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Quinoa Couscous

January 7, 2012

Gotta tell ya, cooking quinoa ain’t my favourite bag o’ tricks. They tell you on the packet it’ll only take 10 minutes. They lie. They tell you on the packet to use 3 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. And they lie. They fail to tell you it might go mushy, they fail to tell you it may stick to the bottom of the pan. They fail to tell you it might, in fact, taste like little more than wallpaper paste – only without that full, soapy flavour. Mmm … wallpaper paste …

Anyhoo, yesterday I answered a challenge to cook for my partner’s step-father, who is a mean cook himself, but very meat-centric. He’s also got an ulcer, so turns out making something incredibly spicy ain’t a good idea. (Note to self: killing partner’s step-father = setback in inter-familial relationship). So I’m gunna gloss over that and move on to the one thing that worked out ok: the fruity quinoa couscous I made. Ok, I know calling it Quinoa Couscous is like calling a recipe Roast Lamb Beef, but you get what I mean.


  1. 1/2 small mug of quinoa
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. Zest 1 lemon
  4. 1 mug elderflower & apple juice
  5. Fresh squeezed juice 1 orange
  6. Tablespoon sultanas
  7. Approx. 2 mugs water, or whatever you need to cook the bastarding stuff til it’s tender
  8. Pinch cumin
  9. Roasted almond flakes
  10. Salt & peppper


  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan.
  2. Add quinoa and lemon zest. Heat until the quinoa is hot and the smell of lemons is strong.
  3. Add the elderflower & apple juice, orange juice & sultanas. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Keep adding water until the quinoa is soft and all liquid absorbed into the grain. This might well take longer than you think.
  5. When the quinoa is ready, add a pinch of cumin, roasted almond flakes, and season to taste. Allow to cool.
  6. Serve cold, as an accompaniment to something that will kill your step-father-in-law.

N.B – you can also add dried apricots to this dish, but a) I think dried apricots are the Devil’s food, and b) I thought it was already sweet and fruity enough. If you don’t agree with point a, I would suggest adding the apricots when you add the sultanas, so they become soft and juicy in the liquid. I’d also suggest adding something to curb the sweetness a bit. More lemon, perhaps. Anyway, I was pleased with this side dish, and would heartily recommend trying it as a lunch-time accompaniment – or even a lunch on its own. You could add plenty of other stuff to it to bulk it out: courgettes, cashews instead of almonds, peppers, parsley or – if you’re a meat eater – chunks of leftover Sunday roast lamb. Whatever you like, really.

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