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Posts Tagged ‘Couscous’

Couscous with Courgette, Fried Onions & Herbs

It’s courgettes with everything in our house this week, not that we’re complaining! We had this couscous as a side for a barbecue and the leftovers were great for lunches. Also a good recipe for using up any herbs you have, you don’t have to stick to combination suggested, one or two would be fine.

Couscous with courgette, fried onions & herbs – serves 6

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, grated
  • 300g couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • small bunch mint
  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch dill
  • handful rocket, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions gently until softened, then increase the heat and let them crisp up a bit.

Put the courgettes,  couscous, and chickpeas into a large bowl and pour over the stock. Cover tightly with clingfilm an set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the mint, coriander and dill together.

Fork the couscous to separate the grains then use to stir in the lemon juice, fried onions, scallions, herbs, rocket and plenty of seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Barbecued Prawn Kebabs with Harissa & Couscous

A healthy, weeknight dish with lovely flavours. Another recipe for using up bits and bobs you may already have which is our primary motivation for cooking mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh white or a crisp, dry rosé would be our choice for this dish. We had a glass of the Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Rosé from Ventoux (and quite Provençal in style) and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Barbecued prawn kebabs with harissa & couscous – serves 4

  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved lengthways, then each half quartered into 4 chunks
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 200g couscous
  • 400g raw prawns
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2 tsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • juice ½ lemon, plus wedges, to serve
  • handful mint leaves, roughly chopped

Put 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured, they’ll fall apart and that’s fine. Scoop them out of the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the same pan, add the cumin seeds and toast for a few minutes until they smell good. Tip the carrots into the pan and season, then cook for a few minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, then pour over the couscous and 400ml hot water. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, get your barbecue going. Put the prawns, cherry tomatoes and softened onions in another bowl, season, then stir in the harissa. Thread the prawns, tomatoes and onions onto metal skewers (you can use wooden ones either but you need to soak in water for 20 minutes first). Barbecue the kebabs for a couple of minutes on each side, or until the prawns are cooked through.

Mix the tahini, yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice and seasoning to make a sauce. Fork the mint though the couscous, transfer to a platter and place the skewers on top. Serve with the sauce and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Couscous, Cherry Tomato & Herb Salad

We made this couscous salad from Ottolenghi Simple for the first time this week and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Serve it at all your summer barbecues (provided local restrictions allow) and expect very happy guests.

Couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 50g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grate to get 1 tsp of zest and squeeze to get 1 tbsp of juice

Put the couscous into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour over 400ml boiling water, then seal well with tin foil and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown and split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and sprinkle them with salt.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp of oil to the same pan. Add the onions, the other tsp of ras el hanout and an a pinch of salt. Fry over a medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden-brown and soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and leave to cool.

When the couscous has cooked a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onions and raisin mixture and stir, then add the cumin seeds, almonds, herbs, lemon zest & juice, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Serve on a platter with the tomatoes on the top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Green couscous and roasted veg with black garlic and preserved lemon

Black garlic is a revelation and we’ll definitely use it again after this dish – sweet and mellow with lots of flavour but none of the harshness associated with white garlic. This is a great crowd pleaser by Sabrina Ghayour with lots of fresh flavours and bright colours. We served with spicy roast salmon but it would be great with meat dishes too.

Green couscous & roasted veg with black garlic & preserved lemons – serves 6 to 8 as a side

  • 2 courgettes, halved lengthways and sliced into 1cm thick half moons
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 2.5cm squares
  • 1 yellow or green pepper, cut into 2.5cm squares
  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 300g couscous
  • 6 to 8 preserved lemons, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 head of black garlic, cloves thinly sliced

FOR THE HERB OIL:

  • 50g flat parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 50g coriander, roughly chopped
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to its highest setting and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put the courgettes, peppers & onions into the baking tray. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Use your hands to make sure the vegetables are all coated with the oil, then spread them out evenly on the tray. Roast for 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the pack, then separate the grains with a fork.

