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Cover: Quick cuisine

Less than 30 minutes

26Jun 12

Japanese noodles with bell peppers and beef

Japanese noodles with bell peppers and beef
Noodles are always super easy to make – it takes virtually no time at all to place them in boiling water and, voila! 5 minutes later they are ready. The tricky part is to make the noodles tasty – it depends on what you put in the dish. With a noodle dish, the good thing is that, much like pasta, you can make a nice dish out of what you happen to have at home that day. If you have salmon steaks left over from yesterday’s dinner in the fridge, then cut it into pieces and add to this dish.

I happened to have peppers and mushrooms in my fridge. Less glamorous than salmon, but still tasty. Here is a dish of noodles with teriyaki sauce in which I have added apple pieces for a little more interesting flavour and red peppers and mushrooms for their scrumptiousness and for being healthy. I try to always keep the “five-a-day” in mind!

This is a recipe I often make when I come home late in the evening and just want to flop in front of the telly with a glass of white wine. I hope you enjoy it! (I also recommend this duck fillet stir fry with noodles.)

Japanese noodles with bell peppers and beef
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Noodles with teriyaki sauce and apple pieces for a unique flavour
Ingredients
  • 300g egg noodles
  • 150g beef, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small yellow pepper
  • 6 big mushrooms
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce
  • ½ an apple
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Wash and cut the red and yellow peppers as well as the mushrooms into slices. Place in a frying pan in the oil.
  3. Peel the apple and cut it into small pieces. Add it to the frying pan.
  4. Let them all fry together until soft.
  5. Meanwhile, boil water in a saucepan and add the noodles. The water should cover the noodles. Let it simmer for 5 minutes or until ready.
  6. Drain the water from the noodles and add the noodles to the frying pan and lower the heat.
  7. In a separate frying pan, cook the beef strips until cooked throughout. When done, add this beef to the veggie and noodle mix, drizzling over the teriyaki and soy sauces.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

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25Jun 12

Penne with creamy pesto

Penne with creamy pestoThey say that almonds are great for a number of things, including your skin, so I try to eat a small handful a day. As they are also delicious, I incorporate them into as many recipes as I can to get the benefits from these little but potent health bombs.

This dish of penne with creamy pesto is really easy to prepare and has healthy goodies such as mushrooms, garlic and my beloved almonds, which have a whole load of benefits for our bodies.

Almonds are healthy due to their many nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin E, and they are also low in saturated fat. They contain calcium and magnesium for strong bones, as well as compounds called phytochemicals, a compound which scientists say may help protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Due to the high level of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant, almonds are used in many skin cream products and are thought to keep your skin supple-looking.

Being both heart-healthy AND scrumptious, there really is no excuse why you should not go nuts for these nuts – they will even do wonders for your complexion, so start munching!

What we need:

  • 150g penne pasta

  • 200ml of natural yoghurt

  • 10 large mushrooms

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 100g of almond flakes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pesto (You can buy this store-bought or make it yourself. Check out this recipe for home-made pesto!)

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

 How to make it:

1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

2. Wash and cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Fry them in the oil in a frying pan until golden brown.

3. Peel the garlic and crush them. Add to the frying pan along with the almond flakes.

5. Mix the yoghurt and pesto together in a small bowl.

6. When the penne pasta is ready, drain it and pour it into the frying pan.

7. Pour over the yoghurt-pesto mixture and mix carefully.

8. Serve immediately with a glass of cold beer.

Serves: 2

Time needed: 15 minutes

Level: Easy

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20Jun 12

Chicken with rice and pistachios in a yoghurt sauce

Chicken Risotto with Pistachio and yoghurt saucePistachios are one of my favourite nuts, and if someone doesn’t stop me, I could just eat them forever. They are so moreish! However, they contain quite a lot of calories, so I have to watch out.

On a good note though, almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios are unsaturated fats – the good kind! They are also a great source of fibre and vitamin E – great for skin health!

Pistachios are used in everything from ice cream to sauces, and in this dish of Chicken with rice and pistachios in a yoghurt sauce, I have tried to use enough pistachios to let the taste of this yummy nut shine through.

Pistachios are thought to have been enjoyed since as far back 6750 BC, and they were often used as travelling food due to their high nutritional value and long storage life. They were particularly popular among explorers and traders, and rumour has it that they were the snack of choice for travellers across the ancient Silk Road that connected China with the West.

Although pistachios are often used in desserts such as ice cream or other sweets (like this Indian lass with cardamom and pistachios), they can be used in a variety of other recipes. Try this rice dish and see for yourself!

What we need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 200g of rice

  • 200g of chicken

  • 3 tablespoons of pistachos

  • 1 onion

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 small tin of green peas

  • 1/2 courgette

  • 150g of  natural yoghurt

  • 1 clove of garlic

How to make it:

1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.

