Cooking with Quinoa

Have you ever felt like a right prat when someone has had to correct you in your pronunciation or use of word?! Well I have on numerous occasions and on Monday it was no different. In fact it was the radio presenters fault for pronouncing this particular word wrong, I heard him say it, I knew it was wrong and yet something inside me proceeded to tell my colleagues, Victoria and Kate, that I too had a packet of Qwin-oh-ah at home that i was going to attempt to cook with.

Now of course all you clued up foodie/hip people out there know that the actual pronunciation of this Quinoa is Keen-Wah! WTF!? Qwin-oh-ah is a much better phonetic way of saying this grains name!!

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I found out yesterday that this grain/seed has been the staple food for Peru and other such countries but because of the increasing popularity among “celebrity chefs” the demand on this super food has increased that much that the staple food that once was, is no longer. Now, this did make me feel a little bad about buying a packet of $3 pre-flavoured quinoa from the shops – well, that was until I ate it. OMG delicious! This is going to become a staple food for my husband an I, however, I will just be buying the unflavoured bags in the future as this one was WAY too salty!

It was too easy to cook, it felt amazing as you ate it and it didn’t leave us feeling one ounce bloaty! Friends of mine had apparently been eating this super food for some time  – which lead me to ask the question “which rock have I been hiding under not to know about this delicious, versatile, super food?” and more importantly “why is this a super food?”

Nutritional Value:
Quinoa was important to the diet of pre-Columbian Andean civilizations.[15] Today, people appreciate quinoa for its nutritional value. Quinoa has been called a superfood.[14] Protein content is very high for a cereal/pseudo-cereal (14% by mass), yet not as high as most beans and legumes. Quinoa’s protein content per 100 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet, but is less than wild rice and oats.[27] Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein.[28][29][30] Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.[31] Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.[32]Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content.[33] In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours with wheat.[34] This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the seeds, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods.
Another great positive for this “super food” is that it is actually delicious and Gluten Free! Now there is not much out there on the market that is good for you and delicious at the same time, ESPECIALLY being gluten free!!!

I started browsing the search engines for more information on this super seed, I wanted to know recipes, could I get it all year round? I was consumed with finding the right way to cook the small round seed. Then is dawned on me…….just put your own twist on this!! So that’s what I did. I marinated two large de boned chicken thighs in lemon juice, oil and fresh thyme for about 30-50 minutes (the chicken started turning white), i roasted my favourite veggies and cooked up this Quinoa for the first time ever. You can find the very straight forward yet amazingly awesome recipe under Chicken.

Thank you world for allowing us to par take in eating this beautiful and delicate seed that is not only going to enrich my life health wise, but has opened up more doors for my cooking adventures to follow!

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Lovely Lasagne

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Last night I attempted my first ever lasagne. Pretty crazy considering I’m 28 years old and I love cooking all different things but I think that is where I was at with a good old, trusty, winter warming lasagne. To me it was just boring.

I have watched my husband on a couple of occasions attempt this mean feat of a lasagne where he has had the meat and sauce bubbling away for hours, the white sauce is measured to perfection and tweaked and sprinkled with nutmeg and only the best parmesan cheese was to be used! My darling husband does not react well when things he makes goes wrong. I have told him on so many different occasions that I am the cook of the house and he is the baker! I have NO patience what so ever to measure out exact amounts of flour to ratio’s of sugar or even to the point of separating egg yolks from whites…….but I can however create a wonderfully tasty, satisfying and amazing dish from taste testing the whole way through and making it my own.

So last night I decided to take on the lasagne. Reason, if I’m completely honest, was that I needed something to cook all afternoon to warm my house up and we had both lamb and Angus beef mince in the freezer so I was already winning!

I defrosted the mince and chopped up the onion and garlic. I just LOVE the smell of frying onion and garlic together so delicious and gets those sense tingling! In went the meat and following that pretty much everything else! I measured the wine out at one cup and then decided it could do with a glug more – this was after I had had a glass to myself!! I simmered it away until all the liquid had disappeared and I made my white sauce along side on the stove top.  

I used gluten free lasagne sheets which was lovely but needed more cooking time and therefore I would just suggest using normal sheets unless your gluten intolerant and if that’s the case leave a little more liquid in the sauce it’s self so I can cook through!

I added a whole bag of baby spinach and wilted that down in the meat mixture as I knew Brad would decline veggies with his lasagne.

It was pretty delicious and I’m pleased I can now add lasagne to my repertoire!!

You will find the recipe under Soups, breads and pastas tab J