This week I took the plunge and decided my kitchen needed to get messy. So I tried a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. Oh hells yeah! I decided to bring it.
Did I manage it? Eh…. no.
Now, I love Jamie as much as the next person. His recipes are delicious, no nonsense and always work, but I’m not too sure what he’s at with this everyone-can-cook-faster-than-the-speed-of-light malarkey. Honestly like. I know there have been about 20 bazillion blog posts written about how it’s nigh-on impossible to make any of his meals in either 30 or 15 minutes, so I’m not going to go there again; but I do think it’s a shame he’s made such a rod for his own back. I get the point he’s trying to make: food can be quick, easy and tasty if you’re clever about how you prepare it. However, I think that people in general are pedantic and once they can’t make something in the allotted time limit they will immediately call the whole venture a failure.
Well, this beautiful salad took me longer than 15 minutes to make, and afterwards my kitchen did look like a bomb had hit it; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, in fact I urge you to. The mix of flavours, texture, spice and sweetness is incredibly yummie and it’s pretty healthy to boot. It’s definitely one worth waiting for!
Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa Salad
For the quinoa salad:
300 g quinoa
1 fresh red chilli
100 g baby spinach
4 spring onions
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh mint
1 ripe large mango
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
50 g feta cheese
1 punnet cress
For the chicken:
2 x 200 g skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground allspice
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
2 mixed colour peppers
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
Put the quinoa into the pan and generously cover with boiling water and the lid. Put the chilli, spinach, trimmed spring onions and coriander (reserving a few leaves) into the processor, tear in the top leafy half of the mint, then blitz until finely chopped.
On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, allspice and paprika. Fold over the paper and bash/flatten the chicken into 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Put into the frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until blackened and cooked through.
Deseed the peppers and cut each one into 8 strips and add into the frying pan, toss regularly. Peel and cut mango chunks. Drain the quinoa and rinse under a cold tap, then drain well again and tip on serving board or platter. Toss with the blitzed spinach mixture, squeeze over the lime juice, add the extra virgin olive oil, mix well and season to taste.
Sprinkle the mango chunks and cooked peppers over the over the quinoa. Halve and destone the avocado, use a teaspoon to scoop curls of it over the salad. Slice up the chicken, toss the slices in any juices and add to salad. Crumble over the feta, scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and snip over the cress. Serve with dollops of yoghurt.