I try to base my meal choices on what we have growing or what is already in the pantry, without needing regular excursions to the supermarket for one or two items.
|Home grown Lebanese cucumbers|
Cooking cakes and sweets is a different matter. There are some items that just need to be purchased when I run out of them, as a cake recipe is pretty exacting.
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa (tri-colour for impact if you like), or wholemeal couscous
150 ml chicken stock for extra flavour, (just water will also work well)
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and diced
3-4 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1 cm dice (I used 4 Roma tomatoes)
3 spring onions, green ends only, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, or about 1/2 bunch, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (not the stuff out of the bottle)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Add a crushed garlic clove if you like, but not necessary
*A large avocado cut into 1 cm dice can replace the cucumber
If using quinoa:- Place the stock in a small saucepan, add the quinoa and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender to taste. Remove from the heat,and stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and leave it to cool.
If using couscous:- Place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Place the couscous in a heatproof bowl and add the stock to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or something plastic free (preferably), to store the heat, and stand for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff it up and to separate the grains. Season it slightly to your taste, and set it aside until cool.
Gather the bunch of parsley, form into a tight bundle in your hand and finely shred the leaves with a sharp knife.
Do the same thing with the mint leaves.
My coriander in our raised garden is still growing well, so a little bit of that went into the salad as well.
Add the cooled grain, quinoa or couscous to the rest of the ingredients, and mix through gently.
Making The dressing:
In a smallish bowl, gradually whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice and garlic (if using) until it starts to thicken slightly and emulsifies. Stir the dressing through the tabbouleh ingredients and season with a little salt and ground black pepper if it needs it. A little salt will really develop the flavours.
For an easy meal, delicious just with a boiled egg
For a more substantial and complete meal if entertaining, serve with hummus, pitta bread and sliced lamb or lamb cutlets
On a nutritional note, eating salads like tabbouleh is a healthy alternative, as the herbs, parsley, and mint are rich in sources of Vitamin K and C, some beta-carotene, folate and flavonoids. I feel better already.......
The Aussie Backyard Bird CountAnd now for some twitching. We've been participating in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count this past week. I think today is the last day and it's been great fun. It's too hard for me to take photos of the birds at the same time as I am entering the data into the phone app, however we have submitted 8 Checklists, Sighted 22 species, and sighted 204 birds just in our suburban backyard. So Mr. HRK and I take our chairs to the courtyard late in the afternoon, settle in with a cup of coffee and wait for the birds to start their afternoon pilgrimage to the Bird bath and then back to the Golden Penda tree and the Paperbark tree. We've had a couple of challenges differentiating between species, such as the female Australasian Figged and the female Blue-faced Honeyeater but I think we have given fairly accurate statistics of what we have seen which will paint a picture of the birds in our area for Bird Life Australia.
Highlights for us were: 23 Australasian Figbirds, 1 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike,1 Nankeen Kestrel, 1 Whiskered Bulbul, 1 Rufous Fantail, 4 Torresian Imperial-Pigeons and 62 Rainbow Lorikeets. Except for the Lorikeets, these are ones we don't see very often.
|A light lunch at home, Tabbouleh, stuffed capsicum, and a boiled egg, the lettuce is coming:)|
Have a happy week my friends and keep smiling,
Bye for now,