To make the herb oil, use a mini food processor or stick blender to blitz the herbs with enough olive oil to make a smooth herb oil – a few tablespoons. Season generously with salt and then stir the herb oil through the couscous. Finally, stir in the roasted veg, preserved lemons and black garlic. Serve hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Merguez pot au feu with couscous

A dish of Merguez sausages and couscous from Marseilles. Like a Pot au Feu with flavours of the Maghreb. So delicious!

Wine Suggestion: French meets the Mediterranean, meets the Middle East – the Massaya le Colombier is a Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo blend. Made in stainless steel to preserve the fruit we love to chill this for 30 minutes, but you don’t have to.

Merguez with Couscous – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 700g skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved and sliced
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 large piece of orange zest (use the juice to soak the raisins)
  • 400g merguez sausages
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp harissa

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

  • 450g couscous
  • 100g raisins, soaked in orange juice
  • 50g butter

Put the spices in a large wide pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken, vegetables, chillies, saffron and orange zest with 1 litre of cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. Season well and continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the merguez sausages to the chicken, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas.

Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and cover with the same volume of boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then fork through.

Tip the couscous into a serving bowl and add the raisins, butter and plenty of salt and pepper.

Add 4 tbsp of the chicken cooking liquid to the harissa to make a sauce.

Serve the chicken & sausages with the couscous and harissa sauce on the side.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: Olive Magazine, September 2013.)

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Couscous and mograbiah with oven-dried tomatoes

Mograbiah is a large variety of couscous that we were unable to find for this recipe but Italian fregola worked well. We also started this too late to make our own labneh but a soft goat’s cheese log rolled in dried mint and black pepper made a good substitute. We hope the guys at Ottolenghi wouldn’t be too horrified. Serve this for lunch or as a side dish for roast or barbecued meat.

Couscous and mograbiah with oven-dried tomatoes – serves 6 to 8

  • 16 large, ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 250g mograbiah (or fregola)
  • 400ml chicken stock/veg stock
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 250g couscous
  • 1 tbsp picked tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • 100g labneh (we used a soft goat’s cheese log rolled in dried mint and freshly ground black pepper)

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.

Put the halved tomatoes on a baking tray, with skins down, and sprinkle with the sugar, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, plus the balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours or until the tomatoes have lost their moisture.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions in 4 tbsp of the olive oil over a high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden.

Cook the mograbiah or fregola in a large pan of salted boiling water (follow the instructions on the pack but cook until soft but with a little bite). Drain well and rinse under cold water.

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan with the saffron threads and a pinch of salt. Put the couscous into a large bowl and add 3 tbsp  of the olive oil  and the boiling stock. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes, fork the couscous to get rid of any lumps. Add the cooked mograbiah, the tomatoes and any juice, the onions and their oil, plus the tarragon and nigella seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning and oil if needed – it will likely require a good dose of salt.

Serve the dish at room temperature with the labneh (or goat’s cheese) on top, drizzle with the rest of the oil and finish with the remaining nigella seeds.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi: the cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamami, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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Golden Couscous

Plain buttered couscous is perfect with tagine and middle eastern stews. Occasionally though it’s nice to add a few extras to make it taste a bit special.

Golden Couscous – serves 3 to 4 as a side (easy to double)

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 150g couscous
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 175ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then tip in the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until softened and golden. Stir in the turmeric, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the couscous into a bowl and rub in the olive oil with your fingertips.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then pour over the couscous, cover with clingfilm and allow to steam for 5-6 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed.

Stir in the onions, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts and season to taste.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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Haloumi, courgette, chickpea and tomato couscous

Really summery, colourful, and quick to throw together.

Wine Suggestion: the vibrancy of flavours demanded an equally vivacious wine; we chose the Kilikanoon Morts’ Block Riesling from the Clare Valley in Australia. It was dry and driven by a limey, textured presence that sang alongside this dish.

