Q is a Quiet Weekend

Ollie got on a plane two weeks ago and flew to a new job in a city named Taipei. I, however, still live in a city named Auckland, the city where there seems to be no end in sight to the summer and there a teacher’s registration to work towards. After one week I thought that the whole long distance thing seemed fine. I caught up with heaps of friends I haven’t seen in ages, had girly lunches and beach missions, went to work, had the recently Mr and Mrs Moorfield to stay. Things seemed just fine, we can do this for a year, right? Second week down and I’m not feeling so sure about the big LD. A year seems like an awfully long time…

But never fear, I am using my extra time very productively. I am cooking myself through this and the blog will benefit, as well as my waist line. I went down to the lake for a quiet girls weekend of food, books, sunshine and wine and managed to keep myself busy in the kitchen for most of it. As well as consuming a lot of food, I also managed to consume a couple of books, including the beautifully written, and recently discovered, Summer Crossing by Capote.

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As well as Q being for quiet weekends, it is also for quinoa, the super grain. It is something that I am cooking with more and more. I love the almost nutty taste it brings to a salad, plus it is supposed to be really good for you. For our Sunday lunch, I made a bean salad based on the one in my new favourite cookbook, Jerusalem. We had it with a cold lemon and paprika roasted chicken from the day before and a spicy carrot salad. The perfect lunch for when the sun is beating down and you feel like freshness and flavour, because salads should NEVER be boring!

Quinoa, bean and capsicum salad

A big handful of beans- use both yellow and green if you can find them

1 red capsicum

1 yellow capsicum

Small handful of capers

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves of garlic

Handful of coriander and basil, roughly chopped

1 cup of quinoa

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First, slice the capsicum and pop them in the oven at 220°C for about ten minutes. At the same time, bring some water to the boil and cook the beans quickly so that they still have some crunch to them. In another pan, fry the finely sliced garlic in a generous amount of olive oil with the cumin and coriander seeds. Add the capers, but beware – they can spit at you! Drain the beans and rinse with cold water so they stay fresh and then immediately put in a bowl with the oil and good bits as well as the capsicum. You can leave this to soak in all the goodness and cook the quinoa when and as you wish (I just follow the cooking instructions on the packet). When you are ready to serve, toss through the quinoa and fresh herbs. Voilà, a damn good salad combining fresh flavours with the spice of the coriander and cumin. Especially good when enjoyed with a cold chook and this carrot salad.

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