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Cover: Gluten free cooking

April, 2012

27Apr 12

Oven-Baked Cauliflower and Garlic

Oven-baked Cauliflower and GarlicWe all know what cauliflower tastes like, don’t we?  I know I used to think it was just one of those stinky vegetables that is prepared by boiling the heck out of it until it turns mushy and pretty much flavourless.

However, it turns out that cauliflower can actually taste incredibly good, as long as you avoid overcooking it – a typical beginner’s mistake.  This quick and easy oven-baked cauliflower and garlic recipe brings the lowly cauliflower to a whole new level and is so simple to prepare that even the greenest of cooks will have no problem getting it right the first time.

The real secret behind the recipe is, as usual, the garlic and herbs.  The rosemary and thyme give the cauliflower a wonderful aromatic touch and the roasted garlic – well, let’s just say it’s almost too good to describe.  I use oven-roasted garlic in a lot of my recipes, mostly because I really love the taste of garlic, but my poor stomach has a hard time digesting it raw or even fried.  However, when you roast it, the flavour is actually enhanced, while at the same time the “bite” is lessened, so you can eat lots and lots of it with none of the typical side-effects.

Fresh rosemary and thyme are the best of option if you can get them, but if you can’t, then the dried variety will do just fine.   As always, the better quality the ingredients you use, the better the results will be.

As an option, try sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on top after stirring the mix in step 6. This version is a big favourite with my kids.

You need:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 16 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and cut into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic, but leave the cloves whole.
  4. Place the cauliflower, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and oil in a deep baking dish and toss well, making sure all the cauliflower is coated in oil and herbs.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir the mix well and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Ready In: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Difficulty: Out of 5, it’s a 1!

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24Apr 12

Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Loaf

Turkey and Sun-dred Tomato LoafThis turkey and sun-dried tomato loaf with onion gravy makes for a great Sunday afternoon roast replacement, like this lamb roast with garlic and rosemary.  I like to use turkey mince, but it should work fine with whatever mince you prefer, or even textured vegetable protein if you want to make it vegetarian-friendly.

You Need:

For the loaf:

  • 250g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 65g cornflakes, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½  medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbsps mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g creamy Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 2tsps dried basil
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • ½tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½tsp salt
  • 700g  turkey mince
  • Vegetable oil spray

For the gravy:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2tsps thyme
  • 500ml water
  • 4tbsp cornflour + 2tbsp water, mixed together to form a thick paste 

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Submerge the sun-dried tomatoes in the boiling water for a few minutes to soften and then drain. Chop into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the crushed cereal and mix to coat. Set aside.
  4. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and green pepper in the olive oil until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  6. Add to the sun-dried tomato and cereal mixture.
  7. Next pour in the broth and mix well.
  8. Beat the eggs and then add them to the mixture,  jumbling it all together.
  9. Add the cheese, herbs, seasonings and meat and stir until well-blended.
  10. Lightly coat a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray and then press the mixture firmly down into the pan.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the temperature of the loaf, when measured with a roasting thermometer, reaches 80ºC.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
  13. While the loaf is baking, prepare the gravy:
  • Sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the stock cube, thyme and 500ml of water and bring to the boil.
  • Add the cornflour paste a little at a time until desired thickness is reached.

14. Cut into slices, cover with gravy and serve.

Ready In:  90 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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19Apr 12

Baked Aubergine Parmesan with Tofu Pesto

Baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pestoThis baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto has got to be one of my all-time favourite comfort foods.  Filled with lots of cheese and literally dripping with sauce, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  If you’re not a fan of aubergine (like my son) you could substitute it for courgette, wild mushrooms or even a mix of vegetables.

You Need:

For the baked aubergine:

  • 1kg aubergines
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 750ml tomato sauce
  • 300g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 250g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

For the tofu pesto:

  • 125g firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 500g fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 125g fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Peel the aubergine and slice into 1cm thick pieces.
  3. Sprinkle salt on each side and drain on kitchen towels for about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn the pieces over and drain on the other side for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  5. Drizzle the oil on the aubergine and then grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
  6. Combine the oregano and tomato sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour a small amount on the bottom of a 23cm x 30cm pan.
  7. Arrange a layer of aubergine along the bottom of the pan, cover with some sauce and the shredded mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Continue layering until you have used all the aubergine, sauce and cheese, ending with the cheese.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until the cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  10. While the aubergine is baking, prepare the pesto topping.  Combine all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the liquid ingredients at the bottom to facilitate blending.  Process on medium speed until the pesto is very smooth. (Click here for another pesto sauce recipe.)
  11. Pour the pesto sauce over the baked aubergine and serve immediately.

Note: Some people like pesto more than others, and so I often put the pest in a bowl on the side so that my guests can serve themselves according to personal preference.

Ready In:  75 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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17Apr 12

Hot and Spicy Chicken with Almonds

Hot and spicy chicken with almondsThe Chinese takeaway just down the road from me serves a great spicy almond chicken which I can never seem to get enough of, so this week I decided to try and make my own.  This hot and spicy chicken with almonds recipe is the result, and while I have to admit it’s almost nothing like the original, it is definitely very tasty!

