quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

We’ve had computer problems around here so I’ve been offline for a few days but happily all those pesky gremlins have been shooed away and we’re back in working order – relief! This salad is my eldest daughter’s favorite side dish, it’s SO easy to make, sits quite happily in the fridge for a few days (in fact it tastes better the next day) and is tremendously good for you. Quinoa is probably the best known of the superfoods. It’s been around for a while – about 4,000 years in South America where it originated. It’s said to be a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids along with plenty of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium, plus it’s gluten free. In other words, you could live on this and I would happily do so!



1 ½ cups quinoa

3 cups water

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped parsley, finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped mint, finely chopped

1 English cucumber, seeded and diced


Juice and zest of a lemon

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

6 tablespoons olive oil


1. Rinse the quinoa. Place in a saucepan with the water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.  The quinoa is fully cooked when you see tiny spirals (the germ) separating and curling around the seeds.

2. Place in a bowl and allow to cool.

3. Chop the tomatoes, onion and cucumber.

4. To make the dressing, mixture together the mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, whisk in the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until emulsified.

5. When the quinoa is cool add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, herbs and dressing. Mix together thoroughly.  Just before serving add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Eaton Mess

Eaton Mess, the quick and easy version

Eaton Mess is a uniquely British dessert. It’s said to have first been served after a cricket match at Eaton College in the 1930′s. The original “mess” was served with only strawberries, meringue and cream but I think it’s fun to add your favorite combination of berries. In fact you don’t have to stop with berries, try bananas, pineapple or stewed rhubarb. This is the quick and easy version as there is no meringue making required. In this recipe I’ve used store bought meringue cookies but again you could use your favorite cookies – amaretti would be lovely or even a lemon shortbread. If you’re not into dairy try making cashew cream instead, a delicious and more healthy alternative to heavy cream. This is such a scrumptious and despite its name, elegant dessert, so perfect for summer and I’ve never met a person who didn’t love it.

eaton mess

Eaton Mess, the quick and easy version.

1 packet of your favorite cookies, broken into crumbles

1 pint strawberries, raspberries and blueberries or your favorite berries

Zest and juice of half a lemon 8 oz heavy cream or cashew cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Wash the berries, cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on their size.
  1. Add the lemon zest and juice to the berries. Stir to combine and set aside.
  1. Place the cream and vanilla in a bowl and whip to soft peaks.
  1. In individual serving bowls or glasses, layer some cream, the berry mixture and top with some crumbled cookies. Repeat until the bowl or glass is full ending with some cream and top with a sprig of fresh mint.

eaton mess

chicken with lemon

Chicken with Lemon, Herbs and Tomatoes

This is a midweek winner. Quick to prepare (the chicken breasts can be marinated the day before) they take a few minutes in the saute pan then deglaze with some white wine. Snap – that’s it. The chicken’s tender and succulent and full of flavor from the lovely fresh herbs and lemon. It’s up to you which herbs to use, we’ve got parsley, basil, thyme, sorrel, mint and nasturtiums growing outside. I don’t actually think nasturtiums are herbs but I use them as such – plus they have such beautiful flowers – look at this one I found hiding, isn’t it gorgeous.

Serve it with some quinoa, rice or warm bread and some greens on the side, everyone will have a smile on their face.


6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Zest and juice of a lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

A pinch of sea salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup of assorted fresh herbs, very  finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes


Dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel. If they are thick, place them between to sheets of wax paper and pound them until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

Place the mustard, red wine vinegar, zest and juice of the lemon along with the salt and pepper into a bowl, whisk together. Add the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until emulsified . Add the herbs and combine well.

Place the chicken and the marinade into a bowl or ziplock bag to marinate for at least an hour. The chicken can be left over night in the fridge.

Heat a saute pan with a little olive oil, wipe off the excess marinade and place the chicken breasts in the hot pan, cook until they are golden (about 4 minutes) then flip them over to brown the other side.

Remove the chicken from the pan, place on a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Add the wine to the pan, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes. Pour the tomatoes and liquid over the the chicken, sprinkle over a few more herbs and serve.

chicken with lemon