The Mad Tabouleh Lady

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You may have heard of Kevin McCloud‘s drinking game. There are a few versions but a simplified version goes like this.  Whenever Kevin mentions the following words in his programme, Grand Designs,  bespoke, artisan, the build, integrity, take a big sip. Extra drinking points are acquired if he says it in French or Italian. In the world of food, I propose a board game: the rules are similar, you score a drink when you read or hear the following: artisan, (the Italian artigianale deserves two drinks), quinoa, kale, ancient grains, and gluten-free. There are probably more buzz words out there and I hope someone will let me know so my bored, no board game can expand.  I have nothing against these foods per se, but I am tiring of their takeover. Normal, sensible eating is now dominated by these faddish foods. Why has barley become an ancient grain? Or brown rice? Farro has been used in Northern Italy forever. As for quinoa, it’s overrated and tasteless and has an unpleasant texture.  Kale? A common enough plant in my veggie garden which enhances a good minestrone or risotto. But kale chips, kale smoothies? Kale and eggs for breakfast? National Kale Day? Gluten- free products are important for celiacs, but now every normal non gluten free product carries this selling tag: gluten-free jam, gluten-free eggs, gluten- free tomatoes – the marketing departments are having a field day with labelling for the naive and gullible.

Nothing like a good rant after cleaning out the pantry – an onerous and tedious job, involving small flying creatures and much waste.  Whilst there, I found a packet of unopened “Ancient Grains” bought on a whim at some stage  The packet is labelled, in capitals, ‘gluten- free rice plus‘ and contains a ‘powerful blend of rice, nutritional ancient grains and seeds which includes brown rice long grain, white basmati, red basmati, buckwheat, white quinoa, and millet, and black sesame seeds. Putting aside my cynical self, I whipped up a tasty tabouleh, adapting the recipe from the back of the packet. I served it with a little side of chopped boiled eggs with Dukkah. All Gluten-free, and not like chook food at all!!

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Powerful Tabouleh

  • Cook one cup grains with two cups of vegetable stock ( or water) using the absorption method. ( 15 minutes) ( I used a good home-made stock as these grains need help with flavour)
  • 6 chopped spring onions, including lots of the green part
  • 1 cup or more of Italian parsley, chopped
  • a handful of mint, chopped
  • a handful of currants
  • some small tomatoes, chopped, preferably ‘heirloom’ ( whoops, another buzz word ).
  • 2 -4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbls lemon juice
  • 1/2 teas Dijon mustard
  • salt/pepper.

When the rice blend has cooled, add the other ingredients to the bowl, and let them sit for a bit to absorb the dressing.

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The original recipe called for far too much parsley and used dried cranberries, which I find too sweet.

Serves two as a big lunch or a side salad for four or more.

Verdict? I liked it more than a regular Tabouleh and was pleasantly surprised.

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19 thoughts on “The Mad Tabouleh Lady”

  1. Your are right! 🙂 The marketers will use any phrase or term to help their sales. It was the same thing when fat was out of style…everything that had been fat-free since the beginning of time received the label, “fat-free”. Your tabouleh looks wonderful.

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  2. I’m sick of the piece-meal way we are fed nutrition advice through the media and all the labels that are put on things. I try not to buy things with labels, just raw, fresh foods to cook myself. Love the idea of Dukkah on eggs, will have to try it. Lately I have tried it on fish that I quickly sauté in the pan, and on cauliflower, both delicious. Thank you for a thought provoking post!

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  3. Oh good another ranting blogger!! I too abhor false marketing. Did I you know that in Australia it’s been illegal for poultry farmers to administer hormones since the 1960s but hormone free poultry is still a big marketing slogan! Fat free usually means lot of refined carbs and chemicals as does gluten free baked goods. How long before someone realizes natural, I mean genuinely natural has strong marketing appeal too.

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    1. Yes, it’s really annoying. But so are the vogueish obsessions with some natural foods, those that are raised on a pedestal. ” all hail Kale” ( hmm, might be a good title in that one)

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  4. Rant away…food labelling does make me see red. Well, marketing in general does. If I’m buying packets of anything I try to buy those with the least amounts of preservatives etc on the label, ignoring all the spiel on the front but it is maddening how food fads wash over us like waves, drowning us one minute and leaving us high and dry the next!

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  5. I love kale in smoothies and salads I have to say but I don’t understand the faddiness of all these ‘ancient’ and ‘super foods’ either. I refuse to buy quinoa – it is totally tasteless and quite frankly pointless. Oh but it’s gluten free right?

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  6. Great looking recipe! And I totally agree with you that marketing has gone crazy with buzz words for health conscious ethically minded consumers. My pet peeve is people using ‘natural’ which is completely meaningless and unmonitored, also ‘happy’ on eggs, especially because I see it on cage eggs.

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