Karin’s Quinoa Salad

My lovely sister-in-law Karin introduced me to the super grain quinoa.  I know, I am far behind in trying new things.  I was also put off by how expensive it is.

Quinoa in a nutshell – it is high in protein, is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium, iron and calcium, so is good for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant and is also gluten-free and is easy to digest.

Karin's quinoa 2

On it’s own quinoa tastes pretty much like nothing but has a wonderful texture and put with other lovely ingredients makes a fabulous salad.  Karin adapted a couscous recipe from her favourite recipe book, The Cake the Buddha Ate. I highly recommend you make this for a lovely hot summer’s day salad.

Karin's quinoa 1

Karin’s Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup flaked almonds toasted
1 cup fresh coriander chopped chopped
1 cup tinned chickpeas – oops I forgot to put these in
1 cup red and yellow capsicum peppers chopped – I only had yellow
¼ cup dates chopped
¼ cup figs chopped
½ red onion chopped

Dressing

100ml olive oil
50ml apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 small garlic clover crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad and mix through.

In My Kitchen – January February 2013

In My Kitchen – February 2013

I missed doing an IMK post in January so it seems like forever since I shared anything from my kitchen with you.

In my kitchen…

Are two of my favourite tray cloths – I can’t remember when I last made up a tea tray.  Think I should bake some cookies and have a little tea party.

tray clothes

In my kitchen…

Are pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, poppy and linseed all awaiting to go into a loaf of bread.

Seeds

In my kitchen…

Are the first figs of the season. 😀

First figs

In my kitchen…

Is a NoMU sleeve of spices which I was given by Pete’s nephew Simon.  The sleeves were sponsored by @NomuChirps for Simon’s conference @JSinSA which was held late last year. I will hopefully be sharing some recipes soon.

nomu sleeve

In my kitchen…

Is a new addition to the family – a gorgeous kitty fridge magnet which I received from Simon and his lovely wife Elaine.

cat fridge magnet

In my kitchen…

Is another brick of palm peet – I battle to find it on occasion so bought an extra one just in case.

Palm peet

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun.

Garden Update

I have been trying to get into the garden since the beginning of Spring to get a few happy Spring shots for you but alas, life and weather both got in the way so when the sun shone and the temperature was a wonderfully warm 25°C day a about a week ago, I flew out the door with vigour followed very closely by all three fur babies who were also rejoicing in the warmth of the sun.  Sadly they were all moving about too quickly for me to get shots of them – all I managed was fuzzy blurs moving in front of the lens.  I did however manage to get a few shots of things in the garden waking up from a winter slumber.

I never realised how lemon blossoms smell like jasmine. I had treated to the most lovely scent while taking this shot.

Our plum tree is in the most peculiar spot in the garden and for the most part looks dead for the better part of the year and then every Spring we get excited when we see the blossoms. Sadly we never seem to get any fruit. Must be due to where it is.

I am hoping that our “lollipop” pruned peach tree will still produce fruit this year – worm free would be a bonus too.

We have 2 strelitzias in the garden – one which gets for the most part full sun and the other which gets no sun and both do very well producing multiple flowers at one time.

I don’t remember this from previous years but with the new leaves has come figs, lots and lots of figs! How exciting, although I am not entirely convinced we will see any of these mature and ripen. Not to worry, there will be plenty more figs to follow.

A large part of the garden is abuzz with bees busily buzzing around collecting pollen – I would love for them to share where their hive is for a bit of lavender honey.

Can’t say I was thrilled to see the aphids all over this little rose bush – seems it’s time to spray the bushes with a solution of dish washing liquid.

Not that this is only a Spring occurrence but I just love the way a new tree fern leaf (is that what you would call it) presents itself to the world – from a tightly wound ball to an exquisite branch which provides our fur babies shade to lay under during the warm summer afternoons.

Now, for those in the know, I am petrified of spiders – a true arachnophobic! I was extremely proud of myself to get close enough to get this shot – I probably shouldn’t share that I ran around screaming like a little girl after I bravely took the pic because when I looked again it was gone! How can a spider just vanish! Sorry if this gave you the shivers John!

Fresh Fig Tart

I quickly set to formulating a couple of recipes for the fresh figs before there were no more left!  I didn’t venture too far into the unknown and used the base for two of my recipes that are guaranteed to be nice and that work well with whatever ingredients you throw at them.  Today I bring you Fresh Fig Tart and on Wednesday it will be, well, you will have to wait and see.  The tart is absolutely delicious and would work well for tea with friends or as a dessert for dinner guests; no other accompaniments required although I am sure a ball of vanilla ice cream would compliment this tart beautifully.

Fresh Fig Tart

Ingredients

Crust

125g butter
½ cup sugar – I used brown
1 egg
2 cups self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder

Filling

3

eggs
60g butter melted
225ml
 brown sugar
80ml
 golden syrup
10
ml vanilla essence
3-4 figs halved and sliced

Method

Crust

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the egg and about 1 tablespoon of the flour and mix well.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and combine to form a dough and roll into a sausage.
  4. Wrap half the sausage in cling film and freeze for another day.  Bonus!
  5. Press the remaining dough into a 23cm pie dish and  prick the base a few times with a fork.  Set aside.

Filling

  1. Lightly beat the eggs.
  2. Continue beating and add the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the golden syrup and continue to beat until the mixture is foamy.
  4. Add the vanilla essence.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell and arrange the fig slices on top of the mixture.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool until the pie is set.