2. Wash and peel the onion, carrot and courgette. Cut them all into small squares.

3. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a frying pan in the oil.

4. When the chicken has been frying for a while, add the vegetables and the peas.

5. Chop the pistachios and garlic into small pieces and mix with the yoghurt in a bowl.

6. When the rice is ready, add it to the frying pan and mix it carefully with the chicken and veggies.

7. Place the rice mixture on a plate and dollop the yoghurt sauce on top.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2

Time needed: 20 minutes

Level: easy

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18Jun 12

Pollock in caviar sauce with dill

Pollock in caviar sauce with dillA cheap kind of caviar or a caviar substitute can work wonders as flavouring in sauces, and adds a bit of excitement to dishes such as this healthy fish recipe made using Pollock in caviar sauce with dill. A creamed smoked roe, caviar paste or a similar caviar substitute can be used in this recipe, and dill adds an extra flavour to this light dish.

I like adding veggies to my recipes. With this sauce, I recommend corn and green beans. For extra substance, serve the fish alongside boiled potatoes, lightly salted. (Also try this broiled salmon with spicy bell pepper sauce.)

Corn is a superb source of fibre and vitamin C and is closely identified with the Americas, perhaps more so than any other food. Did you know that the Mayans revered maize? They expressed their respect and appreciation in everyday rituals and as well as in their religious ceremonies. Corn was equally highly valued by the Native Americans of North America. So there you have it – not only yummy and healthy, but with an interesting history too!

What we need:

  • 400g of Alaska Pollock
  • 1/2 a leek
  • a small tin of corn
  • 250ml of single cream
  • 4 tablespoons of caviar (add according to taste)
  • 200g of frozen green beans
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped dill
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 30g Parmesan cheese

How to make it:

  1. Defrost the fish. Once done, cut it into 4 pieces. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  2. While it’s heating up, wash and peel the leek. Cut into thin slices.
  3. Bring water to the boil in a pot and cook the frozen green beans for 10 minutes, per the instructions on the package.
  4. Place the pieces of fish in an oven-safe form and sprinkle over the salt and pepper. Place the form in the oven for around 15 minutes.
  5. As the fish is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the leek for a few minutes.
  6. Add the cream to the pan and let it all boil together for 5 minutes. Add the caviar and more salt and pepper according to taste.
  7. Add the dill, corn and green beans, stirring it all together. When well-mixed, pour the sauce over the fish in the oven-safe form.
  8. Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and place in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve hot.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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15Jun 12

Pasta with pesto, broccoli and Feta cheese

Pasta with Veg and PestoPesto is an all-time favourite of mine and one of my must-have sauces at home. There is both a green and red variety, but I prefer the green one because it is so versatile. Here is a dish of pasta with pesto, broccoli and Feta cheese that I make a lot – often in the morning before I rush to catch the bus to Uni!

A typical pesto is made by first placing garlic and pine nuts in a mortar and reducing it to a cream. After that, you add washed and dried basil leaves and grind it to a creamy consistency. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses are then added together with some olive oil. However, if you don’t want to go to all this trouble, you can find pre-made pesto in most supermarkets. The most common one is pesto alla genovese.

You may believe that pesto is only used as a sauce for pasta, but think again! These pesto cod and chips use it as a dressing on top of seafood. Play around with pesto, and you never know what new delights you might discover!

What we need:

  • 200g of tricolour pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of green pesto
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 dl of broccoli florets
  • A small tin of green beans
  • 10 black olives
  • 100g of Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Tip! If you want to make your life easier, you can even use frozen vegetables instead of fresh.

How to make it:

  1. Wash and chop the onion, pepper and broccoli into pieces.
  2. Pour 1 litre of water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil.
  3. Add the pasta and cook it according to instructions on the package.
  4. Pour the olive oil in a frying pan.
  5. Place the vegetables in the frying pan and let it all fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Add the green beans.
  7. Chop the olives into halves and add to the frying pan.
  8. Drain the pasta when ready.
  9. Add the pesto to the hot pasta and mix carefully.
  10. Add all the vegetables from the frying pan.
  11. Grate the Feta cheese over the pasta and stir once or twice.
  12. Serve hot or store it in a Tupperware for later use.

Time needed: 15 minutes
Serves: 2
Level: Easy

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12Jun 12

Japanese style fried rice with tofu

Japanese style fried rice with tofuContinuing my love affair with Asian cuisine, the time has come to try a dish with tofu. Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks that is then used in cooking, often as a meat substitute. (Another example of an Asian recipe using tofu is this recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls.)

