I may have mentioned this before (!) but I suck at summer food, and I suck at lunchtime inspirations.  They are my nemesis… or should that be nemisi?  Regardless, I have finally, found something that ticks both the summer food and the lunch food boxes, and is so easy to make that it isn’t technically ‘cooking’, more like ‘mixing’ 🙂  Couscous! Did I mention that it’s ridiculously easy, like so-easy-its-a-crime-to-buy-it-ready-made, and takes next to no time to throw together?  Both big plusses in my book, especially in this very un-Scottish heatwave when who in their right mind would want to spend any more time in a hot kitchen than they need to?

As well as being a great lunchtime option (it’s an awesome side to quiche) I’ve found that couscous makes a nice alternative to rice in the Summer when you’re having something that isn’t heavy on the sauce, like a bit of pan fried cod with lemon and garlic butter or some leftover roast chicken all torn up and tossed in a wee bit of tzatziki.  Or wrap it up with hummus and some greenery for some portable noms!

So this is my base recipe, once these ingredients are in place anything goes really, like chargrilled veggies (courgettes and aubergines especially lend themselves well to this), or sunblush tomatoes instead of fresh, or coriander as your herb of choice, or plump raisins soaked in pomegranate molasses, toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds, go fruity and use orange zest and juice instead of lemon, pretty much whatever takes your fancy.  No two versions need ever be quite the same, which isn’t a bad thing 🙂

Couscous 101
Serves 4
A back to basics couscous that is packed full of lovely summer flavours.
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Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 250g couscous
  2. 1/2 pint/300ml hot water
  3. chicken or vegetable stock cube/pot
  4. 1 lemon, juice and zest
  5. cherry tomatoes
  6. feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  7. 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  8. 3 inch long piece of cucumber, skinned and finely diced
  9. fresh mint or parsley, chopped
  10. olive or rapeseed oil
Assemble!
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the couscous and stock, cover with clingfilm and leave for about 15 minutes. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil and fluff with a fork – the olive oil will keep the couscous from clumping together. Add everything else and mix well. Chuck it back in the fridge, covered, to let all the flavours infuse and blend, and that is it!
  2. Seriously!
Notes
  1. It doesn’t hurt to refresh it with a wee bit more olive/rapeseed oil before you’re going to tuck in, but otherwise keep it covered in the fridge and it should last you 2-3 days. And on the off chance that there’s still some left and in danger of going to waste, mix it with some flour and egg and fry yourself up some couscous cakes 🙂
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