Tuesday, September 14

It’s Keen-Wa, not Key-no-a……

Ok, it is actually Quinoa, but I like a bit of phonetic spelling now & again, and this does seem to be a rather tricky one. I have already raved about my cooking class at Somerset Cottage, so I thought it appropriate to share a recipe. This is a delicious salad, full of flavour, easy to make, and great to transport, making it ideal for packed lunches, and the inevitable ‘I need something to take to a BBQ” conundrum we will happily, at least at this end of the world, soon all be faced with.

Quinoa is an ancient South American grain, easy to digest and full of all manner of good stuff. Most importantly, it tastes good, mild but nutty. It works really well combined with the more robust brown rice in this dish. So, coming soon to a Barbie near you is…..

Quinoa & Brown Rice Salad-from Somerset Cottage

200 grams Quinoa (I used the red one)
200 grams Brown Rice
1 onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup of good olive oil
Zest & juice of an orange
Juice of a lemon
Handful of toasted almonds
4 Spring Onions sliced
100 grams dried apricots roughly chopped
Salad greens
Salt & pepper

Bring two large pots of water to the boil, add salt and boil the quinoa & the brown rice. The brown rice will take about 20 mins, the Quinoa about 15, but test it yourself. The grains should be cooked but not mushy.

Drain each pot and put the contents on a tray to cool down. Don’t rinse! You are just washing away the flavour, it isn’t necessary.
Add a good slosh of the olive oil to a frying pan, and cook your onion until golden. Add the garlic for the last couple of minutes so it cooks but does not burn.
Put your rice & quinoa in a bowl, add the onion mixture, then add everything else to the bowl and mix. Taste for seasoning.

How easy is that? Next time I would add some chopped mint, and a little less orange juice, or maybe substitute it for lime juice. I made a carrot & orange soup years ago and was very liberal with my juice, it ended up like warm orange soup…has rather put me off strong orange flavours in savoury dishes ever since, but if you like then I would make as is.

I made a really yummy pie the other night, with a delicious wholemeal pastry. I would not normally utter delicious and wholemeal in the same pastry related sentence, but this really was. Short, buttery and tasty, it banished all memories of stodgy worthy pie crusts, which I am very happy about. It is also very quick and easy to make

Wholemeal Pie Crust

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
200 grams cold butter (I use unsalted)
1 tsp chopped rosemary (optional, but lovely. Thyme would be great also)
½ tsp salt
About 1/3 cup iced water

Simply place the flours, salt and rosemary into your food processor with the butter, which you have cut into rough cubes. Pulse until the butter is cut into the flour and the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. You can also do this by hand, rubbing the flour and fat between your fingers, but I am slow and my food processor is quick, so I take the easy route…Add about half the water and pulse/mix. Keep adding water bit by bit until the mix comes together and forms a ball. I can always tell as my poor machines motor sounds very laboured. Tip the whole mess out onto a floured bench and bring it all together with your hands. Don’t over work it, just get it all together and apt out into a disk.

Wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for at least half an hour. Don’t skip this step or you will have tears trying to roll it out.

When you are ready to roll, this makes enough for the top & bottom of my metal 23cm pie dish. Always use metal when working with pastry, it really conducts heat well, and will give you a nice crispy finish. Soggy pastry is not happy pastry.

Obviously you can use whatever filling you like, I went with poached chicken, leeks and mushrooms sautéed in butter, all bound together with a white sauce flavoured with lots of parsley and thyme, a slash of wine and a tiny bit of parmesan cheese. Tasted better than it looked, trust me……

Saw a great movie the other day, Beneath Hill 60 an Australian production based on a true story of miners fighting in Belgium during WWI.......ok, probably does not soyund the most gripping flick, but we really enjoyed it. Mr PK is a bit of a military buff, I enjoyed the story, exciting stuff. And such a treat at the Rialto, to have a glass of vino with your movie. Am I easily pleased or what:)


  1. I Quinoa is so delicious and feels like it's doing you good while eating it. I use a fabulous recipe from the first Ottolenghi cookbook with pistachios and dried apricots. Yours looks delicious too.

  2. Looks lovely. I am even going to attempt it. Thats saying something seeing as I'm not a cook normally.... PS. Did you get to the 5kgs or are we in a state of shoe grieving????

  3. Love quinoa! It's so good for you and really tasty! And the little "tails" on the end are really cute!

  4. Thanks for your comments ladies:) No Ange didnt hit goal, but neither did South Side Chubby (my friend) or Chief Chubby (my sister) so Chubby in the City (me!) is still aiming for 5kg, I have 2.2 more to lose........then I can buy my shoes, hooray:)

  5. That quinoa salad looks delish - will have to give it a go! Would be good for lunches too. Looking forward to hearing all about Somerset House next week & more veggie inspiration.

  6. ooh I love Quinoa. Always grab some pre-made quinoa salad at whole foods.. I've never made it myself tho! Kudos to you for making your own crust.. looks delish =)


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