Welcome to the Foodie Post! If I can organise myself this should be a regular spot as requested by (some of) you! I had quite a few comments here and on face book about quinoa so I thought I'd use this post to introduce it to those of you who have never heard of it before.
Quinoa - pronounced keen-wha - is actually a seed, not a grain, and is gluten free. So if you are cutting back or excluding those items from your diet, quinoa is very useful. I regularly use it as a rice or couscous substitute. It comes from South America and has for years been a diet staple of indigenous peoples there. The brand I buy is called Granovita, which is a fair-trade company. There has recently been some controversy about the increased demand for this foodstuff world-wide, apparently pushing up prices and making it too expensive for the people who grow it to eat it. There are several sides to this debate, but I will include a link to an article my musical friend Marj sent me this morning, and you may read and follow it up as you please. I think paying the growers a fair price for their labours is an equally strong argument, and I am about to investigate an English firm who have been growing quinoa for years, to see if that is worth following up.
Darn it, I didn't get the name of the company in! But you have it above anyway. Pictured also is the stock I used to cook it. The instructions tell you to rinse well, and add to twice its volume of boiling salted water. Cook over a moderate heat until the germ separates- about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, leaving it to absorb the remaining water. May be served hot or cold.
Today I cooked it as I would risotto. I prepared my veggie basics and sautéed them until soft, then I added my spices - za'atar, grated turmeric and mixed peppercorns.
I then added my quinoa and stirred to coat the grains, and poured over my stock. This is what the uncooked seed looks like. A bit larger than couscous, slightly smaller than barley, I'd say.
A quick turn round the garden found a handful of herbs - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and some Moroccan mint. The sage is a bit on the sparse side as it is from an old bush which is past its best!
As the quinoa absorbed the stock I added a little more water, then covered the pan until the water was gone and the quinoa was cooked and fluffy. About half an hour. Meanwhile I had steamed some broccoli and cauliflower, and shredded some spinach.
Here is what the quinoa looked like when first cooked, close up.
And here is the finished dish, with the spinach and the cooked veggies stirred into it.
And very nice it was too! We ate it as a side dish to some stewed lamb. Not the cheapest of 'grains' so if you are being very frugal, one to miss perhaps. However, a good substitute if you are grain free, and I shall let you make your own minds up about the ethics involved. Do let me know what you feel about it http://hodmedods.co.uk/blog/hodmedods-british-grown-quinoa-update/