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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with garlic

09Jun 12

Mushroom lasagna with mozzarella and tomatoes

Mushroom lasagnaI´m a big fan of Italian cooking, but usually I don´t have time for more than throwing a handful of macaroni and some vegetables into a saucepan and letting them boil together. Last Friday night I thought I´d try a more elaborate pasta dish and found this recipe for mushroom lasagna with mozzarella and tomatoes to be easy enough even for a busy student like me.

Although the preparation does take some time, after that the lasagna makes itself in the oven while I bury my head in the books. Half an hour later, the dish is ready and you can have yourself a well-deserved treat!

What we need:

  • 300g dry fusilli pasta
  • 450g of sliced mushrooms (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 400 grams of chopped tomatoes from a tin
  • 400 of crème fraîche
  • 400g of mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a sprig of fresh basil (optional)

How we make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the pasta, but not too much as it will later go in the oven as well.
  3. If you use frozen mushrooms, place them in a frying pan and fry until the liquid is gone. Place them on a plate for later use.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic, onion and courgettes.
  5. Fry them along with olive oil in a frying pan and then add the chopped tomatoes and the sugar. Let it boil for around 10 minutes.
  6. Heat the crème fraîche in a saucepan and take half of the mozzarella and place it in lumps in the crème fraîche. Let them melt together. Add the salt and pepper.
  7. Take an oven-safe form and put some of the tomato sauce in the bottom.
  8. Place a layer of the fusilli on top, covering the form.
  9. Now, alternate between the crème fraîche sauce, tomato sauce and fusilli pasta.
  10. On the top, place the rest of the crème fraîche sauce and add the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
  11. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and sprinkle over the fresh basil.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 50 minutes (including oven time)
Level: easy – intermediate

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28May 12

Japanese-style rice dish with shrimp and ginger

Japanese style rice dish with shrimp and gingerI tend to use Japanese soy sauce quite often when I cook. It is really versatile and adds a little saltiness to a dish. I prefer it to the Chinese version as Japanese soy sauces typically have a slightly sweeter taste than their Chinese counterparts.

 

 

A few years ago, I lived with two Japanese flatmates and they taught me many different ways how to use their soy sauce. Since then I have used it in everything from avocados to eggs, like this scrambled omelette with cherry tomatoes. In coming recipes I will tell you more about how you can use Japanese soy sauce in ways you might not have considered before.

If you love the flavours in sushi, but like me, can’t afford to splurge too often, then this Japanese-style rice dish with shrimp and ginger is for you. It combines several main ingredients in sushi: ginger, rice and soy sauce. I have also added shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes for an extra salty taste.

What we need:

  • 100g of peeled and washed shrimp (use de-frosted if you like)
  • 300g of rice
  • 6 big mushrooms
  • 50g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce
  • Around 1 centimeter of freshly grated ginger (about a teaspoon)

How to make it:
1. Defrost the shrimp on a plate for later use.
2. Place the rice in a sauce pan and cook according to the instructions on the packet.
3. Grate the garlic into a frying pan and fry in the olive oil for 2 minutes.
4. Peel and chop the onion and add to the frying pan. Let it fry until soft.
5. Chop the mushrooms and add to the frying pan.
6. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the frying pan.
7. Add the soy sauce and let it all blend together until soft.
8. Add the shrimp and the ginger. Mix it all carefully and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
9. When the rice is ready, fluff it and add it to the frying pan.
10. Mix very carefully into a rice dish and serve immediately.

Serves: 2

Takes: 20 minutes

Level: easy

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21May 12

Baked potatoes with aubergine and salmon and mustard filling

Baked potato with aubergine and salmon and mustard fillingBaked potatoes are my favourites for Friday evenings because I just love the smell of potato that fills the room and the anticipation after it has been in the oven for a long hour. Also, you can be sure that it will be tasty with just about any topping. A baked potato with a savoury topping and a glass of white wine sets me in the mood for the weekend!

 

Here is a recipe that uses mustard and honey as base for a yoghurt sauce. I have also used aubergine and tomatoes, mainly because I hardly ever eat aubergine, but this recipe would work just as well with almost any vegetable. I use smoked salmon in the yoghurt sauce because I wanted to make it more “meaty,” but it can also be made as a vegetarian dish.

Baked potatoes, if small enough, also make for a great accompaniment to a meat dish. If you are a meat and potatoes person, try this recipe for lamb with crushed baked potatoes.

What we need:

  • 2 large baked potatoes
  • 100g smoked salmon (optional)
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 170g full fat yoghurt for cooking or crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 of grainy French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or slightly less honey

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Wash the potatoes carefully and place them in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes.
3. Wash and peel the aubergine. Cut into small pieces and place in a frying pan in the olive oil.
4. Wash and chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Place in the frying pan. Let it all fry together until soft and mushy.
5. Take the yoghurt or crème fraîche and place in a bowl. Add the mustard and honey or sugar. Mix carefully. If you are using smoked salmon, cut it into the yoghurt sauce.
6. When the aubergine and tomato mixture is soft, press a clove of garlic into it and mix carefully.
7. When the potatoes are soft and ready, place on a plate and cut a cross in them. Place 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture in the potatoes and top it off with 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt /mustard mix.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 60 minutes (in oven)
Level: Easy

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17May 12

Potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaks

Potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaksDid you know that potatoes are delicious with green pesto? I find that making potato bakes (or potato au-gratin, if you want to sound sophisticated) is an easy and comfy way of making a proper dish if you are looking for more variety instead of always eating boiled or mashed potatoes.

