Quinoa Biscuits

I love quinoa and I love using cupboard staples when playing around in the kitchen. I also love reading about food: looking at delicious recipes, learning about nutrition and getting inspired to cook.

I’ve been a vegetarian for well over a decade now, so i’m always looking out for novel ideas to incorporate into my eating habits. Which brings me to today – I was reading Bon Appétit and stumbled upon a recipe for almond-cranberry quinoa cookies.

I am not a big fan of almond, and I don’t have any cranberries or dried fruit to hand. I also wanted to try and make this as healthy as I could – and hopefully vegan!

Well mission accomplished! I changed up the recipe and ended up with some deliciously creamy, wholesome biscuits that honestly you could have anytime of the day. I’ve never used cooked quinoa in this way and I wasn’t sure it’d work but I will definitely be making these again.

So for my own benefit, and for anyone who wants to know – here’s the recipe.

Quinoa Biscuits (Vegan)

Makes about 12

Ingredients

1 cup plain white flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon finely ground salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons chia seed

6 tablespoons cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup demerara sugar

About 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts

Handful of fresh coconut meat/grated coconut

1/4 cup almond butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup quinoa flakes

 

Prep

Cooking your quinoa

Cook as per packaging or as follows:

Add 1/4 cup of quinoa to a saucepan and rinse well with cold water, then drain using a fine sieve or very carefully using a saucepan lid. Then add 1 1/2 cups of cold water and set it on the hob and cover. You want to heat it on a high heat until it boils, and then turn it down and leave it to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it go completely dry! Leave it to cool while you carry on.

Chia Eggs

I’m using the equivalent of two eggs for this recipe. So take a mug and pop in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, followed by 6 tablespoons of water. Give it a whisk with a fork and leave it in the fridge for a while (at least 15 minutes – not hours!) It will go quite gelatinous and gloopy, perfect to use in place of eggs!

 

Method

  1. Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with some greaseproof paper in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180°c / 370°F fan. When cooled, blitz in a food processor with the coconut meat until coarsely chopped and set aside.
  2. In a bowl add the two types of flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt – set aside.
  3.  In your mixing bowl add the fat (almond butter and coconut oil) as well as the two types of sugar. Any type of brown sugar would work I think, but I went with demerara as I had it to hand and thought it’d add a nice crunch. Then combine in a mixer – about 30 seconds or so. You want a sort of thick icing consistency.
  4. Sift your dry floury ingredients into the fat/sugar combination and again give it a good mix.
  5. Add vanilla essence to the chia egg and give it a quick whisk again before putting the egg mixture into the mixer.
  6. Finally add the cooked quinoa, hazelnuts, coconut, oats and quinoa flakes and give it another good mix. You’re looking for quite a thick doughy consistency.
  7. Turn your oven to 180°c fan / 190°c standard/ 375°F and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper and lightly grease them (I give the paper a spray with some Fry Light Coconut Oil) to ensure no stickage.
  8. Take a dessert spoon size piece of dough and roll it in your hands, then press into the shape of a biscuit in your palms – mine were about 1/2 cm thick.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (5 minutes less if fan) and remember to swap the trays in the oven if your oven is standard to ensure an even bake.

Remember you need to keep similar ratios of wet to dry ingredients but change it up, add anything you like. It’s all about experimenting and eating what you like.

Quinoa Biscuits

One is never enough

I am (trying) to give up alcohol. I don’t go well with it; my common sense is reduced to rubble and I am a different person when I’m drinking.

According to my Coach.Me app – today is 92 days of sobriety. I have done more – I managed over 100 days prior to Christmas 2015, but decided ‘it was the holidays’, ‘everyone drinks at Christmas’, yada yada.

Cut to me, halfway through a bottle of whisky and a day into the Christmas alcohol cupboard… Not good. Granted, staying up late watching the Matrix trilogy on TV and playing ps3 games was as ‘out of control’ as it got, I was still sleeping in until midday and waking up feeling like there were empty cans rolling around my cranium. It’s true what they say, hangovers get worse as you get older!

So midway through January (after I’d drank my way through the rest of the Christmas cupboard) I decided to stop again. For good this time. No excuses for celebrations, or special occasions, and no exceptions.

Overall, apart from the first few days longing for the feeling of the first satisfying sip of wine in the evening, it’s gone pretty well. I knew I could physically do it – I mean I’d done it before, so no problem right? I’m also fitter than I was at the start of the year – I’ve followed the Guardian workout from Louise Hazel and I’m 51 days into working out and hitting my Fitbit step target everyday. I’m pumped about working out, I’m happier than I’ve felt in ages. But the temptation to drink is just there, lingering behind me whispering that ‘what could happen?’, ‘you’re a strong person now, one will do’, ‘one is enough’.

I’ve spoken to a friend of mine who said – sensibly, as people on diets often think this way – isn’t one okay? You will end up driving yourself mad if you deny cravings. But it just doesn’t work that way. The lack of common sense coupled with the comfort of the serpent in my ear persuading me that I deserve it, is too much when my defenses have been lowered by one. One never is enough.

One is never ever enough. There’s no certain way to feel nothing at all; it’s probably not healthy and it might be at the bottom of one drink or one bottle. And the roll of the dice feels oh so worth it to me when I’m weakened by one. It’s the sense of contentment and warmth, the lack of restraint, the ease of feeling empty that just satisfies me. It’s the beginning, and there is no stopping point. The next day arrives with the sore head that can be cured by more. One is never enough.

So I’m sitting here writing, instead of pining. It’s pathetic I know, a sort of love letter to alcohol. But it’s also a breakup letter, and one I mean every word of. I intend to stay sober and I know I will wake up tomorrow with new thoughts and continue on as before. Giving up is not worth it to me, the sense of achievement and happiness is a better feeling than the numbness. It’s just four little words but it just encapsulates everything about me sometimes: one is never enough.