Warm Couscous Salad with Halloumi, Courgette, Chickpeas & Tomatoes – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 250ml boiling vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g courgettes, sliced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes on the vine, halved
  • 250g pack of halloumi cheese, sliced thickly, then halved lengthways
  • 125ml olive oil (nothing too big flavoured)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp sugar

Tip the couscous into a bowl and pour over the vegetable stock. Cover with some cling film and leave for 5 minutes.

Mix the 125ml olive oil, the lime juice, garlic, mint & sugar together in a bowl to make a dressing.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, stir in the chickpeas, then pour over half of the dressing. Mix well together and pile onto a serving plate.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and fry the courgette slices for 2-3 minutes or until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Put the tomatoes into the pan, cut side down, for a couple of minutes until tinged brown on the cut side. Scatter the courgettes over the couscous, followed by the tomatoes.

Heat a little more oil, then add the halloumi strips and fry for a couple of minutes or until brown on all sides. Pile the halloumi on top of the salad and pour over the remaining dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

 

 

 

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Thrill of grill couscous

This is an old favourite that we make every summer. The chopped up mushrooms give it a fantastic earthy flavour and it works really well with barbecues and on picnics.

Tasty Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling vegetable stock (we still use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts, almonds or rough chopped hazelnuts
  • a generous handful of basil

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, fork the couscous through to break up any lumps, then stir in the oil and pesto, then tip in all the veg and nuts and tear in the basil. Taste and season.

Simple as that!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2002.)

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Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous

This makes such a lovely weekend dish and looks really attractive served on a large platter in the middle of the table. It requires a few hours in the oven but is hardly any work at all and uses just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: this dish cries out for a Moorish influenced wine and nothing quite achieves this more than a Spanish Tempranillo. Our choice of the evening was the Carmelo Rodero Ribera del Duero Crianza which is juicy, powerful and also manages to achieve a perfumed elegance with exotic eastern spice hints.

Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous – serves 6

  • 2kg lamb shoulder (or get your butcher to give you a forequarter if the lambs are small)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
  • 300g couscous
  • butter
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Put the lamb into a roasting tin with the fatty side facing up. Scatter the onion around the lamb. Score the lamb with a sharp knife and rub in the pomegranate molasses with your hands. Season well. Add 2 mugs of water to the tin, then cover with foil and roast for 4 hours. Rest for 15 minutes before pulling chunks of the lamb off the bone with 2 forks.

While the lamb is resting, put the couscous into a large bowl with a large knob of butter, the harissa and seasoning, then add enough boiling water to just cover. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains gently with a fork. Put the couscous onto a platter and arrange the shredded lamb on top. Pour off any fat from the roasting tin and pour the juices over the lamb and couscous plus a little more molasses. Scatter with the mint and pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: BBC Olive Magazine, February 2014.)

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Feta, fresh & semi-dried tomato couscous

We cooked this dish while camping in France and it was a great side dish for all sorts of barbecued meat. It’s also a great idea for using up leftover sun-dried tomatoes which can easily get forgotten in the back of our fridge.

Tomato & Feta Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 250g piece of feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 heaped tbsp chopped basil leaves

Put the couscous into a large bowl, pour over boiling water to cover, then leave to soak for 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Marinate the feta in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil for about 20 minutes.

Chop the cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and mix together.

Crumble the marinated feta into large pieces, then fork through the couscous with the tomatoes and basil and season to taste.

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

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Tomato party

This dish celebrates all the juicy tomatoes we’re picking in our garden at the moment. We only had red ones when we made this but a week before we had a glut of yellow toms too. It doesn’t matter which you use, they’ll all taste great.

Wine suggestions: We have tried a couple of very successful wines with this dish, but the trick is to make sure the wine has a slightly higher acidity and good minerality; try smaller, quality winemakers and this will be a good guide. Successful wine matches have been Umani Ronchi’s Vellodoro Pecorino and Casal di Sera Verdicchio – both great matches, Joguet’s Chinon Cuvée Terroir (delicious Cabernet Franc), and the Gulfi Cerasuolo from Sicily.

