I’m Keen on Quinoa

Sunday, 26 August 2012

I made a salad using that super grain quinoa with my roasted tomatoes and it was deeelish.  I threw together what was hanging around in our fridge (now, sort of working again).  Roasted fennel, creamy avocado, roasted tomatoes and lemon zest quinoa. Perfect.  This weekend has seen us out for walks, more blackberry picking, buying two pairs of shoes for autumn (me, not him), having guilt about buying two pairs of shoes, lots of cooking and eating, burying my head in new cookery books, drinking tea and reading, writing very long sentences, just relaxing.  I think I recommend it.
I haven’t specified amounts here as this really is a thrown together salad depending on how many people you are feeding.  I made this for just little old me.
Tomatoes, roasted
Fennel bulb chopped and fronds removed
Lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Avocado peeled and chopped
Preheat oven gas mark 5, 190°C, 375°F
Roast tomatoes using this method.  Spread fennel across a baking tray and roast for approximately 30 minutes.  You will probably need to have the fennel on the top shelf of your oven and the tomatoes below if you are making them at the same time.  You may need to adjust your oven temperature accordingly.  Cook your quinoa according to the pack instructions.  (I really like this video for cooking quinoa from Sarah at My New Roots). Once the quinoa is cooked add the lemon zest and leave it to steam with the lid on until everything else is ready.  When you are ready to serve your salad fluff the quinoa with a fork and combine with the tomatoes, fennel and avocado.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and eat at room temperature.

Roasted Tomatoes

Friday, 24 August 2012

This week has felt a bit meh.  After the heat wave last weekend when summer remembered the UK for a brief time, our fridge freezer decided to break down, causing me to have a break down.  Unaccustomed to such high temperatures the fridge decided to emulate by warming itself up.  I finally admitted we had a problem when pools of water started to appear on the kitchen floor.  All this took place after we had hauled bags of groceries back from the market.  In amongst our loot were these lovely baby plum tomatoes.  Most UK tomatoes are grown on the Isle of Wight and since that’s where I’m from I knew they had to be good.  I decided to try roasting some and they did not disappoint.  Roasting tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and balsamic vinegar is the perfect flavour compliment.  I love these mixed in to salads, on grilled fish or mixed in to pasta.  They ooze summer so we should embrace them while we still can.
200g tomatoes of your choice.  I used baby plum tomatoes.
1 clove of garlic crushed
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F
Line a baking tray with parchment.  Mix together the garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.  Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl, coat with the oil and vinegar mixture.  Place the tomatoes skin side down on the parchment.  Roast for 30 – 45 minutes until the skins are blistered and the tomatoes are beginning to release their juices.

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

Friday, 17 August 2012

We are lucky enough to have invading brambles at the end of our garden.  To avid gardeners that may seem like a weird thing to be pleased about but it means that at the end of summer we get gorgeous fat blackberries right on our doorstep.  Last year I filled several containers and ended up freezing the berries.  I am still working from that crop even though this year’s berries are already coming through.  Now I have even more in my freezer (expect a few blackberry appearances around here).  Awhile ago I made this peach buttermilk cake adapted from Heidi Swanson’s wonderful book Super Natural Every Day.  I thought I’d share another version I made with frozen blackberries.  This is such a great cake for summer as it is so light and airy and I love the kick of lemon balancing out the sweet summer fruit.  I’m thinking I might have to make a plum version next.  Simply use whatever summer fruit you have.  You can use an 11 inch (28cm) flan tin or a 9 inch by 13 inch rectangular baking pan to make this cake.
Go to recipe

Roasted Beetroot Salad

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Here is the salad I made with the beetroot I roasted.  Travelling home from work on a packed train today, I was lucky enough to get a seat but then found myself sitting next to a girl with a terminally runny nose.  This roasted beetroot salad would go down a treat giving me a good dose of vitamin C to combat those cold germs!  I’m not big on salad dressings, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice is all I need.  The earthy taste of the beetroot together with the toasted walnuts and sweetness of the dried cherries had plenty of flavours going on for me. Throw the ingredients together in a bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and eat.

Beetroot Love

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Growing up the only beetroot I saw came precooked in a vacuum pack.  It was the messy pinky, purple thing that was added to salads along with other horrors like pickled onions.  I wasn’t keen.  Now beetroot is the pretty purple vegetable that I can roast, or grate, or use to make soup.  It brightens my plate and tastes slightly sweet, slightly earthy, rich and deep flavoured.  It is also a power house of antioxidants and nutrients, including vitamin C.  Beetroot is back in my good books.  All is forgiven.

Here is my favourite way to cook beetroot.  Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F.  Scrub your beetroot clean then...
Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the beetroot.  Beetroot salad recipe soon!

On the Road...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

This week we’ve been travelling around the UK, catching up with family.  A couple of days in Somerset followed by a few days in Blackpool.

My sisters dog.  I’m normally a cat person but if anyone can change my allegiance to dogs it’s this fella.
I couldn’t eat any of these cakes but I can still appreciate the yummy display.  My husband assured me the bakewell tart was pretty good.

I made cherry and pecan granola to take with me.  Breakfast covered.

Early morning on the beach in Blackpool.

You can just make out Blackpool tower in the distance.

A cheese and tomato toasted sandwich with gluten free bread.  So good after a long drive.

I roasted some beetroot and made a salad.  I’ll post it soon.

Two Ways with Porridge

Friday, 3 August 2012

My love of porridge is well known.  I eat it for breakfast nearly every day and on the days I don’t, I miss it badly.  Even when there are pancakes on offer...even when it’s hot!  Feel free to think I’m a little weird.  I’ve made my peace with it.  Here are a couple of my favourite ways to have porridge...

Gluten free porridge oats made with rice milk and topped with raspberries, toasted coconut flakes and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Half gluten free porridge oats, half rice flakes, again made with rice milk and topped with golden linseed and dried cherries.