Merchant Gourmet

 Happy New Year Everyone - Hope you’ve all had a great time over the festive period!

Today I want to talk about a range of products which we have been using so much in the fresheather kitchen recently. Merchant Gourmet have launched a brand new campaign Eat Well, Live Well to help inspire you all to get cooking with pulses and grains in the New Year. They’re a great healthy alternative and so good for you, especially if you’re trying to eat a bit healthier after an indulgent Christmas!

Without waffling on too much, I thought I’d keep this post simple and break down a few of our favourite products in the range (from flavoured rice, quinoa, freekeh, spelt and lentils) along with some reasons why they are so good for you and a couple of recipes too! 

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Starting off with quinoa (pronounced keen-wa!), a grain that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. 
Quinoa is extremely protein-rich (especially good if you are trying to include more plant-based protein in your diet) and high in fibre. It also contains high levels of iron, lysine, magnesium and vitamin B2. The Merchant Gourmet Superfood Quinoa is ready-cooked and so easy to mix in with salads, serve as a side to a protein dish or even mix into desserts!

Three of our favourite Salad recipes for Quinoa are:

SUPERFOOD QUINOA WITH TOASTED NUTS & SEEDS



1/2 Packet Merchant Gourmet Mixed Quinoa
1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 baby gem lettuce
Cress
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup rocket
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
Dressing:
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
Olive oil

In a dry pan, lightly toast nuts and seeds until golden brown. Mix together ingredients for dressing and put aside. 
In a medium bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients before stirring in 2-3 tbsp of dressing and toasted nuts and seeds. Season with salt before serving. 

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RED & WHITE QUINOA & HALLOUMI SALAD


2 slices of Halloumi
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/4 cucumber
1 Red Onion
1/2 Red Pepper
1 Courgette
2 cups mixed leaves
1/2 Packet Merchant Gourmet Mixed Quinoa
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic dressing
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp oregano
Salt

In a large grill pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Chop courgette, pepper and red onion, rub together with garlic powder and grill. Turn every 5 minutes until filly grilled. Whilst vegetables are cooking, in a small dry pan, lightly toast the nuts and seeds until golden brown and set aside. 
In a large bowl, toss together mixed quinoa and leafy greens with 1-2 tbsp of the dressing. Pour onto large plate and begin to top with roasted veg, cucumber and toasted seeds. Once all of the vegetables have been removed from the pan, grill the halloumi slices for 2 minutes on each side until warmed through. Add halloumi to the salad and a further 1-2 tbsp of dressing if required to serve. 

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SWEET STRAWBERRY & SPINACH SALAD


1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Packet Merchant Gourmet Mixed Quinoa
1 handful of mint
1 cup spinach

In a small bowl, mix together honey, vinegar and olive oil. Chop strawberries and toss together in a bowl with mixed quinoa, chopped mint and spinach. Cover well with dressing and mix together. Enjoy!

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Next up, Spelt! Spelt is another grain which is becoming increasingly popular as a health food. It contains a lot of nutrients (from fibre to fatty acids) and is high in vitamin B2, manganese and thiamin.

Two of our favourite recipes for Spelt are:

ROOT VEG & ROSEMARY SPELT SALAD


1 Parsnip
1 Carrot
1 cup Pumpkin/Squash Cubed
1 Beetroot
1 cup Spinach
Feta Cheese
1/2 Packet Merchant Gourmet Spelt
Garlic Powder
Rosemary
Olive oil
For Dressing:
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp oregano
Salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Chop all vegetables into cubes and place onto a large lined baking tray before rubbing thoroughly in olive oil and sprigs of rosemary. Sprinkle slightly with garlic powder and put into the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and roasted.
Whilst vegetables are roasting, combine ingredients for the dressing; shake well and allow to emulsify. In a large bowl toss together the spinach and spelt together with 1 tbsp of dressing. Once vegetables are ready, plate up the dressed spinach and top with roasted veggies, feta cheese and further dressing if required. 

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BEETROOT & GOATS CHEESE SPELT SALAD


2 beetroots
1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 cube goats cheese
1 cup mixed greens
1/2 Packet Merchant Gourmet Spelt
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Pierce beetroot and bake for 30-35 minutes until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool before peeling and chopping into chunks. In a bowl, mix together spelt, olive oil, a pinch of salt and spinach. Once beetroot is cooled, place on top of salad along with goats cheese and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy! 

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Merchant Gourmet also have a range of flavoured grain packets which are incredibly handy. They are ready cooked to eat cold or heat up to use with your favourite dish!

CHICKPEA DAHL WITH INDIAN FLAVOURED GRAINS


2 large onions
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
. tsp ground turmeric
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder 
Chilli Flakes
2 tsp tomato purée
1 packet Merchant Gourmet Indian Flavoured Grains

In a large pan heat olive oil. Add all dried spices for a few minutes before adding in chopped onions and chilli flakes. Cook down for 8-10 minutes until brown. Add in chickpeas and stir thoroughly until fully covered with spices. Stir in tomato puree and 2-3 tbsp water and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes. Chickpea ‘dhal’ can now be added to Merchant Gourmet grains. Enjoy! 

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MEXICAN BURRITO BOWL 


1 can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp corriander
Salt & Pepper
1 tbsp guacamole
3 tbsp sweetcorn
1 beetroot, baked and sliced
1/3 red pepper
1 cup mixed greens
1 packet Merchant Gourmet Mexican Flavoured Grains

In a medium bowl, mix together dry spices and red beans and mash slightly with a fork. Set aside. Chop beetroot and red pepper before mixing together with sweetcorn. To plate up, find a medium bowl and spoon ingredients next to one another. Enjoy.

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THAI FLAVOURED GRAINS WITH STICKY LIME CHICKEN


2 limes
1 Chicken Breast
2 tbsp honey
Olive oil
1 cup Spinach
1 Courgette
1 Packet Merchant Gourmet Thai Flavoured Grains

Prepare chicken breast by butterflying fillet finely and rubbing thoroughly with the juice and zest of 1 lime, honey and olive oil. Leave to sit for a minimum of 10 minutes to allow for flavours to infuse. Heat a small dash of olive oil in a medium grill pan before placing chicken breast on the grill. 
Once chicken is done, in a medium bowl toss together the grains with spinach, finely sliced courgette, a dash of olive oil and a light squeeze of 1/2 a lime. Place grilled chicken breast on top to serve.

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For more recipe inspiration, news and behind the scenes action from Merchant Gourmet, head over to their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

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