Monday, February 7, 2011

Peachy Keen (Wa)

So is it keen-wa or quinn-oh-ah? Somebody needs to write a new song about that, cause I've tried fitting it into the to-may-toe to-mah-toe one and it doesn't work. Either way, quinoa is pretty frickin healthy. It's totally  busting out with good stuff, actually; amino acids (no, I had no idea we needed those either, GREAT, another essential thing to try and fit in on top of all the vitamins), fibre, calcium, iron, get the picture. Apparently it's fairly trendy right now, though I'd say it's probably a bit bitter that it hasn't taken off the way the sundried tomato did in the nineties - I'd put that one down to the recession. Although you'd assume its nutritional qualities might give it a lofty sort of air, it is in fact a very low maintenance sort of grain in the almost-cooks-itself mold. Perfect for throwing together a salad on a Sunday night so that you can get your week off to a smugface-inducingly healthy week.

Although it's not entirely rocket science to come up with some class of a quinoa-based salad, I decided to forgo using my imagination in favour of going on a cookbook-buying-justification spree, i.e. leafing through all of them to find a new recipe to try out and then reasoning that it's ok to buy more cookbooks (even though I have tons) because look - I use them all the time and try out lots of new recipes! This pertains, in particular, to cookbooks that I buy in those discount bookshops. One of these is Sophie Dahls book, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. I've already gone on about how she wrecks my head, so I won't repeat myself, but even though I'm not alone in that respect, there's no denying that her cookbook is full of some really nifty recipes, none of them convoluted or unnecessarily ingredientful. And so it was with her quinoa salad with tahini dressing.

The quinoa was cooked in chicken stock, which was a first for me, and it really enhanced the nutty taste and texture of the grain (180g quinoa and 500g stock). And the dressing - oooooo, the dressing! A revelation! See, this is why I love giving new salad recipes a whirl, it really opens your eyes to interesting dressings. This one is a combo of 4 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 1/2 a clove of garlic and some honey. Now, my teeny tiny little brain would have never thought of whizzing that little lot up together.

The nice colourful veggie (lets face it, brown and beige does not make a very appetising sight) bit is 1/2 a cucumber, 2 spring onions, 1 plum tomato and 1 red pepper.

And when it is all combined it so very very tasty as to have you wonder how could it really actually be so healthy?

Stick a load of that in your lunchbox every day and it'll fairly put a pep in your step.


  1. Oh, please do enlighten me if you find the correct pronunciation! I've got quinoa for lunch today too, Isa Chandra Moskowitz-style. Love the sound of Ms Dahl's take on it, too - especially the cooking in stock bit, revelatory!

  2. Ummmm...I think that it's keen-wah! But doesn't that sound a little bit pretentious?! I've found that most people seem to pronounce quinn-oh-ah as well. The debate rages on! I had never heard of Isa Chandra Moskowitz until your comment - I'm intrigued! And I LOVE your blog!!!