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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Side dishes

29Sep 12

Beer and Cheddar Soup

Beer and Cheddar SoupI’ve always been a huge fan of beer, and it was probably one of the hardest things to give up when I first embarked on my gluten-free diet.  Luckily, these days it’s fairly easy to find gluten-free beer, and I’ve finally been able to add it back in to my diet (although I have to admit it wasn’t so lucky for my belly!).

Another of my all-time favourite foods is cheddar cheese, so I just knew that this beer and cheddar soup was going to turn into a new favourite even before I tried it.  It’s creamy and sweet, very satisfying, and frankly one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever tasted, if I do say so myself!  You can use strong cheddar if you prefer, but the mild cheddar seems to melt much better. Besides, the beer gives it plenty of kick anyway.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

For more creamy soups, have a go at this cream of asparagus soup, without the cream.


Beer and Cheddar Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 75g finely diced onion
  • 50g finely diced celery
  • 75g finely diced carrot
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash ground cloves
  • Dash white pepper
  • 500ml gluten-free chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
  • 250g grated mild Cheddar cheese
  • 1 bottle (330ml) gluten-free beer
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Dash paprika, for garnish
  1. Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, celery, and carrot and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, around 5 minutes.
  4. Add the salt, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and 425ml of the broth.
  5. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the sweet rice flour with the remaining 75ml of broth until smooth. Then add it to the pot, stirring constantly until the soup thickens slightly.
  7. Remove soup from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese until it is completely melted.
  8. Just before serving, open the beer, add it to the soup and bring it up to serving temperature over low heat.
  9. Garnish the soup with the parsley and paprika and serve immediately.


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06Sep 12

Curried Apple Soup

Curried Apple Soup
I don’t think I can be enthusiastic enough about just how much I love this sublimely delicious curried apple soup!  Who ever would have imagined that apples and curry would go so well together!?  It was certainly a surprise for me the first time that I tried it.

Red apples are really the ideal type for this recipe. But as with any dish, you can play around and change things to suit your own personal preferences.

You can use either chicken or vegetable broth – it won’t matter much to the final taste. And if you want to make a slightly lighter (low calorie) version,  you can replace the double cream with single cream or milk and use oil rather than butter.  But be warned: this will take away from the taste, at least a little.  After all, Indian food is meant to be a bit decadent!

And for dessert, munch on this hot apple tart with cream. Delicious!


Curried Apple Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
A decadent mix of apples and curry
  • 2 large Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
  • 55g butter
  • 2tbsp curry powder
  • 2tbsp cornflour
  • 60ml cold water
  • 1 litre vegetable or gluten-free chicken broth
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 250ml double cream
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Thin slices of unpeeled apples for garnish
  1. Cook the onions in the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until soft but not brown.
  2. Stir in the curry powder.
  3. Blend the cornflour with the cold water in a glass, making sure there are no lumps and all the cornflour is dissolved.
  4. Add the cornflour paste to the onions and curry powder.
  5. Add the vegetable or chicken broth.
  6. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until slightly thickened and clear.
  7. Add a little bit of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, let sit a few seconds and then return the liquid and egg yolks to the pan.
  8. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute.
  9. Add the double cream and then remove from the heat.
  10. Add the diced apples.
  11. Process in an electric blender or food processor until smooth.
  12. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  13. Serve either hot or chilled.


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29Jul 12

Basmati Tabbouleh

Basmati TabboulehTabbouleh used to be one of my favourite salads back before I switched to gluten-free, and I always figured I’d never be able to have it again due to the fact that it’s always prepared with either bulgur or couscous, both of which are, of course, off-limits to anyone on a gluten-free diet.

Luckily, I stumbled across a recipe for making couscous from basmati rice recently and quickly jumped on the opportunity to create this basmati tabbouleh recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! (You might also want to have a look at this lamb with couscous and apricot salad, but using basmati rice instead of couscous.)


Basmati Tabbouleh
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 150g long grain basmati rice
  • 500ml gluten-free chicken broth
  • 200g fresh flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • 100g fresh mint, very finely chopped
  • 500g ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 2 medium-sized lemons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Put about half the rice in a blender or food processor and pulse until the rice kernels break into smaller pieces similar to the size of couscous.
  3. Repeat with remaining rice.
  4. Spread out the rice in a thin layer along the bottom of a not non-stick baking sheet.
  5. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and toast until lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning.
  6. In a medium-sized, heavy pan, add the rice, broth, and salt and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until all the the water is absorbed.
  8. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  9. Mix the diced tomato with the diced onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin.
  10. Mix in the parsley and mint leaves.
  11. Add the oil and mix well.
  12. Mix in the prepared basmati and blend well.
  13. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve immediately.


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26Jul 12

Lima Bean Soup

Lima Bean SoupThis simple Lima bean soup is sweet and savoury and very satisfying.  The starchy Lima beans help to give the broth the perfect thickness and also provide a sweet counterpoint to the kale and spices.  The soup also freezes well, so don’t worry if you can’t finish it all in a few days. (Why not also have a go at this red lentil and sweet potato soup?)


