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QUINOA WITH SPINACH

Quinoa

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America and the Incas held the crop to be sacred referring to it as the 'mother of all grains', It was of great importance to South American civilizations for its nutritional value.

QuinoaQuinoa has a very high protein content and contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source for those on a vegetarian diet. It also provides a good source of fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Another great benefit of quinoa is that it is gluten free and easy to digest.

Raw quinoa has a coating which makes it very bitter and not nice to eat. This is removed during the processing stage. The coating is toxic so it is preferable to buy quinoa that has been processed. It makes a good alternative to rice or couscous, having a slightly nutty flavour, and is prepared in much the same way. (The packet will have precise instructions.)

International Vegetarian Day

Today (Monday October 1st) is for those of you that did not realise it; International Vegetarian Day! Seems we have days for celebrating everything these days and why not. Though for you meat lovers out there, I don’t think there is an International carnivorous day, as yet, sorry.

So this week we are going to look at a vegetarian dish. There are now just so many variations on this theme, those that do not eat meat but will eat fish or dairy products, those that eat only fruit and vegetables and believe it or not those that won’t eat anything that casts a shadow!

For some it is for religious reasons, for some it is for health, others because they hate the thought of eating animal flesh and then there are those that just jump on the latest fad. But for whatever reason people are vegetarian, a good balanced diet is required and a proper understanding of food science is essential. For example I am told (remember I am a chef and not a dietician or a doctor here) the body does not easily process the iron content of plants, vitamin C is essential to process it. So a good dose of vitamin C is required at the same time as the foods being eaten for their iron content. It is this lack of iron in the diet that causes anaemia, which can lead to lethargy and a person bruising easily.

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Being a vegetarian does not mean surviving on boiled vegetables either! There many different ways to cook and prepare them, there as many different dahls (lentils) as there are days in the year, not to mention all the different rices, grains and other pulses . . . all essential as a good source of protein. It does not mean plain boring food either, take a look at these photos; which are some of the types of vegetarian dishes I have prepared this year.

For those of you that really want to get into vegetarianism, have a good balanced diet and supply of nutritious, tasty dishes I suggest you have a look for the late Linda McCartney books. But for now try this dish, it uses a product called quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). To find out more about this product <click here>

SPINACH QUINOA WITH OVEN ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES AND FRIED RICE NOODLES

Ingredients

spinach leaves

1

bunch

vegetable stock (hot)

600

ml

quinoa (well washed)

300

gm

garlic

1

tsp

spring onions

1

pc

sea salt

sq

freshly ground black pepper

sq

nutmeg

sq

 
 

parsnips

1

pc

carrots

1

pc

turnips

1

pc

beetroot

1

pc

celeriac

1

pc

balsamic vinaigrette

150

ml

Method

  • Place the washed, picked spinach leaves (leave most of the stems on) and the hot vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth
  • Combine spinach broth, garlic, scallions, quinoa and seasonings in a saucepan
  • Cover and allow to simmer over a medium-low burner for 10-12 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

While quinoa is resting . . .

  • Peel each vegetable and cut into batons (large matchsticks)
  • Place balsamic vinaigrette in a bowl and toss with vegetables to coat evenly
  • Place vegetables on a non-stick baking pan, or spray with vegetable oil to prevent sticking
  • Roast vegetables in a 240ºC oven for 5 minutes or place under the salamander (grill)
  • Deep fry the rice vermicelli

To serve the dish . . .

  • Place a round pastry cutter in the centre of a plate and fill with the quinoa, carefully remove the cutter to leave a nice, neat circle
  • Remove vegetables from pan and arrange on serving plate around the quinoa, drizzled with a little balsamic vinaigrette
  •  Top with the fried noodles

Chef's Tip

For a nuttier flavour the raw quinoa may be lightly toasted in a hot oven prior to cooking.

Quinoa contains more fat than most grains, it provides almost 4 grams of fat (and 238 calories) in this recipe. However, the type of fat provided is unsaturated fat which has cholesterol lowering effects. Quinoa is also a nutritional powerhouse containing higher levels of protein, iron, potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium magnesium and zinc than other grains.

Chef's terminology:

  lt
=
litres   tsp = teaspoon
  ml
=
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
  kg
=
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
  gm
=
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Tallyrand
Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand