Archive for ‘Quinoa’

April 25, 2013

Spring pickings

Finally (whisper it) it looks like spring has arrived. Time then, for a round-up of some of the better vegetarian recipes that have featured in recent weekend supplements and more.

Quinoa Salad with Mint and Mango

As soon as light nights come around I’m all for leaving aside the root vegetables and spicy stews of winter and marching into the warmer weather with a light supper. This ‘salad’ from Paul Rankin over at the BBC could work, I suppose, as an accompaniment to a heartier dish – Rankin suggests grilled halloumi – but on a warm evening, or at lunchtime, the mix of zingy flavours and protein from the quinoa would do just fine on its own. The recipe is here.

Chard open omelette

Feta and greens is a favourite combination over at ETP Towers, so this ‘open’ omelette from chef Bill Granger over at the Independent is a winner for us. It shouts ‘lunch’ of course, but some hushed sweet nothings could tempt me to turn this into a brunch dish, especially with a little drizzle of chilli sauce. The recipe is here.

Japanese asparagus and duck’s egg omelette

Also over at the Indy is this rolled up omelette that gives us all something different to do with asparagus this season – the sweet and nutty spears chopped finely with spring onion. Not everyone will find the Nanami Togarashi chilli flakes that chef Mark Hix suggests, but I’m sure your common or garden chilli flak will suffice. The recipe is here.

Asparagus with pastry wafers and butter sauce recipe

Sticking with asparagus, this recipe from Rose Prince at the Telegraph keeps it simple, highlighting that ‘Best of British’ asparagus, while adding a more substantial, even luxurious, touch to a light lunch. It’s rare I’ll eat puff pastry. It’s equally rare that I’d complain about having to. And here it is, a precious airy pillow on which those asparagus spears can rest. The recipe is here.

Vegetarian mezze

Have you noticed how cauliflower seems to be making a comeback? Regular readers of Earth to Plate will know we love it here, but it’s good to see this often overlooked vegetable getting tome respect. It features here as one of three ‘small-plate’ mezze dishes by Yotam Ottolenghi: Fried Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Capers and Chilli is followed by Honey Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yoghurt and Aubergine and Parsley Pesto. Just pass me some warmed pitta. The recipes are here.

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March 18, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: A warm purple sprouting broccoli, quinoa, chick pea, tomato and goat’s cheese salad

There are some of our favourite ingredients combined in a warm salad here, so, for us, what’s not to like? It’s a very simple thing that can define a mood, or short time of year (erm, March?) when winter is just about over and signs spring is about here – a time after the year’s first warmth from the sun but before the last frost. That’s the time when purple sprouting broccoli appears. Sometimes we have it in wintery stews, but here it almost nods to summer, in a just-warm, almost room-temperature salad, with fluffy grains of quinoa, oven-dried tomatoes and goat’s cheese that tell you summer is not far away.

The recipe is not much more than an assembly job. First, roast the tomatoes on a low heat for as long a time as you’ve got (around 45 minutes at least) – they should dry out a little rather than cook to mush. As they’re cooking, roughly chop and steam the spears of broccoli for 5 minutes or so and cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions in a light vegetable stock. Leave both to cool slightly. Scatter the quinoa into a wide salad bowl and stir in a tin of chick peas, then add the broccoli and, finally crumble in some goat’s cheese. C’est ca.

March 12, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: Veggie burgers

…otherwise known as lentil, quinoa and halloumi burgers. These are our latest version of the humble veggie burger and they’re pretty good. Puy lentils and quinoa mean they’re packed with protein and therefore avoid the failure of many a sad veggie burger that comes out of the pan as a dull, soft mush of mashed carbs.

We experiment every time with these so I’ll just outline the recipe. The idea, of course, is to make a small pattie that will hold together in a frying pan and in the bread that will surround it. That means combining your cooked, cooled ingredients with egg and flour in a mixing bowl and forming the patties with your hands before frying. The amount of egg and flour you need will be dependent on how much mixture/patties you want to make. The mix should not be too dry and crumbly, but not oozily wet either. Once you get the hang of this part of the pattie-making process it becomes really easy to judge. You might have a few failures along the way.

