient is similar to mustard and is a cheap substitute for the Japanese wasabi used in sushi. It seems to be a superfood that not only adds punch to a dish, but also can help fight everything from the common cold and flu to urinary tract infections. In traditional folk medicine, it is thought to be one of the best treatments against sinus problems as it clears them when they are congested.

Forget chicken noodle soup – this is what I usually make when I am feeling a bit under the weather. Just a few weeks ago, I got caught in a rainstorm and had the sniffles for several days. This hearty recipe warmed my belly, and the next day I was feeling much better. Whether it was the horseradish, the hot creamy sauce that soothed my sore throat or the long nap I took afterwards, somehow this recipe got me feeling revived and much more energetic!

There are a number of products in which you can find horseradish; the basic prepared horseradish, cream-style prepared horseradish, specialty mustards, dips, spreads, relishes and dressings can all contain this flavourful ingredient.

Since I am a huge fan of pasta in all its varieties, I thought I´d try this dish with tagliatelle, a broad flat pasta. I hope you enjoy this dish!

What we need:

  • 150g dried tagliatelle
  • 200g of gravadlax (dry-cured salmon)
  • 200ml of light creme fraiche
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill

How to make it:

1. Boil the pasta according to instructions on the package.
2. Cut the salmon into a saucepan and add the crème fraiche, honey, lemon and horseradish. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
4. Add the dill.
5. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the crème fraiche and salmon sauce.
6. Mix carefully and serve immediately.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

Note: I also recommend this baked salmon with red pesto, red peppers and tomatoes.

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19Apr 12

Mini pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts

Mini pancakesSometimes in the evening I just want a little something. I feel like a small snack to put me to bed without a rumbling stomach so that I get my daily beauty sleep and well-deserved rest. (If I do say so myself!)

On other occasions, I have a house full of dressed-up friends and want to keep them entertained while they wait for the main dish. Sometimes on those occasions, a single glass of white wine just doesn’t cut it because their stomachs are rumbling.

Mini pancakes with savoury toppings is a great way to keep my mingling guests happy while still hungry enough to tuck into the main dish once it arrives on the table.
Be it an evening snack or a formal appetizer, these mini pancakes are perfect and always welcome. Spinach and mozzarella blended with tomatoes and pine nuts are a heavenly combination and will do the trick on any occasion. They are delicious – and so easy to make.

Be prepared to receive recipe inquiries!

What we need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 75g of flour
  • 5 decilitres of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 125g of mozzarella cheese
  • 150g of fresh spinach
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 decilitres of pine nuts

How to make it:
1. Whip together the eggs, flour and milk.
2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mixture.
3. Pour the paste into a mini pancake cast-iron skillet (or one by one if you don’t have one) and fry on middle temperature.
4. Crumble the mozzarella cheese over the mini pancakes when they start to harden.
5. Let the cheese harden.
6. Fry the spinach and garlic in a saucepan using some butter or olive oil.
7. Chop the tomatoes.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes and pine nuts to the spinach and garlic.
9. Place a tablespoon of the mixture onto the pancakes and serve immediately on a large plate.

TIP: If you don’t have an iron skillet for mini pancakes, you can use ready-made blinis found in most supermarkets. Or you can try a similar basic pancake batter recipe.

Serves: 8
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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18Apr 12

Chicken fajitas with red onion and guacamole

Chicken FajitasI love Mexican food for its spiciness and simplicity of the dishes. The typical foods such as spicy tortillas, nachos, quesadillas, and fajitas all are really filling and use combinations of flavours that I can´t get enough of! Plus, in my opinion, they are quite easy to throw together for a hearty meal.

Chicken fajitas with red onion and guacamole is a dish that I make at least twice a week because it is so yummy and simple to make. Fajitas make perfect student food because they are easy like a sandwich but with proper meal ingredients.

I usually cosy up with these fajitas and my favourite TV series after a full day at Uni. Although, since I stuff them so full, I have to be careful not to let all the ingredients spill out onto the couch. Regardless, I love this dish. All I can say is: Viva Mexico!

What we need:

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 6 Mexican tortillas
  • 100g of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of spicy red Mexican sauce
  • 200ml of guacamole
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Herbs: garlic, ginger, pepper and cayenne pepper (a pinch of each)

How to make it:

  1. Chop the chicken breast into long slices.
  2. Place them in the oil in a frying pan and fry until cooked and sprinkle the herbs over it.  Place in a bowl for later.
  3. Chop the peppers and onion and fry them in the frying pan.
  4. Now, put the chicken back in the pan together with the peppers and onion. Add the Mexican sauce to taste, depending on how spicy you want it.
  5. Preheat the tortillas in the oven or microwave.
  6. Spread a tablespoon of guacamole on a tortilla and add some of the chicken and pepper mixture.
  7. Sprinkle some of the grated cheese on top according to taste.
  8. Roll the tortilla into a roll and eat with your fingers or a knife and fork.

