Monday 15 April 2013

Couscous salad and reflections on the week

You would think that with trying to rid the house of all the foodie magazines cluttering our corners that I wouldn't buy any new ones.  Unfortunately not.  So in an attempt to convince myself the purchase was justified, last week I bought a foodie magazine and made one of the recipes days later. 

Recipes+ claimed I could make it in 20 minutes.  Unfortunately not.  By the time I had grated, chopped, toasted, fried, zested, worked out spices to use in lieu of a Moroccan spice mix and then ran out to the back yard to pick some mint, it was far longer than 20 minutes.  I found the salad not quite right.  After the first night I found that goats cheese gave it the pick-me-up it needed.  (Perhaps avocado would have worked just as well.)  The salad lasted us a few days and was a great batch of leftovers to have in the fridge. 

And now I have some random reflections on the week to share:

Made me smile
  • I woke on the weekend from a great dream that I had a packet of pringles chips that were flavoured walnut, chocolate and cheese.  Hugh Grant was my boss so I offered him one.  (Oh please let this dream come true just so long as Hugh isn't a sleazy boss like in Bridget Jones.)
  • Today I bumped into a friend from college.  He said I hadn't changed at all over all the years since we both lived in the East Wing!
  • E was tidying up and found an Epping line train timetable from 2004.  We really need to tidy up more often!
  • The comment on the radio that made me smile the most today was someone suggested that the way to cut down on too many solo drivers causing congestion in our city was to take away cars from the idiots on the road.  Hear, hear!  Though I worry that the more time I spend on the road with those idiots, the more I am in danger of being one of them.

Memorable newsworthy moments of the last week

Made me think:
  • Creativity is frequently born out of boredom. Boredom is good. ... When kids are bored they are more likely to invent their own games.  Red Ted Art reflects on The Importance of Play Part 1, and Part 2.
  • News is to the mind what sugar is to the body, claims Rolf Dobelli in article in the Guardian, 'News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier', 12 April 2013.
  • The actions of this new majority, who refused to remain silent when confronted with racism, contribute to the building of new legacies, inclusive of all Australians.  Amelia John reflects in the Conversation (15 April 2013) on the most recent racist attack in Melbourne where the fellow train passengers turned against the racist.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Chocolate Raspberry Almond Cake amid the chaos
Two years ago:  NCR Tricken Rice Soup with Celeriac
Three years ago: PPN Mee Goreng
Four years ago: Wholemeal Chocolate Cake
Five years ago: The Nut Roast in History

Moroccan chickpea and couscous salad
Adapted from Recipes+, April 2013
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups couscous
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp vegetable olive oil
1 onion, cur into wedges (I chopped mine)
1 tbsp Moroccan seasoning (I used 1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and dash of cayenne)
400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, grated
1 lemon (about 2 tsp lemon zest and 2 tbsp lemon juice)
1/2 cup flaked almonds, toasted
1/2 cup torn mint leaves
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup crumbled goats cheese (or avocado?)

Place couscous and stock in a large bowl and cover for about 5 minutes.  Toast almonds.  Fry onion in 1 tbsp vegetable oil til soft (about 5 minutes).   Add spices and stir one minute.

Mix all ingredients except goats cheese.  Scatter goats cheese on top to serve.

On the Stereo:
moondawn - Klaus Schulze


  1. Ah it's such a bummer when you put so much time into something and it just doesn't turn out right! It looks super pretty, for what it's worth!

    1. Thanks Joanne - like most meals that disappoint, it got better the next night - I always feel like leftovers give me a second change at a meh meal :-)

  2. Yum! This looks delicious. I’m always on the lookout for a recipe that my vegetarian family and meat-loving hubby can both enjoy, and this looks absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to try it!

    1. thanks nilanjana - despite it not being as quick as the magazine suggested it still didn't take me too long and it did last us a few days - hope everyone in your family enjoys it

  3. Nice looking salad - and I agree that goat's cheese makes everything better. Good luck with the Hugh Grant boss thing.

    1. Thanks Mel - goats cheese definitely made this better (but I forgot to photograph it when I added the goats cheese the next day). I am really hoping that pringles brings out some cheese walnut and chocolate favoured crisps - that would be great!

  4. This salad does look nice, even if it needed more kick. I love the newsworthy moments!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I probably used a bit less mint and lemon than the recipe said which might account for not enough kick but it was a bit dry without the goats cheese too

  5. I love your reflections, but am sorry the dish didn't quite come together for you (first time around at least). I do like the sound of the ingredient list and it looks lovely, so I am still interested by it.

    1. Thanks Kari - I forgive any dish that comes together on the second night and would like to have another go at this one

  6. Such a great recipe, I love cooking with couscous, so many options and it takes on flavor very well.

    1. Thanks Natalie - I go hot and cold on couscous but I think it is a great quick grain


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