After a day packed with emotions and fighting against the altitude-sickness, we all had an early night. And – thank god – I had the best rest! No time for any fatigue, sickness or lack of energy here. Our planning is very tight so we need to stay focused! And that we did, of course.
How could it be any other way? We have the privilege to be in the Peruvian Andes, shooting for our 3rd book, cooking and enjoying ourselves. Experiencing things most people will not be able to in a lifetime. We are very lucky.
8.30 AM, time to head to the Quinoa & mini-quinoa or ‘Cañihua’-farmers, packed with a truckload of fresh vegetables and fruit scored at the local market yesterday. Besides visiting the fields and receiving very helpful & interesting information about both grains, I also made one of my favourite dishes ‘Quinoa con verduras & frutas’ in the farmers’ very basic yet very cosy little kitchen. Before I go further into detail about this yummy dish I must tell you: we completely mastered it with the entire crew in no time.
So, here’s more info on this mostly unknown yet very promising grain, the mini-Quinoa or ‘Cañihua’. The ‘Cañihua’ is currently unheard-of in Belgium although, nutrition wise, it is even better than Quinoa. Ecologically speaking, it’s also more interesting: the mini-quinoa does not need any extra washing as it does not have saponins, that little layer you find around Quinoa and which makes it taste quite bitter. Protein-wise, it also beats quinoa like a beast! There’s 12-15% to 18% in Cañihua. So to all you sporty spices out there and euhm… ‘Schwarzeneggers’ (?) – somebody tell what the male equivalent is! – as from October, you’ll be able to feed your muscles in a brand new, exciting & healthy way. This power-grain will also be part of our #LNFairfood label!
Ok, back to the recipe. We all love ‘ready-to-attack’-food, right? Well, I know I do
I love eating ‘real’ food, decent food, made from organic products with plenty of good stuff in it. For this Quinoa dish, I had to ‘freewheel’ a bit as I couldn’t find any of the little extra ingredients I mostly use to give it that extra punch. Things like feta, grilled almonds or my favourite Saltverk lava-salt and Migino sesame seed oil (totally addicted to these great Belgian initiatives!).
But the essentials were there. Cooked organic #LNFairfood Quinoa (cooked the proper way: 2 cups of water for 1 cup of Quinoa, some salt), tomatoes, cucumber, (mini) avocado’s (coolest thing ever!), red peppers, basil, coriander, pepper & salt. This all topped with grapes, pomegranate seeds & virgin olive oil.
We made a batch good for 15 people. Generous, much? We mastered it till the very last grain… and it was a big hit. Thank god ;-)!
After spending 7h hours at an altitude of around 4000 meters, it was time to head back to downtown Ayacucho & rest (and skype with homeland & the boyfriend ).
Next on the program…. ‘Huanta’ (bee pollen) & avocado farmers! Can’t wait!
(© Joshua D’hondt Photography)