My family love this salad, and as a result I have made it many, many times. It is beautiful to serve and then is the most perfect leftover. Everyone always goes “aw man” (said in a whiney voice) when there is nothing left to scrape from the container in the fridge. I think it has something to do with the mix of salt and sweet, leafy and earthy. Your mouth sort of does a jig of pleasure.
I firmly believe that every situation or condition brings the full spectrum of possibilities. So…..there is potential for good and bad in everything and what we choose to focus on expands. Just like my description of this salad being salty and sweet etc. You will taste more acutely that which you choose to focus on. Before I get too philosophical, let me get to my point…..whether I’m in St. Lucia or London or indeed wherever I happen to find myself, there is a richness and a happiness. The opposite is present and needs no description but is usually present too if you choose to see it.
The photo above (which I found to be a random gift of beauty) is of the Queen’s Rowbarge “Gloriana.” She was taken out for a spin the other day and I was lucky enough to capture this image.
“The Queen’s Rowbarge is a lasting legacy of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Her immediate realm is the River Thames and London, but Gloriana also celebrates the Commonwealth, which delivers a truly international dimension to her presence. The crests of 16 Commonwealth countries adorn the outside of the coach. Gloriana is an inspiration for national pride, a showcase for traditional British boatbuilding and craftsmanship, and a means of encouraging people, especially young people, to engage with the River Thames and the sport of rowing.” (www.gloriana.qrb.org.uk)
The link to my salad is the fact that I feel part of the river Thames as I look at it everyday when I am in London, I live in a Commonwealth country the rest of the time. Much of my life has centred around encouraging young people, and last, both my salad and the Gloriana are beautiful, have many elements, and the power to delight and satisfy. I’ve made this salad for many a gathering on both sides of the Atlantic.
The original recipe came from Ottolenghi, but as is my way, I change this and that as I go along.
Quinoa salad recipe with red rice
Serves 6 to 8 as an accompaniment
180 g (1 c) quinoa
200 g (1 c) red rice
100 g pistachio nuts
1 medium onion roughly chopped
150 ml olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp lemon juice
1 crushed garlic clove
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
100 g dried apricots, roughly chopped
40 g rocket
salt and pepper
- Cook the rice and quinoa in separate pots, drain and allow to cool. The super sleuths among you will notice that I threw in a few wild rice grains this time. I find cooking the grains the day before is good but not critical.
- Roast the pistachios in the oven (or dry roast in frying pan) for 8 to 10 mins keeping a close eye so as not to burn them.
- Soften the onion in all the olive oil
- Mix everything together and if its all cool, then also mix in the rocket. If not then wait until just before serving, reserving a few leaves for the ever important grand reveal and presentation.
The meal above shows off this beautiful salad. We had it with simply steamed fresh English asparagus with a few shavings of parmesan, and “Chicken with apricots.”
Super sleuths et al will already have noticed that the “grass” here is in fact astro turf. It’s completely naf (English colloquial for a bit silly and tacky) but the girls and I have over-ruled Mark and it gets to stay on our porch in London. I’m told you can even buy a variety that has weeds woven in for a more natural look……hmmmm……not sure.