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…


  • 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


  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

Groovin’ twice in a week

It’s rare that I go to a restaurant twice in one week but somehow I ended up at the Groove Lounge for lunch on a Saturday and then was at the Groove Train for dinner the following Wednesday.

The Groove Train has a number of franchises and as I’ve found out, they are all slightly different.

The Groove Lounge, Williamstown

I took the Werribee line for the first time to get down to the Groove Lounge.  I was technically still on the Daniel fast at this time but since Ray was shouting, it was difficult to just still to the greens…(not sure about the prices)

1. Vedura Mista Wood Fired Pizza top left

I thought I would be eating most of this pizza with mushroom, eggplant, roasted capsicum, pumpkin, spinach, onion, mozzarella cheese & Napoli sauce topped with basil pesto but I think they were a bit too generous with the pesto and so I found it a bit oily.  The base was just right for all the pizzas :).

2. Tandoori Chicken Wood Fired Pizza top right

Pretty good though nothing that was particularly memorable.

3. Greek Wood Fired Pizza bottom left

Really enjoyed this pizza as the tzatziki on top was a refreshing contrast to the marinated lamb strips.  Spinach, fetta and the Napoli sauce were good accompaniments.

4. Greek Salad bottom right

Was good to have something else besides pizza lol.

The Groove Train, Melbourne Central

Went for a bit more variety this time with our core team however, now that we were paying for it, we realised how expensive the place is :S.

1. Groove to the Caesar Salad ($18.90) top left

Just a basic caesar salad – I would have liked the egg to have been a bit more runny but still a good side dish to the other mains…

2. Salmone Wood Fired Pizza ($20.90) top right

Smoked salmon, Napoli sauce, Spanish onion, cream cheese & capers = fail-proof combo :).

3. Chicken Calzone ($17.90) bottom left

I liked the presentation though it took me a while to get to the filling…

4. Traditional Fettuccine Carbonara ($18.90) bottom right

Can’t go past a good Carbonara with pan-fried bacon & spring onions, tossed in a creamy egg yolk & parmesan cheese sauce though for the price you pay, it’s not that great money for value.

For our meal at The Groove Train it worked out to be about $15.00 per person and so I put aside $7.50 for the Eat Out: Help Out Project.

See the story behind the Eat Out: Help Out Project here.

I wouldn’t mind going back to The Groove Lounge if it wasn’t so far off but I think in future (unless someone else is shouting!) I won’t be heading on The Groove Train any time soon :P.

♥ Ames