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Cover: Quick cuisine

July, 2012

31Jul 12

Tuna lasagna with goat’s cheese and ginger

Tuna lasagna with goat's cheese and gingerLast night I wanted to try out my new oven-safe form and thought that lasagna would be a good idea. I took the ingredients I had at home and, lo and behold, made a delicious tuna lasagna with goat’s cheese and ginger that turned out to be quite a success! At first, the ingredients may sound a bit odd, but why don’t you try it yourself? I think you’ll like it.

Lasagna is an ideal food for students  because you can often use basic ingredients that you have at home – such as tomato sauce, and then add the ingredients that you happen to have at hand. Top it off with some cheese, pop it in the oven, and voila!

What we need:

  • 150g of tinned tuna
  • 2 large mushrooms or many small ones (should fill a medium-size frying pan)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 350g of tomato sauce
  • 1 dl of milk
  • 100g of goat’s cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Lasagna noodles (about 10)
  • 100g of Cheddar cheese, grated

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a medium-size frying pan.
  3. Wash and chop the mushrooms into chunks.
  4. Place the mushrooms in the frying pan and let them fry for 10 minutes.
  5. Chop the onion into slices. Once the mushrooms are done, place them on a plate for later.
  6. Place the onion in the frying pan and let fry for 3 minutes. Add the garlic.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan. Add the mushrooms and the milk.
  8. Let it all simmer for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the tuna and the grated ginger. Mix it all properly and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  10. Add a small amount of the tomato and tuna sauce to the bottom of the oven-safe form.
  11. Now, alternate between lasagna noodles and the sauce.
  12. In one of the layers, add the sliced goat’s cheese.
  13. On top of the last layer, sprinkle the grated Cheddar cheese.
  14. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Note: There are several ways to bake pasta, and lasagna is just one of them. Another option is this baked penne with Dolcelatte and radicchio. Try it!

Time needed: 60 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: easy-intermediate

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28Jul 12

Hake with potato and hummus mash

hake with potato and hummus mashIf you have a little bit of extra time, you can, like I have done here, prepare a potato mash and add hummus to it for extra flavour. In this dish of Hake with potato and hummus mash, I have mixed the hummus and potatoes for an extra yummy and healthy mash that goes well with fish.

Just like Japanese soy and Italian green pesto, I always make sure I have a bowl of hummus at home. Lazy as I am, I always buy it ready-made, but if you have a blender, you can easily put this together at home yourself. If you’d like to try, here is a Moroccan hummus recipe that you will love!

This Middle Eastern dish is made of chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, a sesame seed paste, blended all together to form a paste. It is great as a meat substitute as it is very high in protein and a good source of fibre. It also contains loads of other goodies and is truly scrumptious, so eat away!

Hummus paste is great for sandwiches as a spread or added as an extra ingredient and flavour to something else. I even know people who eat it with a spoon!

 

Hake with potato and hummus mash
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
In this dish of Hake with potato and hummus mash I have mixed the hummus and potatoes for an extra yummy and healthy mash
Ingredients
  • 4 potatoes
  • 100-200g of Hake
  • 50g of goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of hummus
  • 100g of broccoli
  • A small tin of corn
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2-3 pinches of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
Instructions
  1. Wash and peel the potatoes and boil them in a saucepan until ready (easy to mash).
  2. De-frost the Hake and place in a frying pan in the oil.
  3. When warm, place the goat’s cheese in slices on top of the Hake fillets and dribble the honey on top. Fry until cooked thoroughly - approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli and corn in a little water in a saucepan. Drain when done.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, drain and mash them with a mixer or fork.
  6. Add the milk and hummus and work until a smooth mash. Serve together with the fish and vegetables when ready.
  7. Ideally, serve with a glass of white wine.

 

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25Jul 12

Oven toast with avocado and goat cheese

Toast with avocado and goat cheeseLike I mentioned in an earlier post, when I was living with two Japanese people, they taught me how to mix soy sauce with different ingredients. Here is a simple recipe for oven toast with avocado and goat cheese that includes a dash of that salty treat. In my opinion, avocado and soy sauce are simply a divine combination because the subtle avocado offsets the saltiness of the soy.

Avocados are full of vitamin E which plays an important role in having and maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Bearing in mind that avocados are a real super-food, there is no reason not to use that fruit in abundance in your cooking or as a starter. I personally adore them and try to eat them once a week at least. My friend told me they help you maintain beautiful skin, so I try to get my fill!

One of the best ways to eat them is in Mexican Guacamole, which is basically mashed up avocados with a few seasonings. Although delicious, you have to be careful how many crisps you use for dipping!

Avocado is especially popular in vegetarian dishes since it can substitute meats in salads and sandwiches. It is rather high in fat, but luckily the fat is of the “good” kind.