Lima Bean Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 250g giant lima beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 80ml white wine
  • 10 kale leaves, ribs removed and cut into thick strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Drain the lima beans and rinse well with cold water.
  2. Place the beans, oregano, sage, thyme and bay leaf along with 1.5 litres of the vegetable stock in a large soup pot.
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. Lower the heat and let simmer for about an hour and a half, or until the beans are cooked through and beginning to break up.
  5. While the beans are simmering, heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped onions, a few pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper.
  6. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the onions start to soften.
  7. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  8. Add the carrots, red pepper, another 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  9. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding more stock when necessary to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan.
  10. Add the white wine and continue cooking until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add the fried vegetables to the beans in the soup pot, together with any remaining vegetable stock, ¼ teaspoon of salt and another pinch of pepper.
  12. Continue cooking until the flavours blend together, about 20 minutes or so.
  13. Add the kale leaves and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
  14. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  15. Serve in bowls with a little olive oil drizzled over each serving.


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19Jul 12

Baked Asparagus with Feta and Parmesan

Baked Asparagus with Feta and ParmesanI remember one time  as a kid being given some lukewarm, mushy canned asparagus for lunch and thinking it was the absolute worst thing in the world and vowing never to eat asparagus again!  Fortunately, I eventually grew up and tried some grilled asparagus at a restaurant. Imagine my surprise when I realised it was nothing at all like that mushy stuff I remembered!

Since then I’ve become quite a connoisseur of this wild green vegetable, although I have to admit I’m still not much of a fan of the canned variety.  In any case, this baked asparagus with feta and parmesan recipe is made from sweet and crunchy fresh asparagus, and the tangy cheese highlights the juicy baked goodness of the vegetable astoundingly well. (I also recommend this asparagus and cheese pudding.)


Baked Asparagus with Feta and Parmesan
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 300g fresh asparagus, washed
  • 150g feta cheese, finely crumbled
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 25g butter
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Cut the hard, thick ends off the asparagus.
  3. Steam the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are just tender.
  4. Grease an oven safe dish with the butter and lay the asparagus lengthwise along the bottom of the dish, with the tips all pointing in the same direction.
  5. Sprinkle the feta cheese over top of the asparagus, then the Parmesan and the oregano.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
  7. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted and brown spots form on top.
  8. Serve hot.


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17Jul 12

Aubergine and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad

Aubergine and Roasted Bell Pepper SaladThis Moroccan style aubergine and baked bell pepper salad is a veritable explosion of flavours and really shows just how versatile the humble aubergine can be!  When you mix the steamed aubergine with the rest of the ingredients, it tends to get a bit mashed and fall apart just a touch, which helps to spread the flavour of the spices throughout the whole dish.  The roasted peppers add a strong and pungent flavour to the salad, while the cumin seeds and chilli pepper flakes give it that authentic Middle-Eastern aroma.

Green peppers tend to take a bit longer than yellow and red ones to bake as their skin is a bit tougher, so you may need to leave them in the oven a bit longer in order to facilitate the removal of the skin.  The only bad thing about this salad is you really need to let it cool before serving, so you have to leave enough time in advance. (Also try this spinach and bell pepper potato salad.)


Baked Aubergine and Bell Pepper Salad
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 large aubergine, cut in 2 cm chunks
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼tsp dried chilli pepper flakes
  • 2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Steam the aubergine chunks for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Roast the peppers in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the skin starts to blacken.
  4. Let them cool enough to handle, then remove the skin and seeds and cut into 2 cm pieces.
  5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over low heat until it's very hot but not smoking.
  6. Sauté the garlic for a minute or 2, making sure it doesn't turn brown and therefore get bitter.
  7. Add the cumin seeds and chilli pepper flakes and continue sautéing for 3 or 4 more minutes.
  8. Add the aubergine and bell pepper chunks to the garlic and spices and stir well to blend all the flavours together.
  9. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Let cool completely and serve with the fresh coriander sprinkled over the top.


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13Jul 12

Red Cabbage and Apple

Red Cabbage and AppleAnother typical Mediterranean delight, this red cabbage and apple recipe is sure to knock your socks off if you’ve never had it or anything similar before!  You can find a lot of different variations of the dish if you travel around the Mediterranean countries, but the basic idea is always the same: very tender red cabbage mixed with a sweet fruit (I’ve used apples, but some people make it with raisins, oranges or apricots) and seasoned with some kind of aromatic spice, usually cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg.

The dish works well either as a salad to go along with your main meal, or as an appetiser.  I also find it makes a great topping for sausages or hot-dogs, something like a less vinegary coleslaw. Just be careful not to drop any of it on your clothes, especially white, as it does stain quite easily.  Speaking of the colour, if you find that the red cabbage starts to turn blue when you’re cooking it, it means you haven’t used enough vinegar, as this is necessary to keep the colour from leaking out.  If you think it’s already got enough vinegar, a little bit of lemon juice will also do the trick quite nicely. (Also try this cabbage and barley soup.)


