Quinoa is almost a complete food on its own….it has a significant amount of amino acids which makes it high in protein. It has a wealth of important minerals – iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, as well as some B-vitamins from its carbohydrate content and small but useful amounts of essential fatty acids. However, on its own, as with most grains, it is rather bland. That said it is incredibly versatile, and I like to cook it up and use it hot instead of rice or wheat-based grains, in its flake form for porridge, or just cold as a basis for some interesting and tasty salads. On top of all this, it is gluten-free! As it can be bland, it is a good idea to toast the grains in the oven for about 10 mins. before you cook it as it gives it a nuttier flavour and makes it a more robust grain altogether.
1. Begin by whisking all the ingredients for the dressing together and set aside. This helps the flavours to intensify.
2. Place the quinoa on a baking tray and pop it into a medium oven (No.5/170) for approx. 10 mins. Until it starts to turn golden in colour.
2. Transfer the quinoa to a saucepan and pour over vegetable stock water to just cover the grains. Simmer for approx.. 15-20 mins. Until the grains have swollen and are tender. Beware of overcooking as the grains can become a mush! Drain off any excess liquid.
3. Slice the fennel lengthways into fine slices; place in a shallow dish and immediately pour over the lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
4. Add the remaining ingredients, including the quinoa and pour over the prepared dressing.
Olive & Herb Foccacia Bread
I absolutely love making bread - it is incredibly therapeutic and the kneaded dough is very satisfying! This loaf seems to feed loads of people and is ideal for a party. Also, if you grow your own herbs, take a trot round the garden and try out various - marjoram, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme are all my favourites. I also tend to rummage through my cupboards to see what else I can add, like sundried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, olives...anything goes in my book!
1 kg strong plain bread flour
3 pkts. dried yeast
500ml warm water
1 tbsp. caster sugar
1 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. sliced green or black pitted olives and same of sundried tomatoes, (optional)
3 tbsp. picked leaves of your chosen herbs
3 tbsp. olive oil
1. Put your flour into a very large bowl.
2. Place the yeast, sugar and salt in the warm water and pour into the centre of the flour.
3. Gradually draw all the flour into the centre - it will be very gooey to start with and will eventually form a lumpy dough.
4. Turn this lump of dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 mins. until the dough is really smooth and elastic.
5. Place dough back in a clean/oiled bowl and set in a warm place to prove and double in size - about 45min/1 hour depending how warm it is.
6. Slap the dough back so it shrinks and turn it out again onto a floured surface. Knead it a little and then start to roll the dough out into a large rectangle shape - it doesn't have to be straight sides at all - just long. In fact I prefer a rustic shape, so my loaves are a different shape every time I make them!
7. Sprinkle the herbs/olives/toms and oil over the surface of the dough.
8. Fold the dough over itself, encasing all the filling. Seal down the edges so the oil doesn't escape.
9. Place dough onto a baking sheet and pop back in the warm place as before. Allow to prove for another 30 mins. or so, until the loaf has again doubled or got very much bigger.
10. Pop into a warm oven - (190/No.6) for about 35 mins. until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when you know the bottom.
11. If you can bear to wait until it cools...tear it or slice it VERY THICKLY...dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar! enjoy......
Curly Kale with Soy Sauce
1tbsp sunflower oil
2.5cm (1in) piece root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 mild red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped into chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
200g pack curly kale
2tbsp soy sauce
Heat a dash of the oil and sauté the ginger, chilli, spring onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes until garlic is golden - remove to a plate.Heat the rest of the oil and sauté the kale in three batches until bright green, softened and lightly charred.Add the chilli, garlic, onions and ginger back to the pan.Mix everything together well and add soy sauce to taste. Great served with pork or lamb dishes
Broccoli & Mint Hummus
1 head of broccoli
1 tin chick peas, drained, rinsed & dried
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. mint leaves
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz up to a hummus consistency...season with salt/black pepper and enjoy topped with tomato salsa or parmesan shavings.
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Spinach & Chick Pea Pancakes with Broccoli Hummus, topped with Tomato & Basil Salsa
1 bag spinach - steamed, squeezed and cooled.
5oz chick pea flour
half tsp. salt
100ml olive oil
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz up to a batter. Let the mixture stand for 10 mins. before cooking the pancakes.
Heat a non-stick griddle or fry pan and brush lightly with a little coconut oil. When hot spoon in about a tablespoon of batter at a time.....cook for a just over a minute until you can flip over pancake and cook on other side.