This green wonder has a long history and has been reported to have been mentioned thousands of years before Christ! And, did you know that apparently the Aztecs called the avocado ‘the fertility fruit’? Food for thought…

Oven toast with avocado and goat cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
simple recipe for oven toast with avocado and goat cheese that includes a dash of salty soy
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of toast bread
  • 100g of goat cheese
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 100g of Gruyère cheese
  • 2-3 teaspoons of Japanese soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Take 4 slices of toast and pour the olive oil onto them.
  2. Wash and cut the tomatoes into slices.
  3. Now do the same with the avocado.
  4. Alternate between slices of tomatoes, avocado and goat cheese placed on the toast.
  5. On top, place the Gruyere cheese.
  6. Drizzle the Japanese soy sauce on top.
  7. Place in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of cold beer!

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23Jul 12

Hake with teriyaki sauce

hake with teriyaki sauceContinuing with the Japanese-themed dishes, the turn has come to Hake, a fish from the cod family that is low in fat but high in protein, so excellent for people who are on a diet.

In this dish of Hake with teriyaki sauce, the yummy teriyaki sauce gives this otherwise rather tasteless fish a delicious flavour and texture.

Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique in which food is grilled in a sweet soy sauce marinade. The word teriyaki derives from the noun ‘teri’ which means a ‘shine’ given by the sugar content, and ‘yaki’ which refers to the cooking method by grilling.

Sesame seeds are a nutty flavoured and really versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes either to make it look nice or for its health benefits. The seeds are known to have cholesterol -lowering effects in humans and also are a source of many good nutrients such as copper and magnesuim. They also boast high levels of antioxidants. They can be sprinkled over salads, added to bread dough or used as I have done in this dish – sprinkled over fish or chicken.

I recommend accompanying the fish with an apple, walnut, raisins and iceberg lettuce.  Those fruits and nuts will make it a fresh and altogether healthy option. You could also pair it with steamed spring vegetables with toasted pine nuts, which would be rather tasty sprinkled with a bit of teriyaki as well. It is really quick to make and perfect as an on-the go- lunch. I hope you like it!

Hake with teriyaki sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
In this dish of Hake with teriyaki sauce, the yummy teriyaki sauce gives this otherwise rather tasteless fish a delicious flavour and texture
Ingredients
  • 300g of Hake
  • 200g rice
  • 2 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Instructions
  1. If frozen, defrost the Hake fillets. Try to get them as flat as possible.
  2. Wash and boil the rice according to instrucions on the package.
  3. Fry the Hake in the olive oil until ready then place on cutting board and carefully brush the teriyaki sauce on them, covering them entirely.
  4. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the fish fillets.
  5. When rice is ready, serve it with the fish immediately.

 

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19Jul 12

Chinese noodles with vegetables and oyster sauce

chinese noodles with vegetablesA simple and typically easy dish to spin together is a noodle dish, which requires basically no work. All you need are the ingredients such as vegetables and a sauce and “Voila!” – you have a tasty dish for the evening. If you want more protein, I also recommend this recipe for duck fillet stir fry with noodles.

And if you make some extra, you could stuff it in your lunchbox for the next day. That’s often what I do because I barely manage to crawl out of bed in the morning, always pressing “snooze” and waiting until the latest possible moment, with no time to spare for thinking of what food to bring for the day.

In this recipe I used corn, red onion, mushrooms and broccoli, and I steamed the broccoli before adding them to the noodles. It could not be easier!

When you steam broccoli, you preserve most of its health benefits, so I try to do that as often as possible. When steamed, they have a cholesterol-lowering benefit which always is welcome, although luckily, I´m not worried about that. Even so, it’s important to be aware of what you’re eating to avoid health problems in the future.

Also, broccoli works as a great detoxifier, as it washes out the system and eliminates unwanted contaminants.

Chinese noodles with vegetables and oyster sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A simple and typically easy dish to spin together
Ingredients
  • Noodles for 2 people (about 150g)
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 medium-sized mushrooms
  • 100g of corn from a tin
  • 2 "heads" of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce (according to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Boil water and add the noodles according to instructions on the package.
  2. Cut the onion into slices.
  3. Wash and cut the broccoli into small pieces.
  4. Fry the onion and mushrooms in a frying pan in the oil until soft.
  5. Add some water to a saucepan and place the other vegetables in the saucepan so that the steam cooks them until soft. Add to the frying pan with the onion and mushrooms.
  6. When the noodles are ready, add them to the frying pan.
  7. Add the oyster sauce and the soy sauce, mixing carefully.
  8. Serve immediately.
  9. Serves: 2
  10. Time needed: 15 minutes
  11. Level: Easy

 

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17Jul 12

Shrimp omelette with sun-dried tomatoes and Japanese soy

Experts tell us we should eat eggs as they are packed with goodies, but having too many can actually be unhealthy. Enjoying an omelette a week will keep you healthy but not over-indulged.

