Monday, 27 July 2015

A love story and quinoa dessert

Recently I crossed one book of my list when I read Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter by Antonia Fraser. If I were to describe it in only a few words I would say it's a beautiful love story, one of the most intimate ones I have read. Fraser uses her diaries to tell about her life with playwright Pinter, from the day they met in 1975 to the day he died in 2008. And what a life they shared! I would like to tell you just a little bit about the book and also republish my recipe of quinoa pudding with Greek yoghurt, berries and fruit.
Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter by Antonia Fraser · Lisa Hjalt

It's no secret that both Fraser and Pinter were married when they met and the press fed on their 'literary friendship', as one paper put it. Things got complicated until both got a divorce and in one entry Fraser refers to a devoted friend of both who 'thought all this romantic talk about marriage was nonsense; why couldn't we just have an affair like everyone else?' (p. 29). It cracked me up.

I often laughed or smiled during the reading. Mainly the diary entries tell the story but sometimes Fraser comments on them and, personally, I would have liked to see more of that. Fraser has a beautiful way with words and I like her unpretentious style. She gets right to the point, unafraid of exposing herself, and often describes things in a comic way. I loved the book but I would have been quite satisfied with a longer one.

It's obvious that the book ends with Pinter's death, yet when I reached that final page I was so immersed in their love story that my heart was crushed when it was all over.

I cannot say that I knew much about Pinter, except that he was a playwright and a director and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005. In person, as described by Fraser, he was nothing like I had imagined and now I'm eager to read the biography Harold Pinter by Michael Billington.

Just a few more lines about books before dessert. I have already told you about my love for author Helene Hanff (1916-1997), in my posts about 84 Charing Cross Road and Letter from New York. Since then I have also read Q's Legacy (spotted in my images), which is just as wonderful as the others. Parts of it are a repetition of what Hanff has already said in earlier works but I wouldn't let it stop me from reading it too.
A quinoa dessert · Lisa Hjalt

I have stated earlier that I would like to keep all my recipes in one place and this quinoa pudding, which I often make during the warmer months, is from my old food blog. Food blogger and writer Aran Goyoaga of Canelle et Vanille was my inspiration when I put the recipe together. She had used milk to cook the quinoa but I use water and then Greek yoghurt for the pudding itself because of its creamy texture. The recipe is simple but you have to boil the quinoa first and allow it to cool for about an hour. You can top the pudding with any kind of berries and fruits. Please note that I'm serving the pudding as a dessert for five persons.


200 g quinoa (1 cup)
625 ml water (2½ cups)
a pinch of sea salt
250-300 g strawberries (circa 1½ cup)
½-1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
2 peaches, nectarines or apricots
450 g Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons organic vanilla sugar
1½-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
to garnish: almond flakes or chopped almonds or walnuts

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water to remove the coating, which contains the bitter-tasting saponins (sometimes I let it soak in water for about 30 minutes before rinsing, depending on the type I use). Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil on highest heat, then reduce it to the lowest and cook for about 20 minutes. Use a lid but let it tilt slightly to allow the steam to escape. When the quinoa is cooked, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about an hour.

Hull and dice the strawberries. Put them in a medium bowl and sprinkle them with ½-1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar. Allow to sit at room temperature while the quinoa is cooling.

To make the pudding: Combine 350-400 g Greek yoghurt, vanilla sugar and maple syrup in a large bowl. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork before adding it to the bowl.

Dice the fruit and chop the almonds/walnuts finely, if using.

To serve, ladle the pudding into dessert bowls or glass jars. Add strawberries on top and then fruit. Top with the rest of the Greek yoghurt and almond flakes or chopped almonds/walnuts.

Uppskrift á íslensku.



  1. This sounds super yummy and easy - I am going to try this:-) Thanks for the inspiration Lisa!

    1. You're welcome, Igor. This is one of the "bulletproof" recipes from the old food blog. Many have tried it with good results. My son even made it on Sunday and he's only ten. All I did was cooking the quinoa.


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