Colourful Quinoa Salad, Awards and GIVEAWAY!!

As promised, a blog post! Yippeee! :D

At first my plans for this post was to write about a lovely little gem of a cafe that I found last weekend however, after being inspired by Wade‘s quinoa salad in MasterChef’s homecooking challenge an episode or so ago, I thought I would try using quinoa for the first time… the results were amazing!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is the seed of a Central American grass but looks like a grain (a bit like burghul or cracked wheat).  

you can find it in the health food section of Coles :)

Some of you would have already seen some of the process on Instagram but here is what I ended up putting together.  It’s very easy and very yummy!

Colourful Quinoa Salad

Adapted from SBS Food

Serves 2

The actual cooking time is minimal but the preparation is a bit time-consuming…

Ingredients

  • 250 g quinoa
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 cup green, red and yellow capsicum, finely chopped
  • ½ purple onion, finely diced
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Bring the water to the boil and add quinoa. Cook at a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, drain and rinse the quinoa under cold water. Drain again and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a fry pan.  Once the pan is heated, fry onion for a minute, then add garlic.
  3. Toss around for a bit before adding in the capsicum.  Stir fry until onions are transparent.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the quinoa, heat through.
  5. Before serving, toss through the pistachios and coriander and season to taste.
I had mine for lunch with strips of smoked chicken… YUMMO!

SERIOUSLY AMAZING!  I had nearly eaten half of it before I realised that I’d forgotten to sprinkle the pistachios on it (I decided to keep them separately rather than stirfry it in as the original recipe had it since I had to keep it in the fridge until lunch hour) but it was still good.  When I did pour out the pistachios it added that crunch element to the dish :).  I think this will be my go-to salad now hehe.

OK next on the agenda is AWARDS!!

A while back Miss Choc Chip Uru surprised me with three awards and then another one a bit later for good measure!  Thanks so much for the encouragement CCU :).  I love writing just for the love of it but it’s quite special when someone else acknowledges that they’ve enjoyed what you’ve had to say or show (in photos I mean) so I hope I can pass that onto a few others that I’ve admired from afar :).

I think just for the sake of space and time (plus don’t want to bore you with random facts about myself), I will just take part and pass on the…

So, instructions for this award:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  • Tell them 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.
  • Post a comment on each of your nominees’ blogs telling them about the nomination.

Alrightey, I’d like to put my nominations first :).  In no particular order, some of my recent favourite bloggers are:

  1. Vien @ We Dare Food
  2. Daisy @ Nevertoosweet
  3. Lianne @ Food Made With Love
  4. Julie @ I dream in chocolate
  5. Kelly @ Kelly Siew Cooks
  6. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake
  7. Steph @ i am a food blog
  8. Soph (hehe) @ Edible Posts
  9. Catherine @ Petit Miamx
  10. Jan @ Peach Water
  11. Michelle @ Niche
  12. Cara @ Gourmet Chick
  13. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
  14. Winnie @ Eat. Play. Shop.
  15. leaf @ The Indolent Cook

Yes, I have chosen all female bloggers because I guess a ‘lovely’ blog award might be more appreciated by them than the guys I suspect ;).  Thanks for inspiring me, ladies!

Next, 7 facts that I didn’t give you last time:

  1. I’m reading The Hunger Games at the moment.
  2. The first Korean drama series that I watched was Princess Hours. *blushes*
  3. I hate having long fingernails – comes from my pianist background and the awful clicking sound when you play the ivory keys with unclipped fingernails.
  4. I confess I like eating out rather than cooking in – someone else does the washing and cleaning up :P.
  5. The song on replay at the moment is Addison Road – Sticking with you.
  6. Love citric anything.
  7. This blog has turned 1 years old!!

Well to be precise, it’s exactly the 1st year + 1 month anniversary!! :D

This humble little blog began last winter in the midst of exam preparation as a form of procrastination which has, with your support, grown and evolved itself into a primarily food and photography blog :).  To celebrate this little milestone, I wanted to show my appreciate for my readers/friends by giving away a prize that comes from my heritage.

I love peanuts, I love durian and I love coconut so when they come together in little rectangle of candy… *happy sigh*.  As you can see from the packaging, this box of sweets doesn’t come around here.  I ask my Dad to purchase it from Vietnam when he was there recently so it’s flown a fair distance to get here :).

To enter this giveaway:

  1. Open to Australian citizens or residents only.
  2. Leave a comment below (1 entry).
  3. Click ‘Like’ on the blog’s new Facebook page (+1 entry).
  4. Follow me (@ames4eva) on Twitter (+1 entry).
  5. Mention this giveaway on Twitter (+1 entry per mention: please also add @ames4eva to the tweet so I can make note of it).

Now I understand that durian doesn’t fit everyone’s palettes so I understand if some may not be so keen to enter this giveaway, however I do hope that you’ll still support the blog by clicking ‘Like’ on the new Facebook page :).

I’ve never done a giveaway before so we’ll see how it goes… Entries closes 14th July 2012, 5pm and the winner will be notified by email and on this blog in the days following.

OK, that’s it from me for now!  Happy weekend everyone :).

♥ Ames

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Easy Zucchini and Rice Slice

This has got to be the quickest turnaround of ‘event’ to ‘post’ – I made this for us to munch on as Mum and I spent the day preparing a dish for our special Australia Day dinner tonight (recipe to follow soon!).

Easy Zucchini and Rice Slice

Taken from Coles Summer Magazine 2012, page 49 :)

Serve 4

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 250g pkt microwave long grain white rice
  • 3/4 grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 zucchini, trimmed and grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 spring onions, chopped

Method

  • Preheat oven to 190°C or 170°C fan.  Line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.
  • Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl.  Add rice, cheese, zucchini, peas and spring onions.  Mix to combine.
    • ADDITION:  A friend gave this a go recently and recommended that you add a bit of salt for more flavour.

  • Pour into prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30-35 mins or until set.  Enjoy!

Ta-da! Easy, right?

It was delicious and the family loved it :).  The zucchini keeps it moist and the cheese adds a bit of saltiness.

The recipe suggested to pack some grape tomatoes and a few slices for lunch…I think I’m going to bring some tomorrow!

♥ Ames

Fettuccine with creamy salmon and dill sauce

Spring calls for a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ so we’ve been doing a lot of sorting, rearranging, throwing out the old and making room for the new :).  As part of this seasonal ritual, I decided to clean up the Pictures folder on my Mac as well! :D

During the decision-making process of what to keep or not to keep, I stumbled upon the photos for this yummy little dish we made a while back:

Fettuccine with creamy salmon and dill sauce

Taken from an old Women’s Weekly recipe book, ‘Fast Fish’

It is seriously the easiest recipe ever (and somewhat healthy IMO)!  Said to be on the table in 20 minutes (if you are efficient with your prep time).

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 375g fettuccine
  • 1/2 cups (120g) light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 415g can red salmon, drained
  • 1 small red onion (100g), sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • Coriander

Method

  1. Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling water, uncovered, until tender; drain
  2. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and juice in a small bowl.  Break salmon into chunks.
  3. Toss hot pasta with sour cream mixture, salmon, onion, dill and capers until combined.
  4. Serve topped with lemon rind and a bit of coriander.
  5. Voilà!

Enjoy!

♥ Ames