I have a very good friend who is gluten free and she was popping out for lunch today. Now, I knew Dorie Greenspan's chocolate chunkers were probably a no-go for a gluten-free lunch ;-) so I decided to check out a few blogs for some inspiration. Since we are heading into spring, I wanted something light and fresh.... maybe with a hint of herbs and crisp spring flavours.
Heidi at 101 cookbooks always has yummy, and very healthy recipes so I headed there. Found 2 great recipes...Lemon-scented quinoa salad recipe and Delicious big bowl - quinoa recipe. Hmm, which one to choose as they both sounded yummy, so I did a quick ingredients check.....Ok didn't have the entire ingredients for either of them, so amalgamated both the recipes. I added in asparagus (my first asparagus of the season, I have been waiting for this), cherry tomatoes, red onion and toasted pinenuts to the cooked quinoa and finished it with a lemon and garlic dressing and lashings of coriander. By now, you must know I love this herb, much to the disgust of the kids who always mutter, Oh no, not that smelly green grass again Mum!!!!
Quinoa is a fascinating grain. I love the way it goes from a hard, little ball and metamorphoses (is that a word, even?) into an alien looking worm thing. It is an ancient grain with a high nutritional value. It is light and fluffy when cooked, not unlike couscous, and has a slight nutty flavour. It is a versatile grain and can be used in loads of different ways. I prefer it as a salad and the beauty is that you can add whatever you like to it to have as a side dish or as a complete meal.
To finish we had Lemon and Blueberry Friands with coffee. A friand is a small French cake made with almond meal, egg whites, sugar and butter. Often fruit, such as berries, peaches or apples are added as well. They are crunchy on the outside, but light and sweet and melt in your mouth on the inside. These got another "Wow" from the Quality Control Inspector, as he tried to sneak a couple more from the plate when I wasn't looking.
The recipe I used for these was one by Allyson Gofton called Lemon Poppy Seed Friands. I didn't have any poppy seeds so omitted them. And to jazz them up a bit I pushed in 3 blueberries to the top of each friand before they went into the oven. Once they were cooked, I poured a lemon syrup over them. Mmmmm.