Enjoy!!

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Level: easy

You can either buy ready-made guacamole or make it yourself. Try this spicy guacamole recipe.

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15Apr 12

Baked potatoes with leek and Mascarpone cheese

Baked Potato with Leeks and Mascarpone CheeseDuring the winter time, I have found that my body craves more starchy foods such as potatoes. Mmmm…. The best part is that there is a huge variety of potato dishes! They can be baked, cooked, fried, boiled, and sautéed. They can be served hot or cold; as an accompaniment, main ingredient or in a salad. I have tried elaborate crushed new potatoes with feta cheese or plain potatoes with just a pinch of salt. This veggie can be cooked in any way imaginable and still be delicious.

The best part is that potatoes are year-round and cheap. These types of meals definitely fit into my student budget.

One easy potato dish is the baked potato. I have always loved how versatile baked potatoes can be, with basically hundreds of different fillings to choose from. For me, crispy baked potatoes with leek and Mascarpone cheese has become one of my personal favourites, since I can add whatever I want to the basic recipe: crispy bacon, sliced ham, sliced and fried chicken, tuna, or why not pieces of fried salmon? It is so easy to make and perfect for a winter evening!

What we need:

  • 4 large potatoes for baking
  • 1/2 a leek
  • 1 red onion
  • 25g of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 a decilitre of chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 a decilitre of chopped green onion

How we make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees.
2. Wash the potatoes and place them in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop the pepper and onion into very fine pieces and chop the leek.
4. Fry the leek in the olive oil and add the red pepper, onion and thyme. Let it fry for 1-2 minutes and add salt and pepper according to taste.
5. Prepare the Mascarpone cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.
6. When the potatoes are ready, cut a cross on the top and make a hole by removing some of the inside of the potato.
7. Place a tablespoon of the cheese in the hole made in the potatoes.
8. Let it melt a little and then add a tablespoon of the leek, onion and pepper mix.

Voila! Sprinkle a bit of chopped green onion on top for presentation, and your baked potatoes are served!

Serves: 4
Time needed: 10 minutes + 50 minutes for the potatoes in the oven
Level: very easy

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11Apr 12

Linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoes

Linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoesOne could write a book about all the different kinds of pasta that the Italians have invented. Wait, they probably already have! Here is a recipe using just one of those pastas in this linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoes. (Also try this chilli garlic pasta.)

Linguine means ‘little tongues’ in Italian, due to them being flatter and wider than spaghetti. My recipe combines linguine with cherry tomatoes, garlic and balsamic vinegar and really couldn’t be easier to prepare. Perfect as a quick dish to whizz together when I arrive home late after a day at uni. I just have to remember that, with all that garlic, I might want to buy some chewing gum the day after!

What we need:

  • 2 medium-sized garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  • 60g dried linguine
  • 25-30 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 -2 pinches of salt and pepper according to taste

How to make it:

1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves into very fine slices. Wash and chop the basil leaves finely as well.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic slices. Fry on a low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly until very lightly golden.

3. Wash and chop the cherry tomatoes into halves, or leave whole as desired.
4.  Mix the cherry tomatoes and sugar with half of the chopped basil leaves. Cook for around 5 minutes on a medium heat until the tomatoes just start to break up. Switch off the heat.

3. Cook the linguine per instructions and drain. Return to the saucepan after draining and add some olive oil to separate the strands of pasta.

4. Return the tomatoes to the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Pour the tomato mixture into the pan of linguine and mix the pasta all together with the cherry tomatoes.

6. Place the pasta onto plates and sprinkle with the remaining basil and some grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 15 minutes
Level: very easy

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07Apr 12

Shrimp soup with coconut milk and red curry paste

Shrimp soup with coconut milkA few years ago, I visited Bangkok while backpacking around Asia, and several times I bought shrimp soup with coconut milk and red curry paste from one of the small food stalls. I remember how delicious and cheap the soup was, and how happy it made my taste buds.

After having been in Asia, I feel a sense of “something missing” when I arrive home from school and only find rather bland food in my pantry. I recall my holiday’s exotic flavours and dishes made with a blend of spices that I wouldn´t dream of trying myself because it seems so overwhelming. I remember dishes that had that hard-to-describe tang that made my taste buds somersault with pleasure. And I sigh and think that those types of food are for holidays or restaurant visits only.

