couscous

All posts tagged couscous

Cauliflower Tabouleh with Glazed Tempeh: Heavenly Healthy and Devilishly Delicious

Published February 18, 2015 by The Feminist

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This title probably has far too many alliterations and rhyming vowels in it.

No scratch that. It definitely has too many alliteration and rhyme in it. But who cares? This dish was simply too life-changing, mind-blowing, heart-warming for me to ever care about such trivialities like wordplay.

Mark my words, dearest readers: THIS. WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MIND. (and taste buds, for that matter)

But enough with this uncontrollably euphoric gibberish! I’m assuming you all would like to know more details about this “cauliflower tabouleh with glazed tempeh”, right?

Cauliflower tabouleh, as the term suggests, is a tabouleh made with cauliflower (duh.). So instead of using couscous, I blitzed an entire cauliflower into my blender until it looked like couscous grains. I then tossed in some heavenly healthy hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes, cumin, fresh mint, lots of pomegranate seeds and last but not least topped it all off with a devilishly delicious dressing of harissa and maple syrup.

This tabouleh on its own already is the tastiest thing you can ever imagine –and a brilliant lunch alternative!- but since I wanted to make the meal a bit more substantial,  I added some glossy glazed tempeh; the sticky glaze made with –again!- maple syrup and harissa.

Ingredients:

For the tempeh:

  • 100gr tempeh, cut into thick strips
  • 1 tbsp mapley syrup
  • ¼ tsp harissa pasta

For the cauliflower tabouleh:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp mint
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • ¼ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp harissa
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Put the mint and cauliflower together in a blender and mix until the cauliflower has a couscous texture.
  2. Transfer the cauliflower and mint mix to a large bowl and add the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes and spices.
  3. Mix the harissa, maple syrup and harissa together and pour over the cauliflower mix. Stir well and season with salt to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh in a pan until golden brown. Pour the mix of maple syrup and harissa over the top and lower the heat. Let the tempeh caramelize.
  5. Serve the cold cauliflower tabouleh with the hot and glazed tempeh

Wonderfully Eccentric: Amaretto, Orange and – hell yeah! – Couscous Cake

Published January 17, 2015 by The Feminist

couscous cake

Weird, Wacky and Wonderful.

No, this description doesn’t just fit my very own personality (you know what they say: “know thyself and thou shalt be happy”), but these three adjectives are also the best way to describe this delicious cake.

When I told a random stranger at the gym that I had just baked the most incredible sweet couscous cake, she looked at me as if I was completely bonkers. (Admittedly, the fact that I simply wanted to share that with a stranger while running on the treadmill probably contributed to her thinking I was mentally challenged.)

Anyway, what I would like to say to that random stranger at the gym – and everyone else who is reading this with a huge frown on his forehead: wipe that frown off your face, darling! Using couscous in a sweet cake may sound rather eccentric at first (eccentric in this case being a euphemism for absolutely fucked up), but once you’ve tasted this cake, you will realize that this is in fact a sweet tooth’s revelation. The couscous adds great texture to the sponge and gives it a nice earthy flavour-dimension. Although this cake is slightly denser and heavier than a simple flour cake, your plate will be empty before you know it, thanks to the zingy, fragrant and sticky orange and fenugreek syrup that is poured all over the top of the cake once it comes out of the oven. This crazy-sounding syrup not only adds extra flavour, but makes the cake so intensely moist.

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And once you know that I’ve also poured in a good splash of Amaretto, you just know that the initially wacky is in fact rather wonderful.

So weird as this all may sound, this couscous cake is a culinary sensation!

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Amaretto, Orange and Couscous Cake With a Fenugreek Syrup

Although there are quite a few powerful flavours in this cake, one will never overpower the other and they all marry beautifully well together.

Ingredients:

  • 90ml olive oil
  • 60ml Amaretto
  • 60ml fresh orange juice
  • 70gr orange marmalade
  • 2 eggs
  • 35gr caster sugar
  • 35gr desiccated coconut
  • 40gr plain flour
  • 90gr spelt couscous
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Almond flakes to garnish, optional

For the syrup:

  • 50ml water
  • 50ml fresh orange juice
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the olive oil, juice, marmalade, Amaretto and eggs until the marmalade is semi-dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut, sugar, flour, couscous and baking powder. Add these to the wet and mix well until combined.
  3. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
  4. Near the end of the baking time, place the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce slightly until it gets syrupy. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour one third of the syrup over the cake. Wait 5 minutes and pour over another third of the syrup. Wait another 5 minutes and pour over the remaining syrup. Let the cake cool down slightly in the tin before removing from the tin. Scatter some almond flakes over the top, if you wish.

