Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto

IMG_4221 Happy Monday lovely people! Let’s start the week off with a recent dinner that wasn’t created in the slow cooked. Yes, rare I know. Recently, at least. I can’t even remember where the inspiration for this dish came from. It probably had something to do with my ongoing love affair with quinoa, and a bunch of vegetables in the crisper that needed to be used. Quinoa, garlic , shallots and white wine – simmered with ladles of stock until cooked. IMG_4208 Finished with a mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and chicken… IMG_4210IMG_4214IMG_4218 And served with a big sprinkling of parmesan cheese. IMG_4220 The end result being a lovely new take on an old classic, full of protein and flavour, but without the heaviness of a regular risotto. IMG_4224 Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto (serves 2 – 3)

  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 600ml stock
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g cooked chicken, diced
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful spinach
  • Grated parmesan to serve
  1. Place stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté shallots and garlic in a little olive oil in a large frypan, until starting to soften. Add the quinoa, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the warm stock – a ladleful at a time, simmering over a medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring as needed, for 15 minutes or so, or until all the stock has been added and the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls and top with grated parmesan.

What about you? Do you have a favourite risotto combination?

Sweet potato and quinoa patties

IMG_3751 There are some recipe books that appeal to me. Instantly. And “The Happy Cookbook” by Lola Berry is proving to be one such book. IMG_3688 Already I’ve sampled many of the dishes therein, with pleasing results. But my favourite thus far? IMG_3738 These sweet potato and quinoa patties – which were served with a ‘green’ tahini and lime dressing. IMG_3739 Simple to prepare, but oh so rewarding. IMG_3740IMG_3741IMG_3742 What I really loved about these patties – was that they not only provided a perfect base for dinner, but also lunch the next day. IMG_3748 We served the patties with a simple side salad on this occasion, but I think they’d also work beautifully in a bun as a vegetarian burger option at our next BBQ. Or perhaps made smaller, and served as an appetiser at a party? The bonus being that they can be made in advance and then re-heated. IMG_3754 And, as for the ‘green’ tahini and lime dressing (aka an avocado lime dressing) , well I had to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful straight from the bowl.  Although the fact it contained two of my favourite ingredients – avocado and tahini – probably had something to do with that! IMG_3747IMG_3750 I don’t want to infringe on any copyright laws, so I wont note the recipe here. But I would definitely keep an eye out for the book if I was you! What about you? What’s your favourite cookbook at the moment?

Vegetable quinoa soup

IMG_0393 Thus hubs has been struck down with ‘man flu’. Or so it seems. So in order to get him back on his feet as soon as possible – or at least attempt to – I’ve been focusing on veggie-rich meals. Lots of vitamins, and nutrients, and lots of garlic. IMG_0389 One such meal – was this vegetable quinoa soup. Comprised literally with whatever vegetable I could find in the fridge, and pulled together with some herbs, stock and a secret ingredient….quinoa! IMG_0391 A one pot meal – that successfully warmed us from the inside out. Full to the brim with tasty vegetables, bulked up with quinoa for some added protein. IMG_0392 Served with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, but I think other fresh herbs would work just as nicely too. IMG_0397 Vegetable quinoa soup (serves 3-4)

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1/4 cauliflower – broken into small florets
  • 1/4 pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 L vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • Water as required
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the leek, garlic and spices – and heat, stirring, until the leek starts to soften.
  2. Add the vegetables, and stir well to coat with the leek/spice mix.
  3. Add the stock, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the quinoa, and cover. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft.  Add more water if the soup is too thick.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of parsley.

What about you? Tried any new soup combinations lately?

Quinoa and roasted vegetable “risotto”

IMG_0103 This meal, enjoyed some time ago, was certainly a winner. But then again, when there are roasted vegetables involved – you can’t really go wrong can you? It was called a ‘risotto’ but you had to keep an open mind. For it didn’t have the creaminess of a traditional risotto – but it did have a lot of flavour. First – the roast vegetables. In my case, I used pumpkin, capsicum and a couple mushrooms. Drizzled with olive oil and baked for 20 minutes or so. IMG_0090IMG_0094 Meanwhile – I sautéed some garlic in a little olive oil – then added a cup of quinoa – allowing the grains to be coated. Next, some vegetable stock, and cooked on low until the quinoa had absorbed the liquid. To finish – it couldn’t be simpler. In went the roasted vegetables, a good amount of baby spinach and thyme leaves, a little parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of lemon zest. IMG_0097 Piled high on a plate – and topped with a little extra parmesan. IMG_0101 We really enjoyed this vegetarian meal. Simple to prepare – and packed with flavour, I quickly declared that it was being added to “the list”. IMG_0100 And with quinoa as the base – you could really flavour the dish with whatever vegetables you had on hand. I think sweet potato or semi dried tomatoes would also work beautifully…. IMG_0105 What about you? Cooked any ‘winners’ recently?

