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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with garlic

15Aug 12

Baked Halibut with mixed herbs

Baked Halibut with mixed herbs
Halibut
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
Author: 
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.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Italian Puttanesca Pasta combines anchovies, capers, garlic, chilli and basil in tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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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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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04Jul 12

Sea bass with white bean mash

Pike with white bean mash
I’m a fan of fresh sea bass that’s cooked right through. Not so well cooked that it turns dry and hard, but just enough to remove what I would describe as the gelatinous texture of the raw meat. I know that there will be many of you who prefer seared or flash fried sea bass, so cook them to your taste, and of course the rarer they are, the faster you’ll get your dinner on the plate. Although my sea bass with white bean mash take that little bit longer to cook, I still have the meal prepared and in front of me in little more than 15 minutes.

Mash made with white beans is simply delicious; and so very fast to make. I mix mine up with garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, and a sprinkling of salt; it’s a wonderful alternative to potato mash if you’re in a hurry, or if you just fancy it, like I often do. If I’m making the mash to go with another type of meat, I often use lemon juice and zest instead of lime, but I’m sticking to lime here as we’re also using it for the fish. I also like sticking potato chips in for a crunchy texture.

If you want an extra accompaniment, this meal is really nice served up with tomato salsa, or if you prefer something green, try these steamed spring vegetables with Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Or serve with just a few simple lettuce leaves.

Sea bass with white bean mash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Mash made with beans is simply delicious; and you'll have this meal prepared and in front of you in little more than 15 minutes.
Ingredients
  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • A dash of soy sauce
  • The juice of a lime and the zest of half of the lime
  • A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 35ml olive oil
  • 2 x 410g cans of white beans
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Heat a griddle pan, or bring a little of the olive oil up to heat in a frying pan, and cook the sea bass on both sides until they are to your liking (you can slit through one to check how they’re doing when you’re ready). They’ll take around 10 minutes to cook through, depending on thickness. When nearing completion time, squeeze over a little of the lime juice (about a third) and a dash of soy sauce.
  2. Whilst the fish is cooking, make the white bean mash: Put the 35ml olive oil to a pan and add the garlic. Squeeze in the remaining lime juice and warm the ingredients through, stirring them together.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the oil, lime and garlic. As they warm through, squish them with the flat of a large spoon to create a mash. Season with a little salt if needed.
  4. Serve the sea bass and the mash on a plate and sprinkle over with the lime zest and the fresh coriander.

 

 

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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
Author: 
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.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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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27Jun 12

Vegetable lasagne

Vegetable lasagne with spinach and cranberriesI love experimenting with different kinds of lasagne because you can basically put just about anything into a lasagne, and it still turns out delicious. Here is one  vegetable lasagne in which I have used spinach, due to its pure healthiness, and cranberries since they are delicious and more versatile than just in desserts. (If you like meat in your pasta, try this beef and kale lasagne.)

Did you know that cranberries have lately been marketed as a “super-fruit” due to their high content in nutrients and antioxidant qualities? They are a great source of vitamin C and are low in calories but high in fibre.

Cranberries are very much part of North American and Canadian cuisine. They use them in marmalades, sauces, desserts and, not to forget, as a very important part of the Thanksgiving dinner.

Native Americans were the first to use cranberries as food. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, but also for medicines and dyes. It is believed that the natives introduced cranberries to starving English settlers who later incorporated them into the traditional feast of Thanksgiving.

What we need:

  • 6-8 lasagne noodles
  • 400ml of tomato sauce

  • 100ml of full fat milk

  • 1 teaspoon of thyme

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion

  • 200g of fresh spinach, chopped

  • 20 dried cranberries

  • 100g of cheddar cheese

How to make it:

  1. Pour the tomato sauce into a bowl and add the thyme, garlic and milk.

  2. Wash and peel the carrot. Cut both the carrot and onion into small slices.

  3. Mix the spinach, carrot, cranberries and onion all together.

  4. Pour some of the tomato sauce into the oven-safe form.

  5. Add a layer of lasagne noodles.

  6. Alternate between the pasta, tomato sauce and the veggie/cranberry mix.

  7. End the last layer with the last lasagne noodle. Add the last of the tomato sauce and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top, grated or in slices.

  8. Place in the middle of the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2-3

Time needed: preparation time 15 minutes and then oven time.

Level: Easy

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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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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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