Thursday, 9 August 2007

trying new tastes

Quinoa+Vege bake with Salad in my favourite bowl w' toasted sesame seeds +almonds.

Lately we've been so bored with the usual :: same-old dinners that we make. Never exactly the same, as we don't ever use a recipe - just general ideas, etc. If it was up to Ari, we'd have pasta every night. It's not up to Ari, thankfully.... Not that I always cook the same meals each night, just the same 'feeling' meals.
Every day - at about 3.30 or 4pm, I start to go through that dreaded thing of "what am I going to make for dinner, again?" I have to start cooking, or preparing at least, at about 4.30 in the afternoon. This gives me time to have lots of interruptions - taking Mishi to bed again, cuddling Ari, playing games, talking on the phone, having two kids::babies asking, asking, asking me for something else.....

I do think of myself as quite a good cook. My Mum was an excellent cook, my Dad is. I learn at a young age how to cook lots of different things. We were all always in the kitchen together, chopping, stirring, tasting, talking. As kids we all had to help, and had different nights where we made the whole dinner. I loved this - I still do love cooking. I just don't love the having to think every night of what to cook. I used to always make stirfry when I was a kid. I loved cutting the vegetables + tofu up into perfectly formed julienne sticks.

The great thing, also, was that my whole family had very similar likes, tastes. We just took on the tastes of our parents. My Dad used to make subji all the time. We would moan "not subji again!" Now - its the thing that Sylve + I want Dad to make whenever we visit him. And we both make it in our own houses for our families - who love it. Dhal as well is another that we all love. I know that I can make it, and actually have Ari + Sam happily eat a whole meal. Add papadums, and everyone's crunchily happy.

So, rather than feeding them pasta, stirfry or dhal every night, I've been on a search (mentally) to think of new and interesting - though not too adventurous for my fussy eaters - meals to make.

And hence, I finally bought some quinoa from the healthfood shop, and finally made it. I remember having it years ago when I was visiting a friend, in France. She made this delicious green vege, creamy quinoa bake. I've emailed her for the recipe - in the meantime :: tonight I made root vege quinoa bake. And, with a few tweaks I can feel that quinoa could be added to the reportoire.

It is such a pretty looking seed (grain), when raw as well as when cooked - with the little sprouts curling around the almost translucent grains.

Quinoa + Orange Root Vege Bake

This was quite yummy, though I think it would have been good with some green leafy something in it. It was simple and wholesome, with lots of scope for changes.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 medium Pumpkin
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium carrots
  • tin tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon each of cummin powder, tumeric, corriander powder
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • smallish hunk ginger finely grated - this is easiest with a bamboo ginger grater, available from Asain stores
  • yoghurt, cheese, milk to add a bit of extra liquid
  • salt + pepper.

Rinse quinoa well, using a fine seive. Cover with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 15 mins, until all water gone. Leave to side with lid on. Should be cooked, tastes lovely now - can use in salads or as a substitute for rice, couscous, pasta. Take toddler to toilet. Sing to baby, so you have a few more minutes before having to leave half-cooked dinner.

Meanwhile, cut veges about 1/2cm cube. Dice garlic + grate ginger. Heat pan, then add oil and allow to warm a bit. Add spices + salt, then ginger + garlic. Fry lightly. Then add pumpkin, and cook for a few minutes, then sweet potato for another few minutes. Add carrots and stir through, cooking for a few more minutes with the lid on. Add tomatoes and pepper. If you think it needs a bit of liquid at this stage, add some water (or stock). The take baby back to bed for second time. When cooked add some yoghurt - I keep old yoghurt, milk + cheese in my fridge for cooking. Taste for seasoning.

In a large baking dish, spread quinoa along bottom, cover with veges + all the juice. Top with grated cheese - whatever you like. Bake about 30 minutes at approx 220 degrees Celcius. (My oven in broken, so I'm not exactly sure the temperature it is). Until the cheese is nicely golden.

Serve with salad or lightly steamed greens, plus toasted nuts.

PS - I by no means, consider myself to be a 'food blogger' like these two current favourites.

1 comment:

  1. Oh such a wonderful post Ellie! I love the vision of you and your family all cooking together. My boys help every night too, and those are some of our best moments of the day - all the little wheels and cogs working together.

    Thanks for the recipe tip too. I'm in a bit of a rut too, and might give this a try with some of our current season's veggies.

    Take care sweet mama!


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