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Posts Tagged ‘quinoa

Chive flowers

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Tis the season for chive flowers and oh what wonderful things they are. I love edible flowers, I think it’s so cool you can have this pretty floral thing on your plate *and* eat it and chive flowers have the added bonus of tasting amazing. They start off sweet and a little dry and crunchy on the tongue and you wonder if they are edible actually, or are going to taste like bland pot pourri, and then the flavours open up and they taste sweet and slightly oniony and then as you chew a bit more you get a really spicy oniony hit from the seeds inside. Delicious, and a beautiful lilac colour. They don’t last long so make the most of them now if you have a clump of chives outside. If you really don’t know what to do with them use them as an edible garnish, but this salad is the perfect place for them, with lots of contrasting colours.

Cranberry and almond quinoa salad with chive flowers
Adapted from Melissa W via Dinner with Julie

100g quinoa
75g dried cranberries
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
10 sping onions, diced
Small handful of spinach, shredded
Small handful of chive flowers
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon light olive oil

1. Cook the quinoa in 250ml water, or chicken stock for about 10-12 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the germ separates. Drain off any excess water and leave to sit on the hob for 2-3 minutes under a lid to steam; this will make for fluffier quinoa.

2. Add the cranberries, almonds and spring onions to the quinoa and toss well with a fork. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together with some salt and pepper. Just before serving add the spinach and chive flowers to the quinoa, pour the dressing over the top, mix well and serve up.

Serves 2. This is delicious hot but would work well cold as well. If serving cold add the spinach when the quinoa is fully cooled, so it doesn’t wilt.

Written by guffblog

26th May 2011 at 19:02

Posted in Salad

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Day-after dinner

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This is not a hangover cure. This is not a morning-after-the-night-before breakfast. It is a day-after-the-night-before dinner. When you’ve been out and had a few drinks. Not so many you embarrassed yourself, but more than was wise. Perhaps you were surrounded by supremely boring people and carried on drinking cocktails in the vain hope it would make their conversation more interesting. Perhaps. Perhaps you got home and made a grilled cheese sandwich, since you were feeling a little peckish. Maybe you slept badly and then went out for brunch next day to help your recover. Maybe you felt a little under the weather and decided not to do any exercise so spent the rest of the day lolling about, being lazy. And then, just maybe, by dinner time you decided it was time to start undoing the damage of the previous night and eat something healthy. Something full of vitamins. But not a salad mind. You want something filling, satisfying and hearty. Et voila. These have got everything you need. Every amino acid you can think of (plus a light nutty flavour) from the black quinoa. Plenty of vitamin C and tang from the grapefruit. All sorts of essential fats and oils from the avocado. A nice crunch and variety of minerals from the radishes. And a good dose of salt from the crumbled feta. I was actually surprised to find that this wasn’t just nice, but also really moreish, and was rather sad that there was none left for seconds.

Black quinoa salad with grapefruit, radish and avocado
Pared down slightly from La Tartine Gourmande

1/2 cup black quinoa, rinsed
1 ruby grapefruit, supremed
8 radishes, washed and sliced thinly
1 avocado, chopped into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

1. Rinse the quinoa for a minute in a sieve to remove its bitter coating (most quinoa bought in the UK has already had this done, but if you bought it loose from a healthfoods store or similar it may not have). Put in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt and boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the kernel separates but the quinoa still has a slight nutty bite to it. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Supreme the grapefruit by slicing off its top and bottom, and then cutting away its peel in strips. Make incisions between the flesh and the membranes and pull out each segment. Crumble the segments slightly between your fingers and add to the cooled quinoa. Add the thinly sliced radishes and the chopped avocado too.

3. In a small mug whisk the lime juice with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour this over the salad and toss well to combine.

4. Serve the salad in bowls and crumble the feta cheese over the top.

Serves 2 as a main meal.

Written by guffblog

17th April 2011 at 20:09

Posted in Salad

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Keen-wah. Let’s just get this out of the way first thing. It’s pronounced keen-wah. Not quin-oa, as in quince and balboa. It’s Bolivian. That might explain it. And it’s not a grain, it’s a seed. Ok, pronunciation and random but crucial facts out of the way. I only discovered quinoa a few years ago but I love it. It’s a brilliant gf substitute for cous cous and I use it in lots of Middle Eastern recipes as a result. It’s also fab in salads in place of pasta, rice, or gluteny foods like barley or wheat berries. And, on top of all that, it is packed full of protein and lots of vital amino acids so it’s a nutritional powerhouse and keeps you feeling full for a very long time. Not to mention when you pronounce it correctly you can feel all intelligent and knowledgeable about food. What’s not to love?

The key to this dish tasting really good is cooking the quinoa in stock, which gives it a lovely meaty flavour. You can of course cook it in water just like rice instead, and the drain off the excess, but where’s the fun in that?

Broccoli and salmon quinoa salad

Another versatile hot-weather, cold-weather dish, I ate this salad hot when it was just prepared, but it was just as good the next day cold.

200g quinoa
500ml chicken stock
6 spring onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
100g mange tout, chopped into roughly square pieces
1 salmon fillet, cooked and flaked

1. Put the quinoa in a large saucepan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the germ starts to separate (it should resemble cous cous at this point, but with little curly strands which have separated out into the mix), and the stock is almost all absorbed. If the stock is absorbed before the germ separates out, add a little more water.

2. When the quinoa is just about ready add the chopped broccoli and mange tout to the saucepan and stir well. Leave to cook for a minute and once all the stock has been absorbed add the spring onions and flaked salmon. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 3.

Written by guffblog

9th February 2011 at 18:05

Posted in Salad

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A warm blanket

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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
Pinch salt
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.

Serves 2.

Written by guffblog

27th September 2010 at 20:37

Posted in Desserts

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