I am living in Amsterdam now which is a pretty incredible experience. I moved here to work for a Dutch NGO called Fairfoods, which aims to make the food industry more sustainable. So it is amazing learning about a completely new city and broadening my understanding on sustainability within the food industry.
After many trials and tribulations in finding a house, I found a nice little apartment to live in with two guys, one German and the other Spanish. They are lovely guys but we are at completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to food and cooking. Due to their meat abundant backgrounds, both have the impression that eating a vegetarian meal leaves you somewhat less than satisfied. So…I challenged my new housemates that I would cook them something vegetarian which would leave them completely satisfied.
When I told them we were eating quinoa accompanied with wild mushrooms and cranberries, their faces looked at me with concern. “What the hell is keenwaaa?” – I could tell they were sceptical. I instructed them to just eat and luckily for me, they did a complete 180 and happily ate every last grain of quinoa! Yay – mission achieved!
Quinoa is the most incredible super food. It is super high in protein, is gluten free (and therefore easy to digest) and is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. I have never cooked it before as it has always seemed a bit foreign and daunting. But after tasting how good it was and learning about its health benefits, I am definitely a quinoa advocate! This recipe is an adaptation of Alice Hart’s who always combines amazing ingredients and flavourful food.
Quinoa with wild mushrooms, hazelnuts and cranberries
(Preparation time: 5 minutes, cooking time: 25 minutes)
300 grams of wild mushrooms, sliced (any type of mushrooms will do, the recipe will be more interesting with at least two different types)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of quinoa
4 cups of vegetable stock
A good pinch of salt
1 large handful of parsley, finely chopped
75g of roasted hazelnuts (can roast in the oven or fry in a pan with some butter)
Half a lemon
Using half the butter and half the oil, sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked but not soggy. Place aside on a plate.
Put a large sized saucepan on medium heat. With the rest of the butter, cook the chopped shallots for a few minutes. Then, add one of the garlic cloves and cook for another minute making sure nothing burns. Add the quinoa and stir with the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the quinoa starts to golden. After this, add the pinch of salt and the vegetable stock to the pan. The veggie stock should be approximately double the amount of quinoa. Leave for 18-20 minutes until you can taste the quinoa is not hard and cooked through. Add more liquid if the quinoa still needs more cooking.
Whilst this is cooking, prepare the other components of this dish. Make sure you have roasted your hazelnuts – this will really add to the dish. Then, chop up ¾ of the parsley finely and in a small bowl and mix it with the remaining oil and garlic, somewhat like a parsley pesto paste. Season to taste.
When the quinoa is cooked, take the pan of the heat, add the cranberries, the mushrooms, the parsley mix and the juice of half a lemon. Mix everything through gently. Serve up on individual plates and sprinkle the roasted hazelnuts and the rest of the chopped parsley on top. Enjoy!