Category Archives: Quinoa

Creating a Wholefood Pantry: WHOLEGRAINS – part 1. And a baked porridge.

Baked Porridge – awesome!

I forget that it can be a little daunting sometimes, cooking with wholefoods and knowing what to do with half the stuff. There is SO MUCH information out there, some great, some not so much. It may seem easier to stick your head in the sand, or cover your ears and sing a Bowie classic, but can I tell you if you stick with it the results are so worth it! Starting today I am putting together a series on how to convert your pantry, one step at a time, to a wholefood style larder (that just sounds more luscious than pantry doesn’t it?).

So grab a cuppa, and settle in to read all about the first on the agenda, due to popular vote,  WHOLEGRAINS.

Note** I have edited this post about three times now, it is SUCH a big topic, and I want to do it justice, it is really hard to condense this information! Please let me know if you would prefer to hear about it from another angle. I am starting with some general info and three gluten free ‘grains’ – Buckwheat, Quinoa and Oats (controversially). The other grains and how to prepare and cook them all is to follow.

Grains have a bit of a checkered reputation at the moment. There are a lot of people restricting them greatly, or not eating them at all. And then there is the other side of the fence with a lot of people eating mainly grains.

We need to understand also that wholegrains are a whole different ball game to refined grains, and require a completely different set of digestive skills. Remember your mother or grandparents telling you to chew your food 32 times? They were actually onto something! This is what it takes to …

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Rock your Farmer’s Market and a Spring Quinoa Salad

 

Happy Spring everyone! And what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the local Farmer’s market. 
Farmer’s markets are such a wonderful resource. Not only do you come home with fuller shopping baskets, fuller wallets and better quality produce than supermarket shopping, but you have the pleasure of mingling with the producers of your food – what a treat! I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Byron Bay farmers market in northern New South Wales, and met some fabulous people with beautiful goodies to share.

I found an amazing fava bean tempeh infused with Tasmanian wakame which was completely delish. 













My next favourite was the sprouts. Sexy little broccoli sprouts still in their own dirt, so that you can just cultivate them as you need and they are still alive and vibrant right to the end!

                                                      


Add a fabulous selection of vegetables and fruit, artesian cheeses, raw food creations, beautiful handmade breads, and loads of other wonderfulness. So how do you get the best from your farmer’s market? My hot three tips are:


1. Go early or late. Early and you will be able to nab all the super produce, late and you are most likely to score a bargain with stalls selling off the last of their produce. Buying in season, and in bulk will also keep costs down.

2. Talk to the growers! They will be more than happy to chat with you about how and where their products are grown/produced, how to best care for it, and usually some great ideas on what to do with it!
3. Plan out your meals, or at least some of them, for the week so that you can be a little more focussed on what you need and you won’t end up with a fridge full of

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Sea Vegetable Love Part Three: Nori, plus fast pickled ginger.

Nori is probably the most recognisable form of sea vegetables to many of us, used in sushi hand rolls and the like. Weighing in the heaviest in protein of the sea veg family (almost 30% – whoa!), the accolades for nori don’t end there. How about a hefty helping of calcium, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamins A, C and E? Yes please!  


Today I thought it would be cute to make little nori squares, as opposed to the traditional rolls. You can of course use this same method to make rolls if you prefer, but the Food Matters Project‘s recipe for this week – Updated Tea Sandwiches, inspired me to make my nori into mini sandwiches. Check out what the other FMP members came up with here.
This makes about 6-8 rolls worth.


You will need:
Nori sheets
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (I used quinoa instead of rice to pack an extra protein and nutritional punch, but you can use rice again if you prefer).
Seasonal vegetables of your choice to fill your sandwich or roll.
2 tbs brown rice vinegar
1 tbs water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sea salt


1. Whisk together the last 4 ingredients and stir through the slightly cooled quinoa (keep a very small amount to dress your kale cabbage combo if using). 


2. Cut up your nori into the size and shape you require. HOT TIP: keep the size small enough to fit into your mouth in one bite, or big enough to be able to pick up and handle easily. 


3. Spread the quinoa onto one side of your nori.


4. Top with all sorts of wonderful fresh produce. I love to use a mix of kale and cabbage. I will not apologise for how much I

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Sprouting Quinoa, Sprouted Ancient Grain Baguettes and a sneaky Breakfast Salad

Sprouting is the greatest thing! It’s so lovely to see the food that you eat growing before your eyes. Not only growing, but becoming richer in nutrients and more digestible. The starch is converted to simple sugars, protein to amino acids, and the fat into individual fatty acids1. How fabulous! This helps to explain why those with allergies or intolerances to certain grains can tolerate them if they are sprouted. Sprouts represent the moment of greatest vitality in the life cycle of a plant, are a specific remedy for stagnant liver qi 1, or a ‘sluggish’ liver.

You can sprout pretty much any whole grain or seed. however they do take varying amounts of time to sprout.

Here’s what to do.

1. Use 1 part seed/grain to at least 3 parts water. Place grain/seeds in a jar or bowl, cover with muslin/cheesecloth and an elastic band (or use a sprouting jar if you have one) and soak for 12 hours.

2. Drain and rinse. Leave the drained seeds in a room temperature, dark place (or cover with a cloth) and rinse twice a day, morning and night until sprouted. It doesn’t have to be super warm but the cold and light will inhibit the sprouting a little and encourage the seeds to mould instead of sprouting. 

Quinoa is a quick sprouter. I had these beautiful babies in 24 hours, but some other grains/seeds/legumes such as alfalfa, mung beans, aduki, chickpeas and lentils take 3 – 5 days. Buckwheat is another great sprouter! 

What to do with your new little friends? Salads are an obvious choice. Try mixing them through with any of your grain dishes, or as a garnish for soups or stews.

The sudden cold snap in Melbourne today was perfect for the sprouted quinoa baguettes I made. This …

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Nutritionist
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