Tag Archives: main course

Pasta Pesto

8 Nov

Since I’m stuck at home with the flu, and don’t have the courage or energy to cook/bake anything decent, there’ll be some easy and quick recipes on here the coming days…

I love pesto, it gives me an instant summer/vacation vibe… This is technically speaking pistou, the French version of pesto, because there are no pine nuts involved. I like pine nuts, but they’re kind of expensive so I just omitted them, and the pesto/pistou still turned out great.

Pasta Pesto

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 package (250g) filled tortellini (I used 4 cheeses)
  • 10g fresh basil
  • 25g aragula
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15g hard Italian cheese, grated (I used Grana Padano)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 25g aragula for garnishing
  • about 1 Tbsp of grated cheese for garnishing


  • Cook the tortellini according to the instructions on the package
  • Blend the basil, the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste (I used a tall measurement cup and an immersion blender instead)
  • Add the grated cheese and stir well until you become a homogeneous paste
  • Dilute with the rest of the olive oil (I think I used about 2,5 tablespoons instead of 3) and stir again
  • Serve the tortellini with the pesto, the aragula and some grated cheese

Source: adapted from De Kooktips


Thai Coconut Curry Soup

6 Nov

After work, I went to a cute little Asian shop on the other side of town. It’s an amazing place where I always find the obscure ingredients that I find nowhere else. I don’t go there very often because I always buy much more than I intended… But inspiration has been found, so next week there’ll be some more Asian dishes on the menu!

On the picture you’ll see my catch: lychee wine, rice paper, baking soda, dried lime leaves, tofu, canned lychees on syrup, cilantro leaves and a lime.

The curry soup turned out really good: a beautiful balance of sour, salty and spicy. That’s what the Thai kitchen is known for, and it’s a winner combo!
This soup is the ideal comfort food for a night in, when it’s cold and dark outside… like chicken soup, but better, much better!

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 can (400g) coconut milk
  • 1 small Tbsp Thai curry paste
  • 250ml vegetable broth
  • 1 carrot, cut lengthwise in half, and sliced (0,5cm)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, and sliced (0,5cm)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 4 dried lime leaves
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • the juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 125g rice noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed well
  • salt
  • 2 scallions, chopped


  • Scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into a large stockpot set over a medium heat
  • Melt the cream, add the curry paste and stir for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle
  • Add the coconut juice from the can along with the vegetable broth, carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, lime leaves, soy sauce and lime juice
  • Grate the fresh ginger into the broth
  • Simmer for 20 minutes or so
  • Take out the lime leaves
  • Add the rice noodles, gently pushing them beneath the surface of the broth
  • Turn off the heat and let stand until the noodles soften, about 5 minutes. Rice noodles don’t need to simmer like pasta to cook; they simply need to rehydrate in the hot liquid
  • Stir in most of the cilantro leaves
  • Taste and season with a touch more salt as needed
  • Pour into large bowls and garnish with the scallions and remaining cilantro leaves
Source: adapted from Chef Michael Smith

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Goji berries and Couscous

5 Nov
When I grew up, we almost always had a 3 component meal: potatoes, vegetables and meat. But according to me, that’s a tad boring. I prefer a plate with lots of different colours, tastes and textures, all combined into one… Like this dish!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gojiberries and Couscous
Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 500g Brussels sprouts, tips cut off, discolored leaves removed and sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 40g dried Goji berries
  • 75g crumbled goat cheese
  • 30g walnuts
  • 150g couscous
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Preheat the oven (and a parchment lined baking sheet) to 275°C, on grill stand
  • Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the instructions on the package
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil.
  • Once the oven is preheated, get out the baking sheet and pour the Brussels sprouts onto the parchment
  • Put the baking sheet back in the oven and let the Brussels sprouts broil for about 5-10 minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, toast the walnuts. Just heat them for a couple of minutes over medium heat in a nonstick pan without any oil or fat. Make sure not to let them burn!
  • Toss the couscous, sprouts, Goji berries, crumbled goat’s cheese and toasted walnuts onto a plate and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with salt to taste.

Source: adapted from Cookie and Kate

Risotto Primavera

4 Nov

To add some ‘spring feeling’ to this cold autumn weather, I made us a lovely risotto primavera today. Full of healthy green vegetables, and with a creamy yet light mouthfeel.

Be sure to not rinse the rice! This way you’ll rinse away the starch, and let that be the part that’s needed to create the creamy texture of the risotto. Just throw it into the pan, and let the starch do its work!
There’s also a misunderstanding about risotto: a lot of recipes tell you to stir constantly, but that’s really intensive and unnecessary. Just give the rice a good stir each time you add fresh stock, and let the heat do the rest.

Enjoy, or as the Italians would say: Buon appetito!