You have probably heard that too many eggs can cause high cholesterol levels, but on the good side, did you know that eggs are good for your eyes? Being a student, I read a lot and so I have to take care of my eyes so that my eyesight doesn’t deteriorate. What better way to do that than eating a heavenly shrimp omelette with sun-dried tomatoes and Japanese soy? (For more egg options, try this Spanish omelette recipe.)

In a previous post I said I would make more recipes with Japanese soy sauce and the Japanese variant is perfect in omelettes to give them a slightly salty flavour. Add some different vegetables, such as mushrooms and onions, and you have a healthy and scrumptious meal in a jiffy!

Tip! You can also cut it into small squares and serve ´tapas-style´ with a toothpick through each piece.

What we need:

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 50ml of full-fat milk
  • A handful of washed and peeled shrimp
  • a handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 200g rocket
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 small mushrooms
  • 50g of grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

How to make it:

  1. Wash and peel the shrimp. Defrost if needed.
  2. Wash and cut the mushrooms, onion and sun-dried tomatoes into smalls chunks and grate the garlic.
  3. Fry the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the olive oil in a frying pan until soft for about 5 minutes and stirring all the time. Add the shrimp in the very last 5 minutes until they turn pink.
  4. Crack the 4 eggs into a small bowl and add the milk and Japanese soy sauce. Whisk together carefully.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into a separate frying pan to make the omelette. Let it sit for a minute or two.
  6. When hard enough, carefully place a plate on top and try to turn over so it fries on both sides. Attention! This is a tricky part!
  7. When the omelette is finished, take it out of the pan. Mix the vegetables, shrimp and rocket all together, laying them in the centre of the omelette and then rolling the omelette so as to make a wrap.
  8. Season the top with a bit of salt, pepper and the grated cheese.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!

Serves: 2
Takes: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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14Jul 12

Spicy chicken stew with rice

Spicy Chicken Stew with riceChicken is so tasty! Really, flavour is my number one priority, but chicken has two other advantages as well: it is a lean meat, and it is a reasonably cheap. In other words, it´s an ideal ingredient for students!

I also like chicken because you can add virtually any spice or herb, and it usually works great. In this recipe I have added cinnamon for a slightly surprising taste.

The other day one of my friends came over, and I found out last-minute that she was a vegetarian. So, I found this hearty seitan stew recipe, played around and combined the two for her. You can do the same to create your own unique recipe!

The chilli adds the spiciness and gives this dish a bit of a sting. Did you know that Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to discover the chilli upon his arrival in the Americas?

This veggie is surprisingly good for you. They say it speeds up your metabolism and has more vitamin C than oranges. Adding it to dishes which are a little bland in taste will spice it up perfectly AND it may help you lose those extra pounds before summer that many of us still have left from the Christmas season.

This is a really simple and delicious dish that is put together in a jiffy! Enjoy!

Spicy chicken stew with rice
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 500g of chicken fillets
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 onion
  • 250g of tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 150g of basmati rice
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • ½ a chilli (either red or green, your choice)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ tablespoon of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Defrost the chicken if it is frozen and cut into squares.
  2. Fry the pieces in the oil in a frying pan until brown.
  3. Peel and chop the onion into pieces and let it fry with the chicken until slightly golden.
  4. Wash and finely chop the chilli. Add it to the frying pan.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and let it all simmer for 15 minutes under a lid.
  6. Wash and boil the rice.
  7. Add the cinnamon, pepper and salt to the stew.
  8. When the rice is ready, serve it with the chicken stew and some wholemeal bread.

 

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11Jul 12

Fajitas with feta cheese and peppers

Fajitas with feta cheese and peppersThe London Olympics are fast approaching, and so are my exams. Instead of sitting like an owl in my room studying, I often prefer to sit in a park with my books, weather permitting. I also prefer to watch the Olympic Games on one of the big screens around town, as I like being around people and sharing in the excitement and nerves.

Spending so much time away from home however, will without doubt make me hungry at some point. As I’m sure you already know, living in London is expensive, and one single sandwich can cost around five pounds or even more. For this reason, I try to bring food out with me in a lunch box and save my money for something more fun at a different time, or for a pint in the park. Bringing food with you from home need not be boring – it can be just as tasty as storebought food – and you will know exactly what went in it!

Here is a great recipe for a luxurious fajita sandwich that you can take with you in a lunch box – just cut off the ends and it will taste and look like a deli-made dish! (Also try these cheddar cheese and courgette quesadillas.)

