1. In a pan, heat the oil on a low heat with the thyme, pepper and chilli for 1 minute to lightly infuse. When the aromas begin to surround your kitchen, turn the temperature to a medium-high and add the shallot for approximately 2 minutes until it begins to soften.
2. Add the quinoa to the pan and dry-fry for 2 minutes, keep the ingredients moving constantly to stop sticking/burning. Dry frying helps to break down the external structure of the grain to allow easier, faster water absorption.
3. Add the diced/minced mushrooms (setting the sliced ones aside), garlic and 2tbsp of white wine vinegar and fry for 1 minute (this will sizzle, but calms down quickly so be careful and keep the temperature at medium-high).
4. Add ½ a cup of water, again this will sizzle briefly to begin with, but keep the ingredients constantly moving in the pan. When the water has absorbed, fry for 1 minute before adding the next cup of water, ½ a cup at a time.
5. Add the asparagus and sliced mushrooms before adding the final ½ cup of water.
6. When all of the water has absorbed, reduce heat to medium-low and add the remaining 2tbsp white wine vinegar, zest of ½ a lemon and juice of ½ a lemon, fry for 2-3 minutes to absorb the liquid before taking off the heat.
7. Serve with some more lemon zest on top, extra cracked black pepper (to taste), 2 lemon wedges per portion and a side garnish of samphire topped with radishes.
*The stock cube is optional; the recipe is very light and refreshing, however, if you want a slightly deeper flavour add the stock cube to the boiling water before cooking and half the quantities of white wine vinegar and thyme from the recipe. You may also want to reduce the amount of lemon as it acts as a natural salt substitute and stock cubes tend to have a high salt content. ‘Kallo Organic Yeast Free Vegetable Stock Cubes’ are refined sugar-free, dairy free and gluten free.