Well, along with the usual barbecued meats that we served - chicken and lamb kebabs, rosemary and garlic lamb cutlets and chicken drumsticks, I knocked up a couple of salads, one of which was this delicious Moroccan inspired Cous Cous Salad.
I took step-by-step photos so that I could blog all about it, but time ran away with me and I didn't get around to doing it. But hey, better late than never right?! When cooking on the fly, I tend to just add a bit of this, throw in a bit of that, and I can't quite remember how much of each ingredient I used...I've put suggested quantities in brackets, but please, if you find it is too much, or too little, just adjust!
Ingredients needed...Feeds 4 - 6 people...
- dried cous cous (200g)
- vegetable or chicken stock cube (1)
- harissa paste (1-2tbsp)
- dried mint (1-2tsp)
- fresh mint, finely chopped (small handful)
- spring onions, finely sliced (3-4)
- chargrilled red and yellow peppers, roughly chopped (1-2)
- cooked chickpeas (1 x 400g can)
- sultanas (handful)
- olive oil
Cous cous is wonderful stuff! It's so easy to prepare and soaks up any flavourings offered to it! I always start cous cous off in the same way: I pour some into a container that has a lid, add some herbs and spices - in this case it was dried mint - and crumble in a chicken stock cube. It doesn't add a chicken flavour, but adds a bit of savoury-ness to it. By all means, to keep this vegetarian, don't put in a chicken stock cube - add a vegetable one instead.
Sometimes I throw in dried flaked chillies (sometimes fresh) or cinnamon. Give it a quick mix around, and then pour over boiling hot water to cover it, with a little extra just above the dried cous cous. Then clamp the lid on tight and just leave it to soak all the water and flavours up. I give it a stir after about 5 minutes, and if necessary a splash more water if it looks a bit dry. I then put the lid back on until I need to use it.
You'll notice that I didn't add any salt...I find that the stock cube has enough salt in it, but if you've omitted that, feel free to season to your taste.
Since I started my diet over a year ago, cous cous is the go to carb for me these days - I love it!
With the cous cous swelling up in the container, it's time to prep everything else. I had some red and yellow peppers in the fridge, so I placed them on a baking tray and popped them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes to char. I then removed the skins and the seeds, and roughly chopped into chunks. To make peeling them easier, it's best to put them into a plastic bag (or container with a lid) to allow the steam to penetrate, making life a lot easier! I much prefer the taste of charred bell peppers over raw ones, but that's personal preference! You can also buy jars of ready-charred peppers, so if you find those in the supermarket, go for it!
I also sliced up some spring onions, opened a can of chicken peas, grabbed some sultanas out of the pantry, finely chopped up some fresh mint and discovered some harissa paste in the fridge.
With the ingredients gathered, it was assembly time!
Fluff up the cous cous with a fork, and stir in a tablespooon or two of harissa paste. This stuff has quite a kick to it, so maybe start small and have a taste before adding more!
Stir in the chopped spring onions...
Then the finely chopped fresh mint...
In with the chargrilled peppers. I like to incorporate one ingredient at a time to make sure there is an even mix.
Toss in the drained and rinsed chickpeas...
And finally, throw in a handful of sultanas for sweetness...
One final stir, at which point you can add a glug of olive oil to moisten the salad up and it's all done!