Today I am cooking with the intention to multi task a couple of ingredients. I am working with my friend Ollie on a project to create simple, healthy and affordable meals. As always, this is part of my food journey (and I am looking forward to the challenge within this) of preparing some basic items to make my weekday meals easier. My struggle with preparing food in advance is that often when it comes time to eat it, it is not what I want – brattish I know! My thoughts this week were to prepare something that could then transform into the flavours I did want on the day, be it sweet or savoury, breakfast, lunch or dinner..
Starting with this in mind I prepared Wild Rice (which isn’t actually rice at all) and black quinoa. Shop around for wild rice (it can vary in price a lot) and it is only recently that some more affordable home-brand varieties have become available.
The idea here is not that you have to use these two grains, you can absolutely substitute your favourite rice or grain, or better still use what you have in the pantry. This is a great way to finish some of those half used packets. I love combining grains, pulses and beans, which as I show below, can form the base of all sorts of different meals. Using a variety of grains, pulses and beans gives you a broader nutrition profile and more interesting textures to start your recipe with. Quinoa is always a great option in the mix as it is high in fibre, protein and has lots of minerals and vitamins to help sustain you for longer.
RICE AND GRAIN MIX
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup of quinoa
- Or use a store bought mix
- Or a mix of what is in your pantry
Cook together or separately according to cooking instructions.
Cool and refrigerate
TOASTED SEEDS AND NUTS
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup almonds
Both the mix of seeds and the toasting is optional.
Cook these without oil or seasoning so you can use on a savoury or sweet option.
With this grain mix and my toasted seeds and nuts I have been having fun coming up with lots of meal options.
- Firstly I made a riff on Bircher Muesli, I grated an apple into 1 cup of my cooked wild rice and quinoa seeds then added seasonal fruits – (at the top of the bowl is some delicious chia Jam I made with foraged raspberries picked around the Skippers settlement).
- 2 cups of soft fruit
- 3 tablespoons of chia seeds/
- 2 tablespoons water and or lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons sweetener such as maple syrup or honey leave to set up and become “jammy” without all the sugar normally used in jam
- I also added blueberries, yoghurt and a some of my lightly toasted seeds and nuts.
- Next I made a savoury Budha bowl with green leaves, avocado, tomato, herb yoghurt and seeds and nuts with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- I don’t have a very sweet tooth which means I am more inclined to enjoy a savoury breakfast option. Thinking about this and then the bircher muesli brought me to my next breakfast – which although riffing on bircher muesli, definitely looks and is more a salad. That said I was more than happy to eat it for breakfast – but it would also be great for a mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon tea or any time at all.
MY SAVOURY “BIRCHER” MEUSLI OR CARROT AND GRAIN SALAD
- 1 desert spoon Tahini
- 2 desert spoons plain unsweetened yoghurt
- 1/2 teaspoon harrisaa (optional or your favourite hot sauce)
- Squeeze of lemon juice, orange juice or water to loosen the mixture.
- olive oil salt and pepper to taste
- 1 grated carrot
- 1/2 cup of grain mix
- handful of seeds
- Optional spinach, avocado, blueberries, feta…….
Very yum! Ready to eat now or pack away for work or post workout.
Or packed to go.
For my leftover wild rice and quinoa I made a very simple fish curry
QUICK AND EASY DOUBLE GRAIN FISH CURRY
Enough for 4 medium portions
- 1 brown onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons curry powder or paste of choice
- 1 large tomato roughly chopped
- 1 400ml can of coconut milk or cream
- Fish fillets for four people (I used gurnard)
- Greens such as spinach, courgette, broccoli ….What ever you have…
- Herbs such as coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, spring onion…..to garnish.
I started by browning the onion in a little olive oil
Then I added the curry powder (paste if thats what you have) garlic and ginger and allowed to cook for about a minute.
I poured in the coconut milk and saved the rinsing water in the tin to add as needed.
Once this started to simmer I added my black rice and Quinoa and left to simmer while I found and chopped my green vegetables.
After about fifteen minutes I added the veg in the order of which would take longest to cook.
When the green veg were nearly cooked i made sure it was all still quite juicy – I added some of the left over rinsing water from the can to do this – I sat the fish on top and put a lid on the pan so it could steam the fish.
This only took a few minutes as they were quite small.
I then plated it all up and sprinkled over my herbs ( and it was bloody delicious…Ed who is editing this!)