Tomato Couscous – serves 4

  • 125g couscous
  • olive oil
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 150g fregola (giant couscous)
  • 300g medium vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small green tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 100g tomberries or halved cherry tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.

Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and drizzle of oil. Pour over the boiling water, stir and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside for 12 minutes, then remove the cling film, separate with a fork and leave to cool.

Put the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 18 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Leave to dry completely.

Meanwhile, spread the quartered vine tomatoes over half of a large baking tin and sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and some oil over the top. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes take the tomatoes out of the oven and increase the temperature to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Spread the yellow tomatoes over the empty side of the baking tin. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Return the tin to the oven and roast for 12 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Mix the couscous and fregola in a large bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, cooked tomatoes with all their juices, the green tomato and tomberries. Very gently mix everything with your hands. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed.

(Original recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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We’re always looking for easy things to take to work for lunch. This can be made with almost anything you have left in the fridge but we make it most often when we’ve only used half a pack of feta cheese for another recipe. The more herbs you add the better so its great for using up the ends of those little packs.

Quick couscous salad – makes 4 large portions 

  • 250g couscous
  • 400ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • small jar of chargrilled red peppers in olive oil, drained and diced
  • ½ cucumber, chopped small
  • scallions, finely chopped
  • feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • lots of chopped herbs

Put the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the cling film, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and season.  Separate the grains with a fork and leave to cool a bit.

While the couscous is still warmish, add the rest of the ingredients and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add more oil if it needs moisture. Eat at room temperature.

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Delicious and speedy after-work dinner.

Moroccan Chicken Wings with Herby Couscous – to serve 4

  • 1kg chicken wings
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp harissa paste, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 medium orange, zested and juiced (you need about 6 tbsp)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 150g couscous
  • large bunch mint
  • large bunch coriander
  • preserved lemon, enough to give 2 tbsp when finely chopped
  • 0% fat Greek yoghurt to serve

Heat the grill to high. Put the wings into a large roasting tin and grill for 15 minutes, turning once, until golden.

Mix the maple syrup, harissa and cumin with the zests, half of the orange and lemon juices and some seasoning. Pour this over the wings and give the tray a good shake to coat everything, then return to the grill for another 15 minutes until browned and stick, turning once.

Add the rest of the citrus juices to the dry couscous, then add enough boiling water to cover. Clingfilm the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the herbs.

Stir the couscous with a fork to separate the grains, then add the herbs, preserved lemon, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and some seasoning. Serve with the wings and a spoonful of yogurt mixed with a bit more harissa.

Beer Suggestion: Choose once of the fuller-flavoured lagers such as Kirin from Japan, it’ll work a treat.

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Another fantastic vegetarian recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi with fabulous flavours and interesting textures. This was so good we made it twice in one week.

The ultimate winter couscous – to serve 4

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 300g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 200g chickpeas (tinned are fine)
  • 350ml water
  • 170g couscous
  • large pinch saffron threads
  • 260ml boiling vegetable stock
  • 20g butter, cut into pieces
  • 25g harissa paste
  • 25g preserved lemon skin, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander
  • salt

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas Mark 5. Put the carrots, parsnips and shallots in a large ovenproof dish. Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, 4 tbsp of the oil, 3/4 tsp salt and all the other spices and mix well. Put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, stir and return to the oven. Cook for another 35 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but still have a bit of a bite. Add the apricots and the chickpeas and water. Put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until hot.

About 15 minutes before the vegetables are done, put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl with the last tablespoon of olive oil, the saffron and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for about 10 minutes. Then add the butter and fluff with a fork until it has melted in. Cover again and keep warm until the vegetables are ready.

To serve, spoon the couscous into a deep plate or bowl. Stir the harissa and preserved lemon into the vegetables; season with salt if necessary. Spoon the vegetables onto the centre of the couscous and finish with lots of coriander.

