Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Keen on Quinoa

Have you ever had the need to literally dive into a bowl of food, eat without breathing and not stop until the wobbly feeling in your legs has disappeared? No? Because that's what happened to me this weekend. I had a long commute in the cold rain and a totally exhausting ballet class on Saturday. I was cold, wet and so hungry I wasn't sure I was going to make it home. But I did. And I'm so glad about that, because born out of necessity came this meal I'm about to share. If I had passed out instead, I would be sharing a technique for getting grass stains out of your jeans and mud out of your hair. Let's save that for another post, shall we?

Evidently, I needed something fast and nourishing and for me, that usually means quinoa. The seed that thinks it's a grain, quinoa cooks up quickly and is full of good carbs and protein, both of which are a must after a crazy-intense workout. First eaten by the Incas four-thousand years ago (talk about shelf life!), quinoa is now back in fashion. And I am nothing if not fashionable. You know, in my rain-drenched leotard and all. This dish was really easy and really delicious and if spooning in bed was a meal, it just might be this one.

Maple Quinoa Porridge with Pears and Hazelnuts
Serves 4 (or 2 ravenous ballerinas)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1.5 cups water
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
Milk of your choice (I used almond)
Maple syrup
1 pear
Handful of hazelnuts (or filberts, if you're feeling posh)

1. Put quinoa, water, cinnamon, allspice and salt in a saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the element for an additional 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, slice the pear.

3. Over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until aromatic and just starting to brown. If you don't like the skins, rub them off at this point. Regardless, chop hazelnuts. Chop em' good.

4. Place quinoa in a bowl. Top with a splash of milk, a drizzle of maple syrup, some pear slices and the hazelnuts. Garnish with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

5. Inhale.


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