Six months since the last post, and it feels like it has flown.
2013 was a crazy year, a trans-continental move, a wedding, styling my first cookbook, getting settled in this big new city. It was a whirlwind, although fun. 2014 has already been more grounded and I feel like I am finding my stride here.
There have been lots of new things to discover and lots to adapt to. One of the biggest changes has been the food. In San Francisco we shopped the farmers market every Saturday and had some of the worlds freshest, most diverse and beautiful produce within easy reach. In London I have struggled to find such variety and quality and our diets have become more seasonal. But, being a New England-er by birth, many of the option available to me here aren’t so very different from the foods I grew up with.
Nuts, whole grains, dried fruits and hearty root vegetables have been staples and I have been playing a lot in the kitchen with different flavors and combinations. The exposure to more middle eastern flavors and cooking has a been a welcome new experience. I have been carrying this cookbook with me everywhere.
This Winter Couscous Salad has also been making quite a few appearances at our table. Its great on its own or with some winter greens in the bottom of a bowl. It also works well as a side with chicken or lamb. I have been roasting up baby cauliflowers I found at the market, but thick roasted slices of full sized cauliflower works too.
Winter Couscous Salad
Large couscous (2 cups dry). I used whole wheat here but any will do.
1 lemon – slice off two round slices
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 bay leaf
2 cups stock
cinnamon (half a stick or 1/4 teaspoon if using ground)
walnuts (1/2 cup) toasted – throw them in with the cauliflower for about 8 mins.
parsley – aprox 1/2 cup, chopped.
feta cheese (100 grams) cut into 1/2″ cubes
green olives – 100 grams. sliced in half. The olives I use are stuffed with orange peel
salt & pepper
Cauliflower or other protein.
If using cauliflower,
slice a medium head laterally from top to bottom in 4 slices. toss with olive oil, salt & pepper roast on a baking sheet at 350/180 until tender (aprox 20 mins) flip halfway through. Add walnuts (aprox 8 mins) at the end to toast.
For the salad:
Put tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
Drop in cinnamon – toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant
add 3 crushed garlic cloves and lemon slices & bay leaf – toast for another 30 seconds
Add couscous and toast over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add 1.5 cups of stock and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until done, you may need to add more stock. I leave a very little bit unabsorbed to keep couscous from drying out in the salad. But drain if too much liquid remains
Discard the lemon slices, cinnamon stick, bay leaf & garlic cloves. Let the couscous cool
Mix in feta, olives, walnuts & parsley. Squeeze remaining lemon juice over the mixture and fresh cracked black pepper. Mix well.
Serve with cauliflower on the side.