So Lisa is in Spain. With me having a one track mind to food, that just leads me to thoughts of paella under the summer setting sun.
I admit. I eat my way through countries. I do plenty of research before I go to find out what the local specialties are and then I chomp my way through the list, well, the best I can given all the foods I have to stay away from. It’s a miracle if I've booked a hotel at my destination before arrival, but one thing I will have always have sorted is my menu.
I have always loved going to the supermarkets, fresh food markets and delis at my holiday destination, especially in the ‘suburbs’ or in off-the-beaten-track locations away from most tourists, just so I can get a true appreciation for the culture. I find that spending time in the food hubs of cultures makes me feel connected. Immersed.
To me culture obviously revolves around food.
The other reason to head to the supermarket is the point of Lisa’s video, food shopping for a bikini body whilst on vacation
. I also do this. That way the only thing returning heavier is my luggage and making my own food means I know what I am eating. There is no risk my poor attempt at Italian will get me “gluten! please lots of it!” instead of “gluten free” (oh yeah, I’d be a nightmare to travel with right?). Preparing some of your own food also saves you money so you can spend it on other things...clothes, souvenirs, massages, hand-gliding adventures, Jeep hire (...Lisa??).
But the problem with preparing your own food is that you don’t get to experience the cultural delights, the locally made classics.
The way I get around this, along with researching good places to eat so I can indulge in the culture a few times, is find out what foods feature on their menus. Then I start thinking of how I could make those dishes whilst away or what flavours to incorporate.
So this is my tribute to Spain.
1/2 cup of quinoa really well. Set aside.
In a skillet heat some oil.
1/2 onion diced
3 smallish cloves of garlic
Cook until the onion browns. You want the pan to be sizzling.
the quinoa and
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
10 strands of saffron
1 T tomato paste
1/4 large tomato
1/2 capsicim diced
Let the flavours infuse for a minute or so.
240ml vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
Bring to a boil. Then put on the lid and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 mins.
2 long sticks of celery, diced
1 zucchini chopped
Let it simmer for another 5-8mins. You don’t want the veggies to be soft. Then add the silverbeet and toss it all together for a minute or until the silverbeet wilts just a little.
Serve with salad, extra steamed veggies or as is with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Add chicken and/or seafood if you like.
Makes 4 serves if serving with salad and veggies.
So why quinoa instead of rice? There is a lot of research around saying that white rice has little nutritional value and being high glycemic, it encourages fat storage. There is also mention of rice being contaminated with arsenic and GMO lines, so for me these are all enough reasons to find an alternative. Quinoa. Quinoa is an ancient grain high in protein, iron, lysine and vitamin B2 which are actually all great nutrients for helping muscle regeneration, metabolism and energy, which sounds like a much better choice if you train regularly.
Saffron has been suggested to fight depression, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and emotional eating.