Our ‘veg mix’ combines savoury flavours and textures. Puy lentils, simmered for 25 minutes in veggie stock, add an earthiness and some bite. Some handfuls of cooked quinoa add a mealiness and up the protein levels. Lightly fried halloumi, chopped into 0.5cm dice adds some fat, a bit of chew and requisite saltiness. A chopped and lightly fried onion adds savouriness.

When all of these are cooked and cooled, tip them into a large mixing bowl and add one beaten egg and a sprinkle of plain flour. Mix well. Now you’re into the pattie-making zone and need to carefully add a little more flour, or another egg, until that consistency starts to come together. I like to let the mixture sit in the fridge for 30 minutes after mixing as it seems to help the patties stick together. Then form the patties in the palm of your hand and fry in small batches in a little olive oil for around 5 minutes a side. We like to serve them in a bun with some cheddar and a dollop of kick-ass homemade chilli sauce. Rustic and good.

December 4, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Stuffed tomatoes and quinoa

I must admit that stuffed vegetables rarely inspire me. Ella makes a fine, chilli-enlivened stuffed pepper (with tomatoes and mozzarella), but too often stuffed veg means simply a bit of veg with some other veg piled on top. In my book that’s not good enough.

However, for some reason, I fancied stuffing some veg the other day. I wanted a tomatoey dish, sweet and tangy, but for other flavours and textures to be involved too. Something hearty and warming perhaps.

Some Puy lentils seemed like a good idea, cooked until tender, with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar, and added to the halved and hollowed out tomatoes. These were then baked in the oven on a low temperature – around 120C – so that the tomatoes almost dry out and intensify in flavour rather than cooking to a mush. Timings are approximate here: 1 hour? At the end of the process we added some crumbled feta cheese on top and served on a bed of quinoa. And very tasty it was too.

September 4, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Summer quinoa salad

Wednesday 10 August

Beans, beetroot, courgettes… all grown in a local allotment and looking for a home… All we wanted was something that could bind these summery ingredients together… a bed for them to rest in, but one that would allow their individual flavours to shine.

I popped up to the deli and nabbed some quinoa and a tin of chickpeas and got to work. We would once have made this light meal with cous cous, but as we’re avoiding too much wheatiness quinoa is now our preferred alternative.

The method? As straightforward as it looks: cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions, roast the beetroot whole (for about 50 minutes) and then peel and chop into segments (like a Terry’s chocolate orange), shallow fry a chopped onion and courgette, slice the beans into 3cm sections then boil for 4 or 5 minutes and drain.

When everything is ready, combine in a large bowl with the drained chickpeas, drizzle over a little good extra virgin olive oil, and mix through. A simple way to use up some late-summer ingredients from the veg patch.

May 23, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Beetroot, Carrot, Walnut, Quinoa, Red Onion, Goat’s Cheese Salad

Friday 13 May

Okay, are you ready? Here’s the recipe in simplified form.

Roast beetroot. Grate carrot. Marinate thinly sliced red onion in red wine vinegar. Toast and chop walnuts. Chop herbs of choice. Cook quinoa as per instructions. Crumble goats cheese. To quote a good friend, “a plate of sense”.

April 16, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Roast fennel, tomato, black olive and quinoa

Friday 15 April

We really fancied the roast fennel recipe I posted a link to on April 12, but it didn’t seem quite substantial enough for a Friday night dinner. What to add to roast vegetables to make meal of it? Cous cous or quinoa, of course. We opted for quinoa, which, as I’ve commented previously, is starting to gain a loyal following at ETP Towers. It is also, of course, a high-quality protein, making it a more nutritious choice than a simple carb such as cous cous. We do need our proteins. So, yes, we followed the recipe as mentioned, and added cooked quinoa. For me the highlight was the slow cooked tomatoes and olives, which added a tanginess to contrast with the sweet roast fennel.

March 24, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Quinoa, Halloumi and Rocket Salad

Wednesday 23 March

It was such a lovely sunny, spring day that a light evening meal was in order. I also had the taste for some griled halloumi cheese. The answer: a salad with peppery leaves with a mustardy dressing, salty halloumi and quinoa tossed in a little olive oil. Really tasty and surprisingly filling, it made me wonder why the pack of quinoa had been sat in the cupboard for so long.