Tomato and Za’atar Couscous

I love a simple recipe, something that can be whipped up quickly but tastes delicious like you spent hours making it. I especially love a simple but delicious dish on a sunday evening when you are faced with the prospect of returning to work in the morning, the fun of the weekend is almost over and the sun is starting to dip. For me couscous is a saving grace of many a lunch or dinner. It takes only a couple of minutes to prepare (boiling water and some seasoning) and you can add almost anything to it.

On this particularly sunny Sunday I decided to raid the somewhat bare cupboard and see what I could make from the sparse looking contents. As is always staple in my cupboards I found chickpeas, but of course chickpeas!! they bulk out many a meal so why not add them to my couscous. Throwing in a mix of herbs and a good helping of Za’atar I had myself  a fresh couscous salad that was going to make a lush dinner and of course enough for lunch in the week ( a good lunch is salvation to being locked in an office when the sun is out).

This is a super quick salad, and can be adapted to include a range of other things depending on what you have in the fridge and cupboard. You can serve it warm or cold if making it in advance or taking it for lunch the next day.

Tomato and Za'atar Couscous Salad

Ingredients

100g couscous ( dried)

Boiling Water

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

1 tin of chickpeas (400g)

2-3 sundried tomatoes

handful of mini plum or cherry tomatoes ( if using big ones 1/2 should be fine)

2 teaspoons of Za’atar

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 lemon ( juice)

olive oil to drizzle

1. Put the couscous in a large bowl, sprinkle the stock cube over the couscous and cover with boiling water ( twice as much water as couscous). Mix with a fork and then cover for 5 minutes ( or as the packet instructions).

2. In a smaller bowl put the drained chickpeas and then sprinkle over the za’atar and herbs, lemon juice and drizzle with the olive oil. Give it a good mix. Put to one side.

3. Chop the sundried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes into small pieces and mix into the chickpeas. Taste at this point and add more za’atar if necessary.

4. Once the couscous is cooked, give it a stir with a fork to break it up ( it should be nice and fluffy), then mix in the chickpeas. Taste and season if necessary.

There you have it a fresh and delicious salad that took no time at all.

Tomato and Za'atar Couscous salad

Serve it with some fried halloumi and roasted vegetables. It will also go well with a green salad. A fabulous summer salad full of flavour that takes as long to cook as a microwave meal!

Enjoy xx

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Stuffed Mushrooms with Halloumi and Roast Tomatoes

This time of the year I can find it hard to motivate myself to cook as all I really want to be doing is drinking Pimms in the sun or sitting in the park with a good book. With the sun out and looking like its here to stay ( well at least for this week) I need to get myself kitchen motivate and the easiest way I find is quick easy meals that I can make without really thinking.

One of my all time favourite summer ingredients ( who am I kidding, it’s an all year round fridge staple for me!)  is Halloumi.  It’s an ingredient that makes you think of BBQ’s and summer holidays in the Mediterranean. It’s such a versatile little cheese and goes with nearly everything. Halloumi is best served warm, grilled or fried and because it takes barely any time at all to cook its a brilliant quick summer food.

Most recently I decided to top stuffed mushrooms with the almighty halloumi.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Halloumi and Roast Tomatoes

serves 2

2 large Portobello mushrooms

100g cherry tomatoes

100g Halloumi

olive oil

salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees ( fan oven) and halve the cherry tomatoes. Place the mushrooms on a roasting tray and season. Scatter the tomatoes around the mushrooms again, season and drizzle with oil.

Mushroom and tomatoes ready for the oven

Put the mushrooms and tomatoes in the oven. While cooking, slice your Halloumi. After 15-20 minutes the tomatoes should be oozing, the skin starting to wrinkle and crisp. If the mushrooms are soft in the middle ( and will be releasing a bit of water) take the tray out of the oven. Scoop the tomatoes up and place them in the middle of the two mushrooms and then top with the Halloumi. Place them back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes until the cheese starts to brown around the edges.

adding the Halloumi

Once ready serve with a nice salad, and that is quick and easy summer meal!

Mushroom with salad