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Cover: Quick cuisine

Meal for 4 people

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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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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14Feb 12

Pasta with egg yolks and walnuts

Pasta with egg yolk and walnutsAs the temperatures plummet to negative numbers, and we are all tucked up at home, shivering and dreaming of warm beaches and barbeques, it is often a good idea to eat food that provides us with plenty of energy, such as pasta with egg yolks and walnuts.

Since we might not have the time to cook hearty stews for hours on end, pasta is one particularly high-energy and easy-to-prepare food which is perfect for wintertime. This will keep us warm when -or if- we dare to venture out, since you can actually eat yourself warm.

In this recipe, we have added egg yolk and walnuts for an even more energy-packed dish, and as though that wasn’t enough, topped it off with cream and bacon. This dish is probably not for the calorie-counting people out there, but bear in mind that in these freezing temperatures, your body needs more of them than usual. Calories can be counted when spring arrives in a month or so! In the meantime, while winter is still here, you can use the leftover walnuts to make an apple and walnut crumble for dessert.

So, put your favourite film in the DVD, take 15 minutes to make this easy dish, and cozy up on the sofa knowing that this is a yummy way to give your body that extra boost that it needs and deserves!

What we need:
• 300 grams of spaghetti or Tagliatelle pasta
• 300 grams of bacon
• 1 clove of chopped garlic
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 1 deciliter of grated parmesan cheese
• 1 deciliter of cream or full-fat milk
• 2 pinches of ground pepper
• 4 egg yolks
• Parsley
• Top it off with chopped walnuts

How to make it:
1. Boil the pasta in lightly-salted water according to instructions on the packet and drain.
2. Mix the egg yolks, parmesan cheese, olive oil and garlic in a bowl.
3. Fry the chopped-up bacon in a frying pan and take off excess fat with a tissue.
4. Pour the bacon and the mix of egg yolk, cheese, olive oil and chopped garlic into the pasta and stir it together carefully.
5. Sprinkle the chopped up parsley and ground pepper over the pasta and serve immediately.
6. Add more parmesan cheese according to taste, and add chopped walnuts as desired.
7. Crawl under a warm blanket with a bowl of this amazing pasta, and enjoy with a good film – just until the weather improves.

Time needed: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: easy

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