Now I’m no chef by any stretch of the word, but I do love to cook, especially when left to my own devices to get kooky and cray cray with flavours and textures. Admittedly, not everything turns out like I may have imagined in my mind, but I happily eat what I serve up on my plate because nothing is ever that bad that it warrants bring thrown out. In saying this, I think I made quite the gem with this dish so don’t let my preamble scare you off! With a little tweaking of a few ingredients, I’m sure you’ll be able to muster up your own take on this Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/Hawaiian, whatever the heck you want to be inspired by, salad. To be frank, I’m more often than not inspired by whatever ingredients I have laying around so please don’t think I’ll be offended if you choose to do the same.
The thing I love about cooking is that it connects you with your food in a way that bridges the dark void between man and nature that seems to only grow deeper and deeper the more our food system becomes industrialised. Eliminate the middle men in bringing the food to your plate and you’re left with just the farmer and the cook (yourself)! I believe that the closer you get to the food source, the more in tune you become to your own natural state of health and wellbeing. You gain a whole new appreciation for food when you (successfully) combine flavours, textures and colours – the things that make food so exciting! In the process, you learn what foods your body genuinely craves; those that build you up and make you feel fab. There’s so much variety in food when it’s in its natural state that there’s a little something for even the most fussiest of eaters.
On another note, I get so inspired by all these food bloggers out there. Their food always looks so delicious; their photos so precise and calculated. So classy. I don’t know how they do it. It’s total and utter food porn and I see it and I’m all like, “I’m totally making that for dinner.” Then I see the list of ingredients and I’m like, “I wonder if it’ll taste and look the same if I don’t have said (10) ingredients in my pantry but substitute with this and this?” In theory, or maybe just in my mind, it doesn’t seem a problem but by the time I finish with attacking the recipe, it looks like a herd of pigs have stampeded all over what’s suppose to be my dinner. Not to mention how remotely different it probably tastes to that of the original recipe (say what, it was suppose to be a beef chilli? Why does mine taste like savoury mince?). All of sudden I’m sweating that Gordon Ramsey will be scowling down my back and spitting in my face. Lucky I live in Australia, right?! He can’t get me here, right?
It’s the plating up thing that really gets to me though. Imagine if you had to take a photo of everything you ate. Making sure every little piece of lettuce is in it’s place. Then taking a photo from 4 different angles, adjusting the filter on Instagram and posting it so you can get approval from whoever is bored enough to be following you and just busting to know what you’re having for dinner. I just get so impatient. The reasoning of this kind of escapes me. I mean, it’s all going in my belly anyway. Yes yes, supposedly we eat with our eyes. Sure, but I also eat with my mouth and I want that food in there A-S-A-P. So what I’m really trying to say is, please excuse the mess on the plate.
- 1 organic free range chicken breast
- ½ Lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt & pepper
- ½ chargrilled red capsicum (aka bell pepper)
- 1 tablespoon organic plain yoghurt (or greek yoghurt)
- ¼ lemon juice
- Fresh Coriander
- Salt & pepper
- Firstly, to chargrill the capsicum, slice the 4 sides away from the core. Place under the grill or in the oven (skin side facing up) for about 15-20mins or until the skin starts to bubble. Place in a bowl and cover for another 5-10mins. The heat will then help you to easily peel the skin off. Allow to cool before attempting this or you’ll burn your little fingers. Once skin has been removed you’ll be left with the soft flesh. Set aside.
- Mix the dried oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, lemon juice, salt and pepper and rub on the chicken breast. Drizzle the ghee or olive oil over top and place on a tray in the oven at 180 degrees. Bake until cooked (around 20mins).
- Meanwhile, fry the onion in some ghee until well cooked and then add the balsamic vinegar. This will create a nice caramelized taste. Add the sliced mushrooms and broccoli. Cook through.
- Mix with the cooked quinoa and add salt & pepper to taste.
- When the chicken is cooked, slice and place on the quinoa and broccoli mixture along with the diced up avocado.
- Blend the capsicum, yoghurt, lemon, coriander and season with salt & pepper. You’ll be left with a delicious dressing to decorate the salad with.
- Plate up more attractively than what I did and enjoy!
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