Heartwarming Hodgepodge: Two Wonderfully Jumbled Vegan Dishes

Published November 15, 2014 by The Feminist

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I don’t mean to bulldoze you with my culinary brilliance- but damn!- these two dishes were just so unexpectedly delicious that it is simply impossible not to turn into an annoying show-off.

The ingredients I used in these dishes do not seem to belong together on one plate, but for some odd reason – call it being a culinary wizard- they do match together wonderfully. These dishes are a bit like the edible equivalent of going on a Tinder date, where you  start the evening with zero expectations, but then -BOOM!- your date turns out to be really hot so eventually you end up kissing under the lamppost around midnight.

What I’m trying to say is this: these dishes are unexpectedly magical!

Kamut Couscous and Coconut Porridge with Garam Masala-spiced Beetroot and Mint Chermoula

I know. Simply reading this title is just too mind-boggling to comprehend. But let me explain it a bit more into detail, in order for you to understand its utter yumminess. Hearty Kamut couscous simmered in delicate coconut milk to create a heavenly savory porridge. This comforting porridge is served with beetroot and apple, subtly spiced with garam masala and lime. And this whole dish is finished with a generous serving of fragrant mint chermoula.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the porridge:

  • 80gr kamut couscous
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes

For the beetroot and apple:

  • ½ apple, diced
  • 2 beetroots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Juice of half a lime

For the mint chermoula:

  • Half a clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • Lots of fresh mint
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Make the chermoula by mixing all the ingredients together in a blender until you get a pesto-like consistency and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Blanche the beetroot in a pan, drain and put together in a bowl with the apple, the spices, salt and pepper and lime.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, nigella seeds and chili. Fry for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the couscous. Stir and pour the coconut milk over the top. Add 100ml of water as well. Bring to a gentle simmer and let the couscous absorb the moisture. Season with salt. The couscous should have a “porridgy” consistency, so if it gets to dry, add some more coconut milk.
  4. Serve the coucous and coconut porridge with the spiced beetroot and apple mix and drizzle the chermoula over the top.

Saffron and Harissa Soup with Bulgur, Kale and Jerusalem Artichokes

This is a healthy one-pot wonder! The kale and Jerusalem artichokes give this soup a very autumn-y feel, the bulgur makes it extra comforting and the aromatic fragrance of the saffron and the spiciness of the harissa will fill your heart with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 pieces of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Handful of raisins
  • 3 tbsp bulgur wheat
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp saffron powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • Fresh mint (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and add the kale and Jerusalem artichokes. Let it fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the spices, harissa and raisins and cover with vegetable stock.
  3. Let it simmer for 10 minutes before adding the bulgur and the honey. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until everything is soft.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and let is simmer for just a couple more minutes and taste. Season with more salt, pepper or a bit more honey if necessary.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh mint.

My New Food Obsession: Tandoori, Veggie-Style

Published June 4, 2014 by The Feminist

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A couple of weeks ago, I came across this recipe on Ohmyveggies.com (probably the best vegetarian food website on the planet) for Tandoori Cauliflower. In this recipe, they marinated an entire cauliflower head with spiced yoghurt and just shoved the whole lot in the oven.

I thought I was going to die from insanity when I read that. How come I had never thought of doing something like that myself??? After I saw that one recipe, I was unable to focus on anything else. All I could think of was cauliflower and tandoori. (This, again, proves that I am 100% food obsessed.)

So I decided to put my mind at ease and try it out. Although shoving an entire cauliflower in the oven did sound tempting, I thought it would be more flavoursome to cut large “steaks” from the cauliflower and marinade those in tandoori paste. That way, the lovely spicy yoghurt could really infuse the cauliflower’s flesh, whereas keeping the cauliflower whole would have resulted in a more mellow tandoori flavour.

As you all know, “mellow” is not really my style. I want BOOM! Hence, the cauliflower steaks. (But if you want to try the whole cauliflower, be my guest!)

Needless to say, that was the most brilliant cauliflower I had ever tasted! It was spicy, zingy and fragrant and roasting the cauliflower in the oven gave it a slightly nutty flavour, which I absolutely adored. I served this yummy cauliflower with spiced red quinoa and finished the dish with Thai basil.