Add some vegetables, such as mushrooms and red onion, and blend pesto with yoghurt or crème fraiche for a creamy sauce. Within the hour, you’ll have a dish that looks like a lot of work has gone into it, when really it was a doddle to make!

If you prefer chicken, use chicken breasts instead of salmon steaks in this meal. For more pesto and chicken recipes, I recommend this pesto chicken with caramelised aubergine, roast tomatoes, and olives.

What we need:

  • 4 small salmon steaks (500g)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 big mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of green pesto
  • 250g Greek natural yoghurt (for cooking) or crème fraîche
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese (about 6 slices)

How to make it:
1. Defrost the salmon steaks.
2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
3. Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop into thin slices. Place on a plate for later.
4. Wash and chop the mushrooms, onion and pepper into medium-size pieces.
6. Grate the garlic into a frying pan with some of the oil.
7. Add the onion and pepper and let it all become soft.
8. Add the mushrooms, mix it properly and let it all fry for 5 minutes.
9. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl and add the pesto. Mix it carefully.
10. Cover the bottom of an oven-safe form with some of the yoghurt /pesto mix.
11. On top, place slices of potatoes.
12. Next, alternate between yoghurt/pesto mix, vegetables and layers of potatoes.
13. On top of the last potato layer, sprinkle the grated cheese.
14. Place in oven for 60 minutes or until potatoes are ready.
15. 10 minutes before the potato au gratin is ready, and when the salmon is defrosted, place the steaks into a frying pan with some of the olive oil and fry until lightly brown.
16. Serve the salmon steaks with the potato au gratin and a rocket salad.

Serves: 4

Time needed: preparation 15 minutes + 60 mines in oven

Level: easy-intermediate

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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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19Apr 12

Mini pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts

Mini pancakesSometimes in the evening I just want a little something. I feel like a small snack to put me to bed without a rumbling stomach so that I get my daily beauty sleep and well-deserved rest. (If I do say so myself!)

On other occasions, I have a house full of dressed-up friends and want to keep them entertained while they wait for the main dish. Sometimes on those occasions, a single glass of white wine just doesn’t cut it because their stomachs are rumbling.

Mini pancakes with savoury toppings is a great way to keep my mingling guests happy while still hungry enough to tuck into the main dish once it arrives on the table.
Be it an evening snack or a formal appetizer, these mini pancakes are perfect and always welcome. Spinach and mozzarella blended with tomatoes and pine nuts are a heavenly combination and will do the trick on any occasion. They are delicious – and so easy to make.

Be prepared to receive recipe inquiries!

What we need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 75g of flour
  • 5 decilitres of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 125g of mozzarella cheese
  • 150g of fresh spinach
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 decilitres of pine nuts

How to make it:
1. Whip together the eggs, flour and milk.
2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mixture.
3. Pour the paste into a mini pancake cast-iron skillet (or one by one if you don’t have one) and fry on middle temperature.
4. Crumble the mozzarella cheese over the mini pancakes when they start to harden.
5. Let the cheese harden.
6. Fry the spinach and garlic in a saucepan using some butter or olive oil.
7. Chop the tomatoes.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes and pine nuts to the spinach and garlic.
9. Place a tablespoon of the mixture onto the pancakes and serve immediately on a large plate.

TIP: If you don’t have an iron skillet for mini pancakes, you can use ready-made blinis found in most supermarkets. Or you can try a similar basic pancake batter recipe.

Serves: 8
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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18Apr 12

Chicken fajitas with red onion and guacamole

Chicken FajitasI love Mexican food for its spiciness and simplicity of the dishes. The typical foods such as spicy tortillas, nachos, quesadillas, and fajitas all are really filling and use combinations of flavours that I can´t get enough of! Plus, in my opinion, they are quite easy to throw together for a hearty meal.

Chicken fajitas with red onion and guacamole is a dish that I make at least twice a week because it is so yummy and simple to make. Fajitas make perfect student food because they are easy like a sandwich but with proper meal ingredients.

I usually cosy up with these fajitas and my favourite TV series after a full day at Uni. Although, since I stuff them so full, I have to be careful not to let all the ingredients spill out onto the couch. Regardless, I love this dish. All I can say is: Viva Mexico!

What we need:

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 6 Mexican tortillas
  • 100g of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of spicy red Mexican sauce
  • 200ml of guacamole
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Herbs: garlic, ginger, pepper and cayenne pepper (a pinch of each)

How to make it:

  1. Chop the chicken breast into long slices.
  2. Place them in the oil in a frying pan and fry until cooked and sprinkle the herbs over it.  Place in a bowl for later.
  3. Chop the peppers and onion and fry them in the frying pan.
  4. Now, put the chicken back in the pan together with the peppers and onion. Add the Mexican sauce to taste, depending on how spicy you want it.
  5. Preheat the tortillas in the oven or microwave.
  6. Spread a tablespoon of guacamole on a tortilla and add some of the chicken and pepper mixture.
  7. Sprinkle some of the grated cheese on top according to taste.
  8. Roll the tortilla into a roll and eat with your fingers or a knife and fork.

Enjoy!!

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Level: easy

You can either buy ready-made guacamole or make it yourself. Try this spicy guacamole recipe.

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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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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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