Tomato & veggie quinoa soup

IMG_9615 Sometimes – when it comes to meals -  you just know you have stumbled onto a winner. And not even when you are sitting down enjoying the finished product. No – it is when you come across the recipe and can just ‘feel’ that it will be a hit. I had one of these moments on the weekend. We’d had a big yum cha brunch, and our appetites by dinner were still far from raging. I flicked through a recent copy of the Healthy Food Guide (one of my favourites) and found a recipe for a tomato quinoa soup that immediately appealed. Then, with a few of my own tweaks, we soon found ourselves huddled over big bowls of steaming soup with the Season 4 finale of Breaking Bad on the TV. A perfect Sunday night really. But back to that soup. IMG_9588 I loved how full of vegetables this soup was. Carrot, celery, tomatoes – and I added some broccoli for good measure. IMG_9590 Into a pot with stock, herbs and garlic… and then simmered for 20 minutes or so (until the veggies were soft). IMG_9603 Then out came my trust stick-blender – converting the mix into a thick, hearty soup. IMG_9613 And the real winner?   IMG_9607 Ladling the soup over some quinoa that I had prepared separately – providing extra bulk and a bit of a protein kick. IMG_9617 I topped the soup with a mixture of shredded basil, parsley and mint, and seasoned well with black pepper. And the final star of the show? IMG_9618 Some gorgeously-chewy olive sourdough – from a favourite bakery. I know soup gets a bad wrap (kinda like salads in the warmer months) but I truly love them for their versatility, ease and the fact they can be thrown together so quickly. And this soup had even Mr BBB convinced! IMG_9621 Tomato & Veggie Quinoa Soup – Makes 2 generous serves

  • olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1cup cooked quinoa
  • Fresh herbs to serve – I used shredded mint, basil and parsley
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the vegetables, garlic and oregano, and sauté for a few minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, water and basil – and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree using a stick blender, then season with pepper to taste.
  4. Divide the quinoa between serving bowls. Spoon over the soup, and sprinkle with extra herbs.

What about you? Tried any new soup combinations lately?

Harissa lamb and quinoa

IMG_3239 Warmer weather = BBQs in the BBB household, and we have wasted no time this Spring in doing just that. While I prepare the ‘sides’, it is not unusual for me to send Mr BBB outside laden with some sort of protein to grill on the BBQ. And this occasion was no different. Inspired  by a recipe found in a Real Living magazine issue. During the course of the afternoon, I marinated some lamb rump steaks in a mixture of harissa paste, olive oil and garlic. IMG_3226 And put together a rather tasty minted yoghurt – using natural yoghurt, fresh mint and honey. IMG_3228IMG_3230 I also created a quinoa salad (in place of the suggested couscous) using some other tasty ingredients… IMG_3231 Spring onions, more fresh mint and shelled pistachios. IMG_3232 Combined with a few cups of cooked quinoa. IMG_3236 Easy! IMG_3237 Then when the little Miss retired for the evening, I sent Mr BBB outside to grill the lamb, and plated up the remainder. IMG_3238 Quinoa, sliced lamb, drizzled with some of the yummy minted yoghurt. IMG_3240 This was one tasty dish – and despite the earlier preparations, relatively fuss free. IMG_3241 Between the spiciness of the lamb, and the sweetness of the minty yoghurt, I had one happy tum. IMG_3243 This dish will certainly be making more appearances over the Summer. What about you? Do you have a favourite way to prepare lamb?

Quinoa Paella

Remember when I went to Sydney for a little cook off? Well I just realised that I never shared my cook off dish with you… On the menu? A quinoa paella. IMG_8914 So very simple to make, yet packed with protein and flavour. My original dish used red and green capsicums, but I had none on hand the other night, so this version had carrots and broccoli instead. The other flavours were pretty much the same. GG parsley, garlic and chilli, tomato paste, saffron, water and quinoa. IMG_8907 Combined with grilled chicken, and allowed to simmer until the quinoa had soaked up all the liquid. IMG_8909 Finished with some frozen peas and prawns, and cooked for another 5 minutes or so. IMG_8910 Finished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and lemon wedges,  and this quinoa paella was done. IMG_8915 The added bonus being that there is no need for serving dishes. IMG_8912 Just take the entire frypan to the table… IMG_8918 And dig in! IMG_8920 Quinoa Paella (serves 4) * the original version

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 tbs GG garlic paste
  • 2 tbs GG mild chilli
  • 1 tbs GG parsley paste
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • Pinch Saffron
  • 1.5 cups white quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 chicken thigh fillets – skin off, sliced
  • 16 x frozen  raw prawn cutlets (ie. head off & deveined / but tails on)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frypan. Add the onion, capsicum,  herb and tomato pastes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to soften.
  2. Add the chicken, and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the saffron, quinoa and water, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer gently for 12 – 14 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked.
  4. Add the prawns and peas. Cover and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes,
  5. Remove from the heat, and stir. Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley, and serve with the lemon wedges.

