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Monday, January 16, 2012

don't be afraid to try something new

Do you like trying new foods or are you stuck in a rut?
When you first start eating gluten free you are presented with lots of new flours and tastes and textures particularly if you are trying to make bread substitutes.
If you decide to go grain free suddenly you need to find alternatives to rice and corn.
If you have limited your diet because of the foods you can no longer eat you might have found yourself getting bored of your usual salads or vegetables because they have now become a major part of your diet.

Well I am here to encourage you to try something new.
How about a new vegetable?
In winter our family discovered and fell in love with Brussels sprouts, I did a post about it here.
Have you tried eggplants, parsnips, swedes, asparagus, pomegranate, lychees?- these might be common to some people but would still pass as exotic to some Australians.
Growing up in Australia in the 70's broccoli, zucchini, sweet potato and capsicum were exotic vegetables but now they are common everyday fare.
Meat and three veg consisted of three of the following potato, pumpkin, carrot, beans or peas- maybe some corn if we were super lucky and had perhaps visited my cousins' farm where they grew it.
But back to our discussion...
Sometimes I see something new and I am tempted to try it- I might buy it but then procrastinate on cooking it - wondering if I will cook it the right way, if we will like it or not?
I was a bit like that with quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), I had seen it on blogs, in magazines etc. I thought I would try it for a wheat free version of tabouli- so I bought it and it sat and it sat, I forgot to get organised enough to make the tabouli in time for tea one day so it sat a while longer.
Then I did a mini detox and one day the lunch menu had quinoa - so I cooked it plain and ate it
Yum! gave some to the kids to try- 6 x yum!
Next time we were having a bit of a Middle Eastern meal I got myself organised and made tabouli - It was very yummy- even nicer than the wheat stuff.
Now I was sold on quinoa!
I went out with my Bible Study group to the TAFE restaurant and they had a salad made with red quinoa on the menu so I ordered that- it was delicious!

Last night we tried cheesy quinoa cakes.

 These were really yummy and I served them with a salad.
Everyone loved this and it was super easy to make- just my kind of cooking!
 The recipe says to use fontina cheese but I had never heard of it and I don't even know if it is available in Australia- my local supermarket certainly didn't have it, so I looked online and found I could substitute mozzarella, so I did. 
I also used tapioca flour because the recipe used wheat flour.
I found it a little hard and messy to make into cakes so I divided the mixture between two fry pans and pressed it down flat, when the bottom was cooked I simply flipped it onto a dinner plate and then slid it back into the pan to cook on the other side, when it was cooked I flipped it out onto a plate and cut into wedges to serve. 
The recipe has a nice aioli recipe to go with the cakes, which is that white dollop you see on top of the wedge.

 Tonight we are having quinoa tabouli,

 sweet potato pita breads recipe found here, roast lamb coated in harissa and and I will probably make a carrot and raisin salad.
This is quite a labour intensive meal because everything has been made from scratch and I do not cook like this very often.
My usual motto is "Keep it Simple" and often in summer we just eat salads with some meat, but I wanted to try these pita breads so I based my evening meal around them, thankfully it is a rainy day so it is not too hot to be in the kitchen!
So if you haven't yet tried quinoa please do.
Do you have something that you would like to try but haven't been quite game?
Do you have something new that you tried recently and loved?


  1. I made sushi with my sister in law back in July. I then came home and bought the ingredients but it is still sitting in our cupboard. I will have to have a go at it on my own sometime soon. You have inspired me Deanne.

  2. Thanks so much for visiting -- I tried quinoa a while back, and liked it, too. It was unheard of here in the American South when I was growing up. I made a pilaf with it, lots of onion, garlic, etc. Someone told me on FB when I posted about it that it makes a good hot breakfast cereal with almonds and cranberries. I have not yet tried that, but I plan to.

    I am now following.


  3. I am not very experimental in the kitchen. But you are right. I need to try some new things or this salad and meat plan will get old fast. You know I'm not going to eat brussel sprouts if my life depends on it, but I will take your cue and look for some new ideas. Thanks! Lisa~

  4. We love mixing quinoa, sweet corn, and black beans--then adding some nice hot salsa! And I'm convinced that they've developed a new strain of brussel sprouts because we rarely get "strong" ones anymore. Thanks for visiting at Meadowsweet--hope your chickens soon are providing lots of eggs again :)

  5. I am not sure we can even get black beans in Australia, maybe I could try it with red kidney beans.

  6. Um. I am always looking for new and exciting recipes. Might have to try some of these. Especially those flat breads. Thanks for sharing, liz

  7. I have been wanting to try using a smoker and so we just got one. Can't wait to try it out.


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