Seriously, people. If you don’t make this dish, you are absolutely CA-RAZY!

After that marvelous cauliflower dish, I became completely obsessed with the tandoori-vegetable combination. I had a food epiphany. Suddenly it dawned on me that I could use practically every type of vegetable, marinade it in spicy yoghurt, and end up with the most insane-tasting plate of food on the planet. It was a true revelation!

Next on my list was the humble aubergine. Since I wanted to give this dish a Middle Eastern vibe, I changed the tandoori yoghurt and simplified it to a yoghurt flavoured with turmeric, cumin, garlic and lots of harissa. The foodies among you will know that our friend Mr. Aubergine is like a sponge: it absorbs everything. So can you imagine how brilliant these slices of aubergine tasted? I served these flavour explosions with a bejeweled, spicy and sweet couscous and felt like a true Sheherazade in her wonder palace…

As you can see/hear/read, I am completely and utterly in love with vegetables, tandoori-style. Or tandoori, veggie-style. Whatever you want to call it. It is flipping delicious. You may think I’m going insane, but just give it go, dear readers. And be warned, once you’ve tried this, you will never be able to stop thinking about it!

Cauliflower Tandoori with Red Quinoa

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Ingredients (serves 1)    

For the cauliflower tandoori:

  • one 1,5cm -2cm slice of cauliflower
  • 100gr Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  •  1 lime
  • ½ tsp salt

For the red quinoa:

  • 100gr red quinoa
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red tandoori powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp fresh Thai basil (plus more for garnish)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Mix the spices into the yoghurt and add a good squeeze of lime juice.
  2. Put the cauliflower steak on a baking tray with baking parchment and spread a generous layer of spiced yoghurt on top of the steak. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the steak over and now spread a generous amount of yoghurt on the other side. Put back into the oven for 20 minutes. The cauliflower should be tender but still a little bit al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, make the red quinoa. Heat the red quinoa together with twice the amount of water in a small pan and bring to the boil. Add the tandoori and garlic and let the quinoa soak up all the liquid until tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir through the herbs, onion and chili. Serve alongside the cauliflower. (You can use the leftover tandoori yoghurt as a delicious sauce to go on the side, superb!)

Aubergine Tandoori with bejeweled couscous

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Ingredients (serves 1)

For the aubergine:

  • One aubergine, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 100gr yoghurt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin

For the couscous

  • 100gr couscous
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Make the yoghurt mix. Put the slices of aubergine on a baking tray and spread a good layer of yoghurt onto each slice. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Take of the oven, flip the slices over and spread yoghurt on the other side. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the couscous. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and sauté the red onions and garlic. Add the spices and honey and now stir in the couscous. Add water (approx. 2,5dl) and bring to the boil. Stir in the cranberries. Cook on low to medium heat until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. To finish, stir through lots of coriander.

 

 

Stuffed: The Ultimate Vegetarian Comfort Food

Published May 11, 2014 by The Feminist

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I couldn’t care less about rules and instructions when I am cooking. I like to believe that “not giving a damn” gives me the opportunity to embrace my own unique cookery talent and to experiment as much as I want. However, there is still one rule in cooking that I always stick to: The best thing you can do to food is stuffing it with other delicious food.

Stuffed foods are the epitome of comforting extravagance. Stuffed food not only looks good, it also lifts great flavours to an even greater level of tastiness. These stuffed vegetarian recipes are the best way to make the humble vegetable shine and are bursting with delicious Mediterranean flavours.

Courgette boats stuffed with Mediterranean orzo pasta

I’ve never been much of a boat person, because I tend to get seasick rather quickly. But when it comes to edible vessels, I simply cannot wait to embrace my inner pirate. These lovely courgette boats are stuffed with fragrant orzo pasta and crumbled feta cheese and were served with a pungent tomato and basil sauce.

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Ingredients (serves 4):        

  • 3 courgettes
  • 350gr orzo pasta
  • 250gr feta cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 500gr passata
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Lots of fresh basil
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Pinch of chili flakes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise and remove the flesh to create cute boats.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle on some olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until al dente.
  3. For the tomato sauce, heat some olive oil in a small sauce pan and add the chopped onion and garlic. Stir in the passata, balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chili flakes, red pepper and thyme and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Cook the orzo pasta according to the instructions on the package. Once drained, stir in a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Now stir some chopped basil and half of the feta cheese into the orzo pasta. Spoon the mixture in your courgette boats and finish with a crumbling of feta cheese. Put in the oven for 5 minutes or until the feta cheese is starting to get a golden colour.
  6. Meanwhile, stir lots of fresh basil in your remaining tomato sauce and serve.

