14 July 2008

Pink Goes Good With Grain


If anyone can tell me what is behind the (admittedly forced) pun in my title you win a million dollars.

Not. But, I would be kinda tickled if anyone can work it out.

Mum got me a bag of quinoa - something which I have, nerdily, been quite wild to try for some time now. I never thought I'd come across something more virtuous than lentils, but here I am. Life sure can take you on some interesting journeys. The Incans called quinoa the "mother of all grains" and are you going to argue with that recommendation? It contains forty squillion different vitamins and minerals and has more protein than any other non-meat product, and with all this you'd expect it to be kind of high maintenance, right? But no, a two year old could cook it. All you have to do is let it simmer for ten minutes, no pre-soaking or anything. As if all that weren't thrilling enough, it actually tastes really good. Closest in texture to couscous, but much lighter, it has a somewhat nutty flavour which lends itself nicely to having chunks of roasted vegetables folded through...

Of course, adding roasted beetroot instantly turned the entire bowl of quinoa bright pink. Also in the mix was roasted carrot, walnuts, chopped spinach, and a perhaps-slightly-toooo-generous spoonful of ras-el-hanout. I thought about drizzling in some olive oil but the quinoa is so light and fluffy that I didn't want it to be bogged down with gluggy oil.

Above: I did something very similar with some wholewheat pasta - more roasted beetroot, spinach, etc, but this time I included some mashed cloves of roasted garlic. The sweet nuttiness of the beetroot complemented the nuttiness of the pasta (I really need a new synonym to describe nuttiness huh?) and the garlic was a perfect addition. Again, as soon as I gave it a stir, the whole lot turned irrevocably, gaudily...pink.

Above: Once more - with organic burghal wheat. You probably don't need me to point it out, but this inexplicably became tinted the pinkest of them all, which contrasted pleasingly with the snowy feta (added at the VERY last minute here for photographic purposes.) After that I kind of cooled it on the beetroot front but look, they're really cheap and good for you, okay? And sometimes you have to take what you can get.

So it has been a bit of a wholegrain orgy in my kitchen lately. I know I'm smitten with them, but trust me, they're more alluring than their earnest, hessian-weave image would suggest. And it's not all roasted beetroot, for example, witness rolled oats cleverly disguised as pancakes...

I made these following an old recipe of Alison Holsts's. It doesn't make a lot, so is suited nicely to a cosy, lazy Sunday breakfast for two. They are surprisingly filling, but aren't stodgy or lumpen at all.

Oaty Pancakes

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

1 t baking powder

1 egg

2 T sugar

2 T butter, melted

Pour the milk over the rolled oats in a good sized bowl, and leave to sit for 5-10 minutes, perhaps while you potter round getting the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the rest of the ingredients without overmixing, and add a little more milk to slacken if the batter looks too stiff. I did. I also melted the butter in the pan I planned on cooking the pancakes in, before tipping it into the batter (thus saving on dishes! Like a true student.) These work best as smallish cakes, about the size of one of Jennifer Lopez' hoop earrings circa 2002 (meow!) and need flipping once bubbles appear. Don't leave them for too long though as the bubbles aren't as obvious with all those oats in the way. Eat however you want, with butter, with golden syrup, whatever.

All these various foods - oats, quinoa, burghal wheat, wholewheat pasta - are not only delicious they are also incredibly good for you. They are filling - when I used to have toast for breakfast I would not only be intensely hungry at lunch, I would also have that horrible empty-head-empty-stomach feeling. This is why I eat so much of them: So that I don't end up buying chocolate bars at 10.00am, and so that I don't feel bad about the big ol' chocolate cake that I made this afternoon (and will blog about soon...)

In other news, I'm really enjoying all my papers so far this term. I may not feel that way when I'm wading neck-deep through assignments but so far, so enjoyable...however I am being positively haunted by advertising for Wicked in Melbourne, even long-suffering Tim pointed out a poster in excitement to me before - "oh" - realising it's an Australian performance. Nevermind, these things all happen when they're supposed to and it wouldn't be so bad to see it in the West End even if I have to wait a while...Speaking of Broadway I am currently in love with the Spring Awakening soundtrack, if you don't mind a little salty language and teenage angst the songs are utterly gorgeous.


