Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tuna Salad in 5 Minutes

I'm a big tuna fan and this is one of my favourite tuna recipes.  It's perfect for lunches and light dinners. Delicious with fresh bread and a salad.

For 2 people:
1 can of tuna (I prefer tuna in oil)
1 chopped red onion
capers in salted water
salt & pepper

1. Mix the tuna with the onion, add 3 tablespoonfuls of capers (up to you really) and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of mayonaise (again up to you).  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

2. That's it!

If you want to avoid the mayonaise, try using cottage cheese.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cosy Pinto Bean Soup

It is cold and wet outside so I really couldn't have planned this evening's dinner any better: spicy pinto bean soup. It does take a bit of planning as you need to soak the pinto beans over night, but surely you can manage to do so.  I will in fact be posting plenty of bean recipes over the coming weeks as beans are terribly underutilised if you ignore (and please do) Britain's favourite food aka. beans on toast.  This despite the fact that beans are unbelievably tasty and healthy not to mention cheap!

To warm up 4 friends:
200g dried pinto beans
olive oil
3 chopped carrots
1 chopped red onion
2-3 chopped garlic cloves
ground cumin
1 sliced and deseeded fresh chilli
1 chopped and deseeded pepper
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
1 can of tomatos
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper

1. Soak the beans in cold water over night.

2. Heat a bit of oil in a big pot. Add the onion and garlic.  Fry for a few minutes.  Add the carrots, pepper, chilli.  Fry until all the vegetables have softened ( 7-8 minutes).

3. Add 2 teaspoonfuls of cumin and the bay leaves. Stir and cook for a minute.

4. Drain the beans and add them together with the tomatos and vegetable stock.   Add salt and pepper.  Bring the soap to a boil before turning down the heat.  Put the lid on and let it simmer for about an hour.

Goes well with fresh bread.  You could also heat some taco shells in the oven, break them into pieces and sprinkle them on top of the soup.

My boyfriend (who considers himself quite a gourmet) added a bit of chorizo to the soup and was very happy with the result.  If you can't live without your meat then that might be worth looking in to! You could even add the chorizo between step 2 and 3 to really draw out the chorizo flavour.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pork Cutlets with Mustard and Sage

I recently re-discovered pork.  Growing up in Denmark I  ate pork nearly every day in some shape or form.  Go to a traditional Danish Christmas lunch and you will find pork prepared in 100 different ways (some better than others!).  Anyways, I am thrilled to have re-discovered this wonderful meat - ultra-easy to prepare and very tasty, especially when seasoned with sage.  I tell you, sage exists to be sprinkled all over pork!

For these pork cutlets you will need:
pork cutlets (1 per person)
dried sage
French mustard
salt & pepper
olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees.

2. Rub a teaspoonful of mustard on to each pork cutlet then sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper.  Fry them for a few minutes on a pan with oil.

3. Transfer the cutlets to a slightly oiled oven-proof tray.  Place them in the pre-heated oven for aprox. 15 - 20 minutes depending on how thick the cutlets are.

These cutlets go well with most sides. Try with a salad or roast potatoes.  Tonight I served them with brown rice, beans, and sautéed mushrooms and red onions.  Feedback was good!

Tzatziki and the Importance of Dill

My dad introduced me to Tzatziki, often adding it to the dinner table at the very last minute much to my joy.  And while his Tzatziki is good, it wasn't till New Years Eve 2007 that I learned to make the perfect Tzatziki.  Sweating away in the kitchen, champagne in hand, preparing a meal for our friends, my good friend from Greece, Eleni, taught me what many Tzatsiki-fans probably already know: dill is key.  You gotta put dill in the Tzatziki! It makes all the difference if you ask me (and certainly if you ask her). 

This yoghurt-based dish is quick to make and always adds an extra something-something to the menu.  10 minutes of prep-time and, voila, you can practically see the Acropolis. It makes boring boiled potatos worth eating and goes very well with chicken, lamb and meat balls. 

It is also an excellent snack - heat some pita bread in the oven for a few minutes and dip away.  

You will need:
1 peeled cucumber
a handful of fresh dill
1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on what you've got going on later)
350g of Greek yoghurt
olive oil
salt & pepper 

1. Slice the cucumber into thin slices and grate the garlic cloves. I recommend using  a box grater for both.  Chop the dill.

2. Add the cucumber, dill and garlic to the yoghurt.  Add a drop of olive oil.  Stir it all around.  Add salt and pepper as necessary. 

Kalí óreksi

Monday, 27 September 2010

A Variant of Hungarian Gullasch

I have been looking forward to the fall for two reasons: my new pair of boots and wintery cooking aka. stews and roasts.  The following recipe is inspired by the well-known Hungarian gullasch dish.  It's quick to put together, but needs to cook for about hour to get the best result. Spicy, filling and it warms you up from the inside - perfect for dinner or Sunday lunch on a cold winter's day.

To feed 4 people:
olive oil
2 chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 chopped fresh chilli pepper
1 chopped sweet pepper
1 diced bell pepper
3 chopped carrots
2 chopped leeks
1 can of tomatos
500g of diced beef
smoked paprika (picante pimenton)

1. Heat some oil in a big pot.  Add the chopped onions, garlic and chilli pepper.  Fry for a few minutes before adding the beef.  Once the beef is brown add 1 teaspoonful of paprika and 2 teaspoonfuls of smoked paprika.  Stir it well.

2. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables.  Fry for a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper.

3. Add the canned tomatos and 0.4L of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour.

Service with rice, bread, mashed potatos or boiled potatos.

This recipe can also easily be stretched by adding extra tomatos and vegetables.

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Spaghetti Bolognese

Alright, here we go! I used to hate Spaghetti Bolognese because my mum would make it at least once a week while I was growing up. Upon leaving home I, however, very quickly realised why she cooked this Italian classic so often: it is quick to make and requires minimal planning (just make sure to have minced beef in your freezer and a few basic ingredients in your pantry). And Spaghetti Bolo is in fact incredibly delicious. Today it is one of my absolute favourite dishes and, like in the old days, it's on the menu at least once a week.

For 4 people you will need:
olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 chopped cloves of garlic
a can of tomatos
tomato paste
dried oregano or basil
400-500g of minced beef
dried pasta
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Start boiling some water with a bit of oil and salt for the pasta.

2. Heat the oil in a pot. Add the chopped onion and let it fry till the onion pieces are very light brown. Add the beef, make sure you stir it around and "chop" it so you don't have any big lumps left. Add oregano or basil (2-4 tablespoonfuls depending on how you like it)

3. Add the garlic and keep stirring till the beef is brown and there are no more lumps.

4. Add the canned tomatos and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of tomato paste. Stir out the paste till you get a nice even sauce. Add some salt and pepper.

5. Bring it to a boil then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or longer if you are still waiting for your guests to arrive! Taste it before serving to see if it needs more salt and pepper.

6. Add the pasta to the boiling water right before you want to eat and follow the instructions on the pack.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I also like to serve it with fresh bread and a simple salad with tomatos.

The recipe can easily be stretched if you come home to a kitchen with unexpected guests - just add another onion, some more garlic and oregano/basil, an extra can of tomatos and boil some more pasta!

Spaghetti Bolognese makes for a good packed lunch as it tastes great the day after. Simply re-heat it in the microwave or in a pot with a bit of milk.