Healthy and delicious

Quinoa gets pimped-up in this risotto-inspired recipe, and miso soup for a fridge full of goodness

 

When a new superfood is unveiled, there seems to be a mass migration to that particular ingredient, especially when it’s not just right-on nutritionally, but also super tasty. This has definitely been the case with quinoa, which I’ve often featured on these pages, such is my love affair with this ancient and nutritious grain.

Then lo and behold, while churning out the quinoa meatballs, the next thing I knew I was being tut-tutted for promoting quinoa. These fabulous little grains are being so widely exported across the world that Peruvians now risk starvation, as prices have trebled since 2006 and mass-produced fast food is now actually cheaper for them to buy. So their relatively healthy former diet is now being wrecked by not-so-healthy western imports.

Disputes about land ownership are also rife because of soaring prices. While the rest of the world is tucking into their produce and lapping up the health benefits, the high prices are leaving the Bolivians and Peruvians to go without. There’s simply not enough to go round the table.

This kind of information is depressing, especially when your heart is in the right place, yet you have to take into account the fact that your purchases may be wrecking the lives of others.

But what do you do? Stop buying and deprive the farmers of a livelihood? Or moderate your intake? I am hoping the latter is the better solution. So, when I saw this idea for mushroom risotto – but made with quinoa – I thought that maybe this is the way we need to enjoy it now. Instead of an everyday type of staple, it’ll move into treat territory, as with this recipe, which was deeply rich and full of flavour. Quinoa does posh quite well.

The miso broth is something I’ve been happily making all summer while on chemotherapy. (For the record, I hope to be finished all treatment soon and am on the mend).

Miso and seaweed are staples of Asian cooking and seaweed is thankfully becoming a lot more mainstream here thanks to the emergence of great recipes featuring seaweed.

Sally McKenna’s new book, Extreme Greens, features great dishes made with seaweed, and is well worth buying. Unless I am completely mistaken, this super food is in abundance, so you can enjoy as much of it as you want without any guilt. For now.

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