Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Cooking by the seat of my pants...

This afternoon I took the boys to a friend's house to celebrate her birthday by eating chocolate cake while the children played in the garden/ran around shouting. We nipped to the shops beforehand as I needed some shoes. I have rather large feet (size 10 until recently, but they seem to have shrunk a size after having the children and losing quite a lot of weight), so shoe shopping has always been a nightmare for me, but today was the first day of the rest of my life! I walked into Brantano and found a substantial display of shoes in my size, not only suitable for my needs, but which I actually liked! This could be the start of a horrible problem...

We were quite late back from town, so dinner needed to be a fairly quick production. I had some minced lamb in the fridge, which I originally bought with the intention of making burgers, but instead I used it to make this rather snappy couscous dish. It was inspired by the growing selection of Middle-Eastern titles in my burgeoning library of cookery books. I shan't pretend that it's even remotely authentic, but it does taste good.

Vaguely Middle-Eastern Couscous

250g minced lamb
large pinch each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ginger and cinnamon

200g couscous
400ml hot stock (I used some lamb stock, but vegetable stock would be fine)
3 fat spring onions, chopped

handful of sultanas
handful of flaked almonds, toasted in a dry pan
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Put the couscous into a large bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover the bowl with a plate or something and put it to one side for 10 minutes while you get on with the rest. Fry the lamb, with the spices, in a non-stick frying pan (no need to add extra fat) until brown. Add the sprimg onions and sultanas. Fluff the couscous up with a fork, then stir in the lamb mixture and the chopped parsley. Turn into a serving dish and scatter over the toasted almonds.

Very good, even if I did make it up as I went along. I served it with some toasted pitta bread and a salad of tomatoes and cucumber. Some natural yoghurt to dollop on top would have been lovely, but we had none. Eschewing the idea of Petit Filous, we made do with some sour cream, which worked just fine.

This wasn't really suitable for James; for him, I soaked a little couscous in some stock I'd made earlier in the day from pea-pods and a chunk of onion. I then whizzed it briefly in the mini-blender with a bit of cooked broccoli and a small spoonful of fried lamb held back from our meal. After some initial uncertainty, he cleared the bowl, then howled for pudding. He ended up on his Dad's lap again, this time chewing a bit of pitta bread, while I ate my (by now cold) supper.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails