Wednesday, 15 February 2012

NCR couscous salad with chermoula

Before I start telling you about herbs and couscous and salad, you might notice that I have updated my blogger banner so it goes across the whole width of the page.  Sylvia and I had a craft session this afternoon.  I worked on my banner and she glued and cut and stickered.  I am not sure the banner is quite right but it is an improvement!

Like my banner, couscous is a constant work in progress.  It is hard to get right.  Often it turns out clumpy or dry or just plain stodgy.  Following a recipe would probably help!  I was searching for inspiration for Lisa and Jacqueline's latest No Croutons Required challenge which is herbs.  I stumbled upon a recipe for 'Giant couscous salad with preserved lemon and chermoula in Alice Hart's Vegetarian.  It took some tweaking but I ended up with one of my best couscous salads yet!

I was quite taken by the idea of making Chermoula.  It is a sauce of parsley, lemon, olive oil and spices.  I had decided that this would also be a good way to use some of the lovely olive oil that Fran and John gave me for my birthday. 

Firstly though I went on a detour.  I remembered that I didn't have any parsley in the house.  I headed off to the supermarket before dinner and as I got there I remembered I didn't have parsley because there was non in my last visit there.  So I bought basil and made pesto.  I tried a couscous salad with pesto, roast pumpkin, edamame, tomato and avocado.  It was nice but a bit clumpy.  E said it was more like a side dish.

The next morning I had to put the car into the mechanic and found myself in the unusual position of walking into the supermarket on the way home at 8am.  They had parsley so I bought a bunch and decided to try again with chermoula.  It was very good though not swimming in oil like the picture in the book.  It was brilliant with the couscous because it kept the grains moist and separate.

The first night I was happy to eat a big bowl of it with some salad veg on the side.  E less so.  The second night I served it with lentil burgers, salad veg and chia bread.  E was very pleased with it that night.  Sylvia didn't taste the couscous but did eat a chunk out of the bread - can you see it in the above pic?  E just thought the bread had come out of the oven that way.  Sigh!  Ah well, he does the dishes!

My one reservation is that parsley can sometimes stick in your throat but that is a minor quibble as I have come to love parsley and use it a lot.  I once thought it was only good for a poncy garnish so I have come a lot way.  In the above pic you will see Sylvia's new ninja babies (a bargain at 30c each!) that we bought last week on the day I made the salad.  She loves them and has spent many hours making cots for them with her building blocks.  Her imagination is amazingly fertile at the moment.  I like to think that this salad shows my own imagination still has a bit of kick in it!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Samosa Pie
This time two years ago: NCR Bann’s Parsnip Soup with Walnut Ravioli and Carrot Cream
This time three years ago: Potato salad, freak weather and bushfires
This time four years ago: FF #3 Dip and muffins from the pantry

Couscous salad with Chermoula
Inspired by Alice Hart's Vegetarian
served us for 3 mains and 3 side dishes

large wedge of pumpkin (about 800g)
2 large parsnips
olive oil and salt for roasting
400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup couscous (I used wholemeal)
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp stock powder
2 heaped teaspoons honey (or other sweetener)
juice of 1 lemon

Chermoula:
Adapted from Alice Hart's Vegetarian

1 bunch parsley
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup good olive oil, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
dash cayenne pepper
dash cinnamon

Firstly make Chermoula.  Blitz all ingredients in a food processor.  I did mine in some batches especially as I found the parsley chopped finer if I did it in batches in my little blender attachment for my hand held blender.  Mine was a bit tart but that worked ok once in the salad.

Trim, peel and dice both the pumpkin and parsnips and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Roast at about 200 C for about 40 minutes.  (I went to the mechanics to pick up the car in the middle of this so I can't be too specific.)  Cool slightly and mix with chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes and spring onions.

Mix couscous, stock powder and boiling water in a medium bowl.  Cover and sit for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Fluff up with a fork.  Stir through about half the chermoula.

To serve pile couscous in a large shallow salad bowl.  Heap pumpkin, parsnip and chickpea mixture on top and then dollop some chermoula on top.  Serve with any extra chermoula.

On the Stereo:
Authentic Hawaiian Favourites: Arthur Lyman

26 comments:

  1. I love the banner! And I too struggle to get cous-cous right consistently, so I'm pleased to tuck this approach away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kari - so it isn't just me and couscous!

      Delete
  2. Definitely imagination everywhere! I just bought corn couscous for my mum that I found out Coles. Her wheat allergies made normal couscous off limits. Glad I've got a lovely recipe to point her to here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hannah - never heard of corn couscous but wonder if our coles sells it - my sister might like it!

      Delete
  3. Nice new banner Johanna! I love parsley, it really freshens up a dish and your couscous salad looks very colourful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lorraine - I use parsley a lot - actually my mum has now brought a pot of it for the garden so I hope it doesn't die like the last one :-?

      Delete
  4. I've heard of chermoula but never had it--but it sounds simple enough to make and very tasty! Lovely new banner, too (and cute lettering!). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ricki - I was charmed by the chermoula - have heard of it before I think I expected it to be too spicy - the recipe had a morroccan spice mix that I didn't have so it probably could have been spicier

      Delete
  5. I've once tasted a wonderful couscous salad made by a friend (before I learned that wheat isn't my friend), but it was less elaborate. Yours looks delicious! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kath - hannah has said she found some corn couscous but I think it is probably easier to try this with a gf grain like quinoa or even buckwheat groats

      Delete
  6. I love the new banner.
    You seem like a great mom.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The chermoula sounds really yummy! I've made tabbouleh before with lots of parsley and it's sort of similar in the ingredients but I like the sound of it with all those veggies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ashley - it is less herbs than tabbouleh and more veg but definitely has similarities

      Delete
  8. This sounds really good. I have the clumping problem with couscous generally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cakelaw - hate it when couscous is clumpy - I think the dressing had more oil than I usually use and wondered if this helped

      Delete
  9. while couscous is off the menu for me - I bet I could substitute quinoa instead! This looks oh so tasty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa - am sure quinoa would be good in this - hannah has found corn couscous so maybe you could try some of this if you happen to find it too

      Delete
  10. I love this Johanna and I am lusting after that bowl. It is gorgeous. Can't help laugh at the thought of ninjas being tucked in gently for the night in upturned blocks. Very funny. I hope their pride hasn't been hurt :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jac - no one wants to have to deal with a ninja whose pride is hurt :-) The bowl is one I bought years ago on a trip to Turkey and I still love it.

      Delete
    2. I will have to look for something similar next time I am in the north of Cyprus (turkish):)

      Delete
  11. You new banner looks great!

    I haven't had much success with normal couscous (as no-one at home likes it) and I was prefer the large pearl couscous. This salad sounds like it has some really interesting flavours and I've always wanted to try a chemoula, I should try this one day. It looks fantastic in your pretty bowl too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel - must try the larger couscous - that is the one that Alice Hart used but I just used the regular because that is what I had about. Yes love the bowl (from Turkey) but the first couscous dish (with pesto) I mixed everything in and though it looked quite dull so the second time I remembered to pile all the ingredients up for the photo and it looks so much more attractive

      Delete
  12. MMMM,..What a delightful & festive couscous salad & I love the added Chermoula a lot! This is so versatile to use in the kitchen too. It is so tasty with some good grilled fish too! :)

    Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sophie - I must find other uses for chermoula (though fish wont be one of them)

      Delete
  13. I do love chermoula so the idea of adding it to couscous is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you. Please feel welcome to share your feedback and questions. I have started using word verification recently to combat an avalanche of spam. Apologies for the hassle of reading the mysterious captcha code (refresh to find an easy one).