As we head in to the festive season, I find that I need to balance out the indulgences of this time of year, with home cooked, healthy (at least semi-healthy) meals.
Packed full of goodness, and also gluten-free (for any of you who are gluten intolerant), this baked quinoa “pie” with spinach and feta is as comforting as it looks. Hot from the oven, the quinoa are almost pillowed amongst the ingredients, adding a lightness that you wouldn’t get if I omitted them. I only need to cook for two, so I made enough for four, split the mixture in to two small pie tins, and will freeze the other portion for a time when I need something easy, quick and delicious. All I have to do is warm up and eat.
This recipe is really versatile – adding in ham or bacon would work too.
Ingredients (for one large pie to feed four or two smaller pies)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
- 200g feta (you can also substitute ricotta or even cottage cheese)
- 4 large eggs
- Splash of milk
- 1 cup of grated parmesan, divided in to two portion
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
- Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until tender and the germ is visible
- Stir in the spinach leaves as you fluff the quinoa – the residual heat will wilt the leaves
- Crumble the feta in and mix
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and one portion of the parmesan
- Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper – don’t over-salt as the cheeses will already add some savouriness to the dish
- Loosely spoon the quinoa mixture into your pie dish, pour over the egg mixture and combine the two in the dish
- Flatten the top and sprinkle the second portion of parmesan over the top
- Bake for 30-35 mins until the top is golden
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy hot !
My introduction to beetroot, growing up in Australia, was the obligatory slice of tinned beetroot whenever you had a burger. But beets are so much more than wet slices from a tin – I love simply roasting them. They have a wonderful sweetness with that earthy undercurrent – someone once described that flavour as the dampness in the earth after a thunderstorm. A warning if you’re cooking with them – make no mistake – that colour is going to stain. So wear gloves and wipe up any juices immediately unless you want deep pink tinges on your fingers and all over your kitchen.
This salad would work equally well with roasted figs – the baking seems to intensify their delicate sweetness, and that would hold up to the robustness of the feta and balsamic dressing.
Actually, this simple salad would work well with any leftover roasted root vegetables too.
Ingredients no portion size given, make this as big or as small as you want !
- Roasted beetroot
- Feta cheese, cubed – I like Danish feta for its rich creaminess but you could use Greek feta as well. You could also use goats cheese (which I don’t like, hence the feta)
- Baby beet leaves or any salad leaves
- Aged balsamic – or if you don’t have that in your pantry then reduce some ordinary balsamic till it becomes thick and syrupy
- If you haven’t already got roasted beetroot, you can simply pop them in a hot oven 200C/400C for 30 minutes until tender
- As soon as they are out of the oven, pop them in a clean glass bowl and cover tightly in clingwrap so that the beetroots continue to steam inside the bowl
- After 5 minutes, the beetroot should be cool enough to handle. WEAR GLOVES and simply peel/rub off the skin – or you can also rub the skins off with a paper towel
- While the beets are cooking, toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes till you can smell the fragrant oil
- Slice the beetroot
- Assemble the salad – see ? Simple ! (Yet delicious)
My mum’s tomato salad with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, goat’s feta and mint
I was fortunate to be in Sydney with my Mum on Mother’s Day over the weekend. Sydney put on the most spectacular weather for us and we decided on such a glorious day we would have fresh oysters and prawns from the Sydney Fish Markets, and enjoy them on the balcony with a bottle of champagne.
While dad and I were out buying the seafood, Mum made us the best tomato salad for lunch. Simple and delicious, letting the ingredients speak for themselves. Cherry tomatoes in red, yellow, green and brown, each with a slightly different taste, kalamata olives, goat’s feta, olive oil and mint.
It looked so good on the plate you began eating it with your eyes. Thanks Mum – so glad to have been able to spend the afternoon with you (and of course Dad too !).
I hope everyone else had as wonderful a Mother’s Day with their families and wish all Mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day !