Although nowadays we are flooded with recipes of Thai dishes, often we think we don´t have time to “go exotic”, and that they just seem too difficult to make at home. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After doing some research, I found a recipe for a Thai soup that is easy to make, and which has both the delicious mildness of the coconut milk and the spicy tang of the red curry. Add to that the meaty taste of the shrimp, and your taste buds will be back in Bangkok! (If you are a chicken lover, don’t worry. This chicken in coconut milk broth will do the trick as well!)

What we need:

  • 1 squash
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil
  • 1 pressed clove of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of lobster stock
  • 4 decilitres of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste
  • 5 decilitres of chicken broth
  • 400g of shrimp
  • 1/2 decilitre of fresh thyme and some fresh coriander (as decoration)

How to make it:
1. Rinse and cut the squash and leek into strips.
2. Sizzle them in the oil in a saucepan together with the pressed garlic.
3. Cut the red onion in slices and add in the saucepan.
4. Add all the other ingredients except the shrimp.
5. Let it all simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the shrimp.
7. Pour the soup into large bowls and place the fresh coriander on top. Serve with fresh wholemeal bread and butter.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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04Apr 12

Pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese

Pita bread with fried vegetables and ricotta cheese

Like I said in an earlier post, spinach is one of my new favourite foods, and I try to incorporate it into as many meals as possible. Fortunately, when you buy it fresh, it usually comes in a huge bag which will last you for many dishes. Another reason I like to use it fresh is because in this form, it retains more of its nutrients.

Another one of my favourites, this time an herb, is the exquisite coriander which gives a dish a lovely exotic feel. I thought mixing spinach and coriander might be a good idea, and yes, it turned out to be tasty. Interestingly, apart from being really delicious, did you know that coriander can help alleviate certain kinds of hay fever? Good to know in springtime, folks!

Here is a simple recipe for a pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese. If you don’t like tuna, you can just as well add any protein, such as smoked salmon or chicken. It feels like you have just made a luxury sandwich! (I also recommend this hot smoked salmon bruschetta.)

What we need:

  • 150g of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 small tin of tuna
  • 2-3 pitas
  • 1 small onion
  • 90g of fresh spinach
  • 1 tomato
  • 10 small mushrooms
  • 60g of fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon of salad herbs

How to make it:
1. Wash and cut the mushrooms, tomato and onion. Place the olive oil in a frying pan and heat. Once at a medium temperature, throw in the veggies and fry until soft.
2. Wash the spinach and coriander. Cut off the stems and discard. Chop the leafy part into small bits and mix them together in a bowl.
3. Mix the salad herbs into the ricotta cheese.
4. When the vegetables in the frying pan are soft, pour out some of the excess liquid. Add the tin of tuna and the salt and let it all fry together for 3 minutes while mixing.
5. Preheat the pita bread in the oven.
6. When hot, cut a slit in each pita bread and fill them with fried vegetables, ricotta cheese and the spinach/coriander mix.
7. Serve with a glass of cold beer.

Serves: 2-3
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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02Apr 12

Pasta salad with broccoli and fried bacon

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and BaconBroccoli and bacon make a great combination. I especially like broccoli salad with bacon because of the contrast with the leafy green veg and crispy meat. In this recipe for pasta salad with broccoli and fried bacon, I add pasta to the mix, as well as a few more veggies for good measure.

I am aware that pasta salad is considered a summer food, but being the eternal optimist, and having seen the latest weather forecasts for London, I believe we soon enough will be visiting the park for a spring picnic. One can only hope!

It is not important whether we have to eat it inside huddled on the couch or, with better luck, on a picnic blanket in the park. Regardless of the weather, a pasta salad is easy to make and is a quick and cheap lunch to bring to University in a plastic box. Plus, it stays fresh for 1-2 days in the fridge! Make a large bowl and you are set for lunch, dinner AND picnic time!

What we need:

  • 500g of Penne pasta
  • 1 large red onion
  • 200g of broccoli
  • 200g of Feta cheese
  • 100g of black olives, without pits
  • 200g of sliced bacon
  • 100g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 pinches of ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 and ½ decilitre of crème fraiche (sour cream or natural thick yoghurt for cooking)
  • 2 cloves of garlic

How we make it:

  1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and put in a bowl for later.
  2. Chop the onion into thin slices.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber into squares.
  4. Chop the olives into halves.
  5. Put all the chopped vegetables into a large bowl.
  6. Fry the bacon in the oil. Take off excess fat with paper and let it dry.
  7. Once cool, cut the bacon into slices and place in a bowl.
  8. Grate the Feta cheese over the salad and add the sun-dried tomatoes.
  9. Mix all the ingredients and carefully put the pasta in the large bowl.
  10. Add the pepper according to taste.
  11. Pour the crème fraiche into a small bowl and press the garlic cloves into it. Mix carefully and pour into a salad bowl. Mix with all the ingredients.

Serves: 3-4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: very easy

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