After having eaten up every last bit of the duck ragù feast, I felt I should assure you that I won’t turn into a fussy cook who requires you to keep dry ice and foaming agents in your pantry and starts talking about home-made stock you only have to get up once in the middle of the night to stir during its eight hour simmering process so here I give you a classically Elisabethan recipe, i.e. quick, easy, and open to variation according to whatever you find in your fridge.
Cook 2 cups of mixed grains (I used two-thirds quinoa, one-third millet and buckwheat), adding them into the same pot at their respective cooking times. Don’t use too much water, you’ll want the grains to soak it all up. You can always add more later on. Stir 2 generous tbsps of miso paste into the water, stirring well to dissolve it, and five crushed black cardamom pods. Black cardamom is a notch above the regular green one, believe me – try and seek it out! I can’t really describe its taste other than comparing it with how Bvlgari Black smells, which I’m aware isn’t much help.
When the grains are almost done and have soaked up all the liquid, let them almost-burn – you’re aiming for a not quite burned, just left-unattended-on-its-own-for-a-little-too-long darker layer at the bottom of the pot. Wonder how this idea occured to me…
Add a tbsp or two of water, scrape/stir the darker bits into the fluffed up rest and voilà, say hello to your perfect lunch base! The quinoa is protein-rich, miso makes it very umami and satisfying, the black cardamom makes it exciting and it can go lots of ways:
1) Top with sliced avocado, lemon juice, and black pepper.
2) Top with roasted onion rings, Mujaddara-style, pickled lime and smoked trout.
3) Top with garlicky spicy white fish/prawns, lime juice and fresh parsley (your coworkers will love you).
4) Top with oven-roasted pumpkin slices, ground coriander and chili flakes.
5) Top with a poached egg and chives.
See where I’m going with this?