10 August 2011

Devilled Sausages & Fruity Quinoa Salad

Time has run away with me again!  How does it do that?  ~scratches head~  Well, I suppose it's down to having Son & heir home from school.  Tending to the requirements of his social life can leave you with little time left to do anything else!

So.  We'd got up to the Devilled Sausages with Fruity Quinoa Salad, I believe.  Hmmn, well, the sausages were great as ever (see recipe, below) but the jury is still out as regards the Quinoa.

I've said in previous blog posts how much I dislike having anything gritty.  Well, that includes quinoa with little tiny pieces of grit in it.  Does quinoa usually contain small pieces of grit, or was I unlucky, or maybe I bought a cheap & cheerful variety?  Certainly, if grit is a feature of a quinoa salad, you can count me out of future quinoa adventures.  I darned near broke a tooth on a small stone I encountered while I was tasting for seasoning.  I know the packet recommends that you rinse the quinoa very well before cooking, but I was under the impression that this was to improve the flavour, rather than wash out the gravel!

So, gravel aside, quinoa seems to have another problem.  I don't much like the way it stayed wet (yes, I drained it very well and it was still hot when I drained it).  Pasta and rice both dry off when you drain them, however not so quinoa.  Having put the dressing onto the salad, everything was becoming somewhat waterlogged and soggy.  I was very careful to not over-cook the grains, but of course, being the first time I'd cooked it I don't rule it out as a  possibility.  So, looking at the photograph here - what do you think? Does it look over-cooked?

Apart from those two problems, the quinoa salad wasn't exactly a hit as the dried fruit mixture proved to be way too sweet and dominated the flavour.  Even with fresh coriander, lemon juice, garlic and Dijon mustard involved, the sweetness just stomped all over that lot, regrettably.  As such, I won't be passing on the recipe.

I'm in two minds as to whether to give quinoa another go, mostly because of the grit problem.  So I'll be interested to hear your feedback!


Ingredients :

6 cumberland sausages (working on 2 each)
2 tsp brown pickle (Branston type)
1 tsp marmalade
1 tsp mango chutney
2 tsp peanut butter
1 heaped tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard (your favourite type - I use English)

Method :
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180deg C/350deg F/Gas 4.

2.  Line a roasting tray with non-stick silver foil.  Lay the sausages onto the tray and commence to splitting them from nose to tail - until they resemble boats (i.e. still joined at either end).

3.  Take a small bowl and include all the remainder of the ingredients, then stir to combine.

4.  Fill each sausage "boat" with the devilling mix, which should be quite thick.

5.  Place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sausages are quite brown and the devilling is showing signs of caramelisation.

6.  Serve with salad.


  1. Ah! Quinoa.....I have'nt heard of this in a millions years.!
    I believe it's supposed to be sacred, 'Mother of Grain'. Very good and very healthy for you. High in protein. They feed it to chickens too. And, l believe after washing and soaking it, the South Americans make beer from it, or use it for washing cloths and things.....I think....Though l might be getting carried away here....! :0).
    But, yes, it does have to be washed thoroughly, the gritty bits can cause a problem when eating it.....!
    Well..Well...Well....What a pleasant surprise, must look out for some....!
    I do remember seeing Fearnle-Whittingstall use it in a stir fry.....! :0).

  2. hello Jenny. I love quinoa but have never encountered grit or gravel. Seems your quinoa may have been a little overcooked.I think you may have been unlucky with gravel. I usually cook quinoa until there is no water left-1 part quinoa 2 parts water. I use it quite often cooled for a tabouli- Quinoa is incredibly good for you - so i would give it another go.. perhaps not that pack though

  3. I need to give you some of my quinoa as i have never had gritty bits and i have never washed it must be pre-washed that i use

  4. Hi Jenny - I've been using a lot of Quinoa recently, making mistakes and learning from them. Offspring are both keeping fit and refusing to eat potatoes, pasta, bread, cous-cous, bulgar wheat and other starches but will eat quinoa because, they tell me, it's protein-rich. It's also supposed to be acceptable for people with irritable bowel disease and boasts all sorts of benefits - and I find it such a pleasant, light side-dish that I cook a lot of it.

