Quinoa Pilaf


2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup blended seasoning (onion, garlic, seasoning peppers)
5 tbsps olive oil
3 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped onions, caramelized
1 cup  red seasoning peppers , diced
1 cup yellow peppers, diced
½ cup green onion, diced
1/2 craisins, diced
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

1.    Put a saucepan over medium heat with 2 tbsp olive oil and saute  the blended seasoning for 1 minute.
2.    Add quinoa  to the pot, stir to mix well with the  seasonings already in the pot.  Add chicken broth, stir  and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer , covered until  the liquid is absorbed, 15—20 minutes.  Remove from  the heat and let sit, covered for about 2 minutes.   Uncover pot and set aside to allow the quinoa to cool.
3.    Meanwhile, saute the chopped onions  in 2 tbsp olive oil, over medium to low heat until golden  and caramelized.  Remove the cooked onion from the pan and set aside.  
4.    Using the same pan, add an additional 1 tbsp olive oil and saute the yellow  and red peppers  until just tender.
5.    Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat.  Monitor closely to prevent burning and set aside when the almonds are a light golden brown.
6.    Fluff up the  cooked quinoa with a fork and add it to the pan with the sauteing peppers;  keep the heat low and add the caramelized onions, chopped craisins, toasted almonds and green onions.  Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required.  
7.    Put into serving dish and garnish with 1 tbsp  finely chopped  parsley.

Serves 8-10

Coconut Rice and Peas


2 cups cooked peas  or beans (pidgeon peas, black eyed peas, black or red beans)
2 cups rice, washed
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock  or water
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups onions, coarsely diced
1/2 cup seasoning or sweet peppers, coarsley chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, grated
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1.    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion,  peppers,  garlic and thyme; saute until onions are translucent.  
2.    Drain peas over a small bowl and reserve liquid.
3.    Add peas , rice, coconut milk and stock or water to the onion mixture.  Stir  to combine and  season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.    Bring pot to boil, lower heat  and cook covered , until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
5.    Fluff  rice with a fork, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 4

Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Citrus Syrup

1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup cake flour, heaping
¾ cup chopped pistachios
5 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup canola oil
Citrus Syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup water
The rind of one orange, very thinly sliced
The rind of half a lemon, very finely sliced

1.    Heat the oven to 180 C or 350 F
2.    In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  Add the eggs and lemon zest; stir with a large  spoon until well mixed;  add the vegetable oil  and stir until fully incorporated.  
3.    Grease and line a  cake pan; Fill with the cake mix and bake in the preheated oven for 30-50  minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Leave cake in  tin to cool.
4.    For the Citrus Syrup:  Dissolvethe sugar in the water using a wooden spoon.  Heat up the mix gently until all the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon and orange rinds.  Bring to  a brisk boil for 5 minutes.
5.    Prick the cake with a skewer all over;     Spoon one half  of the citrus syrup all over  the cake and  allow the syrup to be fully absorbed before  repeating with the remaining syrup .  You may opt to not use all of the syrup according to personal  taste.   Decorate the cake with the sliced rind and  allow it  to sit for at least one hour before serving so that the  syrup  is fully absorbed .  Carefully remove the  cake  from  the baking pan and place on serving dish.
6.    Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.

Serves 6-8

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