Mr O and I are continuing to work hard on our healthy eating so I’ve been making loads of salads. This couscous based one has been such a hit that it’s become an almost overnight lunch/dinner staple. The reason it’s called a “jewel” salad is because all the pretty colourful ingredients look like little jewels dotted through the couscous.
The secret to this couscous with a kick is the spicy harissa paste in its dressing.
Summer couscous salad
125ml chicken stock
200g tinned chickpeas, drained
2 courgettes cut at a slant
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
250g haloumi cheese, thickly sliced
For the dressing
60ml olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 cloved of garlic finely chopped
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon of harissa paste
Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the stock. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Mix together all the dressing ingredients. Stir the couscous with a fork and mix in the chickpeas and dressing. Set aside.
Put a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the courgette slices until golden brown on both sides and then set aside on a piece of kitchen paper.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan, return to the heat and then put the tomatoes in the pan cut side down. Fry for a couple of minutes until lightly brown. Set aside with the courgettes.
Wipe the pan out, add a little more olive oil, return to the heat and fry the haloumi until golden on both sides.
Arrange the couscous, courgettes, tomatoes and haloumi onto two plates and serve.
This is another one of Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. This time I decided to to go bold and attempt to cook something I have never made before – squid. Not knowing very much about squid, I didn’t think to ask for it to be gutted and cleaned by the fishmonger… meaning I had to do it myself. It wasn’t too complicated. You just cut off the tentacles and then pull out the ball of guts in the middle and rinse the whole thing out. If you are going to clean your own squid I would highly recommend wearing rubber gloves while you do it otherwise you are likely to end up with stinky squid hands for a couple of days after… trust me. I know…
Chorizo and squid with couscous
2 spring onions, trimmed
50g baby spinach1/2 a bunch of fresh mint
200g baby squid, gutted and cleaned
80g chorizo, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced and deseeded
1/2 tablespoon runny honey
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A handful of black olives
50g feta cheese
1 heaped tablespoon harissa paste
100ml fat free natural yoghurt
Boil your kettle and put a large pan over a high heat. Put the spring onions, mint and the leafy top part of the mint in your food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper and blitz until fine. Remove the blade, add the couscous and 1 cup of boiling water. Put the lid on the processor and set aside.
Cut open the squid tubes and using a dinner knife, lightly score the inside in 1/2cm crisscrosses. Then slice into 1cm strips with a sharp knife and roughly slice the tentacles.
Put the chorizo in the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the peppers and cook for about 4 minutes. Then add the squid, the honey and a splash of vinegar. Add the garlic and the olives and cook for a couple more minutes. Be careful not to overcook because the squid will turn to rubber if it’s cooked for a minute too long.
Drain and then fluff up the couscous. Mix in the juice of half a lemon and tip onto a big platter. Spoon over the squid, peppers and chorizo over the couscous. Crumble over the feta along with the remaining mint leaves. Put the yoghurt in a small bowl and ripple through the harissa paste. Serve with the couscous.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
As the weather has finally gotten warmer, I’ve been craving salads and light, fresh foods so I have been looking for new recipes to try out. This is warm chicken and couscous salad is from Jamie’s Fifteen Minute Meals and is quick (not 15 minutes but still quick) and very tasty. Just make sure you are careful when you’re bashing the chicken and don’t bash your finger like I did, ouch!
Warm Greek Chicken and Couscous Salad
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 fresh red chilli
4 spring onions
½ a bunch of fresh dill
200g frozen peas
1 small handful of black olives
2 skinless, chicken breasts
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp ground allspice
1 ½ lemons
½ a cucumber
250g fat free natural yoghurt
½ a bunch fresh mint
40g feta cheese
Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and add 600ml boiling water and cover. Put a pan of boiling water over a high heat and add the frozen peas. Blanch for a couple of minute drain and set aside. Lay out a large piece of greaseproof paper and toss the chicken with salt, pepper, oregano, allspice and the zest of one lemon. Fold over the paper and bash the chicken with something heavy until it is about 1 1/2cm thick. I used an olive oil bottle. Jamie suggests a rolling pin but anything with a bit of heft will do. Add the chicken to the pre-heated frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn after 3 – 4 minutes until golden and cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, make the tzatziki. Coarsely grate the cucumber and sprinkle with a good pinch of salt. Now squeeze the cucumber with your hands to get out any excess water. Put the cucumber in a bowl with the yoghurt, juice of half a lemon, a pinch of pepper and the finely chopped leafy top half of the mint. Stir together.
Deseed the peppers and chilli and then pulse in a blender with the trimmed spring onions and the chopped dill. Scatter over a serving platter with the blanched peas. Tear the olives into pieces and add these as well. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Scatter over the couscous and mix everything together. Slice the cooked chicken and scatter over the platter. Crumble the feta over the top and serve with the tzatziki.