Having now settled in Melbourne and found myself a great job at ‘the city wine shop’, a cafe by day, wine bar by night (actually from about mid day!), and wine shop, I am starting to feel as though I’ve lived here for years. I have to keep reminding myself to make the most of being in a new city on the other side of the world. Working full time means that I only have 2 days a week in which to indulge in Melbourne culture and pursue my various interests. I have been slacking slightly when it comes to cooking or baking anything excited because cooking for one often means choosing the simple option. Today, however, I decided it was about time to get back in the kitchen and cook up something exciting.
I had a day off, and woke up in a determined mood to make the most of my day. After venturing out in east Brunswick, making various stops, first at ‘the spin room’ for a high powered, high intensity spin class in which I thought I might just die. In true Melbourne fashion, after a refreshing lemon and ginger tea, I went to meet new friend from work to make the most of a trial offer available at a local yoga studio. Feeling refreshed, energised and secretly quite exhausted it was time to visit the local green grocer and deli to purchase the ingredients for my afternoon in the kitchen. Despite having made a list, it is hard not to deviate when faced with a scrummy selection of olives and partially sun dried tomatoes, which I treated myself to!
One of the factors influencing this decision to cook was to prevent myself spending $8 a day on the absolutely delicious salads they sell at the gorgeous spring street grocer, connected to where I work. Although delicious, the salads are not out of my culinary reach and I took it upon myself to make a large batch of salad in order to take a small portion with me for lunch every day. I took inspiration from the salads on which I have been indulging and decided to make a herby, quinoa salad with a garlic, lemon and honey dressing. It actually too, a lot of self restraint to stop me eating a portion one I had made it, it is just so tasty!
Herby Quinoa Crunch Salad
1 Medium Red Bell Pepper
2 Medium Carrots
1 Cup Quinoa
2 tsp Vegetable Stock
500ml Boiling Water
3 Cloves Garlic
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Honey
Salt and pepper
1 Lemon (juice)
3 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
Small bunch parsley
Small bunch mint
Stage 1 – rinse quinoa, put on to boil using diluted stock for 15 minutes.
Stage 2 – chop carrots and pepper into small cubes, you could use whatever crunchy vegetables you fancied including fennel, beetroot and tomato.
Stage 3 – make the dressing, crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar (I used a chopping board and wooden spoon) with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, mix in the oil, vinegar, honey and juice of the lemon. Pour in pumpkin seeds to semi-marinade in the dressing.
Stage 4 – drain the quinoa and leave to cool.
Stage 5 – chop your herbs and combine all the ingredients, using a fork to mix.
Store in the fridge and use as a healthy lunch or accomplishment to fish or meat dishes for a heartier meal!
Medium Red Bell Pepper