Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quinoa Salad with Roast Peppers, Feta and Pinenuts

This travels to work very well in a Tupperware for a filling lunch on its own, or could be served alongside a lamb chop or other meaty chunk as supper, though I'd omit the feta if doing the latter. Quinoa is high in protein and fibre, containing a complete set of amino acids, making it a very good choice for vegetarians and vegans. It is also gluten free. But its main attraction is its nutty flavour and the interesting texture: on cooking, the germ separates from the seed and so there is a mix of crunchy and soft components. I used red quinoa as that is what I had in the cupboard, but as far as I know the white version is interchangeable from all but an aesthetic perspective. The measurements below are very rough, a guestimate at best as I made it up as I went along.

For a couple of large portions:
  • 180g red quinoa
  • cold water
  • 1/2 small onion, or 5-6 spring onions (probably better, but I didn't have any)
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 small can sweetcorn
  • 4 tablespoons pinenuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C ready to roast the peppers. Put the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with twice its depth of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes (or follow packet instructions if different). When done it will be soft but the seed will still be slightly firm. Drain any remaining water and set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, roast the peppers. Place whole on a baking sheet in the preheated oven. Cook until the skin is blistering and blackening, turning once or twice - this will take about 10 minutes. As soon as they are out of the oven (they should be on the point of collapsing), put in a bowl and seal with clingfilm, or pop them in a sandwich bag and seal. Let them steam until cool, at which point take them out and remove the stem and internal waste and peel, retaining as much of the juice that runs off as possible. The skin should pull off easily. Slice thinly lengthways and set aside until the quinoa is cool.

    Finely chop the onion. Drain and rinse the sweetcorn thoroughly, and drain again. Dry fry the pinenuts until golden, shaking regularly to stop any sticking and burning. Assemble the salad by mixing the chopped peppers, sweetcorn, chopped onion and toasted pinenuts. Whisk the vinegar and oil together, chucking in and pepper juices too, then stir into the salad. Crumble over the feta, and enjoy, possibly with a tomato alongside.

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    First Anniversary!

    Well, a week ago, but I didn't notice then... And now I feel that I ought to post something "special" to mark the occasion, but cannot think of anything. Hmmm....

    For the record, the sitemeter is at 331.