Make sure you buy the best chicken breasts and almonds you can (preferably organic), as this really does make all the difference. (Feeling nutty this week? I also recommend this chicken stir-fry with ginger and cashews.)

You Need:

For the chicken:

  • 650g skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2tbsps olive oil
  • 250g water chestnuts
  • 125g  unsalted almonds

For the marinade:

  • 1tsp sesame oil
  • 1tsp arrowroot
  • 2tbsps wheat-free tamari sauce
  • 2tbsps sherry or red wine

For the vegetables:

  • 4–5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1tbsp peeled and  grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, chopped

For the sauce:

  • 125ml chicken broth
  • 1tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 2tbsps wheat-free tamari sauce
  • 2tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5tsps arrowroot

Steps:

  1. Begin by making the marinade. Combine the sesame oil, arrowroot, wheat-free tamari and sherry/red wine and place in a re-sealable plastic bag or a large bowl with a lid.
  2. Submerge the chicken in the liquid and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the veggies. Mix together the garlic, ginger and green onions. Set aside.
  4. Combine all the ingredients for the chicken sauce in a separate bowl and mix very well. Set aside.
  5. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it in a medium-size frying pan that has been heated over medium-high heat.
  6. Sauté, turning often, for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside.
  7. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil, add the vegetables, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
  8. Add the cooked chicken and toss to cover well.
  9. Add the water chestnuts and the almonds.
  10. Heat through and serve over rice or rice noodles.

 

Ready In:  90 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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12Apr 12

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary FocacciaThis delicious rosemary focaccia can be served as an accompaniment for dinner or used as an original and filling sandwich bread.  You can even eat it dipped in Moroccan hummus. Or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous (and rather hungry) you could use it as a base for pizza.  Just top it off with your favourite sauce, toppings and cheese and grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

You Need:

  • 1½tsps active dry yeast
  • 2tsps granulated sugar
  • 125ml  warm (45°C) water
  • White rice flour for dusting
  • 140g sorghum flour
  • 140g cornflour
  • 95g tapioca flour
  • 1½tsps xanthan gum
  • 2tsps chopped fresh rosemary or 1tsp dried, crushed with your hands
  • ½tsp onion powder
  • ½tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp cider vinegar

Topping:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2tsps chopped fresh rosemary or 1tsp dried, crushed with your hands
  • ½tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1tsp coarse sea salt

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 205°C.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
  3. Set aside to foam for 5 minutes.
  4. Generously grease a 27cm x 20cm pan. Dust the bottom and sides lightly with white rice flour.
  5. In a mixing bowl, sift together the sorghum flour, cornflour and tapioca flour
  6. Blend in the xanthan gum, rosemary, onion powder, salt, eggs, oil, vinegar, and yeast-water mixture.
  7. Beat dough with mixer on low speed until thoroughly blended.
  8. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue beating for 30 seconds or until dough starts to thicken slightly.
  9. Dough will be somewhat soft and sticky.
  10. Transfer dough to pan. Spread dough to edges of pan with a wet spatula, making sure dough is uniform in its thickness.
  11. Let dough rise in a warm place (24°C to 27°C) until dough is level with the top of the pan.
  12. Spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
  13. Sprinkle dough with rosemary, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  14. Bake on the lower-middle oven rack 25 to 30 minutes or until top is dark golden brown and firm.
  15. Remove from oven and cool focaccia 10 minutes in the pan and 10 more on a wire rack.
  16. Slice and serve.

Ready In:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:   4 out of 5

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09Apr 12

Gluten-free Pizza Crust

Gluten-free pizza crustIt’s taken years of searching and trial and error, but I’ve finally managed to find a decent gluten-free pizza crust.  And what’s even better, it’s not too hard to make!  The result is crispy on the outside and just a little chewy in the centre and the dough is strong enough to hold a good quantity of toppings without falling apart in your hands when you try to eat it.  And let’s face it, pizza (such as this spinach, tomato and blue cheese pizza) is meant to be eaten with your hands, not a knife and fork!

Once the dough is ready, you can top it off with your favourite sauce, toppings and cheese.  Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the cheese!  Mozzarella is the typical choice, but I suggest picking something with a little more originality and flair to branch out and try new flavours; you won’t be disappointed!

You Need:

  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 335 ml milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80 ml gluten-free corn meal

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is just a little warmer than room temperature.  It should not be too hot to touch with your finger.
  3. Mix the milk, sugar and yeast in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, salt and xanthan gum well in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
  5. The yeast mixture should now be foaming.  If it isn’t, wait until it is.
  6. Mix the apple cider vinegar and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
  7. Pour the yeast mixture onto the flour mixture and mix well.
  8. Roll out the dough on baking parchment paper with a roller and sprinkle the corn meal  onto both sides as you go.  You should roll it out to about a little less than half a centimetre thick.
  9. Transfer the dough and baking parchment to a baking sheet and bake it in the preheated oven until it starts to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  10. Add your sauce, toppings and cheese and bake until the cheese melts.

