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

Its all gone a bit Mexican – Black Bean Quasadilla

With the sun shining and the temperature rising, the summer really did arrive in London this weekend. So why not bring some of that sunshine into the kitchen! The weather always ends up inspiring me, and the sun it really inspired me to make dishes full of colour and full of summer flavour, and for some reason I turned to Mexico for inspiration!

Now I have never been to Mexico but its very much on my list. With holidays for 2015 already in the pipe line Mexico will have to wait in line but I will go and when I do it will be an amazing foodie experience. I love the flavours and the spice that comes out of Mexican food, plus they love to put cheese on things so how could you possibly complain. The food is so simple yet full of flavour and the ingredients so versitile, its fun food to make!

So with the sun out, it of course meant picnic on the common, and once you are full of food it of course means a nap. As I dozed in the sun I pondered new recipes, food to try ( yes thats right all I do is think about food!) and new sources of inspiration, and of course something Mexican inspired popped into my head. Returning home I raided the cupboard and there they were black beans, a lovely little tin ready to cook with. With a fridge full of cheese, a quasadilla was the only way forward!

Of course I cannot just have a quasadilla on its own, and will some lovely ripe avacados sitting in the fruit bowl fresh from the farmers market they just screamed GUACAMOLE!!!

Guacamole is so quick and easy to make that it feel wrong to buy it in the shop. Here is my super quick recipe. Once you start making your own guacamole you will never go back!

Guacamole recipe

1 1/2 ripe Avocados, skinned and chopped

2 spring onions roughly chopped

3-4 small cherry tomatoes chopped in half

a few springs of coriander

1/3 chilli ( add more if you want some heat)

Squeeze of lime

Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz – pop in a bowl and serve!

such simple ingredients

such simple ingredients

...... and just whizz

…… and just whizz

And Serve!! delicious

And Serve!! delicious

 

Now you need something to go with that amazing guacamole you just made so here is a recipe for a super easy and tasty quesadilla, and the best thing is you can vary up the ingredients, add in some beef or chicken, or keep it veggie and fill it with peppers.

Quasadilla Ingredients ( for 2-3 servings)

Spray oil

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 garlic clove crushed

1/2 tsp chili flakes ( add more if you want the heat)

1 400g tin of black beans

5/6 tbsp. pasata

2 teaspoons of Schwartz Fajita spice mix

2-3 small tortilla wraps

cheese…. as much as you like.

1. Spray a frying pan with a few squirts of oil and add the onions and garlic. Let the onions cook on a low heat until soft and add in the chili flakes. Then add the black beans fajita spice and pasata, stir all together and turn the heat down to low.

such dull looking ingredients but they make such an exciting dish

such dull looking ingredients but they make such an exciting dish

into the frying pan

into the frying pan

 

2. While the beans are heating through get another frying pan out and spray with a little bit of oil, put on a low heat and add a wrap. Gentle heat for about 20 seconds on each side, then on one side spoon some of bean mix onto the wrap and top with cheese. Then fold the wrap over and turn the heat up a little bit and cook on each side for a couple of minutes so each side browns and the cheese melts. If you are doing more than one then keep them warm in the oven, otherwise serve with a salad and home made Guacamole!

fill half the tortilla wrap and top with lots of cheese

fill half the tortilla wrap and top with lots of cheese

brown each side lightly until the cheese melts

brown each side lightly until the cheese melts

Serve with yummy home made guacamole

Serve with yummy home made guacamole

Enjoy! xx