A warm blanket
I think it’s safe to say autumn has arrived. And oh my, how it has arrived. Rain, wind, cold mornings, dark evenings. Delicious, isn’t it? Perhaps I’m strange but I love, love, love autumn. It’s possibly my favourite time of year. Once you’ve resigned yourself to summer being over, it’s brilliant to just embrace the cold, (the wind, the rain, the dark) and enjoy all those things that bring us comfort at this time of year. Wool clothes. Scarves. Hot chocolate. Soups. And warming puddings. Puddings that sit in your stomach like the epicurean equivalent of a blanket, enveloping you in warmth and making you smile from the inside out.
This is one such pudding. The first thing to note about this is that it’s filling. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it has every amino acid that your body needs to function (unlike that budget grain wheat, which frankly, nutritionally, is a bit of a weakling next to quinoa). So, small portions are in order of this delightful variation on rice pudding, unless you want to feel like you are actually, physically trying to digest a large blanket. Secondly it has a little more bite to it than original rice pudding, made with rice. I quite like this, it has a little more texture, but be warned if you’re making this for someone who’s just had their tonsils out, it’s not quite as soft as it’s ricey cousin. Finally, this dessert is delicious and ridiculously easy to make. You can stick it on the hob to simmer away while preparing the rest of a meal, stirring it ever so occasionally, and voila, a tasty, warming dessert to take you through a long, dark evening. The possibilities for different flavours are virtually endless here, and I bet if you cooked it up with strawberry or chocolate milk it would be pretty tasty too – if you do try it, please let me know how it turns out! The amounts below can also, of course, be scaled up and down as required. I don’t know how well this keeps in the fridge, as it didn’t last long enough for me to find out, but it’s simple enough there’s no excuse really for not making it the day it is needed.
Quinoa pudding with baked strawberries
Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille
I usually make this with macerated fruit, as per the original recipe, but this time I decided to use some strawberries I had hiding in the freezer. As they weren’t defrosting as quickly as I liked I threw them in the oven, where I promptly forgot about the little sods. Fortunately, I remembered them before any damage was done and the result was fruit with a dry, but not crispy skin, that gave onto a juicy and warm inside, with lots of lovely juices to drizzle over the quinoa. Would highly recommend following in my footsteps and making this accident work for you too!
1/2 cup (80g) quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
Large handful (150g) strawberries
1. Place the quinoa, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add the milk and cook over a low heat, so just simmering, for around 20 minutes, or until the germ of the quinoa is visible, and the quinoa is soft, but with a little bite to it.
2. Whilst the quinoa is cooking place the strawberries in a small ovenproof dish with another tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Place in the oven at 100 C for 5 minutes, or until soft, but not brown.
3. Serve the quinoa pudding with the strawberries and their juices drizzled over the top. Beware as they will be quite hot.