Italian sweet peppers stuffed with bejeweled saffron couscous

This is, if I may say so myself, a truly remarkable dish. The sweet long peppers are perfect in combination with the aromatic saffron couscous and are a quirky alternative to your ordinary bell pepper. To balance the sweet aroma of the peppers and bejeweled couscous I conjured up some spicy and sticky fried onions to serve on top of the peppers. This, in combination with a fresh and herby yoghurt dip turns this dish into a vegetarian Walhalla.

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Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  • 4 Italian sweet peppers
  • 250gr couscous
  • ¼ tsp saffron powder
  • 2 dried figs, finely chopped
  • 4 dried apricots, finely chopped
  • Handful of sultanas

For the aromatic fried onions:

  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp honey

For the herb yoghurt:

  • 250gr Turkish-style yoghurt (if you can’t find that, just use Greek or plain yoghurt)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the long peppers lengthwise (but make sure you don’t cut all the way through) and remove the seeds. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your couscous in vegetable stock with the saffron powder until the couscous is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. The couscous should now have a lovely golden colour.
  3. Stir in the chopped dried fruit and stuff the couscous in the peppers once they come out of the oven. (Stir the remaining couscous around the peppers)Drizzle some extra olive oil over the top and lower the oven temperature to 180°C. Put in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until your peppers are soft and tender.
  4. Make your fried onions by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and frying the onions together with the spices and honey until they start to caramelize.
  5. For the herb yoghurt, mix together all the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve your stuffed peppers with a generous dollop of herb yoghurt and some spicy sweet onions.

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March Madness, Falafel Folly and Carrot Craziness

Published March 23, 2014 by The Feminist

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That’s March for you. One week you’re enjoying the heat of the sun, eating ice cream and drinking cocktails. The next you’re wearing your winter coat and seeking shelter from the rain. But I will not let March’s fickle weather get to me. Because I have my falafel. And my Middle Eastern carrots. And with both of these beauties on my plate, I can handle anything!

Yes, even March weather madness.

These homemade falafels are dead-easy to make and super delicious. The key to making them shine is proper seasoning, so don’t be afraid with the salt and the tandoori spice!

These dainty patties were served with scrummy Middle Eastern carrots. The delicate spices, the sharp barberries and the sweetness of the honeyed carrots transport you to exotic places and the feta cheese crumbled on top will truly make your taste buds sing. It is a flavour sensation par excellence!

But this is not where this delicious story ends, for I made a zingy fragrant mint and coriander sauce and drizzled it all over the falafel, the carrots and the couscous.

The end result? A vegetarian dish that will blow your mind: sweet, savoury, spicy, fragrant, delicate, sharp,… This dish has everything to make you forget March Madness and succumb to some delicious Falafel Folly!

Ingredients:

Middle Eastern carrots:

  • 1kg carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Handful of dried barberries
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

Falafels:

  • 400gr dried chickpeas,
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp tandoori powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander stems

Mint and Coriander sauce:

  • Lots and lots of mint
  • Lots and lots of coriander
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice

To finish:

  • Couscous
  • 300gr Feta cheese

Method:

  1. Start one day ahead and put your dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and mix them together in an electric blender with all the other ingredients for the falafels. Season well with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and form small patties from the chickpeas mixture. Cook them on each side for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Since you are using dried chickpeas, you need to cook them further in a preheated oven at 180°C for another 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make your Moroccan carrots. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or tagine and fry the carrots with the spices for a couple of minutes. Stir in the honey and barberries and add a little splash of water (approx. 100ml) to make sure your carrots don’t burn. Cover with a lid and let the carrots simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.
  5. Make your fragrant mint and coriander sauce by mixing the herbs and garlic together in a blender with approx. 4 tbsp olive oil and lemon juice. Put in the fridge so that the flavours can intensify.
  6. To serve, spoon a mountain of steamy couscous onto your plate ,followed by a generous serving of the sweet and sticky carrots. Add your falafels to the plate and crumble some feta cheese over the top. Finish by drizzling some of the mint and coriander sauce on top. Bon Appétit!

 

Carefree Couscous: Two Heart-Warming Dishes To Beat the Cold

Published January 15, 2014 by The Feminist

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Do you know the song “Baby, it’s cold outside”? I’m guessing you do, but if not, I advise you to leave this site because you are no longer welcome here.