Tofu can be used both in savoury and sweet dishes and is low in fat, high in protein, and with a low calorie count, it is excellent for vegetarians or for those of you on a calorie-restrictive diet. I have added oyster sauce and ginger to this dish of Japanese style fried rice with tofu for that scrumptious Japanese taste that I never get tired of.

Tofu is thought to have originated in ancient China, and techniques for its production and preparation eventually spread to many other parts of Asia. Today, many different varieties, such as fresh, fried, marinated, firm or soft tofu are eaten all over East Asia, and its use has spread to the west as well, probably as a result of the rise in vegetarianism in the 20th century.

What we need:

  • 100g jasmine rice
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 large mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons of rapeseed oil
  • 125g of tofu
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
  • 4 teaspoons of Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds (optional)

How to make it:

1. Boil the rice according to the instructions on the package.
2. Wash and cut up all the vegetables into thin slices.
3. Fry the vegetables in the oil in a frying pan.
4. When the rice is ready, pour it into the frying pan, mix and let it all fry together for a few minutes.
5. Cut the tofu into squares and put it in the frying pan.
6. Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and the oyster sauce and mix carefully. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds if desired.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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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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30May 12

Pasta with salmon, carrot and courgette

Pasta with salmon, carrot and courgette

This is a great dish for a lunchbox, so easy to make and still healthy and delicious. Pasta is so versatile that I, being a student, probably eat it several times a week. Good thing that nowadays you can buy the supposedly healthier versions made of spinach or other vegetables, or the wholemeal version.

It is not often that I use lime in my cooking, but lime and salmon is a great combination, and lime is a very tasty and healthy fruit. They are a great source of vitamin C, and historically they were used to treat scurvy among sailors and soldiers. And apparently, due to their vitamin C content and antioxidant properties, limes are also very good for your eyes, something that I try to keep in mind since I read a lot.

Lime juice can be stored for use at a later time if you place freshly squeezed lime juice in ice cube trays until frozen. A great way to use these little zesters in drinks or food! (Also try this prawn and courgette tagliatelli.)

Pasta dish with salmon and lime
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is a great dish for a lunchbox, so easy to make and still healthy and delicious
Ingredients
  • 200g ravioli
  • 100ml crème fraiche
  • 175ml milk
  • ½ a courgette
  • ½ a carrot
  • 1 tablespoon pressed lime juice
  • 150g smoked salmon (steak)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh dill
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of cornflour
Instructions
  1. Boil the ravioli according to instructions on the package.
  2. Fry the salmon steak in a frying pan in the oil. When ready, cut into small pieces.
  3. Wash and peel the courgette and carrot and cut them into small pieces.
  4. Pour the crème fraiche, milk, lime juice and cornflour into a saucepan and bring it to the boil while stirring the whole time.
  5. Add the courgette and carrot and let it all simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the salmon pieces and the dill to the sauce.
  7. Add the pepper and more lime juice according to taste. Let it all simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. When the pasta is ready, add it to the saucepan and mix carefully.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

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28May 12

Japanese-style rice dish with shrimp and ginger

Japanese style rice dish with shrimp and gingerI tend to use Japanese soy sauce quite often when I cook. It is really versatile and adds a little saltiness to a dish. I prefer it to the Chinese version as Japanese soy sauces typically have a slightly sweeter taste than their Chinese counterparts.

 

 

A few years ago, I lived with two Japanese flatmates and they taught me many different ways how to use their soy sauce. Since then I have used it in everything from avocados to eggs, like this scrambled omelette with cherry tomatoes. In coming recipes I will tell you more about how you can use Japanese soy sauce in ways you might not have considered before.

If you love the flavours in sushi, but like me, can’t afford to splurge too often, then this Japanese-style rice dish with shrimp and ginger is for you. It combines several main ingredients in sushi: ginger, rice and soy sauce. I have also added shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes for an extra salty taste.

What we need:

  • 100g of peeled and washed shrimp (use de-frosted if you like)
  • 300g of rice
  • 6 big mushrooms
  • 50g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce
  • Around 1 centimeter of freshly grated ginger (about a teaspoon)

How to make it:
1. Defrost the shrimp on a plate for later use.
2. Place the rice in a sauce pan and cook according to the instructions on the packet.
3. Grate the garlic into a frying pan and fry in the olive oil for 2 minutes.
4. Peel and chop the onion and add to the frying pan. Let it fry until soft.
5. Chop the mushrooms and add to the frying pan.
6. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the frying pan.
7. Add the soy sauce and let it all blend together until soft.
8. Add the shrimp and the ginger. Mix it all carefully and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
9. When the rice is ready, fluff it and add it to the frying pan.
10. Mix very carefully into a rice dish and serve immediately.

Serves: 2

Takes: 20 minutes

Level: easy

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