Beetroot, Quinoa & Rocket

I always forget how much I love beetroot until I end up with little else to prepare for lunch or dinner. Then, I break into a sweat and wonder what on earth I can do to make it interesting. This recipe was invented on one such day. Now, I’m not for a moment going to pretend that quinoa is a cheap food. It’s not. That is to say, a 500g bag retails at about €7.00 but that bag gets you get about sixteen servings (4 meals of 4 servings). There is no waste and it’s full of various vitamins, calcium, folate, magnesium, maganese, phosphorus and potassium. It’s also very low in sodium. At least, that’s how I justify it to myself every time I baulk at handing over so much money for half a kilo of tiny grains.

Beetroot and walnuts are one of nature’s obvious parings – like garlic and mushrooms or potatoes and leeks – so, in the spirit of ‘If it ain’t broke…’, I included them in this recipe.

Beets on Leaves

Beetroot, Quinoa & Rocket

125g of Quinoa

300mls of Water

2 Onions (I used red)

Knob of Butter

50g of Walnut Halves

2 Red Chillies (optional)

250g of Cooked Beetroot

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

100g of Rocket Leaves (1 small bag)

Peel and chop the onions.

Wash the rocket if it’s not already washed.

Halve the walnut halves (so you have walnut quarters!)

Grate the beetroot.

Snip the chillies with a kitchen scissors.

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water.

Tip the grains in to a saucepan and cover with the 300mls of cold water and bring to the boil.

Once the quinoa is boiling, turn the stove down low and allow it to cook for another 15 minutes. You know it’s done when the little ‘tail’ sprouts out the back of each grain.

While the quinoa is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Add the onions, chillies and walnuts.

Stir them for a  minute or two, until they are covered with the butter.

Put the lid on the pan and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

Then add the beetroot and stir.

Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Tip in the quinoa (which should have absorbed all the water).


Empty the rocket into a large bowl.

Pour the beetroot and quinoa over the leaves.

We had this with boiled and buttered spuds.  Yum!


Mixed Veg Oven Baked Frittata with Rooster Wedges

This is another of those quick and easy recipes that we all need a slew of! I’d spent most of the day slaving over a hot laptop and it was 6pm before I knew where I was. I’d picked up 1.5kg of gorgeous little roosters in Lidl the other day for €0.79 and there was some frozen veg in the freezer and eight eggs in the fridge. Plenty for dinner, so!

Fresh Red Chillies

Oven Roasted Frittata

600g of Frozen Vegetables

4 Fresh Red Chillies*

8 Medium Eggs

100g of Feta Cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 180 a splash of oil in a frying pan and empty in the frozen vegetables.

Fry them up for about five minutes, until they are no longer frozen.

Pour the vegetables into an oven-proof dish.

Dry fry your chillies until they are slightly blackened – this makes them taste sweeter and less firey.

Tuck the chillies in among the vegetables in the dish.

Beat the eggs in a container with a fork.

Add the salt and pepper.

Crumble the cheese over the veggies.

Pour the eggs over the lot and pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Rooster Wedges

13 Small Rooster Potatoes (about 750g)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a pot with enough salted water to just cover them.

Bring to the boil.

Turn down the cooker and allow to simmer for ten minutes.

Drain the spuds and allow them to cool for a few minutes.

Once they are cool enough to touch, cut your potatoes in quarters lengthwise.

Toss in the oil, salt and pepper. (If you like, you can add some curry powder or sumac or whatever powder tickles your fancy).

Tip the spuds in to another oven-proof dish and roast them, in the oven with the frittata for about 35-40 minutes.

* Fresh chillies, in regular supermarkets are ferociously expensive – sometimes up to €1 for four of them! I bought nearly 50 of them yesterday in my local Asian supermarket for €1.27

Quick Mushroom & Kidney Bean Curry

This recipe was born because we needed to go shopping yesterday, but I didn’t feel like venturing out in pre-snow weather (not least because I was reading a terrific book – Rowan Coleman’s The Memory Book).  So I had a quick rummage in the cupboards and came up with this:

Mushroom & Kidney Bean Curry

1 Onion

250g Mushrooms

2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil

4 Teaspoons of garlic-ginger paste

1 Tin of Kidney Beans

1 Tin of Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons of Tomato Purée

2 Teaspoons of Cumin Seeds

2 Red Chillies

11/2 Teaspoon of Garam Masala

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chop the onion.

Chop the chillies (I use a kitchen scissors, it’s quicker, easier, and I’m less likely to end up with chilli hands)

Wipe the mushrooms and cut them in quarters.

Open the tin of kidney beans, drain and rinse in a sieve.

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a wok or saucepan.

Add the cumin seeds and fry gently until they release their aroma.

Toss in the onion and sautée, stirring often, until they are glossy and the raw smell has gone off them.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and chillies.

Continue to fry, over a low-medium heat, for a minute or two.

Plop in the contents of the tomato tin and the tomato purée.

Swish the tin out with water and add that to the sauce as well.

Pop in the chopped mushrooms.

Leave the lot to cook, for about 20 minutes, on a low heat, stirring often.

Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans and the garam masala.


Leave the lot to cook for another 10 minutes or so – just until the kidney beans are heated through.

I was going to serve this with rice, but it smelt like it needed chapatis, so I made those instead. 🙂