Risotto Primavera

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 200g peas (I used frozen ones)
  • 200g zucchini, diced (this is about 1/2 zucchini)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 175g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 750 ml stock, boiling (I used vegetable)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 5 Tbsp hard Italian cheese, grated (eg. Parmeggiano or Grana Padano)
  • pepper
  • some fresh basil leaves for garnishing


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the zucchini and peas, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender
  • Set the zucchini and peas aside, in a bowl or on a plate
  • Re-use the saucepan: sauté the onions and the garlic for about 5 minutes
  • Add the rice and stir until the rice becomes a bit transparent
  • Now pour in the boiling vegetable stock, about a glass (150ml) at a time
  • Each time, give the rice a good stir and then wait for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • When you pour in the last bit of stock; also add the scallions, zucchini and the peas
  • When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the margarine and the grated Italian cheese. Season with pepper to taste
  • Garnish with some fresh basil leaves

Source: adapted from’Vegetarische keuken, meer dan 100 onmisbare recepten’

Red Beet Lasagna with Goat’s Cheese

28 Okt

Surprise, surprise, we had pasta again tonight! But this time, it’s a really special lasagna. I had never heard of red beet lasagna, until I stumbled upon this recipe. I gave it my own twist of course, and we really enjoyed the result. This is a keeper!

Today was a really lazy sunday, I didn’t do much more than hang around in my PJ’s. But I also did the dishes (an aweful load of them, that is), washed some laundry, cleaned the kitchen and I also cooked of course. So I can be a little proud of myself, right?

Red Beet Lasagna with Goat’s Cheese

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 375g cooked red beets, sliced
  • 150ml warm water
  • 150g fresh soft goat’s cheese
  • 150g cream cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • dried rosemary
  • 9 lasagna sheets
  • 40g grated cheese (I used a gratin mix)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Grease the oven dish with the olive oil
  • Combine the goat’s cheese, creamcheese and warm water. Stir until everything’s mixed up nicely.
  • Season with rosemary, salt and pepper
  • Make a first layer with the goat’s cheese mixture in the oven dish
  • Make a second layer with the lasagna sheets
  • Make a third layer with the red beets. Season with rosemary, salt and pepper.
  • Repeat the layers until everything’s gone (finish with pouring the last goat’s cheese mixture over the dish)
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese over the lasagna
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden

Source: adapted from 24 Kitchen

Thai Curry with Tofu

25 Okt

Today was an aweful day: our little kitten Clémence passed away.

To calm down, I started cooking: I made some delicious, rich Italian Coffee cupcakes (recipe) and then I cooked us a comforting curry.

Thai Curry with Tofu

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 125g rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 250g vegetables, chopped up  (I used a wok mix)
  • 250ml vegetable broth
  • 100g canned tomato cubes
  • 125ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 250g firm tofu, diced



  1. Boil the rice according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or medium sized pot on medium-high heat.
  3. Pour in the olive oil and let it warm up for a few seconds.
  4. After having chopped up the vegetables, cook them in the wok for approximately 5 minutes.  Toss every now and then with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes and coconut milk.  Let it boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the cane sugar, curry, chili, lime juice, basil, garlic, and ginger.
  7. Stir well and then add the tofu cubes. Let the curry cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with the rice, and garnish with some fresh parsley.

Source: adapted from Fit for the Soul

Spaghetti with roasted bell pepper sauce

24 Okt

We eat lots of pasta at home, so it’s always a challenge to come up with an original sauce. This recipe caught my attention because I really enjoy bell pepper soup. It’s a little bit elaborate because you still have to grill the bell peppers in the oven, but if you want to cut it short, you can also buy grilled bell peppers at the supermarket. Or grill them on an electric grill of course!

Once I tasted the sauce, I was a bit surprised because it was really sweet, without any adding sugar or something like that… To add a little crunch, I threw in some chopped up cashews, which combined nicely with the sauce because they’re a bit sweet too.

Spaghetti with roasted bell pepper sauce

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • olive oil (to brush)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 125ml cream (I used soy)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 15 leaves fresh basil
  • paprika powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 150g spaghetti, uncooked


  • Preheat oven to 250°C (grill).
  • Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the seeds.
  • Lightly brush the peppers with olive oil and place cut side down on baking sheet.
  • Place under the grill until skin is blackened and softened (ca. 30 minutes)
  • Place in a (paper) bag and alllow to ‘steam’ for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the skin from the peppers and cut into small pieces.
  • In a frying pan saute the garlic, onion and red peppers in olive oil.  Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
  • Combine the corn starch and cream together in a cup or small bowl.
  • Add the cream mixture to the vegetables and stir well.
  • Blend the sauce with an immersion blender.
  • Add the ripped basil leaves and the chopped up cashews.
  • Serve the spaghetti with the roasted bell pepper sauce.

Source: adapted from Your home based mom