It is one of my favourite songs of all time, because it is so incredibly cheesy and old-school romantic. No “shake your booty” or “talk dirty”, but a flirtatious conversation between two lovers. In this song, the man tries to persuade the woman to stay, as it is way too late and too cold to go outside. His arguments are very persuasive, from the romantic “Listen to the fireplace roar!”, to the creepy “Think of  my lifelong sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died”.

However, no matter how persuasive his arguments may be, they are never as convincing as a steaming bowl of couscous. And this is where the following recipes come in. They will persuade even the most reluctant to take of their coats and hats and join you for a heavenly plate of Middle Eastern delight.

Trust me. If you want your lover to stay, put some heart-warming couscous on a tray! (Okay, that was a God-awful rhyme, but you get my point.)

Baby, It’s cold outside!

PS: Contrary to popular opinion this song is NOT a Christmas song. It’s a song about cold weather, there’s a difference.

Fragrant Cod Tagine

This is a wonderfully fragrant and light dish. Succulent cod, warm spices, fresh coriander and last but not last a large dome of steamy couscous to absorb all the yummy broth…

Once your lover has tasted this, he’ll be lying at your feet for all eternity.

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Ingredients:

  • 800gr cod fillets, cut into chuncks
  • 2 red peppers, cut into strips
  • 250gr spinach, blanched
  • 1 fennel, roughly sliced
  • 400gr/ 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 4cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • Vegetable stock
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, chili and spices until the spices start to release their heavenly scent.
  2. Add the peppers and fennel and stir in the honey and can of tomatoes. Use that same can as a measuring cup and add the same amount of vegetable stock to the pan.
  3. Let it simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the sauce is absolutely fabulous. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Add the blanched spinach and lay the cod chunks on top of the vegetables. Press them carefully in the sauce.
  5. Cover with the lid and lit it simmer for another 5 minutes until the cod is tender.
  6. Sprinkle some fresh coriander over the top for additional fragrance and zing.

Wintery Maftoul One-Pot with Brussels Sprouts and Tofu

This may seem like a rather odd combination, but the wintery awesomeness of the Brussels sprouts goes so well with the sticky (almost risotto-like) maftoul. I absolutely adore maftoul (also known as Palestinian couscous), because of its larger grains and robust flavour. If you can’t find maftoul, you can of course use regular couscous, but it won’t create the same soulful comfort.

Should you be questioning the compatibility of Brussels sprouts, raisins and tofu, do not worry. Even my mom looked slightly confused when I put this dish on the table. However, once you’ve tasted this you will no longer doubt that this is indeed a flavour bomb that will simply knock your socks off.

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 200gr Brussels sprouts, cleaned and outer leaves removed
  • 100gr tofu, cut into chunks
  • 50gr maftoul
  • Approx. 100-150ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½  chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of star anise
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Handful of raisins

Method:

  1. Blanche the Brussels sprouts until they are just under cooked. Drain and rinse them with ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Cut them in half and set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallot, ginger, chili, spices and honey until they start to caramelize. Stir in the maftoul and fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Cover with vegetable stock and let it simmer until the maftoul has absorbed all the liquid. Taste the maftoul and add some extra stock if the couscous is still too al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tofu in a pan until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Add the raisins to the maftoul mixture and stir in the Brussels sprouts and fried tofu.
  6. Finally, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.
  7. Eat straight from the pan in front of the tellie. Delish!

Kitchen Wisdom for Dummies: 3 great tips and recipes provided to you by a culinary genius

Published October 29, 2013 by The Feminist

And that culinary genius is –of course- me. Over the past few years I’ve experienced my fair share of culinary tragedies and abominations: I burnt stuff (sometimes it was the cake, other times it was the meat and that one dreadful time it was even my hair), I’ve had soggy bottoms (for which I’m terribly sorry, Mary Berry) and I’ve managed to conjure up some really bland and boring dishes (Although, admittedly, that is a really long time ago)

If there is anything I’ve learnt from my cooking adventures, it has got to be this: cooking requires a “So what?!” attitude. You need to be able to let loose. To let your senses do the talking/cooking. To be confident. Even if in reality you couldn’t even distinguish the difference between Arborio and basmati rice. (Although I really hope you can, because otherwise you might get arrested by the foodie police)

Moreover, if you really want to become a good cook, you first and foremost have to be an adventurous and eager eater. If you don’t like eating all sorts of foods and tasting all kinds of cuisines, than why the hell do you want to learn how to cook in the first place? On top of that, I truly believe in the power of “winging it”. To my mind, a recipe is just a theme, a general idea that can be molded and shaped into something that is truly yours. Creativity and Variation. These are the two key elements that make a great culinary experience, and ironically it’s what scares beginning cooks the most. But let me tell you something, dear Cooking Dummies: don’t be afraid to embrace your experimental side. Have fun! Be brave! And if it turns out to be rubbish, remember: so what?

