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Cover: Quick cuisine

Less than 30 minutes

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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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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02Jul 12

Asparagus with bacon and garlic

Asparagus with bacon, dates and garlic

Some of my friends have their graduations coming up, so a group of us are going to throw a little party. As ever, we’re looking for ideas on a budget, and someone came up with this idea as a little side dish. If you buy asparagus in season, it’s not too pricy, and we always have a little bacon in the fridge for the odd weekend fry up. You’ll be surprised at the way the cost belies the result. It’s not going to break the piggy bank.

Asparagus with bacon and garlic hits that mix of food that’s easy to prepare but is also rather special. Normally, we make finger food for fun nights, but as we’ll be celebrating the success of our friends, and as it’s a precursor to saying goodbye to some of them; we’re going to have more of a sit down dinner party this time… it should be fun!

We made a slip up with this recipe as we were making it, mistaking anise seeds for cumin seeds initially, so a few of the anise slipped in. When we ate it, we all agreed that it was a good new discovery. The anise added a sweet edge, and honestly, it worked! (You might also want to try this curly asparagus salad with goat´s cheese and Medjool dates.)

Asparagus with bacon and garlic
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Asparagus with bacon and garlic hits that mix of food that’s easy to prepare but is also rather special.
Ingredients
  • One large bunch of fresh young asparagus tips, thoroughly washed
  • A small tub of bacon bits
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • A few anise seeds
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • 2tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Steam the asparagus tips over a little water for 5-8 minutes until al dente, or softer if you prefer.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the bacon bits in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil along with the anise and cumin.
  3. Once the asparagus is cooked, drain it and pat it lightly with kitchen roll before adding it into the bacon pan.
  4. Add the garlic a few minutes before you remove from the heat. The dish is ready when the bacon is cooked.
  5. Place in a pretty serving bowl and drizzle over with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

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02Jul 12

Summer salad with pears and cheese

Summer salad with pears and cheese
Wanted: perfect salad for taking on a picnic.

Well, here it is! It is a perfect complement to your typical protein dish such as a tuna or salmon steak. Chicken might also be a good choice. Try this chicken and avocado baguette with pesto mayonnaise. It’s great warm or cold!

Adding pieces of fruit in salads is a great way to make the salad slightly more interesting and healthy. Pears or apples add that extra tang and juiciness, and chunks of a delicious cheese gives it an even more luxurious feel.

As we fast are approaching the picnic season (although we are not there just yet, at least not in London), I am trying to come up with new ideas for dishes to be eaten outdoors and from plastic containers. The thing is – it must not be too runny and messy. Simplicity is the word. And, of course – yumminess! (If that word exists?) Washed down with a cold beer while lounging on a blanket in the park is my idea of paradise.

I hope you give this easy salad a try as it will tick all your boxes: easy; tasty; healthy; and portable. Enjoy!

Summer salad with pears and cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
This is a perfect side salad for a day in the park.
Ingredients
  • 1 big bag of mixed lettuce of choice ( iceberg, rocket, etc.)
  • 100g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 50g strong cheese of choice
  • 2 hard green pears
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ a teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinagar
Instructions
  1. Place the mixed salad in a big bowl.
  2. Chop the nuts into halves and add them to the salad.
  3. Grate or cut the cheese into squares and place in the salad.
  4. Peel the pears into slices and fry them in the butter and oil for about 2 minutes on each side. Add the salt and pepper.
  5. Lift the pears from the frying pan onto the salad when cool.
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar to the remaining oil and butter in the frying pan and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix it all together.

 

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29Jun 12

Oven-fried slices of pork in a coconut and mango chutney sauce

Oven-fried slices of pork with coconut and mango chutneyI often think that it is the sauce that makes a dish, and the protein source is a matter of choice. Although I will say that pork is quite tasty and goes really well with all types of fruits. Take this roast pork with apple cider recipe. Although I prefer to pair my meat with mango and coconut, the combination of apple and pork in that recipe is divine!

In this dish of oven-fried slices of pork in a coconut and mango chutney sauce, I have chosen coconut flakes and mango chutney to add flavour to the sauce. (For an extra fruity flavour, try this pear and mango chutney.)

Coconut products, including coconut flesh, coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut cream all deliver superb health benefits. Did you know that as well as killing off a whole range of viruses and bacteria and being great for your skin when used in creams, coconut oil is thought to boost the metabolism by consuming energy faster and therefore burning excess body weight off?

So if you are looking to slim down in time for summer, this might be a good recipe for you since the meat used in this is also low in fat. Instead of full-fat products, you can use a lighter version if you prefer to.

I hope you enjoy it!

What we need:

  • 250g of salted and slightly smoked cut of pork meat

  • 50ml fresh cream

  • 75ml full fat milk

  • 1/2 tsk curry powder (according to taste)

  • 1-3 tablespoons of orange juice

  • 50ml of water

  • 1 tablespoon of mango chutney

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius.
  2. Cut the pork meat into thin slices and place them in the oven-safe form.
  3. Mix the cream, milk, curry, water, mango chutney and coconut into a sauce. Pour in the orange juice according to taste.
  4. Carefully pour the sauce over the meat.
  5. Next, place the oven-safe form in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, until the pork is cooked well throughout.
  6. Serve alongside a garden salad for some extra greens.

Serves: 2

Time needed: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

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