Feb 072012
 

Cous cous is a staple in our household. But there was a time when I thought cous cous was, well, boring.  Perhaps you do to?

I’ll let you in on a little secret – the key to tasty cous cous is…stock!  It also helps if you throw in some vegetables, or dried fruit and nuts.

This recipe is adapted from the November 2011 issue of Delicious magazine.  I think I’ve mentioned my love for this magazine before, but it really is a great resource.  I was lucky enough to get a subscription to it from Dad for my birthday last year (thanks Dad!).  Our mailbox is regularly stuffed at the beginning of the month, because I’ve also been given subscriptions to Donna Hay magazine and the new Feast magazine from SBS.  I certainly won’t be able to claim a lack of inspiration this year!

I decided to serve the cous cous with a rack of lamb we bought from Superbutcher.  It was a sweltering hot day in Brisbane, so I thought I’d try to do the rack on the stove.  I don’t recommend it!  What I should have done was cut the rack down into cutlets and pan-fried them…So learn from my mistake!  Either do the rack in the oven, or cutlets on the stove.  But definitely make the cous cous.  It’s a keeper.

 

 

Cous cous with apricots and pistachios

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
From magazine Delicious

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup cous cous
  • 350ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
  • 150g dried apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 200g marinated feta (crumbled)
  • handful flat leafed parsley (roughly chopped)
  • 1 preserved lemon (flesh and pith removed and rind finely chopped)
  • 2/3 cups pistachio kernels (roughly chopped)

Method

1 Put cous cous in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
2 In a small saucepan bring stock, saffron and a pinch of salt to the boil over medium-high heat.
3 Add the apricot and simmer for 1-2 minuts until apricots plump up slightly.
4 Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
5 Pour hot stock over the cous cous and cover with plastic wrap.
6 Allow to stand for 10 minutes until liquid has been absorbed.
7 Fluff cous cous with a fork.
8 Add feta, chopped parsley, preserved lemon rind and pistachios.
9 Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
10 Serve with lamb rack or lamb cutlets.

 

Jan 082011
 

[singlepic id=185 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=left] I’m not a vegetarian but I like to experiment with vegetarian food fairly regularly.  Chickpeas are one of my favourite pantry staples – it is so easy to pull them out with a tin of tomatoes and whip up a healthy and meat-free dinner.

This is a little number I came up with the other night, after a decadent day of eating at the Bavarian Beer Cafe in Brisbane.  I had the tasting plate of meat for lunch, so some vegetables were definitely in order for dinner.

If you can’t eat gluten or don’t have cous cous, you could use white or brown rice or bulgar.  If you don’t have almonds, you can use toasted pine nuts.  I’ve specified “Moroccan curry powder” and unfortunately I can’t be any more specific as to what’s in it – I think it’s similar to a ras-el-hanout, and it most likely has paprika, cumin, coriander and some other combination of spices.  Not very helpful I know!  I would recommend combining a few different spices like these until you get something that pleases your own tastes.

The flavours in this develop really well overnight – I ate leftovers the following day and they were delicious.  I’m also sure it would freeze really well.

[recipe-show recipe=tomato-and-chickpea-stew]

Jun 292010
 

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Just over a year ago J and I spent 4 months travelling around Europe.  For 4 magical days we explored the hot, dusty, noisy, overwhelming souks and sights of Morocco.  We attended a famous cooking class in Marrakech, we bought spices from the spice vendors in the souks and we purchased a clay tagine from a very persuasive old man!  The tagine has been used a few times, and this was our most recent adventure with it.

This recipe was courtesy of the latest Marie-Claire, and it produces a slow-cooked lamb shank that is deliciously tender and falling off the bone.  I don’t think the sauce was quite as effective when halved, so next time I would probably do a full amount of sauce, even if only using 2 lamb shanks.  For that reason, I’ve reproduced the ingredients for the full recipe.

The slow-cooking caramelises the onions in the lamb juices and spices and produces a sweet sauce to accompany the shanks.  It is very Moroccan in this way, as Moroccan food seems to favour the sweet-savory combination.  The figs and walnuts are added in the last hour, and the figs become plump with the sauce, which is quite a lovely effect.  However, I did feel the walnuts became a bit lost, so I would recommend adding some at the end for extra texture.

I served this dish with cous-cous cooked in stock and with a carmelised onion, cinnamon and sugar topping, however in hindsight I think it was too much sweetness for the dish.  J suggested that the dish would be better accompanied by mashed potatoes, and I have to agree.  For that reason, I haven’t put up the cous-cous recipe, although you’re obviously welcome to use your own discretion.

I’m sure you’ll see a trend over the next few weeks for hearty, warming winter dishes.  In my opinion, slow-cooking when the mercury drops is one of life’s great pleasures!

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[recipe-show recipe=moroccanlamb]