Quinoa… it all went wrong

I mentioned we had a belated book club Christmas meal last night; everyone contributes something, and as this year it was at our house, I did the main course. I made midnight soup – a family traditional recipe, a beef stew with lots of delicious extras – and a quinoa dish with roasted vegetables, toasted almonds, pistachios, pomegranate seeds and syrup, chickpeas, oh and lots of other things.

Quinoa – ‘With twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also contributes useful levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre’.

It’s ages since I’d cooked quinoa and I had a bag of multi-coloured grains which I thought would look attractive. Because it was an age since I’d used any I cooked a small amount to remind myself. It was nice, quite nutty flavoured but a bit wet. I’d followed the instructions precisely but when I cooked the rest of the packet I put in less water than suggested… well… it was very wet… very, very wet… even though I cooked it for much longer than the packet said and even though I drained it (which wasn’t supposed to be necessary as the grains were supposed to absorb all the liquid.)

Maybe, I thought it would be ok, taking on the flavours of all the other things, and left to stand might dry out a bit. It was in a very nice earthen ware dish with olive leaves painted round the sides – a favourite dish of mine. I decorated the top with a spray of roasted vine tomatoes, nuts, syrup, pomegranate seeds and juice… it looked wonderful!

We sat down to eat after cocktails, and our first course was smoked salmon, salad and quails eggs. Then the mains – everyone (apart from the vegetarians) loved the midnight soup… and to be fair everyone did say they enjoyed he quinoa too, but it wasn’t as I had hoped it would be, so I admit I was disappointed.

We had apple tart and creme fraiche to follow, then a wonderful cheese board… lots of wine and the quiz! A wonderful evening! But I was disappointed by the quinoa… I won’t be cooking that again!!

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