Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Goosefoot, Fat Hen and Good King Henry!

I had fun yesterday afternoon briefly visiting two of my very good friends. First, Elisabeth, in order to return her wedding fascinators. E was taking a great looking birthday cake from the oven - hope Mark enjoys it! Then on to Lesley, who has generously given me loads of damsons from her tree, which has had a stupendous crop this summer. L is a quilter par excellence [and also an expert on the Dewey Decimal System] and her children are two of the most pleasant teenagers you could ever wish to meet.

These two friends both work really hard combining family life, career, and church commitments, and they are such generous women, always thinking of other people. But all three of us are so busy, we never get as much time as we would like to spend together. And it occurs to me that Elisabeth and Lesley have never actually met, as the three of us move in different circles - although I am sure the pair of them would get on really well!

The Superfood Salad I enjoyed at Leon on Monday was so good, I tried to replicate it yesterday evening. However I did modify Bob's and he had tomato in place of beetroot. But it was incredibly delicious and amazingly healthy.

quinoa Quinoa is a strange grain. Popular among the Incas, who called it 'Mother of All Grains', it is related to a European crop known as Fat Hen, Goosefoot or Good King Henry - but Europeans ate the leaves rather than the seeds of this chenopod. The early Catholic  Conquistadors resisted eating quinoa in Peru, when they noticed that the natives made food for their pagan rituals with it! But just lately it has become a very trendy substitute for rice and pasta. I must check with the Williamsons as to whether missionaries in Peru eat it these days!

This is the first time I have used quinoa [pronounced keen-wah apparently] I suspect that once I have used up this packet I probably won't buy any more though! The quantity suggested for 2 on the packet was way more than we needed, so I now have a tub of the stuff in the fridge to put in today's salad!

Quinoa - rinse 3½oz of grains in a sieve and place in a pan with 1 pint of water. Bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes till grains are clear and the germ has separated [you end up with a frog spawn like mass with odd little white spirals in it! not the most visually appetising food] Drain and allow to cool while you prepare everything else.

Edamame - I bought a bag of Birds Eye frozen soybeans, and cooked half a cup of these for 2 mins in the microwave.

Dressing - simply wine vinegar, olive oil and seasonings.

Combine in a large bowl

  • quinoa [about ¼ quantity above]
  • 1 tbsp edamame beans
  • handful baby spinach leaves
  • handful beansprouts
  • one pear, diced
  • one large cooked beetroot, diced [or a plum tomato!]
  • one fillet of smoked mackerel, flaked into largish chunks
  • dressing [as above]


All very colourful, and I am sure it is packed with all sorts of antioxidants and vitamins and things to provide vitality. I was quite tired by 6pm having had a very busy day- but didn't fall asleep during House Group, so maybe it did re-energise me a bit!

Now to hunt out some damson recipes!


  1. Damson chutney? Damson jam? Freeze them whole till later?
    I'm not sure that I want to try quinoa, thanks Angela!

  2. We like quinoa too although I have only ventured so far as the recipe on the back of the box! Will be able to try another one now! x

  3. Just heard Michel Roux jnr pronounce it kwin oh a. Who's going to tell him!!

  4. The BBC food website reckons it is keen-wah and their pronunciation is usually right. But apparently many Americans pronounce it Key-Noah. I have no idea whether other Frenchmen say Kwin-Oh-A or if that is just a M Roux affectation.
    Pasta - Do you say P-ass-ta or Pars-ta? [I had to type that very carefully]
    I shall stick with rice I think!


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