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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Lebanese Spiced Couscous

How is it the end of August already?! This year is flying by at an uncontrollable rate and summer is almost over – sad times! All over the radio this morning people were declaring summer over as its now September, the schools are back in session and new fabulous scarves are filling the shelves in clothes shops( I know it’s not cold enough but I have seen the most adorable knitted snood I need to get my hands on!). As a last hurrah to summer my friend hosted the last BBQ of the season. We gathered in her back garden, buckets filled with ice and beer and lounged like lizards taking in the sun.

As usual the men folk gathered around the BBQ debating whether it was hot enough, if more coals were needed, and when was an appropriate time to start putting the meat on…. it looked quite intense, like they were debating serious world matters. What is it about men and this primeval need to take control when cooking outdoors on coals! We women on the other hand lounged listening to the tunes of summer with cider in hand. This… this is how Saturday’s were made to be spent, in the sunshine with good food and good company.

 

The ultimate man tool - the BBQ

The ultimate man tool – the BBQ

 

 

 

Summer drinking - Limencello!

Summer drinking – Limencello!

Of course, traditionally a BBQ is meat heavy, but it is not complete without some yummy salads to go on the side of that meat filled plate. As someone who likes to feed people and never goes to a party empty-handed, I whipped up a super easy and tasty Lebanese inspired couscous salad. This was just yet another excuse for me to use my new and exciting Steenberg spice mixes.

Ingredients

( This was feeding a group of about 12 people)

250g couscous

2 courgettes

1 pepper

1 red onion

150g cherry tomatoes

2-3 teaspoons of Steenbergs Lebanese 7 Spice.

To start with, I chopped up my vegetables and roasted them off in the oven for about 20-25mins ( oven temp. 180 degrees). I used Courgettes, onions, peppers and tomatoes but it’s completely up to you what roast veg you want in it.

Get those Veggies roasted

Get those Veggies roasted

 

Then once the veg is roasted you can start to prepare the couscous. Put the 250g of couscous into a large bowl and cover with 300ml of boiling water, stir with a fork and cover the bowl with cling film. Give it 5 minutes to absorb all the water, remove the film and fluff the couscous up. At this point I give it a quick drizzle of oil, and stir in the first teaspoon of Lebanese spice.

Couscous and spice

Couscous and spice

Mix in the roast vegetables

Mix in the roast vegetables

 

Then pop the roast vegetables in and stir through. Pop another teaspoon of the Lebanese spice in and give it another good stir so everything is coated and the vegetables distributed evenly. You can add another teaspoon of spice in you think necessary but its down to taste!

Lebanese spiced couscous

Lebanese spiced couscous

And there you have it, a quick and yummy summer salad that goes tremendously well with a BBQ! Fingers crossed this Indian summer we have been promised comes good!

Enjoy