Su­per­good

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To cook quinoa: rinse quinoa un­der cold run­ning wa­ter. Place rinsed quinoa in pot and pour over dou­ble the vol­ume of wa­ter (so 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups wa­ter). Stir the quinoa then cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Re­duce heat to a sim­mer un­til all wa­ter is ab­sorbed. This will take about 12-15 min­utes. Drain in a sieve.

Ihave long en­joyed the ‘‘su­per­food’’ quinoa. It’s a good source of protein as well as be­ing a com­plex car­bo­hy­drate. When I think of all the pro­cessed food out there, it’s good to have some­thing this ver­sa­tile and guilt-free in the pantry.

Quinoa comes in a va­ri­ety of colours – black, white, red or mixed – and it is gluten free.

One of my lo­cal brunch haunts makes a mean quinoa rosti, sup­ple­ment­ing the usual grated potato with a sim­i­lar quan­tity of quinoa. It adds a lot to the tex­ture while cut­ting down on the carbs.

I’ve no­ticed that the quinoa I have been buy­ing has al­ready been rinsed to re­move the bit­ter soap coat­ing of saponin. This has an un­mis­tak­able odour and you should be able to tell if your quinoa re­quires rins­ing but if in doubt, rinse. It takes only a cou­ple of min­utes in a sieve un­der run­ning wa­ter.

To cook quinoa, you will need two cups of salted wa­ter (or stock) for each cup of seeds. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low, cover and sim­mer for 10 min­utes – or un­til the seed germ starts to un­coil. Red, and black quinoa may take about five min­utes longer. Turn off the heat and set aside, cov­ered, for five min­utes. Fluff it up with a fork and your quinoa is ready to use. A cup of raw seeds yields three cups when cooked.

Quinoa sal­ads are good start­ing points for those new to quinoa. The first is sim­i­lar to tabouleh and the other is in­spired by the wal­dorf salad and is more sub­stan­tial. Diced ham can be sub­sti­tuted for the smoked chicken.

QUINOA AND EGG SALAD

2 hard-boiled eggs 2 cups of cooked white quinoa 2 medium toma­toes, diced and drained in a sieve 1⁄ Le­banese cu­cum­ber, peeled and

2 diced 1⁄ green pep­per, finely chopped

2 Hand­ful of pars­ley, finely chopped 2 Tbsp fruity olive oil 2 Tbsp lemon juice Snipped chives to gar­nish Shell and quar­ter the hard-boiled eggs. Mix to­gether re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept for the chives. Place in a bowl, dec­o­rate with the eggs and gar­nish with the chives.

SMOKED CHICKEN WITH QUINOA

2 smoked chicken breasts, sliced 4 cups cooked red quinoa – cooked in chicken stock if you have it 2 red-skinned ap­ples 1 medium red onion 2 sticks cel­ery 1 small fen­nel bulb 3 Tbsp white vine­gar 3 Tbsp olive oil Salt 1 hand­ful basil leaves 1 hand­ful fresh mint 1⁄ cup chopped wal­nuts or toasted

2 pine nuts (op­tional) Wash the ap­ples and quar­ter them, re­mov­ing the cores, but leav­ing the skin on. Finely slice them, along with the washed cel­ery, the onion and the fen­nel. Place to­gether in a bowl. Sprin­kle over a ta­ble­spoon each of the oil and vine­gar then add about half a tea­spoon salt. Mix well to­gether and set aside to soften. When ready to serve, add the cooked quinoa, the sliced chicken and herbs and the nuts if you’re us­ing them. Pour over the re­main­ing dress­ing. Turn sev­eral times to mix then place in a serv­ing bowl. cook­ing­dow­nun­der.com

Tasty: Smoked chicken with quinoa.

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