Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Salad Season: Walnut Quinoa Salad

Eve’s Walnut Quinoa Salad

The weather is warming up, we’ve come out of winter hibernation, ready for the busier social scene summer tends to invite.  After baking, my second love is putting together new and unique salad combinations.  This one was begging to be made in anticipation of lazy summer BBQ’s with family and friends and I had fun putting it together over the warm weekend.

One of my favourite ingredients is quinoa and not because it’s uber-cool but because it is healthy, delicious and versatile.   High in protein and many essential nutrients, quinoa contains a balanced combination of all essential amino acids.  There’s my spiel, now go and make this salad immediately!

To make a large size serve to feed 8-10 friends at a BBQ you need:
1.5 cups of Quinoa – rinsed
2 cups cold water
200gm block of firm fetta, chopped
340gm jar of roasted red pepper cut into strips (or roast your own - 2 red capsicums in oven 200C until blackened skin, then sweat in a freezer bag and peel off skin)
240gm can chickpeas, rinsed
150gm walnuts – lightly roasted (grill on tray, turning regularly – they burn quickly, so keep an eye on them!)
A large bunch of rocket to mix through salad


1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Dash of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
(You can adjust these amounts according to taste and amount required)


1)      Soak quinoa in the cold water in a medium size pot for 15 minutes.  Then put on a medium heat until boiling with lid on. Reduce to a low simmer with lid for about 15 minutes until almost all the water is absorbed.  Stir with a fork and then leave to sit for a few minutes with lid on.  Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool in fridge.

2)      After quinoa has cooled slightly add fetta, chickpeas, roasted pepper strips, rocket and mix together.

3)      For dressing, mix all ingredients together (a shaker is best) and stir into salad just prior to serving. Finally sprinkle salad with roughly chopped walnuts.


You can experiment with your own additions, e.g. change the type of nut, add corn kernels, sundried tomatoes, roasted eggplant or change the dressing – also nice with a pomegranate dressing.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Gingerbread - Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free

My 7-year old has a friend coming to play after school today and I thought it would be nice to whip up a quick and easy gluten free gingerbread.  A lovely comfort treat on a cold, wet day like today.
This is a recipe I've adapted from the iconic Kiwi cook Alison Holst to make it dairy free, mostly refined sugar free and incorporating a more nutritious flour.

You Need:

¼ cup dairy free spread or butter (I used Nuttlex Olive)
1 Household tablespoon golden syrup (a household tablespoon size is 1 standard tablespoon plus a bit more)
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar (or brown sugar, I like muscovado because it's unrefined)
1 egg
½ cup Mt Uncle’s Banana Flour* (or ½ cup brown rice flour) 
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup rice milk

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line small loaf tin with baking paper.
2)      Melt the dairy free spread and golden syrup together in a medium-sized pot. Take off heat and beat in sugar then egg with a wooden spoon.
3)      Add in remaining dry ingredients except the baking soda.  Beat with a wooden spoon.
4)      Dissolve baking soda in milk, then add to mix, beating in with a wooden spoon.
5)      Pour mixture into tin, then bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
6)      Leave in tin for 5 minutes before turning onto cooling rack
7)      Serve warm or cool – nice with dairy free spread or butter!


Post script: This recipe was given the double thumbs up by two 7-olds and a 9-year old after school today :) 

*I am most definitely not being paid for this, but thought I’d mention Mt Uncle’s Banana Flour in case you didn’t already know about it.  This unique flour is made from 100% Australian Bananas, it is gluten free (of course) and is a resistant starch, which is low GI and super good for your digestion.  You can find it online or check out their website for info on their stockists.