I made this on Friday – another recipe from Anna Jones – A Modern Way to Cook.
I do love Quinoa and have made some pretty awesome things with it in the past. For me this wasn’t one of them.
The whole dish was lovely. The addition of the feta, parmesan, pine nuts and pea puree were the highlights of the dish – adding salty flavours (the cheeses), crunch (the nuts) and a sweet freshness (the peas). But the risotto was a bit of a let down. It was a little bit bland.
The quinoa is cooked in a similar way as a risotto – but not quite. After frying a couple of thinly sliced leaks in oil you add the quinoa until it start to pop. You then add white wine and lemon juice – let that absorb – and then finally add the stock until that is absorbed. The whole thing takes around 30 minutes. Sometimes that quinoa just refuses to budge.
Once you’ve got your gloopy porridge consistency your quinoa is done. Stir in some shredded greens until they wilt. Finally stir in some grated parmesan to give it a cheesy risotto feel.
While your waiting for your risotto you blitz some peas with some mint and basil until it’s smooth – then add seasoning and the juice of half a lemon. I could eat the puree on its own – maybe on toast or just as a dip – it was amazingly sweet and fresh.
Assembly is simply puddling your risotto in a bowl, crumbling some more parmesan and then some feta, some toasted pine nuts and of course the awesome peas puree.
All in all this is a good dish but you just expect a bit more. The greens and the leeks get lost – you just wouldn’t know they were there.
Making this again I’d have to give the quinoa more zing – it needs more citrus I think. It’s a shame to rely on the dressings to make the dish nice – the quinoa should have been the highlight and it wasn’t.
Many of us buy those pots of antipasti in supermarkets. The little plastic pot that you fill with stuff for a two or three pounds. Well they always have marinated feta and/or olives.
Well I thoughts I’d give it a go myself – for no other reason that I’d bought too much fresh feta from my local Syrian supermarket in Brentford and couldn’t feasibly eat it all before it was past it!
Fortunately there was a recipe for marinated feta in Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour.
This is incredibly simple and just benefits from maturing for 24 hours or so.
In a big bowl, cube some feta, add olive oil, garlic, pickled chillies, finely sliced banana shallots, fresh coriander, lemon rind and lemon juice and stir the whole thing together carefully (you don’t want to mash the feta).
I didn’t add salt to mine – I find the feta is salty enough as it is.
Once it’s all nicely mixed, decant into jars – I used the plastic pots left over from the fresh feta and seal the lid. Pop in the fridge and leave for as long as you can resist.
We ate this for days! We had three or four pots of the stuff and we grazed on it, had it on toast, sneaked spoonfuls from the fridge and made it part of a meze meal.
For something so simple to make it really makes sense to give it a go yourself rather than buy it pre-made for you.
One thing Freya absolutely loves to eat is this dip. Since the first time I made it she was blown away and we’ve had it many times since.
It comes from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – which I bought after having a really disappointing Persian meal in a restaurant in Brentford, London. I decided I could do better – bought the book and have made many things from it since.
This is a very quick dip to make – if you have a Nutribullet, a Vitamix or (if you’re wealthy) a Thermomix.
Simply put shelled pistachios, olive oil, feta cheese, dill, coriander, garlic, a red chilli some greek yoghurt and the rind and juice of a lemon in a blender and blitz until smooth.
As you can see I served mine with some raw tender stem broccoli.
The dip has so things going on. It’s salty, nutty, has a chilli hit and is creamy and smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever made a better dip.
Persiana is a great book – the best one I’ve found in its category.
I made quite a few tagines from the book (which I loved). Unfortunately this left me disappointed when I went to Morocco and their food was bland and uninteresting in comparison.