Monday, 24 January 2011

Making a bit of a meze

Here's tonight's dinner... Have managed to dodge the tofu tonight and go all 'club med' with a bit of a meze based around a nutty aubergine couscous and some dolmades (stuffed vine leaves). There's also some of the houmous I made yesterday and a green salad drizzled with olive oil, lemon and some balsamic syrup.

Now, aubergines. I've managed to win over my beloved to the joys of aubergine, principally by slooooooowwwwwww cooking. It's practically the only vegetable that likes to be overcooked. Take a while with it, and then take a little longer.

Anyway, here's how to make the couscous.


Two medium sized aubergines
One courgette
One small onion
Three cloves garlic
70g mixed chopped nuts
Tbsp crushed, dried chives
250g couscous
4 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Boiling water

Plus, to serve:

Fresh green salad


Chop the aubergine into chunky, quarter slices and then coat them in sea salt and let sit for ten minutes in a colander. This draws out some of their moisture and takes out any natural bitterness. After ten minutes rinse them with some boiling water then leave to dry.

Meanwhile, chop the courgette into similar chunky slices, crush the garlic and slice the onion. Heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade and prep a good sized roasting dish - NOT aluminium by the way, as that would mess up the flavour of the aubergines.

When oven's ready, roast the aubergines, courgette, onion and garlic in the olive oil for 20 minutes.

While the veg are roasting, Make the couscous. I do this by boiling some water in a small or medium pan, then add some sea salt and olive oil and then the couscous. Leave a couple of centimetres of water above the level of the couscous, cover and leave to stand for a good ten minutes or so.

After the veg have been roasting for 20 minutes remove from the oven, mix through and then toss in the chives and mixed nuts. Mix through again and then put back in oven for another 15 minutes or so. Mix through a couple times more. Basically it's done when the nuts and aubergine are nice and browned.

In a mixing bowl, fork the couscous out of the pan, this fluffs it up and separates it. Now add the vegetables from the roasting pan and mix through. If it needs it, add a little more olive oil.

To serve, arrange the couscous, salad, dolmades and houmous together, and dress with some lemon zest, drizzly bits of balsamic, and anything else you have to hand. Lovely!

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