In My Kitchen – February 2012

In My Kitchen – February 2012

Doing these “In My Kitchen” posts has made me realise how quickly time is passing – it honestly felt like just last week that I did January’s edition.

Straight into it then…

In my kitchen…

Is the most delightful and fun tea mug with strainer and lid which I received from (to be technically correct) our nephew and his lovely wife.  I brewed a cup of vanilla tea from Seychelles that I received from my brother a thousand years ago but couldn’t pick up the vanilla – guess it has been standing too long.  No matter, my mug drinks beautifully and it will be super awesome to use the lid during the winter months to keep my tea warm.  Thanks again Simon and Elaine, I will treasure my lovely mug, always.

In my kitchen…

Is a new milk jug that has been added to my ever growing collection of little jugs.  A girl can never have too many little jugs.  How could I possibly resist buying this adorable very useful flagon when it only cost R19.99!  It has a matching sugar bowl which for some unexplainable reason I did not purchase – now worries as my aunt was kind enough to buy the last one on the shelf for me a couple of days ago- it too only cost R19.99.  It is probably just as well that I live out of town or I may need to join a support group for people who can’t resist and own large quantities of little jug and bowls.

 

In my kitchen…

Is the coolest cupcake / muffin carrier.  I have been wanting one for the longest time but have been unimpressed with the cost and look of the ones available BUT then my aunt (yip, the same one who kindly got me the sugar bowl) found this little fellow sitting on a shelf just waiting to be bought.  How could I resist – it was very reasonably priced and the tray inside inverts to form a shelf so you can store 24 cupcakes, 12 per level.

In my kitchen…

Are the first figs of the season which were rescued by our handyman / gardener who had put “scarecrow” cd’s in the tree to keep the indian miners from pecking away at our fruit but alas it did not work as they feel feathers for the cd’s blowing about in the wind and munch away at the fruit regardless, so Lando decided it best to rescue what he could for me.  I have not as yet made anything with them but have got as far as selfishly sitting crossed legged on the couch munching one after the other – delightfully delicious!  I have a couple of recipe ideas so hopefully I will be bringing you some delicious recipes soon.

In my kitchen…

Is a vase full of green (unripe) lemons.  Sadly a branch of our tree cracked and fell to the ground – might have been the heavy winds or the weight of the fruit – not sure.  Unfortunately they are bone dry inside so until I can figure out what to use them for other than their zest (possibly preserved lemons), they will remain a feature of the house.  Do you have any ideas?

In my kitchen…

Is a sachet of fresh mini broccoli that Pete received from his sister for his birthday.  I am very intrigued by this idea of growing veggies on your kitchen windowsill.  All that’s required is to cut off the top third of the sachet, open the seed packet inside, pour said seeds over organic soil and keep moist – and within 10 to 20 days you will have mini broccoli ready to be eaten.  I will keep you posted on the progress.

In my kitchen…

Is a set of flexible pairing knives for intricate cuts and inspired garnishing, another gift for Pete from his sister.  They have lovely short blades which look super sharp.  Will let you know when we have mastered turning tomatoes and the like into pretty flowers.

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun.

Fig Tree Update

I have been wanting to share a little update on our fig tree but for the most part have not found a sunny day to take any pictures – I ran outside the other day when there was about three and a half minutes of sunshine and managed to get a couple of shots.

Remember this is how it looked at the end of August…

This is what it looked liked about 5 weeks ago…

And this is what is looks like now…

And the best part is…

I am trying really hard to be patient, waiting for these beautiful fruit to grow, mature and ripen – I salivate at the mere thought of being able to stand happily under the big leaves eating fig after fig, then being overcome with guilt that I am not saving an equal amount for my mom who is as enthusiastic about figs as what I am.

Speaking of the leaves, here is a link to the the recipe I posted for Fig Leaf Liqueur – it is the festive season after all and if you make this now, it will be ready for your New Years party. 🙂

Note to self:  Leave enough figs to bake with.

Our Fig Tree

Our fig tree is standing bare and somewhat lifeless at the moment, which is expected for this time of year.

We originally received a slip taken from one of my Dad’s colleagues trees in Johannesburg which he sent for us with the hopes that it will survive – it did and has grown into a very healthy tree.  Thanks John.

We kept the slip in a pot until it got acclimatised and settled to the new environment  however never quite got around to planting it.

Anthony, a very close friend of Pete’s unexpectedly passed away a few years back and a while later, his brother Rob was visiting with us and it was decided that the boys would plant the fig tree in remembrance of Anthony.  It grew very quickly into a sturdy tree and produces the most wonderfully sweet and juicy fruit.

It has been far too cold to work in my office which is at the back of the house where the sun’s warmth just does not seem to penetrate so I have temporarily moved into the dining room where it is lovely and sunny.  I enjoy watching the garden birds feed from the little house Pete made hanging from a branch on Anthony’s fig tree and listening to their tweets and chatters.  It’s hard to believe that in a few months it will be hanging heavy with fruit again and I will have to grapple the birds to get to the fruit before they peck though them all.  I do love standing in the shade of the tree eating the figs until my belly feels like it is going to pop.  What a wonderful summer lunch. 🙂

While Dad was visiting a couple of weeks ago, he bought a pack of imported figs from Israel as a treat for Mom and I – they were yummy but nowhere near as sweet and juicy as ours – it did however leave me willing the time away so I can once again enjoy the fruit from our lovely tree – in the interim, pop over to Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide and enjoy Greg’s recipe for the only fig tart recipe you will ever need.