Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Review: Quinola Mothergrain


Quinola Mothergrain recently got in touch to see if we would like to try some of their products, particularly their baby food. With T weaning, it was perfect timing.

I'll be honest, quinoa isn't something I've ever tried nor wanted to try. In fact, thinking about it, I'm not even sure if I'd heard of it before, forgive my ignorance. So I wasn't too sure what to expect.

We were sent four baby foods for T to try, two stage one pouches and two stage two.  As T hasn't long been weaned she is yet to try the stage two but so far she has enjoyed the stage one pouches and I'm sure she'll enjoy them just as much.


We were sent carrot, red lentil and quinoa and sweet potato, beetroot and quinoa.  Both were quite thick and fibrous and I had to add a little water to smooth it out for T. I think she might have been better with this texture a few weeks down the line. I had a quick test of both before she tried them, the texture was thicker than other stage one foods (but I would have expected this anyway as its organic) and the flavour was quite soft and pleasant - much nicer than a lot of other baby food I have put to the test (yes, I do that!). The one thing I wasn't keen on was finding some 'leafy' bits in it but that's down to my personal choice, I was worried it might stick on her throat. I would probably buy these again for T as I like to mix up the flavours and textures so she gets used to eating a variety of foods.


We were also sent some express packs of ready to eat hot or cold quinoa, which I would absolutely buy again.




So, as a brief introduction, here's what you need to know:
  • Quinoa is a tasty and nutritious super-grain, recognised as a super-food by NASA. 
  •  Its versatile - great hot or cold. Add to soups or even a sweet desert, it carrys the flavours of the dish and adds texture.
  •  Its super healthy. Gluten and cholesterol free, it also contains 'goods' carbs so the slow energy release keeps you fuller for longer. 
  •  Organic - no nasties are used in its production.
With all this in mind, I was looking forward to trying it! The first dish I made was stuffed peppers. I added the quinoa to mixed beans with garlic and cheese and served it with salad. My photo below doesn't do it justice but it was really delicious. 
 
I found that a little goes a long way - I made two of the above meals (one for D too) and used less than half a packet of the express quinoa. I popped the rest into a tub and stored it in the fridge and found it kept well for a few days after. I added it to some other meals, including a large mixed salad, egg foo yung (or as a I call it 'chuck anything in and hope for the best') and soup. I found it really was an excellent way to bulk out a meal and I definitely felt fuller for longer after each meal. I must admit that I was also pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed it and if I can find a local stockist, I will definitely purchase these express packs. 

If you are stuck for inspiration as to how to use it, the website has some great recipe ideas which are well worth a look at.

As an important side note, I wanted to share some of Quinola's ethics:

"... no chemical nasties or fossil fuel fertilizers are used in Quinola's production. But we go further than that as we believe that sustainability is as important as organic certification. That is why all the farmers practice mixed agriculture and crop rotation, and allow the fragile land to regenerate via fallow periods. No monocultures here...."

".... Not only do we work directly with the producers under the Fairtrade scheme, but we try and help them out in other ways too. And we get our products packed by mentally handicapped people in France, as helping the disadvantaged to a better life through work is something that applies to all countries in our opinion...."

Some years ago, I had a small website selling Fairtrade gifts and products so I like to hear of a company addressing its place in the world and helping others to trade in a fairer global market. Good work guys.

Just to be clear: we were sent the items mentioned above for the purpose of this review.  All words and opinions are my own.
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