Ready In: 40 minutes

Serves: 2

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

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05Apr 12

Oat and Buckwheat Pancakes

Oat and Buckwheat pancakes

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s good to make sure you eat lots of high energy and healthy foods, especially if you’re going to be doing any energy-intensive activities later on in the day.  These oat and buckwheat pancakes provide a real kick-start to your morning and help keep you going all day long.

If you don’t want to use oats, you can use millet or quinoa flakes, which will give you a higher protein content.  Brown rice flakes could also be substituted.  I’ve used soy milk in the recipe because I’m trying to stay away from dairy as much as possible these days, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use regular milk.

If I’m going to go out trekking in the mountains all day (something I often do), I usually double the recipe and wrap the leftovers to take with me for a quick energy boost later on in the afternoon.  They’re not as yummy without the maple syrup, of course, but as long as you’ve got something to wash them down with, they’re still pretty good. (For a sugary indulgence, try these lemon meringue pancakes.)

You Need:

  • 250g buckwheat flour
  • 70g oats
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 250ml soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

Steps:

  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Combine the buckwheat flour, oats, corn meal, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. Stir well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, oil and egg.
  4. Beat until well mixed.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients about a third at a time and stir until smooth.
  6. Spoon about 50ml of batter for each pancake onto the frying pan.
  7. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, until golden brown.
  8. Serve with butter and maple syrup, jam, yogurt, or whatever topping you prefer.

Ready In:  20 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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04Apr 12

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Bell Pepper Sauce

Broiled Salmon with spicy bell pepper sauceHigh in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin-D, fresh salmon is a great addition to any diet, and just happens to be one of the only kinds of fish I actually like!  This broiled salmon with spicy bell pepper sauce makes for a fast and satisfying meal, especially if accompanied with whole-grain rice or even pasta.  The slightly spicy bell pepper sauce nicely offsets the rather subtle flavour of the salmon and definitely makes it more palatable if you are not much of a fish enthusiast, like me.

The latest scientific evidence seems to suggest that salmon from fish farms are much higher in dioxins and lower in omega-3 content, so try to get wild salmon if you can.  I’ve also tried the same recipe with trout, and it was pretty good too. (Here is another rather tasty fish and bell pepper recipe for tuna steaks with roast peppers.)

You Need:

For the salmon:

  • 4 fresh salmon fillets (about 100g each)
  • 1tsp salt
  • ¼tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼tsp paprika
  • ¼tsp ground cumin
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 fresh lemon, quartered, for garnish

For the sauce:

  • 125g diced red onion
  • 125g diced red bell pepper
  • 125g diced yellow bell pepper
  • 125g diced green bell pepper
  • 125g diced plum tomato
  • 60g chopped fresh coriander
  • 2tbsps sherry or champagne vinegar
  • 1tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp ground cumin

Steps:

  1. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt, pepper, paprika and ground cumin.
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the fish absorbs the flavours.
  3. While the salmon sits, place a broiler rack about 15 centimetres away from the heat source.
  4. Preheat the broiler while you prepare the sauce.
  5. In a bowl, combine the red onion, bell peppers, plum tomato, coriander, vinegar, olive oil and spices.
  6. Place in the refrigerator and let it marinate until the salmon is ready.
  7. Coat broiler and salmon fillets with cooking spray.
  8. Broil the salmon, skin side down, for about 8 to 10 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. When the fish is just barely opaque when cut in the thickest part, or when it flakes easily with a fork, it’s done.
  9. Pour the sauce over the broiled salmon fillets and serve immediately with the fresh lemon wedges.  The idea is to squeeze the lemon juice over the fish just before eating.

Ready In:  30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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02Apr 12

Sugar-free Gingerbread

Sugar-free GingerbreadThis sugar-free gingerbread is just as rich and delicious as the one Grandma used to make, but without the guilt!  I recommend using agave nectar as a sweetener, but if you can’t find it, you can go ahead and use any other fruit sweetener, or even regular sugar if you prefer, although it obviously won’t be sugar-free then.  The gingerbread freezes very well, so you can double or triple the recipe if you like and freeze the rest for another occasion. (Also try this spicy pumpkin cake.)

You Need:

  • 250g  pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 250ml  agave nectar
  • 65ml canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 375g brown rice flour or sorghum flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 250ml unsweetened applesauce

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Spray a 23cm square pan with a non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the agave nectar or fruit sweetener and the oil.
  4. Beat with an electric blender on high speed until thoroughly blended.
  5. After you have mixed the oil and the sweetener, add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure to beat well between additions.
  6. Add the orange rind and the vanilla extract and continue to blend together for another minute. Set aside.
  7. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  8. Add the nuts to the sifted dry ingredients.
  9. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, alternately with the applesauce, blending well after each addition.
  10. Continue until you have added all the ingredients.
  11. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the gingerbread comes out clean.  Alternatively you can press lightly on the centre of the gingerbread. If it leaves a dent, it’s not done.  If it springs back after touching, it’s done and you can move it to a cooling rack.
  12. When cooled, slice and serve.

Ready In:  30 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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