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I am in Sydney at the moment. I have a little work down here and it makes a great excuse to visit my daughter and enjoy this wonderful city. I am writing recipes for Thomas Dux a great grocer that stocks fantastic produce and products like quinoa and cheeses and everything someone like me would love to cook with. Keep an eye out for this and other recipes on their website and in store.

Oh how I love this city. The harbour is so glorious to cross over in the train each day. I find it hard to imagine that commuters don’t want to stop texting on the phone and admire the view. I feel very comfortable here as I lived here from about 16 until I was 24. Although there are new roads and new buildings the basics are the same and I can find my way around without any problems.

I have cooked with quinoa before and many of you tell me that you have not had success cooking with it, so here are the essentials for making sure it works. There are many types of quinoa, for this recipe I chose one with three different coloured grains however they all cook the same way. Quinoa must be washed until the water is clear. You need a fine sieve that you can throw the grain into after washing in a big bowl of water. The water should be clear not milky before you start cooking with it. The proportions should be one part quinoa two parts water.  Add salt and a little olive oil to the water while boiling then bring down to a simmer until the grain in tender (around 10 -15 minutes) Quinoa is an amazing grain, gluten-free, high in protein and full of animo acids.

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Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 pieces of prosciutto roasted in the oven until crispy and then broken into pieces.
  • Baby spinach
  • 1/4 red cabbage sliced finely
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed several times until water is cleared, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 baby tomatoes cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • roasted pistachios and roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180C  fan-forced. Place pumpkin, oil and seasoning in a bowl. Toss to coat. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, or until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups cold water in a saucepan over high heat. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Drain and let cool.

Place prosciutto in the oven on a baking tray at 170 degrees and bake until crispy, let cool and then break into small pieces.

In a large bowl place spinach, red cabbage, parsley, pumpkin, tomatoes toss lightly so ingredients are mixed. Add to this drained cooled quinoa, crispy prosciutto, and roasted nuts and dress with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

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This is a photo of the salad before the pumpkin.

Also you might notice I have sprinkled a little roasted black rice on the salad. I was given a meal a Three Blue Ducks with this used as a garnish and they were kind enough to share how to make it with me. All you do is put some black rice in a very hot fry pan and wait for it to do a little jump and it is popped. The taste is so nutty and delicious.

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