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Cover: Quick cuisine

June, 2012

06Jun 12

Blinis with apricot and cherry tomatoes topping

BlinisBlinis are similar to crepes, but the main difference between a blini and a crepe is that yeast can be used in blini, but not in crepes. Blinis is the traditional Russian mini pancake and is eaten during Shrovetide, a festival which coincides with similar festivals such as Mardi Gras or Carnival a week before Lent.

Blinis are usually served with caviar and sour cream, but really you could use endless variations of toppings. Here is a recipe for Blinis with an apricot and cherry tomato topping that can be used as an appetizer, finger food, or as a light snack before bedtime.

I have added dried apricots to this recipe, not only because they are sweet and delicious, but also because they are an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin A, a great antioxidant, which will help to retain healthy eyesight as we age. Being a heavy reader, I am a big fan of foods that help me protect my vision – I am always on the lookout for ‘eye-friendly´ ingredients, and it´s just an extra bonus if they happen to be as scrumptious as the apricot!

Leave the blinis as they are or cut into triangular slices for more of a ´finger-food´ feel, as I have done in this recipe. Since the apricot and tomato mixture goes on top, you could also it to top oat and buckwheat pancakes for a heartier snack.

What we need:

  • 2 blinis (normal size)
  • 80g of tuna
  • 5 dried apricots
  • 200g of natural yoghurt for cooking
  • 1 tablespoon of grainy French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (according to taste)
  • a small handful of parsley for topping

How to make them:

1. Place the yoghurt in a bowl and add the tuna.
2. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the yoghurt.
3. Cut the apricots into thin small slices and add to the yoghurt along with the mustard and honey.
5. Mix all the ingredients carefully.
6. Heat the blinis for a few minutes in an oven or in a microwave.
7. Cut them into triangles and add a teaspoon of the yoghurt mix on each piece.
8. Top it off with a branch of parsley on each triangle for decoration.

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

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04Jun 12

Rice with chicken, fried vegetables and mango chutney

Rice with mango chutney and fried vegetables
One food item that I always try to have in the fridge is mango chutney. It is really versatile; it can be an accompaniment, a side dish sauce, an actual sauce in a stir-fry or  a topping just to add an extra flavour to something. I usually use it to sweeten something that might be too spicy on its own. It is good with strong cheeses too; try it for yourself – only your imagination sets the limit! (Also sample this pear and mango chutney.)

Chutney is a South Asian condiment, and there are many different kinds. They can be made from virtually any vegetable or fruit, herbs, spices or a combination of them. Often it is fruit, vinegar, and sugar cooked down to a reduction, such as in the case of mango chutney. Chutneys are usually sweet or hot; and both usually contain various spices, including chilli, but are set apart by their main flavour, such as mango or tomato.

If you have a little more time and energy than me, it is reasonably easy to make mango chutney at home, but I just bought a ready-made one. Here is a really simple stir-fry dish which is put together within minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

Rice with mango chutney and fried vegetables
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
a really simple stir-fry dish topped with mango chutney
Ingredients
  • 150g rice
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 150g frozen veggie mix with broccoli, green beans and little corn cobs
  • 100g chicken breast, boneless, chopped into fine slices
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of mango chutney
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Wash and boil the rice according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Sautée the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes on a medium heat until cooked throughout. Set aside.
  3. Peel the onion and carrot and chop them into thin slices.
  4. Wash the pepper and chop it into chunks.
  5. Fry the onion, carrot and red pepper in a frying pan in the olive oil.
  6. Meanwhile, thaw and cook the frozen veggies, according to packet instructions.
  7. When all the vegetables are soft, mix them together with the chicken strips and add the mango chutney as well. Stir all together and let the chutney become more fluid and sauce-like.
  8. When the rice is ready, scoop a bit out on a place next to the chicken/veggie mix. Add another spoonful of chutney to the rice.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

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01Jun 12

Lamb with couscous and apricot salad

Lamb with couscous and Apricot saladI try not to eat a lot of meat, but recently I have taken a shining to finding lamb dishes, and the other day I went on a splurge to a Moroccan restaurant searching for something new and interesting. There I realised that couscous is a rice substitute that I had overlooked. After seeing that I could combine lamb and couscous together, I thought I’d try this lamb with couscous and apricot salad, which is a really light and fresh lunch that won’t leave you feeling heavy in any way.

If you are a vegetarian, you could also try this pistachio and cranberry couscous with goat’s cheese. Either way, couscous makes a satisfying salad!

As it is equally delicious served warm or cold, it is also ideal for a spring picnic. Just put the lamb in one container and the couscous and apricot salad in another and combine them on arrival!

What we need:

  • 600g lamb, cubed or cut into small pieces
  • 400g of couscous
  • 12 dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon of pressed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 dl of cashew nuts
  • 30g raisins
  • a handful of chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 pinches of ground pepper
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 10 coriander leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (to garnish)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Fry the lamb in a frying pan in the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the meat in an oven-safe form and place in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes until ready.
  4. In a sauce pan, boil the couscous according to the instructions on the package.
  5. Meanwhile, chop the apricots into small pieces.
  6. Mix the olive oil with the lemon juice and cinnamon.
  7. Add the apricots, cashew nuts, raisins and almonds with the lemon juice/olive oil mixture.
  8. Add the couscous when it is ready. Mix it all carefully. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
  9. Serve the couscous salad as the base on a plate and place the lamb on top.
  10. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and garnish with the cinnamon stick.

Time needed: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: Easy

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