This blog is following the feeding of The Bay of Plenty Steamers through the next ten weeks. I’m writing it for the players, so that they can keep track of the recipes that we are using and hopefully gat a bit of fun and taste back into their food. That said I hope it can be of interest to  others. I will be talking directly to all the team and most of the advice will be rugby specific and in line with the teams dietary needs. If anyone has questions or need help please email through this site or facebook.

So on to this week, I really wanted to introduce Quinoa to the team as frankly it is an astonishing superfood, high in vegetable protein and gluten free. Almost more importantly it is really quick to cook and available in most supermarkets. You’ll see from the recipe that you need to panfry or dry toast the washed seeds for a while and then cover with boiling water, the easy trick is to heat the pan and fill the kettle, drop in the slightly damp quinoa and turn the kettle on. Use the time it takes the kettle to boil as the dry toasting time, then carefully add the boiling water (carefully, because it will hiss and spit for the first few seconds, then calm down). The toasting stage is important as it will release the natural nutty flavour of the quinoa.

Now to the chicken, try to buy whole chickens as it will be cheaper in the long run and learn how to butcher it (any problems, let me know and I’ll show you how next week). Leave the bone in as it will add more flavour. With the seasoning try to avoid the jar type and stick to the powder, as they tend to add all sorts of rubbish to the jar that you don’t need. The best powder I’ve found is the one at Cambrian Meats in Judea, although the supermarket ones would do.

Usually Butter chicken is made with cream, but in this case we’ve substituted with lite coconut milk to cut the fat content.

Mild Butter Chicken

1 whole chicken, preferably free range

2 tablespoons of butter chicken spice powder

1 tin crushed tomatoes

500 ml lite coconut milk

small bunch coriander


Separate the breast, legs and thighs of the chicken from the bones and sprinkle with the spice powder. Place in a sealable box and refrigerate overnight, (including the bones)

Start by bringing the coconut milk to the boil and reduce for 5 minutes then add the tomatoes. Meanwhile panfry the chicken pieces for colour and flavour, and place in a casserole dish. Pour over the sauce and place in a medium hot oven for 25 minutes.

Season to taste and sprinkle with chopped coriander, Serve.

Quinoa Salad with Roast Vegetables & Halloumi

Serves 6

1 red capsicum, chopped roughly

1 yellow capsicum, chopped roughly

1 red onion, sliced

1 courgette, sliced

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped roughly

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 cup quinoa (pronounced ‘keenwa’)

Salt & pepper

1 cup spinach, chopped roughly

150g haloumi cheese, grilled until golden brown, (optional)

Vinaigrette dressing


Roast chopped vegetables (except spinach), garlic and olive oil in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30 to 40 mins until golden brown.

Meanwhile, wash quinoa with cold water in a sieve and squeeze dry in a clean tea towel.  Place quinoa in a pan, place over a medium heat and fry until lightly toasted.  Cover with boiling water and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove vegetables from oven and add to quinoa with spinach and seasoning.  Add dressing and mix well.  Place in a bowl with grilled haloumi on top as a garnish and serve.


Makes 400ml

½ tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

50ml red wine vinegar

50ml balsamic vinegar

100ml hazelnut oil

100ml avocado oil

100ml olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

6 turns white pepper

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed


Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz for 60 seconds.  Strain through a fine sieve.

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