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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Less than 30 minutes

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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31Mar 12

Pesto-Filled Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto-filled TomatoesWhether you’re having a few friends over for drinks, or throwing an all-out party with lots of guests, these pesto-filled cherry tomatoes are a great bite-sized appetiser that are quick and easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with your guests. I’m a big fan of pesto myself ever since I first tried pesto linguine at a local Italian restaurant years ago.

I love tomato stuffed peppers, but they fill me up. The size of these cherry tomatoes make them delicious and perfect as an appetiser or snack.

The taste is so sublime that it’s hard to believe how simple it is to make.  Some recipes call for leaving some of the pine nuts whole, but I prefer to grind them all up.  In any case, for this recipes that’s definitely the best idea, since there’s not very much room inside the tiny cherry tomatoes and the whole nuts would just get in the way.  Also, the best thing about this appetiser is the way you can just pop them in your mouth and swallow almost without even having to chew.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese on top and sticking them in the oven or under the grill for a few minutes for an au gratin effect.  Whatever you do, make sure you have more ingredients at hand because these tend to disappear quite fast and your guests will soon be clamouring for more.

You Need:

  • 50 cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 500ml fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 250ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 60ml pine nuts
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the garlic, pine nuts and basil and mix for a few seconds with a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside the mixture.
  6. Cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes and remove about two-thirds of the pulp.
  7. Fill the hollowed out tomatoes with the pesto.
  8. Serve on a serving platter as an hors d’oeuvre.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

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