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Cover: Quick cuisine

Main Courses

04Oct 12

Beef Stroganoff

Beef StroganoffBeef Stroganoff, the popular Russian a dish, is a classic that doesn’t take too much time and can be fun to make! There are many variations, but this recipe, with tender beef fillet strips in a sour cream, onion and mushroom sauce, involves flambéing the meat in brandy.

The first time I made it, my flatmate and I had some laughs at my attempt at flambéing. I was careful, though, and no accidents occurred! And I learned two important things. 1) The alcohol won’t ignite if it’s cold; it should be warmed slightly first. 2) The food shouldn’t be left with the liquor too long before lighting; otherwise it will absorb the alcohol and acquire a harsh taste.

Another good tip is to chill the meat in the freezer for about half an hour beforehand to help cut the beef into thin strips.

If you are really hungry, you could always pair this dish up with Russian rye bread, in keeping with the Russian theme.

Beef Stroganoff
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Beef Stroganoff is a classic and popular Russian dish of beef fillet strips in a sour cream, onion and mushroom sauce.
  • 650g beef fillet, seasoned with salt and pepper and cut into thin strips
  • 300g mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 150ml brandy
  • 100ml sour cream
  • 100ml beef stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a deep frying pan until hot and then add half of the butter.
  2. Lightly fry the beef strips in the frying pan until they are golden brown on the outside and pink on the inside.
  3. Warm the brandy in the microwave for 15 seconds until it is warm to the touch.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the brandy. Use a long lighter to light it, and flambé the beef (with caution!).
  5. When the flames have disappeared, cover the pan and put to one side.
  6. Warm the rest of the butter in a saucepan, add the chopped onion and mushrooms and fry until the onion is transparent.
  7. Add the mustard, beef stock and sour cream and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
  8. Add the beef and its juice, season if necessary, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  9. Serve with fresh pasta or rice.


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17Sep 12

Wild Rice Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Wild Rice Salad with Mustard VinaigretteIf you love salads that are consistent enough to eat as a main course and have many different ingredients, then this Wild Rice Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette is for you! I invented it myself one day when a friend came round for lunch and I didn’t feel like cooking.

The second time I made it, I couldn’t remember all the exact ingredients I had used the first time, but that’s the great thing about it! You can use whatever ingredients you have available at the time, so it doesn’t always have to be the same. You can use any kind of hard or crumbly cheese, and any kind of fish. If you don’t like fish, use ham. If you’re not keen on capers, just leave them out or add something else you like.

I know sun-dried tomatoes aren’t the kind of thing we always have at home, so just use fresh tomatoes! And if you are feeling particularly lazy and can’t be bothered to make the vinaigrette, then just add olive oil, vinegar and salt. But I strongly recommend the mustard vinaigrette – it makes for a much tastier salad.

Apart from being a fun idea for a main meal at home, this salad is wonderful for picnics. It makes for a very complete, balanced and healthy dish, as it contains protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. You could also try my rice salad with spinach and avocado. Very tasty!

Wild Rice Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
If you love salads that are consistent enough to eat as a main course and have many different ingredients, then this Wild Rice Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette is for you!
  • 200g mixed long grain and wild rice
  • ½ cucumber
  • 5 or 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 20g cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp drained capers
  • 1 heaped tbsp pitted black olives
  • ½ small tin sweet corn
  • 5 or 6 canned anchovy fillets
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Aprox. 6 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Boil the rice, cool under cold water, drain and leave to cool some more.
  2. Cut the olives into quarters.
  3. Finely dice all the other ingredients, except the sweet corn and capers.
  4. Mix all the ingredients with the rice in a large bowl.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, use a fork or a whisk to mix the mustard, salt and vinegar in a small bowl.
  6. Add the olive oil little by little, while whisking (or stirring rapidly with your fork) continually.
  7. When all the oil has been added and you have a smooth emulsion, try it and adjust any ingredients if necessary.
  8. Mix the vinaigrette into the salad and serve.


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15Aug 12

Baked Halibut with mixed herbs

Baked Halibut with mixed herbs
is quite a versatile and relatively inexpensive fish. It has a non-oily, but firm and mild-flavoured flesh. It is capable of absorbing other flavours well, making it great for experimenting with in the kitchen! And it can be substituted for other kinds of fish and sometimes chicken in many recipes. If you don’t like fishy tasting seafood but want to include fish in your diet, halibut is a good choice.

My first experience with halibut was when I was a young girl. Of course, my mum made sure that my piece didn’t contain any bones. She mixed together a simple butter sauce to drizzle over the tender fish, and I loved it! She and I like to experiment together with various dressings, and I owe part of the credit for this recipe to her. We have a lot of fun, and I appreciate that she instilled in me the importance of fish in a healthy balanced diet.

Of course, some of my favourite creamy toppings are not necessarily low-calorie…. But overall, fish has a lot of health benefits.

This Baked Halibut with mixed herbs is just lovely. As it’s cooked in lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives and thyme, all those different flavours soak into the fish, making a really tasty meal. But be careful not to overcook the halibut, or it will dry out because of its low oil content.

For a spicier dinner, try this yellow thai fish curry.

Baked Halibut with mixed herbs
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This Baked Halibut with mixed herbs is cooked in lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives and thyme.
  • 650g halibut steak or fillet, cut into 8 pieces
  • 60ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  2. Crush the garlic using the back of a wide-bladed knife or in a pestle and mortar.
  3. In a bowl, mix the garlic, herbs and a couple of pinches of salt together until well-blended, then add the lemon juice and stock.
  4. Place the fish in a baking dish, pour over the herb mixture and cover with foil. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the meat is white, opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Serve immediately, pouring the juices from the baking dish over the fish and adding pepper to taste.
  6. Can be served with vegetables, rice or potatoes.


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06Aug 12

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca
If you like anchovies, or even if you don’t, I recommend trying this recipe. My flatmate says she doesn’t like them, but when I made Puttanesca Pasta, I didn’t tell her what was in it. She loved it! I think it’s because the strong flavour of the anchovies is softened by the onion and tomato and disguised a little by the garlic, chilli and basil. It’s a very flavourful sauce that I think deserves to be served with fresh pasta, which apart from being tastier, is also faster to cook.

Accompany with this no-egg caesar salad, which also uses an anchovy paste, a perfect complement to the pasta recipe.

The origins of Puttanesca sauce (sugo alla Puttanesca in Italian) are not certain, but many say it has something to do with “ladies of the night” because puttana is a colloquial word for prostitute. It’s said that prostitutes in Naples created this dish with readily available ingredients and that they used its fragrance to tempt customers into their brothels, offering them dinner and then “dessert”!

Pasta Puttanesca
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Italian Puttanesca Pasta combines anchovies, capers, garlic, chilli and basil in tomato sauce.
  • 300g tinned sieved tomato (Passata)
  • 200g fresh pasta
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 6 tinned anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 10 pitted black olives
  • 1 or 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Fry the garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 1 minute. Then add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry over a low-medium heat until it is soft and transparent.
  2. Add the sieved tomato and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the olives in halves or quarters, or leave whole if preferred.
  4. When the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency, add the capers, anchovies, olives, basil and chilli powder and stir.
  5. Taste the sauce, add more chilli if you like it spicier and a little more sugar if you find it’s sour. Remove from heat.
  6. Cook the fresh pasta according to the instructions on the packet (usually no more than 3 minutes).
  7. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve.


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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
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
  • 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
  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
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
  • 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
  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
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
  • 300g of Hake
  • 200g rice
  • 2 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  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
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A simple and typically easy dish to spin together
  • 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
  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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