These pancakes freeze well and can be reheated if covered with foil in the oven or over a steamer or v. quickly in the microwave. They can be topped with avocado, eggs, pancetta, salsa, hummus for a very nutritious and tasty lunch.
1. Place all the ingredients into a large casserole dish (with a lid).
2. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil on the hob before putting in a medium oven (1890/No. 6) for approx. 1.5 hrs, until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables soft.
3. Remove the whole chicken and remove the meat from the carcass. You can add the wing meat to the vegetables in the casserole.
4. Liquidize the contents of the casserole (vegetables/stock/wing meat) to a thick, smooth sauce. You may need to do this in batches.
5. Replace the chicken meat into the sauce and serve with streamed green vegetables. If you are aiming to lose some weight, then just eat the casserole and steamed veg. - if not, this casserole is scrumptious with either mash potato or sweet potato mash! Try mashing your potatoes with olive oil instead of butter.
Pasta with Lentil Bolognaise
12oz wholewheat or non-wheat pasta
3 tbsp. vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 large courgette
14oz can chopped tomatoes
14oz cooked lentils (follow instructions on back of pkt.)
handful mixed chopped herbs – fresh!
1. Saute vegetables in stock until soft.
2. Meanwhile cook the pasta.
3. Add the tomatoes, lentils and herbs to the vegetables and reduce down until the sauce is thickened.
4. Add the lentils to the sauce.
5. Drain pasta and serve with the lentils.
Spinach and Lemon Soup
1 large bag ready washed spinach leaves
Zest & juice 1 lemon
1 onion, chopped
1 small potato, cubed
1.5L chicken stock
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1. Sweat the onion until soft in the coconut oil.
2. Stir in the potato, zest of lemon and the chicken stock and simmer until the potato is very soft.
3. When the potato is cooked through, stir in the spinach leaves and lemon juice.
4. Blend in a liquizer and add the lemon juice. Season.
Aubergine, Tomato and Bean Bake
1 quantity of basic tomato sauce
2 tins of any beans (chick peas/aduki/cannelini/borlotti) - rinsed and drained
1 pack of feta cheese - crumbled into small pieces
2 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley
1. Make the tomato sauce as per recipe.
2. Heat a griddle pan and when hot place disks of aubergine in pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side until they are starting to colour. Remove and cook in batches.
3. To assemble dish: Place the aubergine discs on the bottom of a large baking dish, top with the crumbled feta cheese and a sprinkling of the parsley. Season.
4. Stir the beans into the tomato sauce and pour over the feta cheese.
5. Top with any remaining beans, the remaining parmesan and bake in medium oven (190/No. 6) for 35 mins.
6. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve with either sweet potato mash, a dressed green salad or a chunk of home made rye bread.
Beef Burgers with Cauliflower and Tahini Mash
BEEF BURGERS (Makes 6 - serves 3)
500g very lean minced beef
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
Black pepper/pinch salt
1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and whizz/pulse until mixture has combined, but it still has texture.
2. Wet your hands as this will stop mixture sticking to them, and form meat mixture into 6 even-sized burgers.
3. Smear a griddle pan/fry pan with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and cook burgers for about 2-3 minutes each side, until cooked through (or rare if you like them like this).
CAULIFLOWER & TAHINI MASH (serves 4)
1 medium cauliflower
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 tbsp. tahini paste
zest and juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp. natural yogurt/Greek yogurt/Quark
1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a large pan.
2. Steam in about 2” water until cauliflower is tender, but not too soft.
3. Put steamed cauliflower into a food processor with all the other ingredients and whizz until a smooth mash. Season with salt/pepper. Can add herbs of choice.
Basic Salad Combination: 1 large tbsp. each any/all of the following raw veg/fruit
sugar snap or mange tout
red, green, yellow peppers
onion - spring or red
fresh herbs (parsley, chives, coriander, fennel)
Chick peas - (if tinned, drain and rinse in cold water) - 2 tbsp.
8 small cubes of feta
Dressing: 7 fl.oz olive or linseed or sunflower or walnut oil; 2 fl.oz balsamic or white wine vinegar (or combination); 1 crushed garlic clove; half tsp. mustard; half tsp. honey; salt/black pepper.
• put all the dressing ingredients into a clean jam jar - pop on the lid and give it a good shake. Keep in fridge for a couple of weeks and it is ready to use whenever you have a salad!