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Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Radishes and Avocado adapted from Plenty by Ottolenghi

A few weeks back I was engaged in eating my home made lunch at my desk, per usual, when my colleague Adam turned to me to say

“I am starving and I only have a ½ hr until my next meeting.”

“Well go get lunch at the canteen.” I said.

“I just can’t bear to eat that crap food.” He said.

“You have to eat, so stop being silly and go get a sandwich.”  I replied

“No, I just can’t bear it.  It’s such crap.”    He said.

Later in the afternoon I proposed a subversive idea.  We would pick a day, bring our home made lunch and eat away from our desks.  Only a few rules I said, no prepared store foods & definitely no chemicals in your food.  He agreed readily and that’s how I came to start a movement in our office.  It’s called the Subversive Wednesday Lunch.

Why subversive?  It seems that cooking your own food is one of the few ways to undermine the grip on the food market held by the huge processed food companies.    It is one way to gain back control of what you eat and the money you invest in food.

Our canteen has few offerings that I would consider to be whole food.  The salad bar is generally lettuce, canned tuna loaded with packaged mayonnaise, tinned olives, chickpeas, bean salad and if you’re lucky there might be a fresh tomato or two.  They do offer a salad of the day, which is generally better, but that’s it for fresh veg.

The remaining offerings are processed lunch meats, pate’s, fried croquettes, pasta with canned sauce, parboiled rice – well I could go on but you get the picture.  There are fruit juices, but I suspect it’s not exactly fresh squeezed so I’d hate to see the sugar content.

Is it their fault?  Yes and no.  Our canteen services are outsourced to a third party company via a global contract.  So I say it is their fault for not negotiating a better deal and insisting on more fresh foods on offer.  It is not their fault because the staff has little choice but to eat there.  There are neither refrigerators to keep your lunch cool nor microwaves to heat up your delicious leftovers from the evening before.

I have rarely eaten in the canteen since my arrival in the Netherlands.  Some of my colleagues thought me unsociable, but rather it is just that I am not easily coerced to eat bad food.   No matter how cheap it is – why bother?

I’m excited to say my movement is catching on, we are in our 4th week and we have now 6 persons thinking subversively. I’ve learned a lot about my workmates from lunching with them and it is exciting to see their enthusiasm for eating.  We’ve even found a secret outdoor courtyard where we can enjoy the sun, our delicious and nutritious lunches and get to know each other a little better.   I encourage you, my fellow foodie, to start behaving subversively as well.  Start with a small group of like minded people, make few food rules, show them your delicious side and watch the movement grow.

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After all the French cooking laced with butter and cream I have been doing in January, my thighs are demanding exercise and a healthy diet.  It must have been fate that I happened upon a cookbook entitled Quinoa 365.  If you are not familiar with this grain I would suggest it is a versatile and healthy option to add to your week night meals as a side or even vegetarian main course.

The grain comes in white, red and black colors and is generally cooked in a liquid which it absorbs and, like rice, quinoa doubles in volume during the cooking process.  Quinoa grains have a nutty earthy quality of flavour which I find particularly nice with similar flavors, such as mushrooms and sesame oil, or opposing flavours, such as lemon. 

Quinoa is packed full of goodness, offering 8 g of protein, 39 g of carbohydrates, only 4 g of fat (assuming you don’t add butter to your cooked grains) with only 222 calories per serving.   An added bonus for this grain is that it is gluten free and it can be also milled into a flour.

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Chocolate Banana Crepes

Adapated from Quinoa 365:

Filling

160 ml (2/3 cup) greek non fat yogurt (or other non fat plain yogurt)

30 ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod

4 banana’s sliced

Topping (Optional)

Whipped Cream

Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows)

Crepe batter

80 ml (1/3 cup) quinoa flour

30 ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar

60 ml (2 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

30 ml (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

80 ml (1/3 cup) skim or non fat milk

Organization:  Filling; topping; crepes

Special Equipment:  crepe pan or 8 ” non stick frying pan

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