January 22, 2012

Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Beans (Fasulyeli Kinoa Kisir)

Let me introduce to you a new favourite grain (technically classified as a Pseudocereal) of mine — Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). It's a bit like Bulgur (Cracked Wheat) but is loaded with protein, iron, & fibre. It contains other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E, it's low GI, and gluten free. What else can you ask for?

Cooking Quinoa is easy, you need to rinse it in a sieve and let it soak for minimum 5 minutes  — however some sites recommend at least 15 minutes to an hour. Reason for soaking is so it loosens up any traces of saponin (which is usually removed in processing anyway), which can give a bitter taste.

After soaking you need to drain it, add water and simmer. When it comes to what ratio of water to cook it in, again this varies. Some recommend 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. You cook it on a low simmer for about 10-15 minutes. I usually use less liquid, about 1.5 cups water to 1 cup grain.

I had about a cup of quinoa left in the pantry and all the right ingredients to make a tabouli. So I figured I would make quinoa tabouli, I also threw in some beans for some extra goodness.

Again, let me stress that when I cook I don't really measure exact amounts. I toss things in and taste as I go. Here is a rough indication of what went in.

  • Quinoa, cooked (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • parsley, chopped
  • spring onion,chopped
  • green pepper, chopped (mild or hot)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of tomato paste (I like my tabouli red, use more or less according to your taste)
  • lemon juice
  • handful of canned beans (4 bean mix), any beans would work
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients together. Feel free to mix with your hands. Easy!

January 16, 2012

Avocado Salad with Sumac (Sumakli Avokado Salatasi)

We were having our usual salad the other day, when I decided to sprinkle some sumac onto the salad. A little sumac goes a long way — it added a nice tangy zesty flavour to the salad. You can use whatever vegetables you like for your salad.

  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • red bell pepper/capsicum
  • red onions
  • avocado
  • Lemon Juice
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Sumac (I just sprinkled it on my salad, you can always add it to dressing as well)

January 13, 2012

Banana Date Chocolate Chip Streusel Coffee Cake

Firstly, I should apologise for not blogging lately. I have realised it has been one year since my last post!!!

Thanks to some special guests that came to visit from London today, and some very ripe bananas crying out to be eaten in my fruit bowl...the result was this super yummy banana, date, choc chip struesel cake. Oh and of course, what brought it all together was the recipe - I should thank Elizabeth from FreeFoodBoston who originally found and adapted Megan's who found it at Epicurious. I should add, I did deviate from Elizabeth's and Megan's adaptation.

The original recipe uses walnuts in the struesel, however as I did not have any walnuts in my usually well stocked pantry, I did by great chance have some fresh dates in my fridge — Totally lucky! Perhaps one day I'll try the walnut version, but for the time being this cake is a keeper!

I also used less chocolate chips and self-raising flour instead of the whole wheat flour.

However, I should note that this recipe is quite sweet — the natural sweetness of the dates combined with sugar makes it quite rich. If you are wanting to use dates, but don't have such a sweet tooth, I would suggest you reduce the quantity of sugar used to 1/2 cup where it says 2/3 cup.

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel
adapted from Elizabeth at FreeFoodBoston
Makes 12 servings
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips - (I used 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if making with dates)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts - (I used about 4 large fresh dates instead)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour - (I used self-raising flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda - (I didn't use this)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if making with dates)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan.
  2. Stir chocolate chips, 2/3 c. brown sugar, walnuts or dates, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda (if using Self Raising flour I guess you can leave this out), baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 2/3 c. brown sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy.
  4. Beat in mashed bananas and milk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.
  6. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.
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