    The first mistake I made was to ask for Quinn-Noah at the supermarket. "I think you mean Keen-wa" was the kind reply. Oops.

    I don't always wash the grains. Rinsing is supposed to get rid of the bitter outer coating, but I can't tell the difference, frankly.

    When I followed the packet instructions, I was left with the most disgusting, watery, soggy mess with a few stray 'stones' that very nearly broke teeth. I've had numerous set-backs when I've changed brands - what works for Holland & Barretts quinoa won't work for Tescos or Sainsbury's quinoa.

    Now, I put very little boiling water in the pan - barely covering the grains. I let it boil furiously under supervision for a few minutes until I can see the little 'tails' start to form. At this stage, I switch off the heat and cover the pan with a warmed lid. After about 15 minutes it's ready. All the water has been absorbed and the grains separate into mounds of fluffiness. If it's overcooked, it's like semolina and inedible. If it's perfectly cooked then there is a slight crunch (in fact, I prefer a bit of crunch to my quinoa). I don't think I've ever undercooked it - but I found that Tesco's quinoa was the worst for 'stones' and grit.

    Hope that helps. I'm trying the devilled sausages tomorrow night - they sound intriguing.

  5. Thanks, one and all! :) I think I'm right in saying that the Quinoa I tried was from "Great Scot" who package a lot of dried pulses and grains.

    Tansy : which supplier do you use for your Quinoa, or do you buy in bulk?

    Karen : I had read that the package instructions could be off kilter for cooking, and 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water would do the job admirably. However, I reckon that I cooked it for too long and at too cool a heat, as it was just simmering. Next time, I'll have to go for the "boil like made, then leave it" approach. Steering clear of Tesco Quinoa won't be difficult, as I hate Tesco with a passion and rarely buy anything from there anyway. LOL

  6. Correction : "boil like mad", not "made". LOL That'll teach me to re-read my messages properly!

  7. According to Wikipedia (*ahem*, yes I know) , quinoa can be 'germinated' prior to eating which boosts its vitamin and nutritional content. This can apparently be achieved by soaking in clean water for 2-4 hours, whereupon it can be eaten in salads and suchlike.

    For my money though, unless one has a specific dietary requirement, such as IBS or gluten intolerance, I can see little reason to give the stuff plate space in preference to cous-cous or bulgar wheat or rice or potatoes. Yes, variety is the spice of life (and probably diet) but are the benefits(?) of consuming quinoa really enough to excuse the grit?

    I'd be perfectly happy to try quinoa again but I rfeckon it'll be a pretty cold day before I'm in a restaurant and say 'Ooooh, look, there's quinoa on the menu'.

  8. Hmmm, was hoping your experience would be better than mine - I feel like quinoa is one of those things one really should like. I might just stick to couscous...


  9. Everyone, Mr Exclamation Mark there is hubby in disguise. LOL He didn't mean to be in disguise, it just seems to have happened. Germinating quinoa is interesting though. Perhaps it would wind up in little sprouts that you could have with salad. That'd be fun!

    Seren, I think hubby has a point when he says that with couscous, bulgar wheat, pasta and potatoes, one doesn't really "need" quinoa. However, I'm glad I had a go with it and I dare say I'll have another try at creating something edible - except this time it'll be for my lunch, just in case! LOL

  10. Just a quick thank you for the devilled sausages recipe. Delicious and so easy. I didn't have any curry powder, but I had a jar of Patak's curry paste lurking at the back of the fridge, and I used Dijon mustard. The peanut butter provided some nice texture and the taste was just scrumptious. A big hit with the family and a dish that will be served up again soon. Thanks Jenny.

  11. It's a pleasure, Karen! :) I'm so glad everyone liked it - they are a definite hit here in this house, too. In fact, they've been on my menu list for, oooh, probably around thirty years or more!


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