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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Starters

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

 

Steps:

 

  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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14Jun 12

Oven-Baked Artichoke Dip

Oven-baked Artichoke DipArtichokes are a wonderfully tasty vegetable that bring an authentic Mediterranean flavour to any dish, and this oven-baked artichoke dip is no exception!  As an added bonus, artichokes are known to have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all vegetables, are diuretic and even help to reduce cholesterol!

This dip has a sweet roasted flavour and will be sure to impress your guests at your next dinner party.  Serve it in a bowl with a plate of fresh chopped veggies, savoury biscuits, crisps, or my rosemary focaccia recipe.  I guarantee the bowl will be empty long before the night is through!

 

You Need:

  • 125ml fresh lemon juice
  • 185ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 package (400g) frozen artichokes, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or soy alternative
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • A selection of chopped mixed vegetables or crisps or biscuits for dipping.

 

Steps:

 

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 175ºC.
  2. In a large, heavy frying pan, combine 6 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, salt, and pepper.  Mix well until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.
  3. Add the artichokes to the lemon juice mixture and toss to coat them in the liquid.
  4. Bring the mixture to boil, remove from heat, and transfer from the frying pan to an oven-proof dish.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender and lightly browned.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  7. Place the roasted artichokes in a food processor and add the rest of the lemon juice, the remaining oil, and the thyme, basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Process until thoroughly blended and smooth.
  9. Taste the dip and add additional salt and pepper if required.
  10. Serve immediately with some chopped veggies, crisps or savoury biscuits.

 

Ready In:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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07Jun 12

Courgette and Leek Fritters

Courgette and Leek Fritters

Known in Turkey as Mücver, these absolutely scrumptious courgette and leek fritters are typically eaten as a snack in the mid-afternoon between lunch and supper, but they also make for a great appetiser or side dish, and you could even make a full meal out of it by serving them alongside some salad and (gluten-free) bread. (I also recommend these potato and Gruyére cakes. Absolutely delicious!)

Fortunately, the original Turkish recipe only calls for one tablespoon of flour, so it was no problem whatsoever to substitute that for cornflour and make these gluten-free.  They are traditionally eaten plain, as far as I know, but I like to eat them with a bit of sour cream or Greek yoghurt, as I find the tartness offsets the earthy flavour of the fritters quite nicely.

 

Courgette and Leek Fritters
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml plain yoghurt
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 250g courgette, diced
  • 250g leeks, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Grease a large baking tray and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the yoghurt, the feta cheese, the baking powder, the parsley and the mint and stir well.
  4. Add the cornflour, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper and blend well.
  5. Add the courgette and leeks to the mixture and stir well.
  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking tray, leaving a few centimetres between each heap, and press down lightly with a fork.
  7. Bake the fritters in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and turn the fritters over.
  9. Return the tray to the oven and bake for 2 or 3 more minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
  10. Transfer the fritters to a serving plate and repeat the process with any leftover mixture.
  11. Serve warm, with a bit of sour cream or yoghurt if you like.

 

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03Jun 12

Guacamole

GuacamoleThe first time I tried guacamole, I remember being intrigued by its green colour and greasy appearance.  After eyeing the bowl surreptitiously for at least half an hour, I finally got up the courage to give it a try.  I remember a smile instantly forming on my face as the first mouthful exploded in a rainbow of flavours and sensations on my unsuspecting tongue.  Spicy and smooth, tart and sweet, I had no idea such an incredible mixture of supposedly contrary tastes was even possible!

Ever since that mystical first time, I’ve been on an unending quest for the perfect guacamole recipe. This  version is definitely an excellent guacamole recipe, and I’ve even had more than a few compliments from my Mexican friends, so I must be on the right track.

One trick I’ve discovered along the way is how to keep the guacamole from turning brown as it tends to do not very long after making it.  The secret is to put the avocado pits into the finished mixture.  There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of this method. Some say it’s just an old wives’ tale, but I can attest to the fact that I’ve tried it repeatedly and it always seems to work just fine.  Clingfilm placed firmly against the guacamole works quite well too.

You need:

  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • Juice from 1 lime (lemon may be substituted)
  • 2 spring onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped very fine
  • 1 plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients, except the avocado, pressing down on them as you mix to release the juices.
  2. Let the mixture marinade in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Add the avocados to the mix, mashing them well with a fork.
  4. Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that the flavours blend together.
  6. Garnish with a bit of chopped coriander and tomato.
  7. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

Ready In: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Note: Ever tried baked avocados? Just looking at the picture gets my mouth watering!

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31May 12

Menemen – Turkish Scrambled Eggs

Menemen - Turkish Scrambled Eggs

One of my fondest memories from a trip I made to Turkey a few years back has got to be the incredible breakfasts!  Nuts and cheeses, yoghurt, honey, fresh fruit and marmalades, and of course, menemen, a kind of Turkish scrambled eggs.  I can still remember falling asleep every night with my mouth watering in anticipation of the next morning’s breakfast!

This recipe, as with most scrambled egg recipes, is very quick and ridiculously simple to prepare.  The only thing you really need to keep in mind to make this taste as good as possible is to use the best quality vegetables you can find, preferably organic.  And if you haven’t switched over to organic free-range eggs, I strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible, as the difference in taste and colour is absolutely astounding!  Also, if you can find the Italian style green peppers (they’re longer and thinner), then you should use them for a more authentic experience.

If you like a big breakfast, why not also try these mini pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts? You can technically eat them for lunch or dinner, but to me, pancakes are for breakfast. And I usually prefer salty over sweet in the morning.

