Anyone who’s spent a decent amount of time with me would know that I’m inclined to have a ‘jittery’ disposition when it comes to certain situations. Competitions, exams, starting something new – and for some strange reason concerts – all get me hyped up on a mixture of nerves and excitement. In the lead up to such events I find it very hard to sit still. I have to be occupied. Kept busy. Doing something. And referably something that feels productive. Saturday morning was a double whammy – a job interview in the morning and netball grand final in the early afternoon. Fortunately, I’ve become much better at channeling all that nervous energy. I have reached the point in which I no longer drive anyone near me up the wall. Cooking takes me to my ‘zen’ place, where all that matters is the measuring and mixing. There’s no match points, no tricky questions, no new people. Just me and the recipe. I can get as angry/frustrated as I like at it and it doesn’t matter. In these situations I also like to feel as prepared as possible. That includes providing my body with decent fuel. This Saturday quinoa for brekky seemed a good place to start.
I’ve explicated the benefits of quinoa here, so won’t do so again. Except for reiterating the fact that it’s a wonderful wholegrain, packed with protein, fibre, iron, the kitchen sink etc etc. If you’ve got a hectic/important day ahead, this is the fuel for you. My job interview was for 8am, so rather than getting up extra early to cook the quinoa I decided to half prepare the recipe the night before. I would say that it was a stroke of genius – and it was to a large extent – apart from the fact that I was so scatty that despite having made it a number of times before, I well and truly cooked it onto the bottom of the pot. It didn’t help that my sister and I had decided to watch The Heat (hilarious film, by the way) so I was running up and down the stairs every few minutes to check on the quinoa. Hence the near disaster. But onto more important things. Cooking the quinoa the night before allows for a speedy breakfast in the morning and in no way impairs the texture or flavour. Simply combine with a drop or two of milk in the mornning, zap briefly in the microwave if you’re after a warm brekky, and stir through your ‘mix ins’ (of which one should definitely be coconut – it adds an entirely different dimension of nuttiness).
There are countless variations of this porridge/muesli/whatever you want to call it – my aunt does a brilliant version with pear and almonds – so I’m sure this won’t be the last quinoa-breakfast recipe you’ll come across around here. On Saturday I topped it with natural yoghurt, blueberries and banana (a combination that works particularly well) for an extra energy boost. Did it help with the match? Well, that’s debatable – we did win by three. What I do know is that it’s a darn tasty brekky and nutritious to boot, so regardless of it’s ‘performance boosting’ abilities you ain’t losing out by eating it!
Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
1 tsp coconut oil or butter
2 thin slices fresh ginger (fine to keep skin on)
2 green cardamom pods, bashed
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
Cinnamon stick (optional)
½ cup boiling water
1/3 to ½ cup milk of choice (I use rice milk or cows)
¼ cup blueberries
1 tsp chia seeds
2 tbsp natural/greek yoghurt
½ banana, thinly sliced
1 tbsp shredded coconut
½ tsp maple syrup or honey (optional)
Place a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the coconut oil/butter, ginger and cardamom pods and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Tip in the rinsed quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the boiling water , 1/3 cup milk and add the cinnamon stick. Stir once and bring the mixture back to the boil. Reduce to a low heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until tender. Check regularly to ensure that there is sufficient moisture. If the mixture quinoa is looking dry, add a little more milk. Once tender, turn off the heat and leave the quinoa in the pot to ‘rest’ for at least 5 minutes, preferably 10.
Stir through the chia seeds and blueberries. Transfer to a bowl, top with yoghurt, banana, coconut and maple syrup/honey if using.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.