This salad is the bomb. Literally it is. I’ve shaped it as a bomb. Ta dah.
Yes. I’ve got my retro loving hat on. It’s the very same hat I wear when I happily tuck into a prawn cocktail. You know, the really retro kind, preferably served in a cocktail glass with a prawn lying languidly over the side of the glass. Like he’s just chilling, hanging out on the side of a glass. Like all self respecting prawns are known to do.
What does the hat look like I hear you say? Well now you’ve asked, it happens to be avocado green, to go with the avocado bath I would most be likely to have whilst tucking into said prawn cocktail. It also has a bow. A really big one. Chanelling the early days of Madonna. Before she got really into her arm muscles.
But you neither need a special hat or ridiculously defined arm muscles to be able to enjoy this Quinoa salad bomb. This is a lovely way to serve a quinoa salad. It’s a little bit different and has real wow factor when you bring it to the table, and is the brain child of Jamie Oliver. If it’s good enough for him….
It also reminds me of making sandcastles. Which I never get to do anymore, because for some bizarre reason people think you’re weird if you head to the beach aged twenty seven armed with a bucket and spade and you don’t have a child in tow. I mean, come on guys, why do children get all the fun?
So, this is my entirely grown-up-appropriate alternative to building sand castles and it also happens to taste fantastic. Which sand doesn’t. So I guess this is a winner.
- 250g quinoa
- a large bunch of mint
- 200g kalamata olives, pitted with the stones OUT, or you can do this yourself, you industrious little beaver
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, deseeded and finely chopped (the cucumber equivalent to hung, drawn and quartered)
- 250g tomatoes, chopped
- 200g feta cheese
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- 2 lemons
- 2 sweet potato (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- small bunch parsley
- 4 spring onions
- Place the quinoa in a saucepan, season with salt and pepper, grated zest of one lemon and the juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of mint.
- Add 450ml of boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the when you taste it, it's not too crunchy.
- When cooked, pop it into a bowl and allow it to cool down. Drizzle with another glug of olive oil and maybe a dash more salt if it needs it.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into little cubes, about the same size as a dice. Now steam, or boil these until they are tender.
- Throw in the garlic so they cook too. Once the potatoes are soft, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and squeeze the garlic out onto the potatoes. Stir, then throw them in with the quinoa and give it a good stir.
- Roughly chop the parsley and slice the spring onions and bung these in to. This is delicious, just as it is!
- Now, for the Greek salad bit - Make sure your olives don't have stones in them. Roughly chop them. Mix together the chopped olives, sliced red onion, chopped tomatoes and the chopped cucumber. Crumble in the feta and give it a gentle stir.
- Now add about 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of oil oil. Add the zest of the remaining lemon and its juice and stir again.
- Keep the pretty little Mint sprigs to garnish your bomb with. Take the rest and finely slice them. Then add to the rest of the Greek salad.
- Season with salt and pepper, keep tasting it, as feta can be salty, so just use your judgement on this one.
- Now comes the Blue Peter bit. Take a bowl, about 1.5 Litres in size. If you have ever steamed a pudding this will be the bowl to use.
- Now lay two pieces of cling film over your bowl in a sort of cross shape. There should be lots of cling film overhanging the edges so you have plenty to wrap over the top. Totally Blue Peter. They should now send you a badge. You're welcome.
- Now scoop in ⅓ of the quinoa salad and press it down firmly with your spoon so that it is all packed in nice and tightly. Scoop on ½ of the Greek Salad and press this down too. Repeat until you have used up both salads.
- Now wrap it up with the remaining cling film.
- Pop a small plate that fits in the top of the bowl on the top and press it down. Now you need to find something heavy to add some weight. I normally place another bowl on the top that I've filled with a couple of cans of beans or something similar. Place the whole lot in the fridge to set for a couple of hours at least.
- When you are ready to serve. Remove from the fridge and unwrap. The feeling you should get right about now is akin to that of Christmas morning. Except that you know exactly what's inside. But otherwise, very similar indeed... So, peel back the cling film and then place a plate or a board on the top. Carefully, but confidently flip it over and then gently remove the bowl and peel off the cling film.
- Garnish with the pretty mint sprigs and a few edible petals if you have them. Serve with a lovely lamb chop and some garlicky tzatiki for utter foodie perfection.
- The more eagle eyed observers amongst you may well have noticed there are some peas in my photos of the bomb. But why Margie? You may exclaim. You didn't list them in the recipe! Now, before you get cross. I don't know what to say, other than I love peas. It's true. I do. But PlEAse don't get cross with me. You too can add peas, I just didn't think they added anything other then normal pea perfection to the salad so I didn't include them, but please feel free too. You can never have too much of a good thing. I think this phrase was created as an ode to peas, in particular. If in doubt, add more peas.