Since I’m already in a lecturing mode, here are three more tips that will turn you into a cooking wizard!

1) When the weather outside is frightful, be sure the food is still delightful!

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I am a great advocate of basing your dishes on the weather forecast. If it’s really hot outside, opt for a light and summery dish.(Nobody wants to eat a hearty one pot wonder when you’re already sweating like hell!)And if it’s really cold outside, go for some ultimate, soothing comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out. (Seriously, I still don’t get why people would want to eat ice cream in the winter. I mean, isn’t it cold enough already?)

A key aspect of matching your food with the weather is seasonal cooking. Nothing can go wrong if you create recipes that feature freshly harvested foods. Nothing. Just look at the next recipe. I cooked this one while awaiting the worst storm in years to hit Europe. Pumpkin, endive, smoky bacon and cream cheese. Turned into a wonderful pasta sauce to coat those cute orecchiette. Thanks to this recipe the expected high winds suddenly seemed more like a silent sigh of pleasure and gratitude.

Storm-conquering orecchiette with fall flavours:

Ingredients
• 375gr orecchiette pasta
• 200gr cream cheese with herbs
• 250gr of pumpkin, cut into chunks
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1clove of garlic, finely chopped
• 3 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
• 1 head of endive, finely sliced
• 250gr smoky bacon
• 2 tbsp mustard
• Splash of white wine

Method:
1) Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
2) Sautee the endive until soft, remove from the pan and set aside.
3) Heat a knob of butter in that same pan and fry the onion and pumpkin together with the thyme and garlic for a couple of minutes.
4) Add a generous splash of white wine and the same amount of water (use the starchy cooking water from the pasta!). Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
5) In a separate pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Add the bacon and sautéed endive to the pumpkin mix and heat through. Season with salt, pepper and mustard.
6) Stir through the cream cheese and then add your cooked pasta.

2) The Bigger the Better

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If you want to impress your friends and family, just bring out a big dish to share and I can assure you that they will be throwing rose petals at your feet out of utter delight. This jambalaya “my Way” is a family favourite at our house. When I come out of the kitchen with a gigantic pan in my hands, filled to the rim with spicy, satisfying goodness, they honestly start clapping. It looks sophisticated, decadent and incredibly luxurious… and yet it was all made in only half an hour and you have just one pan to put in the dishwasher afterwards. Splendid!

Jambalaya “My Way”

Ingredients:
• 250gr wild rice
• 500ml Vegetable stock
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 carrot, finely chopped
• 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
• 2 peppers, one yellow and one red, sliced into thin strips
• 400gr canned tomatoes
• 150gr chorizo, finely chopped
• 2 chicken breasts, cut into small chuncks
• 200gr brown shrimps
• 150gr cooked crayfish
• ¼ tsp smoked paprika
• 3 tbsp Cajun spices
• Fresh parsley

Method:
1) Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken with one tablespoon of Cajun spices and salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2) In that same pan, fry the vegetables in some olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rice, smoked paprika and Cajun spices and fry for a couple of minutes.
3) Stir in the canned tomatoes and then add the stock. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until therice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
4) Add the browned chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes. Now add the chorizo, shrimps and crayfish and finish with fresh parsley.

3) Spice things up!

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I’ve said this so many times already, but I simply cannot repeat it enough: spicing is everything. What once was an expensive commodity and played a crucial part in the development of civilization, can now be found in kitchen cupboards all over the world and herbs grow in abundance in cute allotments or my very own windowsill pot. Spices and herbs are entrenched in our history and the cooking possibilities are endless. They bring everything to life and should therefore righteously form the foundations of every possible recipe.

