Posts Tagged 'couscous'

zucchini and basil salad

Sometimes you want something delicate and refined. Like a zucchini and basil salad with shavings of parmesan. But then sometimes, people need a little more substance…and a little less wankery. Sometimes, these needs take place concurrently, running parallel to one another, and only occasionally colliding. so a compromise was found because in the words of a grandmother I know “im not making six different dinners”. It was thus, that this dual salad was created. For those seeking little – stop at the basil and zucchini. For those who seek more, grill some haloumi, some broccolini, make some couscous and don’t write a blog. To each according to his need. So here it is – a theme and variations of dinner proper, entitled ‘refinement…revisited’.


4 zucchinis

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

handful of basil leaves (green and purple – if you can)

handful of parmesan shaved

handful of hazelnuts

4tbsp olive oil

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

first cut the zucchini diagonally– about 2cm thick. Put in a bowl with 1tbsp olive oil and the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Put on a crazy hot griddle pan and cook until the black marks appear. Cook it through or not…whatever does it for you. Take off the grill and put into a bowl. Pour over remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Check for seasoning. To serve, scatter the basil leaves onto a plate – add some rocket or spinach if it feels right to do so. Top with the zucchini, then the parmesan shavings and finally scatter some hazelnuts atop.

But it might be arctic out there. The elements, your immune system and the whole world might be against you…and you may need more. The cold can make a beast of a man. If this man is you then after having done your zucchini, chop up some more garlic and one red chilli.

Put some broccolini into boiling salted water for 1 minute. Then put broccolini into a bowl with the garlic, chilli and olive oil and grill until tender (not too soft). While the broccolini is grilling, make some couscous. Then grill some haloumi…its hot right now and from what im reading, it’s the new parmesan. Add broccolini, and haloumi to afore-elaborated salad and combine. Serve with couscous.

dinner proper: couscous with chickpea and roasted squash salad

sadly its not all coffee and cookies. mostly it is but sometimes that irrepressible void must be filled with dinner proper (right snow?) snow is the most ardent promoter of dinner proper i have ever met. im more of a chocolate coffee kinda girl. but then i love to cook and its my misfortune that cooking so often ends in eating. this recipe is loosely based on a recipe i found on smitten kitchen (a world shatteringly good representation of all that food blog should be) and from a number of other sources before that. so here it is…amalgamated, collated and ultimately stolen like dylan stole from woody guthrie and claimed as my own. i think its awesomes.


for salad

1 butternut squash/pumpkin (whichever your limited inner city supermarket(?) has on hand.)

chickpeas (250g)



salt/pepper/olive oil

pine nuts roasted (i refer you to nigellas greatest literary allusion ‘for the russian formalists, the point of literature was to make the stone stonier…this, makes the nuts nuttier)

1 red onion chopped finely

for tahini


juice of 2 lemons

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs water

handful parsley coarsley chopped

for couscous

250g couscous

250g stock (whatever works)


pre-heat your oven as hot as it will get. roast pine nuts. forget about them until they burn then run to the shops to pick up some more and start to ask the invariable question – what am i really doing with my life? cut the pumpkin into cubes (a size that fits in your mouth. if there are two of you with mouth size disparity try to find a middle ground). toss pumpkin in a bowl with 3 or 4 garlic cloves, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and black pepper and roast for about half hour or until soft but still shape retaining. meanwhile put a few spoons of olive oil in a pan, throw in 3 or 4 whole garlic cloves and a stick of rosemary and fry until the garlic is brown. remove the pan from heat. remove the garlic and pour in the chickpeas to coat with flavoured oil. finally add the couscous to boiling stock. remove from heat and let swell for 3 minutes. then add some butter and fork through to fluff up couscous. put the lid back on and let it swell again for another minute or so.

gently mix the pumpkin with the chickpeas, the diced red onion and toss through a couple tbs of tahini. finally scatter some pine nuts over the top. eat with couscous (or serve on a bed of couscous…depending on how many cooking stories you’ve watched today and how far you have drifted from reality).