 

Menemen - Turkish Scrambled Eggs
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, minced
  • 1 medium sized green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, washed and finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 4tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • ¼tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium size frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking.
  2. Sauté the onion for 5 or 6 minutes, or until it's very soft.
  3. Add the green pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  5. Cover the pan and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove the cover from the pan and keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the excess liquid has evaporated.
  7. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season to taste with the salt and pepper and nutmeg.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the freshly chopped parsley and mix well.
  11. Serve immediately.

 

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26May 12

Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves

Greek stuffed grape leavesA great appetiser or party food, these Greek stuffed grape leaves have a more subtle and mellow flavour than the pre-made variety. For more Greek goodness, try these lamb kebabs with cucumber and feta relish.

You Need:

  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 250g long-grain white rice
  • 375g gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can (about 200g) grape leaves
  • Juice of 2 lemons

 

Steps:

 

  1. In a medium heavy pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add 125ml of the broth.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the rice mixture to a bowl and stir in the dill, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  7. Fill a deep, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid with water and bring to the boil.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low and blanch the grape leaves in the hot water 5 for minutes.
  9. Drain the leaves on paper towels and trim away the stems and hard veins. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.
  10. Lay a grape leaf on a work surface, shiny-side down. Put 2 tablespoons of the rice filling near the stem end of the leaf.
  11. Fold the stem end over the filling, fold both sides toward the middle, and roll up into a cylinder. (Don’t roll too tightly as the rice will expand as it cooks.)
  12. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling placing the rolled leaves in the pot, seam-side down in a single layer.
  13. Pour the remaining broth, olive oil, and lemon juice over the stuffed grape leaves.
  14. If the liquid doesn’t reach at least halfway up the rolls, add more water.
  15. Cover the pot and simmer 30 to 40 minutes over low heat, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  16. Can be served warm or cold.

 

Ready In:  60 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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12May 12

Easy Onion Bhaji

Easy Onion BhajiI’ve always loved getting onion bhajis from my local Indian takeaway, but I imagined they would be quite difficult to make, so I never seemed to get around to making them myself.  Then, by pure chance, I happened to see them being made while I was waiting for my order and quickly asked the cook if he would mind telling me the basic recipe.  I didn’t have a pen or anything to write with, but luckily I’ve got a pretty good memory.  This easy onion bhaji recipe is what I made the next day by memory from those instructions.

The only real change I made (as far as I can remember) was in the frying methodOnion bhajis, sometimes known as vegetable or cheese fritters served in soups, are usually deep fried, but I wanted to try and make them a little bit healthier and lighter, so I decided to just fry them in a frying pan with a little bit of oil.  They turned out perfectly and were much lighter and less greasy than the typical takeaway fare, while still retaining all of the flavour.

Once you get the hang of making them, you can try substituting the onion with courgette or whatever other vegetable tickles your fancy.  I personally recommend eating them with tamarind sauce, but feel free to use whatever sauce you prefer, or even just eat them plain.

You Need:

  • 500 g Gram flour
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 150 ml water
  • 1.5 tbsps fresh chopped coriander

Steps:

  1. Mix the Gram flour, cumin seeds, chilli powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the onions and fresh coriander and mix well.
  3. Add the water and mix to form a thick batter, making sure the onions are evenly distributed throughout.
  4. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  5. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  6. Drop a tablespoon at a time of the batter into the hot oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  You will need to add more oil for each new set of bhajis.
  7. Remove the finished Bhajis from the oil and let them drain on a wire rack or kitchen paper.
  8. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce or chutney.

Ready In:  30 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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02May 12

Cheddar Cheese and Courgette Quesadillas

Cheddar Cheese and Courgette QuesadillasQuesadillas basically means “Little Cheese Things” in Spanish, and are simply mini toasted cheese sandwiches made using tortillas instead of bread.  These scrumptious cheddar cheese and courgette quesadillas are made with finely sliced courgettes as well as the cheese, but feel free to make them with just cheese or add your own favourite fillings such as  shredded chicken, beef, or pork; caramelized onions; black olives; or avocado. (For more Mexican flavours, I recommend these chicken fajitas with red onion and guacamole.)

 

You Need:

For the filling:

  • 250g shredded cheddar cheese
  • 65g chopped fresh coriander
  • About ½ a small courgette, washed and sliced as thin as possible

 

For the tortillas:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 gluten-free tortilla wraps

For the garnish

  • 100ml sour cream

 

Steps:

 

  1. Combine the cheese and fresh coriander in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make the tortillas, brush half of the olive oil over the surface of a flat, non-stick grill pan or frying pan large enough to hold the tortillas.
  3. Lay a tortilla down directly on the pan, but do not turn on the heat just yet.
  4. Spoon the cheese and coriander mixture evenly spaced over the tortilla.
  5. With a spatula, gently spread the filling evenly over the tortilla to within a centimetre or so of edge.
  6. Place a layer of the thinly sliced courgette over the cheese, not too close to the edges.
  7. Gently place a second tortilla on top of the filling and gently press down.
  8. Turn the heat on to medium and cook, covered with a lid large enough to cover the tortillas, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until tortillas are gently browned.
  9. Carefully turn over the tortilla either with a large spatula or by flipping it with the pan as with an omelette.
  10. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Gently lay the cooked tortilla on a flat surface, such as a large cutting board, and cut into quarters with very sharp knife.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat to let it cool off a little.
  12. Repeat the process for the rest of the tortillas.
  13. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream or salsa.

 

Ready In:  20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:   1 out of 5

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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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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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