Saturday, 28 May 2011

Warm Spiced Chickpea Salad

I was pretty pleased with this for my work lunches this week. I made this recipe up myself. I drew rather heavily for inspiration on a Spiced Chickpea Salad recipe that I had clipped out of the Sunday paper in March. But it was a very summery sort of salad- cucumber, tomato, chopped and served cold. Even though I liked the sounds of it, and do want to try it at some time, it just didn't seem right for the very cold wintery weather that we have been experiencing this month. After all we had our first snowfall of the year two weeks ago! The earliest snowfall that I remember since living here. So I decided that I should have more of a warm veggie salad. And it worked pretty well. I felt frightfully virtuous eating this all week, and that's what it's all about.

I'd forgotten to add the zucchini at this stage- but you get the idea

Warm Spiced Chickpea Salad

1/2 packet of chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, rinsed, then boiled til tender

1 large kumara/orange sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
1 punnet of grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 head of broccoli
A handful of beans, trimmed
1 zucchini, cut into mouth sized chunks

2 tblsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, diced
2 eschallots, diced
2 tsp garam masala

Heat oven to 180C/350F.

Place kumara in a roasting dish. Drizzle with some olive oil. Mix to cover. Roast until tender, and edges browning (about an  hour in my oven, but should be quicker in most). Place tomatoes on baking paper on a tray, drizzle with oil, and roast until tender as desired.

Steam or blanch broccoli, beans and zucchini.

Heat olive oil in a shallow fry pan. Add onions and eschallots. Fry until soft. Add garam masala and cook til fragrant.

Assemble chick peas, vegetables and onion  mix in a large container.

Of course you could easily use tinned chickpeas, they are just so much nicer if you do them yourself. There is a bit of lead time, but basically no work, so they're pretty simple, and quick really. I probably had the equivalent of two 400 gm cans of chickpeas here.

Broccoli isn't my most favourite vegetable any more. It is frightfully good for you, and I did have half a head of it in the fridge, so in it went. You could substitute any vegetable you liked. I'd keep the kumara though, it really worked well. I only used the eschallots because they were lying about too, they do add a nice sweetness though.

It was a bit fiddly cooking the vegies in different ways, but I was just puttering around on a Sunday afternoon, and hadn't really planned this as a tactical strike. I should have just chucked them all in the oven to roast together I suspect.

Garam masala is a beautifully fragrant Indian spice blend. It's well worth seeking out.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Quinoa with Roast Cauliflower

I have been making this for about a year. I was rather unfamiliar with quinoa a year ago when I started making this. Now I've made it multiple times, and it's always delicious. This recipe makes a great, nutritious work lunch, and is very adaptable, as you can throw in whatever assortment of leftovers you have lying about the place- it's particularly fabulous with some leftover chunks of roast pumpkin.

Quinoa is a Bolivian seed that has taken the western world by storm. So much so that it is causing problems in Bolivia. It is even being adopted by New York Jews as a controversial new kosher food for passover.

I always feel conflicted about food miles when using quinoa. All the brands I've ever found have been grown in Bolivia. I've never found any grown in Australia, maybe that will happen sometime soon. When I made this today I was able to use a glorious cauliflower grown locally in Canowindra. Hopefully this can help combat the Bolivian effect.

Gorgeous local cauliflower

Quinoa with Roast Cauliflower

1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
80gm red quinoa
300mL chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 small bunch chives, chopped
soft marinated goats cheese

Preheat the overn to 170C

Spread the cauliflower florets evenly in a roasting pan, do not crowd them. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat them lightly, and season well with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to ensure it cooks evenly, until it starts to caramelise and become tender.

Meanwhile rinse the quinoa and place it in a small saucepan with the stock (if using homemade stock add a pinch of salt). Bring the stock to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, gently for about 25-30 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has evaporated.

Place the quinoa in a bowl with the cauliflower, scraping the roasting pan to get all the crisp bits and any remaining oil. Add the chives, crumble in the goats cheese. Season to taste. Mix gently to combine and evenly distribute the cheese.

Serve the quinoa as a light meal or with braised lamb shanks.

Cath Claringbold. Good Weekend 15/5/2010

My oven is always slow. It takes much longer than 20 minutes in my oven to roast the cauliflower.

While it is better if you add some cheese to it, sometimes I've run out and it's still delicious. It's fine with or without chives too.

My 10 year old son is even happy eating this! For some reason cauliflower is his favourite vegetable and he even like quinoa- although he prefers to call it worms.

I often throw in some other veggies when roasting the cauliflower- such as parsnip, carrot and pumpkin. This then makes enough for a whole week of nutritious tasty low GI work lunches.