I’m always so thrilled when any friend of mine has a book out. On the basis that I can’t really imagine being able to write more than the word count required for a newspaper article, (yes, stay tuned, my first proper piece for the The Telegraph is out later this month) I think binding your thoughts, hopes and dream together into something totaling 250+ pages is a serious achievement.
One of my oldest friends, Sarah Churchwell (who was a star well before this, her second book, was even printed; she’s a journalist, an author, the most glamourous professor on the planet as well as a regular fixture on Newsnight Review) has received rave reviews for her new title Careless People, which I’ve mentioned in passing before, here. It’s a fascinating, historically accurate trip back to what really went down in the 1920s and what inspired the novel The Great Gatsby.
The other person I know who also has her second book out is the Singapore-based food writer Ghillie James, who I’m very proud to live just a stone’s throw from. Rice & Grains (natch, being Changmoh I have the Asian version of the book; the English one is titled Amazing Grains) is now for sale in Singapore as well as across the UK.
Despite my usual avoidance of all things overtly carby, it has some very easy recipes, with beautiful pictures, using lots of slow-release, unrefined carbs like quinoa which, as people never stop telling me, are ‘good carbs’ that we should all be scoffing down regularly.
This was what I whipped up for lunch yesterday:
Pumpkin and Macadamia Nut Salad with Quinoa (p.118) – see below for full recipe.
Within the book there’s quite a lot of text about the history of all the various grains, where they’re from, how they’re grown etc…but it’s clearly set apart from the actual recipes which are easy to follow.
A beautiful fresh looking salad can be yours, usually in about three steps. Good; my kind of cookbook. I’ve also always wondered what on earth quinoa actually is, but never been interested enough to sit down and Google it. Now, thanks to Ghillie’s explanation, I know all I need to.
Next on my list to try is her Ultimate Superfood Salad with Feta & Mint (p.131) as well as the easiest recipe I’ve ever seen for tabbouleh, (p.112) which would be perfect alongside some homemade humous and flat bread.
Rice & Grains is available in Singapore from all branches of Kino. Amazing Grains, the UK title of the same book, can be bought from the Book Depository. They will ship to Singapore free of charge and also deliver within the UK.
My copy of Rice & Grains was courtesy of the lovely Ghillie James
Here’s a very paraphrased version of the recipe for Pumpkin and Macadamia Nut Salad with Quinoa, taken from Rice & Grains.
x1 750g pumpkin (I just used a local green-skinned pumpkin; I didn’t weigh it) deeseeded, peeled and cut in to wedges
Place chopped pumpkin in a roasting tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, salt and pepper (I skipped the sugar; sesame seed oil, once open, must be kept in the fridge). Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Add 75g macadamia nuts and/or pecans for the final 5 minutes of pumpkin roasting (I forgot to do this, so used them ‘raw’. I couldn’t find macadamia nuts but just pecans “also can, wat”).
Leave to cool. Rougly chop the nuts.
Ghillie suggests using a mixture of quinoa and amaranth but I only had quinoa which the recipe can be adapted for. So, 150g quinoa, (bought from the health food/’free-from’ section at Cold Storage) washed thoroughly before being simmered for 10-12 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together: (the dressing is dynamite and I’m going to use it regularly for normal salads) 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons honey (I used agave syrup as a low G.I. substitute), 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped.
Add a 75g bunch of finely chopped coriander, including stems and leaves, (I’m still confused why all the supermarkets out here call coriander ‘Chinese Parsley’) 1 thinly sliced, small, sweet red onion and 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed.
Mix it all together and off you go.
Hardback book image courtesy of Angela McCallum