 

Fajitas with feta cheese, pesto and fried peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Here is a great recipe for a luxurious fajita sandwich that you can take with you in a lunch box
Ingredients
  • 4 Fajita wraps
  • 150g feta cheese
  • 2 tabespoons of pesto
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ a courgette
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut the peppers, onion and courgette into thin slices or cubes.
  2. Fry them quickly until soft in the oil in a frying pan.
  3. Preheat the fajitas if they are to be eaten straight away.
  4. Put the Feta cheese in a bowl and with a fork mash it until soft.
  5. Add the pesto and mix carefully until a soft cheese spread forms.
  6. Spread the cheese-pesto mix (about one tablespoon on each fajita) onto the fajitas.
  7. When the vegetables are soft, spread them onto the fajitas and sprinkle the pepper over.
  8. Roll into hard rolls and cut away the ends.
  9. Enjoy in the outdoors with a beer and good company!

 

 

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09Jul 12

Elderflower Punch

Elderflower PunchI’d like to introduce you to a summer drink that I make up for friends and I whenever budget and opportunity allow. We used to make elderflower punch and elderflower cordial every year as a family before I came away to university. I used to love helping to pluck the flower heads from the tree in our front garden even when I was small; and I always got a little taste of it, just to feel I’d taken part in the whole process, even though it’s an alcoholic beverage.

In the last couple of years before flying the nest, I’d take a more active role in consuming this wonderfully refreshing blend of elderflower and apple; along with my parents, for whom making and enjoying elderflower punch is a long-standing tradition.

There was also a guy I remember who lived down the lane that had strawberry fields.  He used to come and share our crop to make his own elderflower and strawberry champagne – another yummy summer tipple. I hope that when I finally settle down, I’ll find a place with an elderflower tree in the garden and keep my family’s tradition alive.

This version uses elderflower cordial, because that’s what most of us have easy access to. The ratios here kick quite a brandy punch, so do reduce the amount if you want to, and top up with extra apple juice.   If you’re inspired to create more fruity cocktails, try this classic pina colada.

Elderflower Punch
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Elderflowers, apples, cider and lemonade, poured over ice to refresh you in the hot summer months...
Ingredients
  • 100ml cider brandy
  • 200ml good apple juice
  • 800ml still lemonade
  • 50ml elderflower cordial – you can play with this to get the strength you like
  • A tray of ice cubes
  • A slice of lemon and a sprig of mint to garnish
Instructions
  1. Ease the ice cubes out of their tray and place them gently into a large serving jug.
  2. Pour the brandy, apple juice and elderflower cordial over the ice and top up with the lemonade.
  3. Stir everything together and garnish with the lemon and mint.
  4. Serve immediately or leave to chill in the fridge for later.

 

 

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04Jul 12

Sea bass with white bean mash

Pike with white bean mash
I’m a fan of fresh sea bass that’s cooked right through. Not so well cooked that it turns dry and hard, but just enough to remove what I would describe as the gelatinous texture of the raw meat. I know that there will be many of you who prefer seared or flash fried sea bass, so cook them to your taste, and of course the rarer they are, the faster you’ll get your dinner on the plate. Although my sea bass with white bean mash take that little bit longer to cook, I still have the meal prepared and in front of me in little more than 15 minutes.

Mash made with white beans is simply delicious; and so very fast to make. I mix mine up with garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, and a sprinkling of salt; it’s a wonderful alternative to potato mash if you’re in a hurry, or if you just fancy it, like I often do. If I’m making the mash to go with another type of meat, I often use lemon juice and zest instead of lime, but I’m sticking to lime here as we’re also using it for the fish. I also like sticking potato chips in for a crunchy texture.

If you want an extra accompaniment, this meal is really nice served up with tomato salsa, or if you prefer something green, try these steamed spring vegetables with Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Or serve with just a few simple lettuce leaves.

Sea bass with white bean mash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Mash made with beans is simply delicious; and you'll have this meal prepared and in front of you in little more than 15 minutes.
Ingredients
  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • A dash of soy sauce
  • The juice of a lime and the zest of half of the lime
  • A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 35ml olive oil
  • 2 x 410g cans of white beans
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Heat a griddle pan, or bring a little of the olive oil up to heat in a frying pan, and cook the sea bass on both sides until they are to your liking (you can slit through one to check how they’re doing when you’re ready). They’ll take around 10 minutes to cook through, depending on thickness. When nearing completion time, squeeze over a little of the lime juice (about a third) and a dash of soy sauce.
  2. Whilst the fish is cooking, make the white bean mash: Put the 35ml olive oil to a pan and add the garlic. Squeeze in the remaining lime juice and warm the ingredients through, stirring them together.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the oil, lime and garlic. As they warm through, squish them with the flat of a large spoon to create a mash. Season with a little salt if needed.
  4. Serve the sea bass and the mash on a plate and sprinkle over with the lime zest and the fresh coriander.

 

 

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