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Cover: Quick cuisine

Side dishes

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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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
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.
  • 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
  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
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
This is a perfect side salad for a day in the park.
  • 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
  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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