Wine Suggestion: While spices are usually hard to pair with wine, the aromatic quality of this dish would work well with a good, off-dry Pinot Gris from Alsace (the good producers put a handy sweetness scale on the side of their bottles). Alternately a juicy grenache with softer, ripe tannins and a velvety spice  would taste good too if you’d like a red. Try to find a grenache based Priorat from Spain if you want to push the boat out a bit!

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press 2010.)

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We got some cheap lamb chops at the weekend and so looked for something fresh to accompany them. This looked good and went really well with the chops, which we barbecued. Dress the couscous when it is still warm to get the flavour in.

Herby couscous with citrus & pomegranate dressing – to serve 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 150 pomegranate seeds (you can buy a packet  of seeds in the supermarket or just buy one pomegranate)
  • handful of chopped mint and coriander
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp each of white wine vinegar and olive oil

Put the couscous in a shallow dish and pour over 200ml boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes. Rough it up with a fork to separate the grains and stir through the pomegranate seeds and herbs.

Mix the orange juice, vinegar and olive oil and stir into the couscous. Season well with salt.

Tip: If you buy a whole pomegranate cut it in half and bang it with a wooden spoon to get the seeds out. It’s very easy so we don’t really get why the seeds come in packets.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9841/herby-couscous-with-citrus-and-pomegranate-dressin)

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This is a good everyday recipe and a really nice way to cook boring old skinless boneless chicken breasts.  We’re hoping the leftovers will make nice lunch boxes for tomorrow too.

Chicken with lemon and courgette couscous – to serve 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 courgettes, grated
  • 2 lemons, 1 halved, 1 cut in wedges
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put the couscous into a large bowl and pour over the stock. Cover and leave for 10 minutes, until the stock has been absorbed.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil and fry the courgettes until softened and starting to crisp at the edges. We used very big courgettes which gave out loads of water – it this happens just drain the water off in a colander and put the courgettes back in the pan to crisp up a little.

Tip the courgettes into the couscous and stir in plenty of seasoning and a good squeeze of lemon juice from one of the halves.

Halve the chicken breasts horizontally and put them on sheets of cling film. Cover with another sheet and beat them out with a rolling pin to make them thinner. We had escalopes in the freezer which worked well without bashing. Season.

Heat the other tbsp of oil in a large pan and fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side. Squeeze over the juice from the other half lemon and serve with couscous and lemon wedges.

Hardly any fat or calories which can’t be bad either.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We were up in Belfast for the weekend which always means over-indulgence and I then flew to Birmingham for a conference and ate very boring and fatty food – what a waste!

This was a much needed healthy dinner and yet again I had succumbed to M&S reduced tuna steaks (I just can’t help myself when it comes to food bargains!).

This reads fairly dull but actually it was really tasty. I’m not a big fan of red onions (like I usually poke them out of a salad) but the way these are macerated with the lemon juice really takes the sting and sharpness out of them.

Highly recommended for when you feel like something healthy and tasty (or if you have to use them cheapo tuna fillets you bought).

I found this recipe in another of my old BBC Good Food magazines.

Hot mustard tuna with herby couscous (serves 4 though we halved it very successfully)

  • Put a finely sliced red onion in a little bowl with the zest and juice of a lemon and some seasoning – leave to soak for about 5 minutes to soften the onion a bit.
  • Put 250g of couscous into a large bowl and pour over 400ml of hot vegetable stock, cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Season 4 tuna steaks, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil, then pat 2 tsps of English mustard powder over them.
  • When the couscous is ready, add a bunch of roughly chopped flat parsley and 2 tbsp of capers to the onions – give it a good stir before mixing into the couscous with a fork.
  • Heat a griddle pan and sear the tuna steaks for a minute on each side (more if you don’t like it rareish).
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

Julie

Original recipe can be found here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4839/hot-mustard-tuna-with-herby-couscous

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