Tag Archive for Grains

Green salad with mackerel and quinoa

A celebration of green vegetables.

Green Salad

Green salad with mackerel and quinoa (serves 2)
Adapted from Allerhande

1 courgette, in chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed
200 g green asparagus, cleaned
150 g peas

1 ripe avocado
juice of 1 lime
50 ml yoghurt
10 g flat-leaf parsley
50 ml water
salt and pepper

quinoa cooked in bouillon
smoked mackerel

Stir-fry the courgette in the olive oil. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds longer.
Cook the asparagus and peas to your liking.
Blend the flesh of the avocado with the lime juice, yoghurt, parsley, water, salt and pepper to a smooth sauce.
Mix the vegetables with the sauce, serve immediately accompanied by quinoa and mackerel.

Pearl barley risotto

Another simple stew, this time with pearl barley. Most people think that pearl barley is horrible, and indeed it is when you just boil it in water. But when you cook it in something flavourful, like this tomato broth flavoured with chorizo and rosemary, it turns into something delicious and comforting!

Pearl Barley Risotto

Pearl Barley Risotto (serves 4)
Adapted from BBC Good Food

200 g chorizo, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
300 g pearl barley
1 can chopped tomatoes (400 g)
2 chicken stock cubes
2 stalks rosemary
1 bay leaf

Heat a pan. Add the chorizo and fry until it starts to release its oil. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry another minute. Add the pearl barley, chopped tomatoes, stock cubes, rosemary, bay leaf and 1 liter of water. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pearl barley is tender. Add a little more water if necessary. Serve.

Breakfast bars

I don’t find these bars filling enough for breakfast, but they are great as a delicious snack. They are not too sweet and have lots of flavour, and with all the grains and seeds they are healthy too. As a variation you could use other dried fruits, nuts or seeds, and I think that adding a little spice (vanilla, cinnamon, chai) would be delicious as well. They stay fresh for about 5 days in an airtight container, and they freeze well too.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars (12 bars)
Slightly adapted from ‘Glutenvrij koken – Lyndel Costain en Joanna Farrow’

100 g soft butter
25 g raw cane sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
125 g millet flakes
50 g quinoa
50 g dried cranberry’s
75 g raisins
25 g sunflower seeds
25 g sesame seeds
25 g linseed
40 g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
2 eggs

Line a 20×20 cm baking tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Scoop in the baking tin, level out and press down well with a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake in about 35 minutes golden brown.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Then take out and cut into 12 bars, using a sharp knife. Store airtight.

Apple porridge

I love to start my day with porridge in winter. Hot, thick and gloopy it prepares me for the cold day that comes. But sometimes I’m fed up with the same old porridge made with milk. Of course you can vary with different kinds of milk (porridge with almond or coconut milk is delicious), but it stays kinda milky. That is where this porridge comes in. Made with apple juice, it has a completely different flavour, it is sweet-sour and apple-y; very fruity and you don’t need sugar because the juice is sweet enough. A lovely way to start your day!

Apple Porridge (1 person)
From “Glutenvrij koken – Lyndel Costain en Joanna Farrow”

225 ml apple juice (natural, unsweetened, unfiltered)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
optional: a few drops of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
25 g millet flakes (would also work with oats)

Add all the ingredients to a small pan and heat for 6-8 minutes. Stir regularly, until a thick and creamy mixture forms. You can add some extra juice when the porridge becomes to dry. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian couscous

I like vegetarian dishes like this, that are meat-free by accident. It just didn’t occur to me to add any, because the dish is complete like this. Generally, couscous dishes like this one work great vegetarian, because they already have lots of flavours and textures. The preserved lemon adds a lovely, lemony freshness to the dish, but also tastes slightly salty and bitter. You can buy them online or find them in eastern shops (the lemons are an important part of Moroccan cuisine), but if you can’t find them, add a little fresh lemon peel and lemon juice as substitute. You can make them yourself (just google for recipes), but this does take a few weeks. Ras el hanout is a Morrocan spice mix, it roughly translates as “house spice mix” and can differ quite a bit. But it is always warm and spicy. You can find it in some supermarkets, in eastern shops or online. If you have saffron available, this is definitely a dish in which it is nice to use, but if you don’t have it, it is no problem at all. If you like, you can serve a fresh carrot salad with it.

Vegetarian couscous (serves 2)

Splash of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp ras el hanout
1 vegetable stock cube
a pinch of saffron (optional)
125 ml water
2 small sweet potatoes or 1 butternut squash, in cubes

150 g couscous
150 g water
generous pinch of salt
1 tbsp almond oil or butter
1 tbsp chopped flat-leave parsley
1 preserved lemon (flesh discarded, peel chopped very finely)
50 gram almonds, roasted
50 gram dried apricots, cubed

Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry another few minutes. Add the ras el hanout, fry until fragrant (max 5 minutes), then add the water, the saffron and the stock cube. Simmer for a few minutes to infuse all the flavours. Add the sweet potato or butternut squash, mix, place a lid on the pan and cook until soft. If there is a lot of liquid left, you can boil some off by placing the pan on high heat without a lid.
Heat the water with the salt in a pan with lid. When it is boiling, add the couscous, stir, turn of the heat and place the lid on top. Leave for about 5 minutes to steam and absorb all the liquid. After that, add the almond oil or butter, use a fork to mix through and fluff the couscous. Then stir through the parsley, preserved lemon, almonds and apricots.
Serve immediately.

