One of my dislikes is pretentious food that is over-manipulated which often results in little attention being paid to flavor because the focus has been taken up with building towers and painting pretty pictures.
Of course there are exceptions and some chefs are so talented that they can achieve the whole package. But not every artist can be Picasso.
I especially like the simplicity of quinoa because as an ingredient there is very little one can do to overdress it and it is a satisfying healthy alternative to pasta or rice if you would like to vary your home cooked meals.
Quinoa originated as a highly crop in the Andes and although it is known as a grain, it is technically the seed of a plant that the Incas referred to as the ‘Mother of all Grains’.
It is gluten-free and is a high-protein food.
It is a tight little seed and, when cooked, it turns translucent and slightly creamy in texture.
The most common type is white with red and black varieties, all available in most food stores.
There are 143 calories in 100g of cooked quinoa.
To cook one cup of quinoa, use two to three cups of water and a natural stock cube if you wish to add flavour. My preference is to boil the water then add the quinoa and boil it for around 15-20 minutes. Red and black quinoa requires slightly longer to cook.
Another very easy way to cook it to avoid any mushiness is in a microwave rice cooker. The result is very fluffy. A twirl of good pesto, not too much, adds colour and flavour
Quinoa is a good base for a stir-fry and makes a great breakfast instead of oats, mixed with some berries, agave and walnuts. It is also a good gluten-free substitute for bulgur wheat in tabbouleh.
Quinoa can be stored in the fridge once it is cooked and used for the next day’s meal as a salad or packed lunch.
I use French White Quinoa by Tipiak available at Whats in Store Photos: Felix Cesare