Sunday, February 01, 2009

Keen For Quinoa

Quinoa Lunch Bowl

You might be interested to know that I've been storing up fats this winter, hoping to insulate myself from the icy climes that my Australian disposition is unaccustomed to. And with the storing up of fats comes, well, not surprisingly enough- an unwelcome heftiness around the belly, however, I find myself still feeling an overall sense of coldness inside.

So despite all this fat storing, my condition hasn't changed. There's something impertinent about this cold that seems to seep through all my layers, regardless of what seems like the most impermeable thermal layering on my part. Perhaps I'm just not meant for this weather? But I really do love London, even her rainy days, just not the way she bites in the cold. All I have to say is thank-God for double-glazed windows, something I've come to love over the past few months.

Quinoa for Lunch

So, I'm afraid that this pot-belly I've acquired ain't getting any smaller and this weather is the perfect breeding ground for the flu. And, after flicking through my flickr account, I've stumbled upon a forgotten dish I made last June using quinoa- that much revered grain of the Incas. Just like now, this was made at a time when I was needing something nutritious, but something that didn't seem too healthy. Like when your parents try to hide vegetables into your food hoping you were none the wiser. Despite my penchant for desserts I do love healthy meals, although if someone ever tells me they eat only bread made of sprouted grains and drink nothing other than non-homogenised, unpasturised milk, and everything raw, I'll probably give them some look of bemusement.

This dish is healthy, but doesn't wreak of wholesomeness in that elitist sort of way that looks down on anything that has touched a stove. The quinoa grain, grown in the heights of the Andes is a quiet achiever, unbeknownst to most, quinoa boasts a solid reputation for its nutritional potency. Packed with vitamins– phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and iron, plus loads of fibre, it can pride itself as the only grain that is a complete protein, containing all 8 amino acids required by the body. And not to mention it's gluten free, so it's perfect for coeliacs; but really, it's perfect for anyone. So don't mess with the quinoa.

Quinoa Lunch Bowl

Frankly I don't know why quinoa isn't getting more of a rap. It's perfect. It's the kind of food that you can feed your kids knowing you won't have to disguise them as something else less healthy. And it's possibilities are endless, it might even oust rice as my favourite starch of choice, as it's just as fluffy but packs a bigger punch.

Aside from harping on about quinoa, you might know about my fascination with Eumundi Smokehouse sausages, namely in:
In The Closet, And A Really Good Pizza Recipe
Australians All Let Us Rejoice
All The Way, With Carbs Today
Lifting The Fog
And this post is no different. This time I used Chicken and Chilli sausages. It was perfectly juicy and even when a little overcooked, an oversight on my part, it didn't dry out.

Chilli Chicken Sausages from Eumundi Smokehouse

I cannot mention it enough how much I miss Eumundi Smokehouse products, although I might have found some answers to this stark absence of Eumundi in my life. Aside from the various farmer's markets around London, there are a number of online grocers and butchers that are selling a large range of gourmet sausages in the UK. Here are some to name a few, if you happen to live in London:
Abel & Cole- organic grocer
Heap to Home- mail order sausages and bacon
Biggles- gourmet sausage supplier (wholesale and retail), home delivery, Marylebone store.

This quinoa dish is something you can easily whip up and eat in no time. Also it's completely versatile and open to adaptation, maybe toss a few root vegetables in with the quinoa, or eat it with a side of broccoli instead. The possibilities are infinite. I shows it doesn't take that long to get a proper meal going and this is certainly proof. Half an hour in a kitchen to eat something wholesome and sound, or a microwave dish zapped in 60 seconds devoid of any flavour and nutrition- I know which one I would choose.

Quinoa Lunch Bowl
Inspired by this recipe
Serves 4

Quinoa Lunch Bowl

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small brown onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
250g mushrooms
1 cup Quinoa
500ml stock (whichever is your preference, in this recipe I used chicken)*
sea salt and black pepper
parsley, roughly chopped
8 gourmet sausages
*You might need to add more stock or water if you see that the quinoa is drying up.

olive oil
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
400g green beans, cut into thirds
sea salt

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Fry onions until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, chilli and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the quinoa and stock and stir to combine.
Cover pan and allow to simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the quinoa has taken all the liquid and is translucent. The quinoa should be soft with a slight bite, if not, then add some water and cook further.
Meanwhile, grill sausages until cooked. Slice before serving

Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add garlic and beans and fry until beans have become a bright green colour.
Season with salt.

Assemble qunioa, sausages and green beans into a bowl and serve.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

QUINOA!!! My favorite gluten-free, high-protein grain :-D

ilingc said...

that's probably the only way you could entice me to eat quinoa. with yummy sausages and mushrooms!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, and have no idea why more people don't know about and celebrate quinoa. I myself have only known about it for about 3 years. I am now obsessed. The texture and flavour is amazing, and it mixes so well with both sweet and savory dishes. Your lunch bowl looks delish!

Cherie said...

I love this dish. Anything with quinoa is great in my book. I have a mexican black bean salad with quinoa recipe that I make almost every week. So good!
Have you tried red quinoa? Just as delicious.

Frances said...

What a fantastic blog. Looking forward to reading more. I've been curious about quinoa for ages. Thanks.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

This looks like a fabulous, comforting dish to warm up with. Hope you're surviving the snow OK!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Quinoa and I must confess, it looks beautiful in your photos though I can't say I'd try it.

Kasey said...

Mmm, I adore quinoa. This sounds like my perfect lunch. I love your snowman, btw. :)

Pamela said...

I just came accross your great blog and not only does it make me hungry, but want to cook! thanks for the inspiration. pamela

Anonymous said...

GREAT dish! tastes wonderful! Quinoa is one of my favorites! the only problem was my stomach felt rather dodgy after eating this because I had really bad diarehha, and I made so much poo poo afterwards and some of the poo poo was green! oh what a smell! my anus stung for the next 3 days because i was pooping so much! anyway, love your blog, keep up the good work! Fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I love quinoa with just about anything. I usually make up a quick quinoa lunch salad with things from the fridge about once a week. Your salad looks fresh and enticing!

ryan said...

I cant Wait to try this dish out. Thanks for the recipe.

Buy Quinoa said...

Quinoa may have indeed become the staple of the modern diet if it were not for the Spaniards - they not only forgot to remove the bitter saponin, but also associated quinoa with the Inca religious sacrifice, so they burned the entire quinoa crop to the ground. This is likely the primary reason we eat wheat, rice, and corn instead of quinoa. There is also evidence Native Americans used quinoa before corn became popular.

More info here: History of Quinoa

beach houses said...

I have never heard of Quinoa and looks good in the images that i saw in you blog..

Lia "RSA courses" Scott said...

i soo love QUINOA

Hillary said...

I love quinoa - we boil it up and mix it with roasted veggies. Yum!

Unknown said...

QUINOA! sounds delicious...definitely have to try it...i'm gonna get the ingredients from and try it.

Sprouted Kitchen said...

yum! Quinoa is my go to grain, goes with EVERYTHING. Love it! Great looking recipe, and wonderful blog!

Kaufan wow gold randy said...

Nice blog. I liked this blog.

Zurin said...

you take lovely photographs. :)and the quinoa looks delicious!

Shannon @ bake and bloom said...

Quinoa is the biz! I even make sausage rolls with it..turkey & quinoa sausage rolls.