  1. Love the first photo - they almost look...jewel-like. Well,there's a new adjective to replace "nutty".
    Pink goes good/well with .... green?

    Off to try and find some quinoa to try myself- if it's as easy as you make it sound. The new "New World" opened today - have kept well clear of it. It seems they have do-it-yourself checkouts. That will be very challenging for someone who can't even cope with filling the car up with out help....

  2. lovely pictures... oaty pancake recipe is nice!

  3. Nice, we have quite the health-fest going on here. Beets are among my favorite veg (mmm Barszcz), and managed to slip them into whole grains. I've never had quinoa, but with that much protein, I should fix that.

    Love the protein pancakes. Eat a couple of those and you'll walk RIGHT past those chocolate bars. Oatmeal fights candy like Capt. Planet fights evil-doers.

    Oh and thanks for the comment, I'm glad you like my new Friday class, and Full House :)

  4. I love quinoa! Makes me feel worldly and sophisticated *she needs to get a life* but I've never had them pink. What a fab idea! Perfect for a girly night in methinks ;)

  5. We'd like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me, sophiekiblogger@gmail.com, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message header link to visit our blog. :)

  6. Great ways to use the beets! I have really been enjoying quinoa lately. It does go really well with roasted vegetables.

  7. I'm really in a pancake mood now!

  8. Photos look great, good to hear that your quinoa lived up to expectations. I have briefly checked out (LOL) the new New World and it seems to have many new items. Will have to do a leisurely wander through the isles when the first rush has died down.
    Glad to hear there is no dreaded 'photography-type' paper this semester.

  9. Mum: It's very easy to cook. Cheers for buying me some :)
    Shreya: It is indeed!
    Adam: It's amazing how filling they are. Am def on the oat-love-train right now.
    Dee: Thanks for stopping by, and yes, bright pink food is more fun!
    Kevin: Thanks :)
    Mike: I always am lol.
    Viv: Time will tell how New World goes I guess! And yes, my papers this term are all fun.

  10. Beets are awesome. Period.

  11. I love quinoa, though I almost never cook it - why is that I wonder? Oh, that's right, laziness!

    And that glorious tower of pancakes - SIGN ME UP. With extra syrup all over the place. Day-um those look good.

    Glad your classes are going well and that you don't have a certain pesky photo professor this term!

  12. Not sure about the pun, though I've been wracking my brain! Love pink grains though, yum, go beetroot!

  13. Kay (not your mum...)July 19, 2008

    As a total Wicked fan, isn't that quote from that musical?? aaaanyway....your blog is great, I'm itching to make those apple blondies you made before. Enjoy your classes =)

  14. Damnit! I got over-excited thinking I had all the ingredients to make those pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, but on more careful reconsideration I realise that by "all the ingredients" I actually mean oats and an egg. Hmm. I wonder if you can make an oat fritter?

  15. Elle: I concur :)
    Ann: You should give it a go, it's not so hard...and yes, the pancakes are great.
    Christie: Hee thanks
    Kay - not my mum: YOU WIN the figurative million dollars. That's the answer :) :) :) well done!
    Boffcat: LOL oat fritter sounds like something from a hippie commune. Could be good?

  16. Your protein pancakes look yummy and will try them but thought you might like this one too if you like Quinoa.

    Quinoa Protein Pancakes

    1 cup cooked Quinoa
    6-8 tbsp whey Protein powder (vanilla works best)
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    2-3 egg whites
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2cup Soy or Almond Milk (you can add more if mix is to thick)
    1-2 packets Truvia or splenda.
    2 Tsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp Fiber Sure

    Mix all items together in bowl. Coat pan with non stick coating. Pour on to medium high pan. Cook till golden on bottom. Flip and do the same.

    Will keep in fridge for a few days and are great warmed with a little natural peanut butter for a healthy snack.

    Nutritional Info
    Cal 100 per 4-5 in pancake
    Fat 1.4g
    Carb 14.3g
    Protein 9g