16 February 2011


Unless you are French or familiar with North Africa, couscous can be a little daunting. But it shouldn't be. It is a wonderful staple grain food, delicious and easy to prepare alternative to potatoes, rice, pasta etc. Children love it. Its nature is to carry flavours deliciously, and it therefore makes an excellent supper salad of the more substantial type. Serve with hard-boiled eggs, and a lettuce, washed, spun and torn up, and dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I am doing accurate measurements here to reassure if you are unfamiliar with the soaking up qualities of this grain.
Melt a little butter in a large pan, add 350ml (12fl oz) stock, bring to the boil and throw in 250g (9oz) couscous. Stir and remove from heat, letting it stand uncovered for 10 minutes or so. Tip into a big salad bowl, and break up lumps to arrive at a uniform grain. Add chopped and lightly steamed courgettes, cut up, peeled and de-seeded tomato, a handful of raisins, chopped spring or red onion, a handful of toasted pinenuts or sunflower seeds, and mix all gently together. Crush a garlic clove to a paste with salt, and stir into the juice of a lemon. Whisk in olive oil, and finish with chopped mint and freshly ground black pepper. If you like heat, dust with cayenne

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