Pomelo, mint and coriander marinated aubergine with fragrant tomato sauce and herby couscous

Ingredients:

For the marinated aubergine:
• 4 aubergines
• 8 tbsp fresh coriander
• 8 tbsp fresh mint
• 4 tbsp dried pomelo, finely chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp honey
• ½ tbsp sumac
• 1 tbsp za’atar
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• Juice of half a lemon

For the tomato sauce
• Can of tomatoes
• ½ red pepper
• ½ tsp chili powder
• 1 tbsp za’atar
• ¼ tsp rosewater

For the herby couscous:
• 250gr couscous
• Lots of chopped parsley, coriander, mint,..
• Handful of raisins and cranberries

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the aubergines lengthways into thick slices but make sure the ends are still attached. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
2) Make the marinade by combining all the other ingredients and spread it generously between each layer of aubergine. Put in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the aubergines are really soft and unctuous. (Cover with foil it they colour too quickly)
3) Make the tomato sauce by heating everything in a small sauce pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
4) Cook the couscous and stir through the herbs, raisins and cranberries.

Emptying the spice bazaar: Zingy Za’atar and Sexy Sumac

Published September 2, 2013 by The Feminist

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Food is like life: it needs spice to make it exciting, otherwise it’s just…dull. It is a truth so simple that we often tend to take the incredible power of seasoning for granted and seem to forget the wide range of possibilities spices have to offer.

In my humble- but quite expertise- opinion, spices aren’t just a great way to unveil your inner culinary alchemist, it is also –and foremost!- a beautiful and delicious way to explore unfamiliar cultures that would normally be too expensive to travel to. (definitely if you’ve only got a student budget to fall back on, like myself.) I have never been to India but thanks to my fast expanding spice cupboard, I can now replicate (or at least try to replicate) the flavours, colours and incredibly tasty dishes this country has to offer in my own small kitchen.

Like an artist can’t paint without colours, I simply cannot cook without spices: they tantalize your taste-buds, they make everything look and taste mouth-wateringly delicious and they have the extraordinary quality of turning a snooze fest into a true Wake Up Call!

Two of my favourite spices at the moment (although one is technically a spice mix) are za’atar and sumac. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend which comes in many different varieties- every country has its own version, from Lebanon over Syria to Saudi Arabia – and its unique aroma embodies the multicultural soul of Jerusalem. Za’atar (Don’t you just love that name? I should probably google what it means!) is generally prepared using dried thyme, toasted sesame seeds, salt and other spices such as sumac. You can use it to season meat, fish, veg or sprinkle it on top of some pita bread or your favourite hummus. It is vibrant, it is fragrant and once you’ve tried it, you will never want to go without.

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Another one of my favourite spices is one of the components of za’atar: sumac. This ruby red powder is made from berries of the sumac plant, which grows all over the Middle East and North Africa, and gives a very tart and fruity boost of flavour. I love it sprinkled on top of hummus, barbecued meats and fish or in a fresh yoghurt dip. It is the perfect substitute for lemon juice without being overpoweringly acidic and it just looks stunning in all its red glory as a garnish!

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This dish was an homage to these spices. A fragrant maftoul couscous with za’atar carrots, Apricot and almond roasted red onion, topped with a zesty sumac Greek yoghurt. It may sound like an intricate dish, but it is super easy to make and the taste is simply sensational!

For the za’atar carrots:
• 1kg carrots, chopped into big chunks
• 3 tbsp z a’atar
• ½ tbsp sugar

Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and sautee the carrots with the sugar and some salt and pepper for a couple of minutes. Add a splash of water and cover with a lid. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are soft but not mushy.
2. Stir through the za’atar
3. Done!

For the couscous

• 250gr maftoul
• 4 spring onions, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
• Handful of dried apricots, finely chopped
• ½ tsp nigella seeds
• ½ tsp mustard seeds
• ½ tbsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 0,5l vegetable stock

Method:
1. Dry roast the spices in a non-stick frying pan until they begin to release their scent. Add the maftoul couscous and stir until all the grains are coated in the spices.
2. Add the vegetable stock and garlic and let it simmer on low heat until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid.
3. Stir through the apricots, spring onion and mint.
4. Done!

For the onions:
• 4 red onions, cut in half
• Handful of chopped dried apricots
• Handful of almond flakes
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• ½ tsp harissa

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the onions in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle some olive oil and salt and pepper over the top. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft.
2. Mix the other ingredients for the topping together in a bowl . Remove the onions from the oven and spoon a generous portion of the topping onto each onion half.
3. Put in the oven for a further 5 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown.
4. Done!

For the sumac Greek yoghurt:
• 125ml Greek yoghurt
• 1 clove of garlic
• Salt
• 2 tbsp sumac

Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Done!

