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Cover: Quick cuisine

Less than 30 minutes

08May 12

Rice salad with spinach and avocado

Rice and Spinach SaladPopeye was right – spinach is a superfood! Using spinach in salads is particularly healthy as spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants and has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh. It is also good for your eyes as it contains lutein. For you gents out there, it is believed that spinach can help fight prostate cancer, and girls, take note: it is good for keeping your iron levels high.

Since I have just discovered the health benefits and many uses of spinach, expect to see more recipes containing this health bomb. This rice salad with spinach and avocado is a yummy alternative to pasta salad, using rice in a cold salad together with vegetables and topping it off with a tasty yoghurt dressing.

Having added another superfood to this salad – the avocado, this salad becomes a virtual health injection and the boost you might just need after a long sluggish winter. This is the perfect spring salad! (I also recommend this chicken, spinach and feta salad.)

What we need:

  • 130g rice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 5 small mushrooms
  • 30g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small tin of tuna (80g)
  • 100-150g of fresh spinach
  • 1dl of natural yoghurt
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon of ground herbs

How to make it:

1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.
2. Peel and pit the avocado and cut it into small pieces.
3. Wash the mushrooms and cut them into medium-sized chunks.
4. Wash the tomatoes (both sun-dried and natural) and cut them into thin slices.
5. Wash the spinach and break into small pieces with your hands.
6. When the rice is ready, take it off the heat and let it cool, at which point you can add all the vegetables and mix in the tuna.
7. Take 1dl of natural yoghurt and add ½ – 1 tablespoon of salad herbs (according to taste) and mix.
8. Mix it carefully into the rice salad or keep it separate for each person to add according to preference.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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03May 12

Time-saving sweet chilli fish

Time-saving sweet chilli fishAttention fish lovers: Sweet chilli fish with rice is a dish for those of you who like the taste of the delights from the sea but don´t really have the patience to cook dishes which use up a lot of your precious time.

You know who you are: you are always on the run, and your greatest wish is for food to cook itself, but you also want your food to be healthy. You are tired of ready-made microwaved food and of counting just how many E-numbers have been thrown in.
Here you will learn how cooking fish dishes need not be difficult or time-consuming, and your health will thank you.

This dish literally cooks itself; while the rice is simmering, you have time to tend to other things. All you have to do is chop an onion or garlic, mix the ingredients, and the rest takes care of itself.

This sweet and sour chilli fish dish is an easy, no-fuss, midweek dish. Just don’t forget to put the timer on!

What we need:
• 600g of cod
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 1 garlic clove or 1/2 yellow onion
• 1 decilitre of parsley
• 50-75g of butter
• juice from 1/2 a lemon
• 1 tablespoon of honey
• 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek

Tip to save time: You can also use a ready-made sweet chilli sauce instead of lemon, honey and sambal. It can be found in most food shops. With the remaining sauce, try sweet chilli and lemongrass prawns!

How to make it:
1. Set the oven to 225 degrees Celsius.
2. Place the cleaned fish in an oven-safe form and sprinkle some salt over it.
3. Chop the garlic and parsley.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the garlic, lemon juice, honey and sambal oelek.
5. Slowly pour the mixture over the fish.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
7. Serve with whole grain rice mixed with lightly cooked vegetables. (These can be defrosted frozen vegetables which are added at the last minute to the rice.)

Time needed: approximately 25 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: easy (especially when using the ready-made sauce)

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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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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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30Mar 12

Crayfish rice with mango

Crayfish Rice with mango

Using crayfish tails can be very versatile and will make simple and tasty dishes. They also give off a certain luxurious and gourmet sensation as they are often considered a delicacy. Crayfish meat is, apart from being yummy, packed with the good nutrient selenium and great as a substitute for meat if you are on a diet, as it is very low in fat. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and other vitamins.

Be careful where you get your seafood from, as it may be contaminated with toxins, such as mercury, if harvested in polluted waters. On a positive note, crabs are thought to have a lower risk of mercury than other types of seafood. (Try these Thai crab cakes. Yum yum!)

Here is an easy and tasty crab meat dish that combines courgette and mango for an extra twist. Topped with a yoghurt dressing, this provides a low-fat and healthy meal. And most importantly – it tastes good!

