By Bruno Loubet of the Grain Store

I always aim to give vegetables equal billing to meat and fish - this corn on quinoa tamale puts vegetables centre stage, where they belong.

Ingredients (Serves 4)


  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 tomato  
  • 1 half lime, juiced 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 garlic – ½ clove
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 5cm chunks
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Corn on the cob with husk 

  • 1 heaped tbsp quinoa 
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 1 tsp dried chipotle chilli 
  • 200ml apple juice 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • ½ tsp lemon thyme 
  • 300gm pork belly 
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 2tbsp ketchup 
  • 1tbsp honey 
  • 1tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 tbsp HP sauce 
  • 1tsp tomato paste 
  • 1 slice of orange 
  • 4 heads of corn with husk


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Place the pork belly on an oven dish, skin side up. Rub with oil, season with salt and pepper and place in hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a dish, mix together all of the remaining ingredients for the glaze and pour over the pork belly. Roll the belly in the glaze mixture to get an even coverage, then cover in foil and lower the temperature to 150C. You will need to turn the belly every 5 minutes, coating it well with the sauce each time. Keep covered with the foil to avoid any drying.
  4. Gently pull off the husk (leaves) from around the cob, making sure to keep it whole. With a sharp knife, cut off the corn from the cob and keep the leaves to one side. 
  5. In a pan, heat up the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, lemon thyme and finely chopped chipotle. Cook by gently stirring until the onions get a light golden colour; at this stage add the corn and the apple juice. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat to gently simmer.
  6. After 15 mins, keeping the ingredients in the pan, use a hand blender to pulp 3 or 4 times (only to start to break some corn and release some of the starch). Add the quinoa, mix well, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for another 10 mins.
  7. Pour the mix in a fresh bowl, then leave to cool down.
  8. To shape the tamale: overlap the leaves to make 4 crosses on a work top. Place equal amounts of the mix in the middle and then fold in the right side to the left, then the front up toward you, then the left to right and finally, the front down up. Tighten the parcel neatly with a piece of string.
  9. For the salsa: toss the cut vegetables in very little olive oil, season with salt and pepper then sear them on a very hot cast iron grill or barbeque to get nice black stripes. Place in a blender, add the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice – blend until very fine.
  10. To dress: place the tamale on the cast iron grill or barbeque to colour on both sides. Then switch off the heat and leave on the grill to let the inside of the tamale warm.  Cut the belly in four. On each plate, place the tamale with a piece of pork belly and the sauce (in a jug).
  11. Cut off the top leaves of the tamale with scissors and serve. 

Photo by Jonathan Lovekin