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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with olive oil

22Jun 12

Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauce

Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauceOne brilliant way to get your 5 servings of veggies a day is to chop up several vegetables and oven-fry them in some oil, sprinkled with salt and thyme. This is what I have done in this dish of Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauce. My personal preference is tuna, but you can use salmon or any other fish steak that you prefer.

I have used mushrooms, carrots, red onion, red pepper and potatoes with a curry sauce based on natural yoghurt. So, although you have to do some peeling and chopping, once it is in the oven, you can go about your business for around half an hour until it’s time to fry the tuna steak and mix together the sauce, which is done in less than 5 minutes.

Fish and veggies are a classic healthy combination. Try this recipe for tuna steaks with roast peppers. You won’t be disappointed!

Serve the tuna and veggies on a bed of ruccola leaves or as it is. By doing so, you will have reached your goal of getting five vegetables a day, and in such an easy and tasty way!

What we need:

  • 180g tuna steak
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 4 big mushrooms
  • 2 meduim-sized potatoes
  • 150g of natural cooking yoghurt
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of curry powder (according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of thyme

How to make it:
1. Wash and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into chunks.
2. Place them on an oven tray in some of the oil and pour some of the oil over them. Sprinkle the salt and thyme over them.
3. Place in the middle of the oven at 250 degrees. Leave for 30 – 40 minutes or until ready.
4. 10 minutes before the vegetables are ready, take out the tuna steaks and fry them in a frying pan until golden brown.
5. Pour the yoghurt into a small bowl and add the curry powder and honey. Mix carefully.
6. When the vegetables are ready, place them on a plate on a bed of ruccola salad and serve the fish with a dollop of yoghurt sauce.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2
Time needed: 30-40 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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18Jun 12

Pollock in caviar sauce with dill

Pollock in caviar sauce with dillA cheap kind of caviar or a caviar substitute can work wonders as flavouring in sauces, and adds a bit of excitement to dishes such as this healthy fish recipe made using Pollock in caviar sauce with dill. A creamed smoked roe, caviar paste or a similar caviar substitute can be used in this recipe, and dill adds an extra flavour to this light dish.

I like adding veggies to my recipes. With this sauce, I recommend corn and green beans. For extra substance, serve the fish alongside boiled potatoes, lightly salted. (Also try this broiled salmon with spicy bell pepper sauce.)

Corn is a superb source of fibre and vitamin C and is closely identified with the Americas, perhaps more so than any other food. Did you know that the Mayans revered maize? They expressed their respect and appreciation in everyday rituals and as well as in their religious ceremonies. Corn was equally highly valued by the Native Americans of North America. So there you have it – not only yummy and healthy, but with an interesting history too!

What we need:

  • 400g of Alaska Pollock
  • 1/2 a leek
  • a small tin of corn
  • 250ml of single cream
  • 4 tablespoons of caviar (add according to taste)
  • 200g of frozen green beans
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped dill
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 30g Parmesan cheese

How to make it:

  1. Defrost the fish. Once done, cut it into 4 pieces. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  2. While it’s heating up, wash and peel the leek. Cut into thin slices.
  3. Bring water to the boil in a pot and cook the frozen green beans for 10 minutes, per the instructions on the package.
  4. Place the pieces of fish in an oven-safe form and sprinkle over the salt and pepper. Place the form in the oven for around 15 minutes.
  5. As the fish is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the leek for a few minutes.
  6. Add the cream to the pan and let it all boil together for 5 minutes. Add the caviar and more salt and pepper according to taste.
  7. Add the dill, corn and green beans, stirring it all together. When well-mixed, pour the sauce over the fish in the oven-safe form.
  8. Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and place in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve hot.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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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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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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15Apr 12

Baked potatoes with leek and Mascarpone cheese

Baked Potato with Leeks and Mascarpone CheeseDuring the winter time, I have found that my body craves more starchy foods such as potatoes. Mmmm…. The best part is that there is a huge variety of potato dishes! They can be baked, cooked, fried, boiled, and sautéed. They can be served hot or cold; as an accompaniment, main ingredient or in a salad. I have tried elaborate crushed new potatoes with feta cheese or plain potatoes with just a pinch of salt. This veggie can be cooked in any way imaginable and still be delicious.

The best part is that potatoes are year-round and cheap. These types of meals definitely fit into my student budget.

One easy potato dish is the baked potato. I have always loved how versatile baked potatoes can be, with basically hundreds of different fillings to choose from. For me, crispy baked potatoes with leek and Mascarpone cheese has become one of my personal favourites, since I can add whatever I want to the basic recipe: crispy bacon, sliced ham, sliced and fried chicken, tuna, or why not pieces of fried salmon? It is so easy to make and perfect for a winter evening!

What we need:

  • 4 large potatoes for baking
  • 1/2 a leek
  • 1 red onion
  • 25g of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 a decilitre of chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 a decilitre of chopped green onion

How we make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees.
2. Wash the potatoes and place them in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop the pepper and onion into very fine pieces and chop the leek.
4. Fry the leek in the olive oil and add the red pepper, onion and thyme. Let it fry for 1-2 minutes and add salt and pepper according to taste.
5. Prepare the Mascarpone cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.
6. When the potatoes are ready, cut a cross on the top and make a hole by removing some of the inside of the potato.
7. Place a tablespoon of the cheese in the hole made in the potatoes.
8. Let it melt a little and then add a tablespoon of the leek, onion and pepper mix.

Voila! Sprinkle a bit of chopped green onion on top for presentation, and your baked potatoes are served!

Serves: 4
Time needed: 10 minutes + 50 minutes for the potatoes in the oven
Level: very easy

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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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04Apr 12

Pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese

Pita bread with fried vegetables and ricotta cheese

Like I said in an earlier post, spinach is one of my new favourite foods, and I try to incorporate it into as many meals as possible. Fortunately, when you buy it fresh, it usually comes in a huge bag which will last you for many dishes. Another reason I like to use it fresh is because in this form, it retains more of its nutrients.

Another one of my favourites, this time an herb, is the exquisite coriander which gives a dish a lovely exotic feel. I thought mixing spinach and coriander might be a good idea, and yes, it turned out to be tasty. Interestingly, apart from being really delicious, did you know that coriander can help alleviate certain kinds of hay fever? Good to know in springtime, folks!

Here is a simple recipe for a pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese. If you don’t like tuna, you can just as well add any protein, such as smoked salmon or chicken. It feels like you have just made a luxury sandwich! (I also recommend this hot smoked salmon bruschetta.)

What we need:

  • 150g of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 small tin of tuna
  • 2-3 pitas
  • 1 small onion
  • 90g of fresh spinach
  • 1 tomato
  • 10 small mushrooms
  • 60g of fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon of salad herbs

How to make it:
1. Wash and cut the mushrooms, tomato and onion. Place the olive oil in a frying pan and heat. Once at a medium temperature, throw in the veggies and fry until soft.
2. Wash the spinach and coriander. Cut off the stems and discard. Chop the leafy part into small bits and mix them together in a bowl.
3. Mix the salad herbs into the ricotta cheese.
4. When the vegetables in the frying pan are soft, pour out some of the excess liquid. Add the tin of tuna and the salt and let it all fry together for 3 minutes while mixing.
5. Preheat the pita bread in the oven.
6. When hot, cut a slit in each pita bread and fill them with fried vegetables, ricotta cheese and the spinach/coriander mix.
7. Serve with a glass of cold beer.

Serves: 2-3
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: 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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