Hello and welcome to all about food.
As I type this column I am inhaling the sweet smell of wild garlic that I just gathered after a walk in the woods.
I was alerted to this treasure after spotting a blanket of bluebells (wild garlic is always found beside bluebells).
Lunch today will now be served with a side of homemade wild garlic focaccia and, no doubt, a large dollop of nostalgia as I bore my family with tales of foraging in the woods and hedgerows as a child…in my defence, they do say there is no such thing as a free lunch!
Labelled as a ‘superfood’, quinoa is a complete protein, containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It's packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, is gluten-free and easy to digest. Not only that; it cooks in minutes, works well with an endless array of ingredients, can be served warm or cold and, most importantly of all, it's delicious!
My favourite way to eat quinoa is with lots of roast vegetable – I tend to make this with whatever vegetables have been lurking in my veg bowl or what we have an abundance of in the allotment.
My daughters love the texture of quinoa and happily use their little hands to scoff their way through bowls of this quinoa, feta and roast vegetable salad!
Quinoa & Feta Salad with Roast Vegetables (Serves 4)
1 red onion, peeled and cut into chunky wedges
1 red and 1 yellow peppers, deseeded and cut lengthways
3 garlic cloves unpeeled
The zest and juice of one lemon
A pinch of sugar
2 courgettes cut in half and quartered lengthways
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
200g pack of feta cheese
200g of quinoa
3 tablespoons of olive oil
* Cook the quinoa following pack instructions, then drain well and set aside. Meanwhile heat the oven to 180˚c.
* Toss the onion and peppers with a tablespoon of oil and salt on a roasting tray, roasting for twenty minutes. Toss the courgettes and garlic with the rest of the vegetables and roast for another fifteen minutes.
* Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and mash with a little salt and black pepper. Stir in the remaining oil, lemon juice and zest and add the sugar to taste.
* Drizzle the garlicky dressing over the quinoa and toss together with the roast vegetables and parsley. Crumble over the feta, toss gently again and serve.
Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutneys made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.
Letters to ‘gingergirl’ c/o The Tipperary Star, Friar Street, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
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