Tag Archives: feta cheese

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches and Chicken

Black Quiona Salad with Grilled Peaches and  Chicken-7093-2

When you find peaches that actually smell and taste like peaches, it’s a good time to put them to good use in the kitchen. Already a fan of white Doughnut Peaches, decided to use these yellow peaches in this delicious Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches and Chicken. I am sure by now you know how to pronounce quinoa. When I first came across quinoa I mispronounced the word and watching a cooking program highlighting quinoa set me straight, “keen-wah” sounded so much more edible! Hailed as a superfood and the “gold of the Incas”, quinoa is high in protein and a good source of minerals and fiber.

Black Quiona Salad with Grilled Peaches and  Chicken-7145You can use the red or white varieties of quinoa with this recipe but I love the contrasting colors of the black quinoa, grilled yellow-orange peaches, white creamy feta cheese and green rocket leaves. Black and red quinoa have a bit more a bite, with a crunchier texture than fluffy white quinoa. Even if your packet of quinoa states that it has been pre-washed, it’s a good idea to give it a good rinse anyway, as some of the seeds natural coating of saponins (which are bitter-tasting) may remain. Do use a fine meshed strainer when rinsing, otherwise you will end up washing those tiny quinoa seeds down the drain of your kitchen sink. Love the tiny squiggly tails of the cooked quinoa seeds, which you can see in the front bowl above.

Black Quiona Salad with Grilled Peaches and  Chicken-7092

If you wish to cut corners, buy a ready roasted chicken and simple slice it instead of grilling the chicken fillets. There are many other ways of adding this superfood to your recipes, like these Roasted Shrimp Quinoa Spring Rolls. In fact these Healthy Shrimp and Kiwi Rolls that I made perviously would also be delicious with a few tablespoons of cooked quinoa added to the filling. I have not made patties out of quinoa yet, but might be inspired to make them after seeing these tasty looking Garlic and Thyme Quinoa Patties. A tasty and colorful salad to brighten up your August and perfect for serving at lunch or a light evening meal, or when dining “al fresco”.

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches and Chicken

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 225g of quinoa, black or red
  • 500ml of cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 chicken fillets (boneless and skinless) (flatten each fillet to a 1/4 inch thickness)
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 4 peaches, halved, stone removed and each half cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 1 large spring onion finely chopped (green and white part)
  • 110g of creamy feta cheese, cut into small cubes or you could use a soft goats cheese

For the dressing

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

 

How to make: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water. Add the quinoa, water and sea salt to a medium saucepan and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes until tender and all the water is absorbed. Place the cooked quinoa into a bowl, fluff up with a fork and leave to cool.

Heat a ridged grill-pan to high. Brush the chicken fillets with olive oil and season with some sea salt. Heat a ridged grill-pan to medium high and lightly brush the grill pan with some olive oil. Grill the chicken fillets for about 3 to 4 minutes each side (depending on thickness) or until done. Remove to a plate and cool.

Gently toss the peach slices and honey together. Heat a ridged grill pan to medium and lightly brush with olive oil. Grill peaches for about 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks are visible and the peaches have softened a little, but not mushy. Remove to a plate and cool.

To make the salad dressing: Add the mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and garlic into a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

To assemble: Toss the quinoa, spring onion and  2 tablespoons of the dressing together, season to taste with a little more sea salt if needed. Scatter the quinoa salad over the base of a serving plate. Cut the chicken fillets into slices and place on top of the quinoa. Place the grilled peaches in between the chicken slices and dot the feta cheese cubes over the chicken and peaches. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad and serve.

Feta Cheese with Preserved Lemon and Vanilla Infused Olive Oil and A Photography Challenge

One of the food blogs that I follow, Jennifer from Delicieux  had recently taken part in a food photography challenge, set by another food blogger Simone from Jungle Frog Cooking! Hopping over to Simone’s blog I noticed another photography challenge for September… a dominant  white theme a little colour allowed, but only to highlight the white! With everything around me that I needed… why not give it a try!

I have purposely posted other photographs to show how the lighting and camera settings posed a challenge and affected how some of the images looked. The first and last photographs are the images I am happiest with and I was very undecided which one to put at the top of this post!

With some vanilla olive oil, preserved lemons, feta cheese and props, I set about creating a photograph and recipe around the theme. I used props with different tones of white, some with texture and composed them in a way that appealed to me for this photo shoot… also paying attention to the available natural light and camera settings as I took the photographs!

Placed a fresh white frangipani flower from the garden into the small vase brought in another element of colour, with its yellow center!

Placed the prepared recipe of feta cheese, preserved lemons (adding more colour) coated with a little vanilla infused olive oil into the dishes and again some exposure compensations needed adjusting, as I was using aperture setting on the camera!

I stayed away from manual setting on the camera this time and as it was already late in the afternoon, daylight in Bahrain disappears right before your eyes! Trying (which I would have been) to use manual setting and a race against the setting sun would have probably left me in the dark!

You know when you say to yourself “let me try just one more photograph,” stuck a yellow cocktail stick into the feta cheese, removed some props… and it’s a wrap!

A very simple and delicious appetizer that is very easy to prepare! Although I recommend the preserved lemons for their salty lemony flavour and vanilla infused olive oil for its subtle sweetness, fresh lemon zest and a walnut infused olive oil is another alternative! I used a creamy feta cheese which was not so salty, bearing in mind the saltiness of preserved lemons!

Feta Cheese with Preserved Lemon and Vanilla Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients:

How to make: Pace the feta cheese and preserved lemon into a bowl, drizzle over some vanilla olive oil, you just want the oil to coat the feta cheese. Gently mix together, cover with some cling film and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to mingle. Place the feta cheese into small bowls and stick some cocktail sticks into cubes of feta cheese for easy serving!

Would like to know your views and tips when shooting white?

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