Rainbow Chard and Quinoa Fritters with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing

Rainbow Chard and Quinoa PancakesI am a procrastinator, without a doubt. I’m not going to share the things I’ve put off, it’s just too embarrassing. Things that really should have been dealt with, and in a few instances could have lead to some serious health issues. I couldn’t bear hearing your sighs.

Fortunately I have some good friends who push me when necessary and a father who likes to nag about the ‘dad things’. You know what I mean, “you need to wash your car more regularly”, “what are you going to do with all the stuff in your grandfather’s garage that have been there for 10 years?” Yeah, yeah, yeah…ahem.

So when you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because I’m procrastinating.

I made this a few weeks ago when my little brother made an impromptu visit to do his washing after his machine broke. It was a week of warm weather, about what it’s like now, and I felt like spring was on it’s way.

The yoghurt dressing is one I use and adapt quite often.  I know I stole it from someone but I can’t remember who exactly. I’ve got a feeling it was Jamie Oliver, so sorry Jamie if it’s you but I know your the sharing type anyway.

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IMG_1433IMG_1427rainbow chard and quinoa pancakes

Rainbow Chard and Quinoa Fritters with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing

small bunch rainbow chard

1 egg

2 heaped tablespoons buckwheat flour

2 heaped tablespoons plain unbleached flour

1 teaspoon aluminium-free baking powder

1/3 cup whole milk

3 spring onions, finely chopped (I just used the mid portion)

1 cup cooked quinoa

a good pinch of ground pepperberries

sea salt

Tahini yoghurt dressing

3 heaped tablespoons natural or greek yoghurt

1 teaspoon tahini

juice 1/2 a lemon

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Chop the rainbow chard, I didn’t use the stalks but you want to just make sure you chop them finely. Wilt the chard how ever you like, in a pan with a little water, or steam them, it will only take a minute or so. Remove from the pan and leave to cool. Meanwhile in a medium bowl whisk the egg with the flour, baking powder and milk until combined. Fold through the spring onions, quinoa, pepperberries, and a good pinch of salt. Then squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the chard and chop again. Add to the mix and combine.

To make the dressing just combine all the ingredients. It’s important to taste your dressing and adjust. You might need more lemon or vinegar just make it to taste and a bit picant.

Heat a pan over medium high heat, when hot add a little rice bran oil and big heaped tablespoons of the mixture. After a few minutes, or if you can see bubbles on top of the pancakes, turn them over and cook for a minute or so on the other side.

Serve with smoked trout and the tahini dressing.

Serves 2.

Substitutions

Lots of greens can be used instead of the rainbow chard, equally as good would be english spinach, swiss chard, or kale. Instead of the quinoa, I think millet or maybe buckwheat would work too. If you don’t have ground pepperberry ( I got mine from Herbie’s Spices) sumac would be an excellent substitution, otherwise just leave out. I have also made the dressing using dijon mustard instead of the tahini and it worked well. Instead of rice bran oil you could use sunflower or vegetable oil, something with a high smoking point.

Roast Escarole, Beetroot and Walnut Quinoa

escaroleescaroleThere are some vegetables, actually quite alot, that I find beautiful. I often buy them then wonder what the heck I’m suppose to do with them, like escarole.

Last night I steamed some of the escarole in an attempt to retain it’s colour and make an effort to retain some nutrients. I didn’t like it at all, bitter, bitter, bitter. I don’t know what I expected, it is from the bitter leaf family. Maybe it was the kimchi I put with it, but I don’t think so. Now roasted, it’s a whole different story. It becomes sweeter, like most roasted things, bringing out it’s sugars. I really wasn’t sure it would work but it did.escarole

Quinoa was another little challenge. I have struggled to like this old seed but I think I’m finally there. If you’ve got some sitting in your cupboard or have given up trying to cook it, here are some tips.

Firstly you must to rinse it. This removes the saponins from it’s outer layer. This is their bitter defence mechanism, which (according to Harold McGee) will actually penetrate within the seed if you soak them for too long. The second tip is not to overcook it. It seems like there are a matter of moments between perfectly cooked quinoa and overcooked, irretrievable mush, so be attentive.

Roast escarole and beetroot quinoa

Roast Escarole, Beetroot and Walnut Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa

1 large beetroot

1/4 large head of escarole, roughly chopped and washed

1 medium carrot, sliced

a few radish, thickly sliced

1-2 spring onions finely sliced

handful of walnuts

marinated feta

lemon infused olive oil ( I use Colonna Granverde brand)

Set the oven to 180°C. Wrap the beetroot in foil and roast for about an hour or until cooked. While still warm remove skin and cut into bite size pieces.

Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve. I don’t have one so have to use a muslin lined sieve, which requires you to scrap some bits stuck onto the cloth when you transfer it to the saucepan. Add 1 cup of water and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes. Drain and use a fork it to fluff up.

Meanwhile roast the carrot, and radish with a little olive oil for about 35 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Cook the escarole in a baking tray with a little olive oil and salt, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Bake walnuts for 8-10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the carrot, beetroot, radish, spring onion, escarole and quinoa. Add pepper and a swirl of lemon infused olive oil. Divided onto two serving dished and top with roasted chopped walnuts and crumbled feta.

Serves 2.