When I was in high school, yes, at a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, my parents invited an exchange student from Peru to live with us for a year. His name was Jorge but we all called him Coco.
When he arrived he didn’t speak a word of English so of course instead of speaking really slowly, we talked louder. The urge to speak louder to someone who doesn’t understand your language is weird but we all did it. He was a lovely young man and we learned a lot about Peru that year.
Do you like quinoa? I went for the longest while when the trend first started, refusing to follow the leader and one day I broke down and tried it. It’s really good and much of it is grown in Peru.
Quinoa is an ancient grain from the time of the Aztec empire and it’s got as much essential aminoacids as red meat plus it’s gluten free and high in calcium, fibre and iron. It’s just what I need right now.
I received an email from the kind folks at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show wanting to know if I’d like to give away two free tickets to the show coming up in early November to five lucky winners. Why not? The tickets are $25 each so it’s a good saving so you can buy more stuff while you’re there.
I love food shows and let’s not get me started about wine. This year the Brisbane owners of Andes Mills, sisters Fe and Maria Mendoza, will be launching their new brand of products at the Good Food and Wine Show and they’re offering my winners a packet of their quinoa straight from Peru.
Their grandfather Enrique Mendoza was an agronomist in Peru who designed a program for the Peruvian government to promote the growth and consumption of quinoa back in the 1980s. We’re all eating it now so he must have done a very good job!
Andes Mills is a family owned company with a mission to bring quality, healthy super foods to our Australian tables. They know their quinoa is the best because they grow it themselves – knowing what’s in the soil and knowing there are no pesticides ever used on their grain. Starting a business where you grow your own grain in a country on another continent is tough but they’ve proven that Queenslanders have the right stuff.
If you’re in Brisbane or will be in Brisbane between November 8th – 10th, please leave a comment that you’d like to be included in the draw for two free tickets and a 500 gram package of organic Quinoa.
Now, you know I’ve said I’m doing my best to add some healthy foods to my diet and Maria and Fe sent me a packet of their quinoa to try. I made my favourite quinoa salad with a curried balsamic dressing. I can eat this for any meal or as a snack. It’s filled with red and green capsicum (sweet peppers), red onion, scallions/spring onions/shallots (depending upon the word you use), celery, coriander (cilantr0), parsley, peanuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries and sultanas (or raisins) with lots of fluffy cooked quinoa.
Yes I put more than the required dried fruit because I really like it. I should have added the extra AFTER I took the photo. Too late because I already ate it.
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 1 red onion finely diced
- ½ cup sultanas
- ½ cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- 1 cup roasted peanuts (save ¼ cup for garnish)
- 1 red capsicum finely diced
- 1 green capsicum finely diced
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped coriander
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen-thawed)
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 fresh red chilli finely diced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar if you want it sweeter (optional)
- Fresh coriander leaves and a few peanuts for garnish
- Rinse quinoa grains in cold water and drain using a fine mesh strainer
- Cook quinoa in a pan of boiling water approx 9-10 minutes til grains are soft
- Drain well through a fine sieve and set aside to cool while you make the dressing.
- Combine coriander, cumin, cinnamon, chilli, ginger and garlic
- Add to oil and vinegar in a bowl to make the dressing and set aside
- Combine all other ingredients
- Fold dressing through
- Pile high on serving platter
- Garnish with peanuts and coriander leaves and serve immediately.