What we need:

  • 375g of rice
  • 1 leek
  • 350g crayfish tails, cleaned and de-shelled
  • 2 mangos
  • 1 small courgette
  • 60g shredded carrots
  • 60g lamb’s lettuce
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper

Yoghurt dressing:

  • 2 dl of natural yoghurt
  • 1 grated clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of French mustard
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

How to make it:

  1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.
  2. Wash and cut the leek and onion into slices. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the veggies.
  3. Add the crab tails.
  4. Cut the courgette into small pieces.
  5. Peel the mangos and cut into cubes.
  6. Mix the courgette and mangos into the frying pan, and when the rice is ready, mix it into the frying pan.
  7. Carefully mix it all together and add the shredded carrots, salt and pepper.
  8. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and use about a tablespoon for each portion of crab tail rice.
  9. Place a small portion of the lamb’s lettuce on a plate and serve the rice on top.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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28Mar 12

Courgette canapés with crayfish and avocado

Red boiled crayfishWhen I have friends over for drinks before going out on the weekend, I always try to serve them some nibbles of something nice like an appetizer or canapés. There are a wide variety of options, but adding a little bread for carbohydrates gives you energy and helps prepare your system for a fun time out with friends!

 

Here is a recipe for courgette canapés with crayfish and avocado which is quick and easy, and helps avoid the laborious effort of making a full dinner. Needless to say, as a student, I can’t really afford to treat my friends to dinner every time we meet, but these snacks fill us up surprisingly fast and help me look like a fantastic hostess in front of my guests.

However, small “tapas-style” finger foods are great because they don’t cost me a fortune. They are good in social environments since we have to pass the plates around and eat with our fingers while chatting, drinking, and on the really rowdy nights, singing.

Put these on the table together with some other hot and cold nibbles, and your friends will leave the house happy for sure!

What we need:

  • 1 large courgette
  • 340g of crayfish tails
  • 1 avocado
  • 200ml of grated cheddar cheese
  • 100ml of crème fraîche
  • 100ml of chopped dill
  • the juice and some finely grated peel of one lemon
  • 4 pinches of pepper

How we make it:

1. Wash and chop the courgette into slices around 1/2 centimetre thick, about 24.
2. Pour the crème fraîche in a bowl and add the crayfish tails (peel and wash if needed).
3. Peel and chop the avocado into small pieces. Add to the crème fraîche.
4. Grate the cheese and add to the mixture.
5. Grate some of the lemon peel and add to the mixture and the juice from the lemon.
6. Chop the dill and add to the mixture.
7. Add the pepper.
8. Mix everything carefully.
9. Place a tablespoon of the mixture on top of the corgette canapés and place them on a place.

Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6 (24 canapés)
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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26Mar 12

Grilled toast with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes

Greek Grilled Toasts

In honour of the versatility and history of Feta cheese, here is a recipe for Greek grilled toast with Feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Feta cheese is delicious on just about everything. It makes salads more interesting, such as in this healthy and original superfoods salad. I love the name “superfood” because to me, it means a food that is well-rounded and gives me all the nutrients and vitamins I need to get through the day. I think these toasts are superfood as well because it has elements from all the food groups.

Did you know that this Greek curd cheese is believed to have been made for thousands of years? Due to its proud heritage, the title “Feta cheese” has been copyrighted since 2002 so that only cheese made exclusively in Greece with sheep or goat’s milk has the right to bear the name within the European Union.

Try forming them into different shapes to give them an extra twist! How about cutting these toasts into small pizza slices? Or perhaps a Mickey Mouse head? Why not try them in the shape of a heart for your sweetheart? All you need for the shapes are cookie-cutters or a large glass, and some imagination. Serve and surprise your friends or partner with your ingenious toast shapes! They’ll love it!

What we need:

  • 8 slices of toast bread
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of butter on each
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 8 black olives, pitted
  • 150g of Feta cheese
  • a few leaves of fresh basil or coriander leaves

How we make it:
1. Cut the bread into the shapes you want them (I am partial to the heart-shaped ones, but I made the round ones that you see in the picture for simplicity’s sake. To do so, I used a large glass to cut around the bread).
2. Butter the bread that you are going to use.
3. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
4. Chop the olives into fine pieces.
5. Mix the tomatoes and olives and spread them on the toast.
6. Grate the Feta cheese and sprinkle over the toast.
7. Place some leaves of fresh basil on each.
8. Grill in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes.
9. Serve with an iceberg and tomato salad.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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