What about you? Are you a paella fan?

Preserved lemon chicken with coconut quinoa

IMG_7384 Remember when I declared it a ‘quinoa kind-of week’? Well it seems that the little Miss also declared it a ‘sleep regression’ kind-of week’. Perhaps closely related to a ‘growth spurt kind-of week’. Gone were the days when we could put Charlotte in bed relatively fuss-free at 7pm. And returned were the days where she would fuss and cry, inconsolably, for 3 hours. Let’s just say I finished the weekend feeling quite exhausted. But then I only have to take one look at her smiling ‘morning’ face, and all is forgotten. Until 7pm at least. IMG_7285 Luckily for us, we had plenty of leftovers in our fridge after the week’s cooking adventures. One such dish that I was grateful to reheat and eat amongst the evening craziness was this rather tasty dish. IMG_7375 Modified as I had no onions, but did have carrots and capsicum. Close enough right?! IMG_7372 So it was lots of veggies, lots of spices, and two other tasty additions… IMG_7374 Preserved lemon and stuffed green olives. IMG_7378 Simmered until thick and a wonderful hue. The quinoa on which it was served was also no ordinary quinoa. Rather, it was simmered with coconut milk, in place of water, to create coconut quinoa. So simple! IMG_7380 Piled high, topped with coriander. IMG_7381 When I first took a mouthful of this dish, I thought the preserved lemon might be too intense. IMG_7382 But the more I ate, the more I enjoyed it, particularly with the creamy coconut quinoa… IMG_7384 And I ended up being quite the fan overall. IMG_7385 Certainly not a ‘subtle’ dish, by any means, but given our weekend was also anything but subtle, it was actually rather appropriate! Send me an email if you would like the recipe! What about you? Are you a fan of preserved lemon?

Its been a quinoa kind of week

I just realised that there has been a run of sweet treats featuring on this blog lately. But, I promise, that we do eat more than muffins, crumble and friands. Most of the time. And when I received this book as a birthday gift from my sister in law last week (she knows me too well)… IMG_7387 Well I wasted no time in declaring this week to be a quinoa kind of week. Our first dish….. IMG_7365 Quinoa lasagne! Although given that it contains no pasta sheets, it is probably better described as a Quinoa bake. I started by making a bolognaise sauce, using minced beef, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and white wine. Simmered most of the afternoon until thick and rich. IMG_7303 Followed by my favourite “cheese” sauce, combining ricotta, eggs, and grated parmesan. IMG_7299 Then with a few cups of cooked quinoa, sliced zucchini and fresh basil… IMG_7304 We were ready to layer. Quinoa… IMG_7306 Zucchini and basil… IMG_7307 Meat sauce and ricotta sauce… IMG_7308 Repeated and finished with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella. IMG_7309 Baked until brown and bubbly on top. IMG_7312 Sliced and served alongside some crunchy greens… IMG_7370 And our quinoa meal was complete! IMG_7366 This had all the flavours of a lasagne – just minus the pasta. Making it a protein-packed gluten free alternative to the original. IMG_7369 It also yielded a lot – enough to feed us both for 3 nights. So the added bonus being that we could just ‘reheat and eat’ when Charlotte went to bed. A win win all around. What about you? What is your favourite way to use quinoa?

Lazy gal’s herbed quinoa and mushrooms

Despite all appearances on this blog, I can assure you that some nights I find myself staring blankly in the fridge without a clue what to make for dinner. Throw in a long work day, an up and down pregnancy appetite, and the temptation to have a bowl of cereal instead of putting together a meal is ever present. However, knowing that I am ‘eating for two’, I have made a conscious effort when these moments strike to delve into the crisper drawer and try to put together something a little more nutritious. Tonight was one of those nights. Back in the pantry went the box of cornflakes, and out of the fridge came a bunch of mushrooms. IMG_4534 Along with a bag of herbs, picked from a friend’s garden, and kindly donated to the BBB kitchen. IMG_4535 Into a pan, with a heaped spoonful of ginger, IMG_4537 And a pile of quinoa (that I had pre-cooked for 15 minutes or so, until fluffy). IMG_4538 Warmed through for a couple minutes, and this lazy gal’s herbed quinoa and mushrooms was ready for the plate. And, with the help of Mr BBB who was out on BBQ duty, our dinner was complete. IMG_4539 Herb-filled quinoa… IMG_4540 Served with a sausage and grilled zucchini. IMG_4541 And certainly worth the effort! IMG_4542 Delish! What about you? What is your ‘fall back’ meal when the desire to cook is missing?