Sunny weather, Sunny Food

Published May 9, 2013 by The Feminist

When the sun is shining and temperatures are rising, we often can’t really be bothered to think about cooking. We want something fresh, something vibrant, something tasty, but most of all something easy that can be made in a whim.
Search no more, my fellow foodies!

These dishes will convert even the laziest cook (yeah, you there!) and will inspire him to cook something far more exciting than the typical barbecued sausage and a drab boring salad.

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Oriental Chickpea and carrot patties with cottage cheese tzatziki
These little patties are the cutest and tastiest burgers you’ll have ever eaten, I promise! They are easy and packed full of flavour and are the most wonderful meat-free alternative for the bland greasy sausages most people tend to resort to when they’re holding a barbecue. Serve them with some pita or flat bread, with pasta or the delish couscous salad below.
Ingredients (makes 5 small patties)
For the patties
• 200gr canned chickpeas
• 1 medium size carrot
• 1 spring onion
• 1 egg
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• Fresh parsley
• Zest of half a lime
• ½ tsp cumin
For the cottage cheese tzatziki
• 50gr grated cucumber
• 150gr cottage cheese
• Zest of half a lime
• ½ tsp ground cumin
Method:
1. Put all the ingredients for the patties in a blender and mix until you get a firm paste.
2. Using the palm of your hands, form little patties from the batter (the batter will be a bit sticky and hard to work with but the patties will firm up once they’re being fried )
3. Fry the patties in some olive oil for 3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Put the patties in an oven-proof dish and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for another 5 minutes.
4. Put the ingredients for the tzatziki together in a bowl and stir until combined. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

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Couscous and carrot salad with honey-harissa dressing
I absolutely love a good couscous salad in the summer, because:
a) It always looks really pretty
b) It is incredibly versatile (basically, you can throw in anything you like and it will always turn out great!)
c) It is -above all- a huge flavour bomb
This couscous salad is healthy and contains lots of vitamins thanks to the carrots, spring onion, raisins, chickpeas, … Moreover, the honey-harissa dressing is a match made in Middle-Eastern Heaven! It is sweet, it is hot, it is everything you’ve ever wanted and more! This couscous salad is ideal for a summer barbecue (again, try to avoid the typical meat overdose and opt for home-made vegetarian burgers or lovely paneer skewers!) or a traditional tagine.
Ingredients:
• 325gr couscous
• 4dl vegetable stock
• 5 medium size carrots, grated
• 5 spring onions, finely chopped
• Handful of raisins
• 200gr canned chickpeas
• 1 tsp dried falafel herbs
For the honey-harissa dressing:
• 2 tbsp runny honey
• Juice of half a lime
• ½ tsp harissa
• ½ tsp sesame oil
Method:
1. Put the couscous in a large dish and pour over 4dl of boiling vegetable stock. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid.
2. Add the carrots, spring onions, raisins and chickpeas. Season with salt, pepper and dried falafel herbs.
3. For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients and pour the dressing over the couscous salad and mix well.

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Orzo with a creamy red pepper harissa, feta cheese and chorizo
This orzo pasta recipe was made in under 30 minutes and the flavours blend so beautifully together! The spicy chorizo and the heat of the harissa form an enthralling and breathtaking mix with the sweet grilled peppers and the salty-tangy feta cheese. Top it all off with some Mediterranean vegetables, peppery rocket salad and fragrant falafels, settle in your huge armchair and enjoy that wonderful heat of the sun and the refreshing summer’s breeze…
Ingredients (serves 4-5)

• 500gr orzo pasta
• 1 courgette, cut into large chunks
• 2 red peppers
• 4 celery sticks, cut into 2cm chunks
• 3 shallots
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tsp harissa
• 2tbsp tomato puree
• Fresh thyme
• 1tsp ground cumin
• Pinch of smoked paprika
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• 200gr chorizo, cut into small cubes
• 100ml soy cream
Method:
1. Put the peppers under a hot grill until their skin turns black. Peal of the black skin and put the peppers in a food processor along with 2 shallots, the cloves of garlic, harissa, tomato puree, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander and the soy cream. Mix until you get a lovely paste.
2. Cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package.
3. Fry the remaining shallot, celery and courgette in some olive oil and add the fresh thyme leaves.
4. When the vegetables are al dente, add the chorizo and the cooked orzo. Stir in the red pepper harissa and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Crumble some feta cheese on top of your beautiful orzo dish and finish with some rocket leaves.