I finished up my “old” life as a lawyer at the end of last year, after resigning from my job in Sydney in August. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next, other than it did not involve spending long hours in the office in front of a computer screen, going home feeling stressed and frustrated, or watching the little red light on my blackberry flash for the remainder of the evening. My decision to quit without a new job lined up caused some confusion amongst some of my old colleagues and family, but I felt I could not move in a new direction while my job expended so much of my time and energy.
We spent the next month in Europe with Barth’s family and visiting old friends and then flew back home to Sydney via a quick stop in Moscow to attend the wedding of Nick and Zhenya. I’ve since been mulling over the direction my new career path, while also enjoying the down time, getting more into running, swimming and pilates classes, semi-regular volunteering with OzHarvest (including cooking dessert for 1000 people, getting to meet Maggie Beer and Peter Gilmore at their recent CEO Cookoff, rescuing food from various locations and visiting one of the agencies where the rescued food is delivered), hiking with Barth, playing the travel guide to various visiting friends, meeting friends for lunch, dinner and drinks, shopping for food and cooking it, and spending a lot of time reading – books, blogs, and other articles looking for inspiration.
I’ve been amazed at how quickly the days fly back – its almost the end of March! And I’m not sure whether I’m much closer to finding a new career direction, but I am certainly enjoying this period of my life. In the meantime, here is a recipe for a quinoa salad which I made for dinner for Barth during the week, who is after more protein while he does his muscle man gym sessions. Its a quick, easy and light dinner salad which won’t leave you feeling heavy on these warm Sydney evenings.
- 1 red onion
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of tricolour quinoa
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil for dairy free)
- 5-6 shitake mushrooms
- 1 bunch enoki mushrooms
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, finely minced
- 100 grams baby spinach leaves
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- Half of a bunch of mint
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
- Half an avocado
- Finely chop the red onion, and add it and a tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized saucepan. Fry over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
- Add the quinoa and stir for 1-2 minutes until the quinoa is coated. Then add the cup of coconut milk and water, a pinch of salt and put the lid on the saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the stove to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Grate the zucchinis and set aside. Chop the mushrooms and broccoli. Grate the ginger. Roughly chop the mint.
- Add the butter or olive oil to a frypan and gently fry the mushrooms with the ginger, chilli and a pinch of salt. Just before mushrooms are cooked, add the broccoli to the pan and stir until the mushrooms are cooked – the broccoli should still be firm to bite. Remove from heat.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, baby spinach, lime juice and zest and mix through.
- Sprinkle the mint, pumpkin seeds and avocado over the salad and serve.
Serves 2 as a main.