Red Cabbage and Apple
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 450g red cabbage, shredded or very finely sliced into strips
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized apples, peeled and grated.
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt
  1. Heat the sunflower oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the red cabbage and apple and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Cover the pot and let it cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the red cabbage is very tender.
  6. Alternatively, you can place the mixture in an oven-proof dish and bake for 50-60 minutes at 190ºc, or until the cabbage is very tender.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Can be served either hot or cold.


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06Jul 12

Vegetable and Legume Soup

Vegetable and Legume Soup

This delicious and nutritious vegetable and legume soup is traditionally served to break the Muslim fast of Ramadam.  It’s called harira and is usually accompanied by dates, but as I don’t really like them, I’ve left them out of my recipe.  However, feel free to include them if you want the truly authentic experience. I also recommend this Moroccan hummus!


Vegetable and Legume Soup
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 125g chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
  • 50g green lentils, soaked overnight in water
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, washed and chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp frshly ground black pepper
  • 400g canned diced tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 40g gluten-free soup noodles
  • 4tbsp fresh, finely chopped coriander
  • 3tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  1. Rinse and drain well the previously soaked chickpeas and lentils.
  2. Place in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas are quite tender.
  4. Drain off the liquid, but save it for later.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pot until it's hot but not smoking.
  6. Sauté the onions, celery and garlic with the pepper, turmeric and cinnamon for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  7. Add the cooked chickpeas and lentils, the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 litre of the broth from cooking the legumes.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes. Add more broth if necessary.
  9. In a small bowl or glass, make a paste by mixing the cornflour with a tablespoon or two of the broth.
  10. Stir the cornflour paste into the soup a little at a time to thicken the broth.
  11. Add the soup noodles and cook for 5 more minutes or until the noodles are tender.
  12. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the coriander and flat-leaf parsley.
  13. Serve in bowls with a lemon wedge or 2. The idea is for each person to squeeze some lemon juice over the soup according to their own taste.


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20Jun 12

Home-made Dried Fruit and Nut Muesli

Home-made Dried Fruit MuesliThis home-made dried fruit and nut muesli makes a great breakfast cereal or can even just be eaten by hand as a snack.  It also works well for making a base or crispy topping for baked fruit desserts like this apple crisp recipe.  I like to put a handful or two in a small plastic bag or container and take it with me to snack on at work or in the car.


You Need:


  • 500g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 250g unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 65g sunflower seeds
  • 60g almond slices
  • 65g pumpkin seeds
  • 60g walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 125ml honey
  • 65ml very hot water
  • 65ml canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 125g whole almonds
  • 65g dried bananas
  • 65g raisins
  • 65g finely chopped dried apricots




  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 150ºC.
  2. Line a baking sheet (not non-stick) with baking parchment paper or lightly coat it with cooking spray or canola oil.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and toss them well to thoroughly combine.
  4. Combine the liquid ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the honey is dissolved.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over top of the dry ingredients and toss with a spatula to thoroughly combine. The mixture should be fairly wet.
  6. Place the muesli on the prepared baking sheet and spread out to form a thin layer.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes and then stir. Bake another 15 minutes and stir again.
  8. Continue baking in 10-minute increments until the muesli is browned to the desired degree. Keep a very close eye on it in the final stages as it can go from lightly browned to burnt in a matter of seconds!
  9. Cool the muesli on the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack.
  10. Stir the dried fruits and nuts into the baked mixture.
  11. The muesli will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Ready In:  60 minutes

Serves:  4-5

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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18Jun 12

No-egg Caesar Salad

No-egg caesar saladIf you’re like me and you don’t like to eat raw eggs, then this no egg Caesar salad will soon turn into your new favourite salad recipe!  The crispiness of the romaine lettuce and the tanginess of the Worcestershire, garlic, mustard and vinegar in the sauce come together to make a winning combination that’s been a favourite for discerning diners around the world for years.

As for the omission of the raw eggs, I can guarantee you that you won’t even miss them – in fact, I’m having a bit of a hard time understanding what they were doing in the original recipe in the first place! (Also try this chicken salad with roast tomatoes, almonds and balsamic dressing.)


You Need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 65ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200g chicken strips
  • 375g gluten-free bread cubes, crusts removed, and cut in 1.5cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (omit for vegetarian-friendly guests)
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry, and torn
  • 50g (1⁄3 cup) grated Parmesan cheese or soy alternative




  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC and place a rack in the middle position.
  2. Make the chicken: Fry the chicken in a frying pan until cooked thoroughly. If you prefer it hot, you can serve it immediately with the salad. If you prefer it cold, you can make it the night before and store it in the fridge until ready to add to the salad.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mash the minced garlic with the salt and the oil; set aside.
  5. Make the croutons:
    1. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until they are just lightly browned.
    2. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl, toss them with half of the garlic-oil mixture, and return to the baking sheet to bake for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until golden brown and crisp.
    3. Remove the croutons from oven and set them aside to cool just a little.
    4. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the remaining garlic-oil mixture, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste, if you’re using it.
    5. Add the Romaine lettuce and toss thoroughly.
    6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, chicken strips and croutons, toss again, and serve immediately.


Ready In:  20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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