Baked oatmeal

A delicious breakfast dish consisting of a layer of fruit topped with a dairy-oat mixture. Some of the liquid seeps down in between the fruit, so after baking it is almost like a clafoutis with a chewy oat topping. It fills you up very well and you can easily make it in advance, store it in the fridge and use the microwave to heat up a portion each morning. I like to eat it on room temperature, so I don’t microwave it for too long, just enough to get it from fridge temperature to room temperature. But of course you can also eat it warm. I like to eat it with some yoghurt and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup (the dish itself is barely sweet, if you like it sweeter add more sugar), but you can also serve it with milk (hot/cold), flavoured yoghurt, quark, or even whipped cream or ice cream. By using different kind of fruits (peach and raspberry is also a delicious combination), different grains (organic/whole food stores often have other grains that are similarly processed as oats) and/or different spices (try adding pumpkin/speculaas spice or chai spice) you can make the dish different every time, making sure your breakfast doesn’t get boring.

Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal (6 servings)
Slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

1 large apple
1 large pear
a handful of frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
1 medium eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 175C. Peal, quarter, core and cube the apple and the pear. Place in the bottom of a 20×20 cm baking dish. Sprinkle over the blueberries.
In one bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg and sugar. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the oats and stir until evenly mixed. Pour the mixture over the fruit in the baking dish.
Cover the dish with foil (to keep the moisture in and steam the oats) and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the foil at 20 minutes and continue to bake until the top is golden brown (about 25 minutes more). Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Cooked oats

A delicious and filling breakfast dish that doesn’t take much time to prepare. The recipe can be jazzed up further by adding fruit, for example berries, peaches, banana or stewed apples. I use semi-skimmed milk, but it will also work with full fat milk, or milk substitutes like soy, rice, almond or coconut.


Cooked oats (serves 1)

150 ml milk
2.5 tbsp rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp flax seed
35 gram mixed nuts and dried fruits
1/2 tbsp sugar or honey (adjust this amount to your own taste)
optional: vanilla extract and/or cinnamon; honey or maple syrup

Bring the milk to the boil. Add the rolled oats, salt and sugar (vanilla/cinnamon if using), cook until the oats are soft and the porridge has thickened (the time depends on the kind of oats you use). Mix with the flax seed, mixed nuts and dried fruits. Serve warm (cold it will get quite gloopy). Optionally finish with a swirl of honey or maple syrup.

Soft polenta with cream, butter and parmesan

Soft polenta is delicious comfort food, perfect for cold and depressing weather. It is a very rich and creamy dish, filling and belly-warming. Often it is eaten as a side-dish, but I think that it works better as the main dish, with a simple salad as a side (in this case sliced yellow courgette dressed with lemon juice, goats cheese and pine nuts).

Stirring is very important when preparing polenta, because it tends to stick quite badly to pots and pans. The original recipe said to cook the polenta for 30 minutes, but ours was ready after 15 minutes, so I guess it will depend on the brand/variety of polenta you use. When the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan it should be ready, have a test to be sure. The cream and butter can be substituted with some mascarpone.


Soft polenta with cream, butter and parmesan (2 servings)
adapted slightly from “The Conran Cookbook”

1 tsp salt
150 g coarse-grain polenta
40 g butter
50 ml cream
25 g parmesan, freshly grated
optional: extra cream and parmesan for serving

Bring 1 liter water with the salt to the boil in a heavy bottom pan. While stirring, pour in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and leave to cook gently, while stirring frequently.
When cooked, add the butter, cream and parmesan, stir until it is molten and absorbed. Serve immediately with the extra cream and parmesan.

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts

A very fresh and light dish. To add some earthiness, I served it with quinoa and smoked chicken. Also great for when you are in a hurry, but still want a nice and healthy meal: this dish can be prepared in 15 minutes.

I like the taste and texture of raw courgette, but it is also possible to cook the courgette for a minute, or to grill it.

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts (2 servings)

1 courgette, in ribbons or thin slices
100 gram fresh soft goats cheese, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
40 gram pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: a drizzle of olive oil

Mix everything together. Serve at room temperature.
Serve with quinoa cooked in stock, and smoked chicken.

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian, make sure you use a goats cheese that is suitable for vegetarians (i.e. does not contain animal derived rennet).

Moroccan chicken

For some reason there is not much to find about Arabic food, or at least not in the places I check out regularly. Chicken tajine is the most often mentioned dish, but most of the time I don’t like the recipes because they are often very plain or sickly sweet. But this recipe isn’t! It has a nice balance between the spices and the sweetness and is nice and savoury. With the tajine I served naan (because I had it left, but it is really a nice accompaniment), couscous and some broad beans and mangetouts. The dish is not that rich in vegetables so to have some as a side-dish is a good idea.

Moroccan Chicken

I don’t like broad beans at all, usually they are tough, fibery, bitter and to make them edible you need to pod them double: first the outer shell and then the whitish layer around the beans. But the broad beans from my allotment are lovely! Removing the outer pods does takes some time, but it is really worth it. Because we don’t let them get too big, the whitish layer around is not tough at all and they taste so incredibly fresh! It is important not to overcook them, put them in a pan with a small layer of water, bring to the boil and drain immediately, or throw in a frying pan with some butter or olive oil, for 30 seconds. Dress with some butter or olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lovely!

Broad Beans

Moroccan chicken with apricots, almonds and chickpeas (2 servings + some leftovers)
Slightly adapted from The Kitchn

2 chicken legs
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb piece ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock (or 1 stock cube + 1 cup of water)
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Accompaniments: naan bread, couscous (cooked with stock and fluffed with a bit of butter), broad beans

Heat some oil in a large pan and place the chicken legs in there. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Sauté the onions and carrots with some salt until soft and slightly caramelized, then add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Add the stock, scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the apricots, bring everything to the boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat and stew for about an hour.
Take out the chicken. Add the honey, almonds and chickpeas to the pan and mix with the veggies and apricots. Increase the heat, bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly. Check for seasoning, add some salt and/or pepper when necessary. Serve the chicken and the sauce with accompaniments.