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This recipe is a regular at my table, especially in the Summer.  I think it deserves a place on this site even though it seems almost too easy to be worth posting, but the simplest recipes are often the best.  I don’t know how many types of tomato you are able to find locally.  Most weeks just the round red type are available on our market, with unusual varieties a rarety.  In the Summer there are often the small sweet ones, useful for skewering, plus vine tomatoes and sometimes the oval Italian plum type.  One week last Autumn, therefore, I was surprised and pleased to see a number of varieties I had not come across before.  I knew, though, that if I bought several types of tomatoes I would also need to have a plan for them.  No problem: our favourite warm tomato dish, flavoured with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil – perfect!  It would be extra pretty, multi-hued rather than the usual plain red.  I decided on some medium sized pale yellow tomatoes and some enormous crinkly orange/red ones, plus the ordinary red type I had already bought at an earlier stall.  Later on I saw dark tomatoes too, a combination of maroon and olive green: my heart said yes … but my head said that I had bought enough already!  A pity as the splash of extra colour would have made the dish particularly attractive.

Although I am sure that there are many similar versions of this Mediterranean style dish in recipe books this recipe is my own.  I have not specified amounts – use as many tomatoes as you would like to serve, but be generous as this is moreish. The other ingredients should be according to taste.  Since I made (and photographed) this recipe I have discovered the existence of white balsamic vinegar, though have not yet bought a bottle.   It would be useful as the tomatoes would not have the usual dark staining associated with ordinary balsamic vinegar.  I usually serve this as a warm side dish as part of a main meal or as a warm or cold salad.  It also makes a good light lunch spooned onto a slice of crusty toast or a delicious starter, either cold or a warm, served on its own, or on crusty bread drizzled with additional olive oil, or topped with a slice of flash grilled melted goats cheese.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Roasted Mixed Tomatoes

Tomatoes – one variety or mixed varieties and colours if available
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar, dark or white
Fresh basil leaves, torn – plus a few to garnish
Sugar (a small sprinkle for added sweetness)
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
Slices of French baguette loaf – optional
Slices of goat’s cheese roll – optional

1.  Cut the tomatoes into ¼inch/½cm slices and layer in an ovenproof dish.

2.  Sprinkle generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar, torn basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3.  Put the dish uncovered into a preheated oven at around 170oC/325oF/Gas 3 for about 15 minutes.  (The temperature and cooking time can be a little higher or lower as this recipe is often cooked at the same time and heat as another dish for the meal.)
OR
Cook uncovered on medium in the microwave so the tomatoes heat through relatively gently.

4.  Whichever method of cooking is used the tomatoes need to be warmed through, retaining their shape, rather than dried up (although they are still delicious if they have shrivelled a little!)

5.  Serve drizzled with a little extra olive oil and some more torn green basil, as the original leaves will have darkened and have lost their attractive colour.

6.  If adding goats cheese then, before finishing with extra olive oil and basil, lay slices of a goat’s cheese log on the top and gently flash grill to melt and colour. Alternatively toast a slice of French baguette loaf on one side, then turn over and lay a slice or two of goats cheese on the other side.  Flash cook cheesy side under the grill.   Serve laid on a bed of warm or cold cooked tomatoes.

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With just a few days to go before our holiday the fresh contents of the fridge were run down to almost zero … but we still had to eat.  Half a dozen tomatoes and some sad looking carrots were all I had left, after which we would be on to frozen and tinned vegetables for the last day or so.  Then I remembered this recipe on a card I had picked up in the supermarket a few weeks before.  It was just the right dish to serve with Marinaded Pork, oven tomato roasted tomatoes and some crusty French bread (flatbread or pittas would have been another option).

The recipe card for Indian Chicken with Carrot & Chickpea Salad came from Tesco supermarkets.  The chicken is pre-marinaded and then simply grilled or fried – something to make on another occasion. The salad was prepared as instructed by the recipe except I halved the quantity of carrot to serve three/four whilst still using a whole can of chick peas.  I would have liked to add more mint but there was not much in my garden – well, I was just about to go away and I do use quite a lot – however the 2-3 sprigs I used was adequate.  I am not sure that this would be enough to serve six unless it was with another vegetable or salad side dish in addition to the rice or bread recommended.  Our verdict on the recipe, however, was a resounding ‘more please’ so I shall be making this again.  At some point I will certainly be trying it with a tikka style chicken recipe as suggested by the original card date.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Carrot & Chickpea Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
2-3 sprigs mint, chopped
1.  Put the carrots, chickpeas, honey and olive oil together in a bowl.
2.  Heat the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan and toast until they start to release their aroma.
3.  Add the toasted coriander seeds to the bowl.
4. Stir in the lemon juice to taste – less than the specified quantity may be enough.  Add the mint and season to taste.
5.  Serve with grilled or cold meat.  Original recipe was served with spiced chicken. flatbread, mango chutney and Indian beer.

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What could be better for a Summer Sunday lunch on a scorcher of a day – a ‘too hot to cook’ type of hot day!  I was delighted when I discovered this recipe on the back of the pack of tuna and it was perfect for a busy day, just before we went on holiday, when lots of cooking was the last thing on my agenda.  (We followed it with an ice cream dessert).   Salad Niçoise is a specialty of the Côte d’Azur region of France, originating in and named after the Mediterranean port city of Nice.  Traditionally red peppers and shallots are used with the French insistent that no cooked vegetables be added, whilst it is not always usual to include salad leaves.   With these reservations, Salad Niçoise is usually understood to be a mixed salad which includes four essentials: tuna, egg, French green beans and olives mixed with other salad ingredients, all of which is tossed with a vinaigrette dressing.

My recipe starting point was found on the back of a pack of Finest Catch Frozen Tuna Steaks.  (This appears to be a small company without a website address, but their fish retails through a small nationwide chain of supermarkets and I have been very pleased with it, especially their Oak Smoked Haddock.)  I find frozen tuna steaks easy to use and relatively economical though if I was cooking for a special occasion I would choose fresh tuna steaks.  Alternatively, this can be served at a buffet with the tuna steak replaced with the contents of two tins of tuna chunks, which are placed on top just before serving at the same time as the eggs and olives.  (It should go without saying that Tuna should come only from a sustainable source and be line caught.)  I had all the ingredients to hand, the one exception being that I had a jar green olives already open, so decided to use these rather than the usual black ones.  I added a couple of additional salad ingredients which we usually enjoy: cucumber and pepper, this time orange.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Salad Niçoise
(Serves 4) 

4 Tuna steaks  (or 2 tins of Tuna chunks in brine, drained)
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
salt & black pepper

For the salad:
2oog small new potatoes (cook with a sprig of mint, optional)
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
175g green french beans, topped & tailed
100g lettuce (original recipe suggests 1 head Romaine – I substituted a mixed bag)
150g cherry tomatoes, halved (or larger tomatoes cut into quarters or eighths)
1 small red onion, finely sliced
50g pitted olives, black (original recipe) or green or mixed colours
4inches/10cm cucumber cut into four lengthways and chopped
1 orange/red/yellow pepper diced (optional)
6tbsp vinaigrette dressing (have more available if needed)

1.  Scrub the potatoes and boil until soft.  Add a sprig of mint to the boiling water (optional).  Drain and cool.

2.  Hard boil the eggs in their shells.  Cool immediately in cold water to avoid a grey ring around the yolk.  When cool, crack and remove the shell, quarter and set aside.

3.  Blanch the beans by pouring over boiling water which should be just enough to slightly soften while they retain their bright green colour.  Immerse in cold water to stop them from overcooking, drain and set aside.

4.  Prepare the remaining salad items except for the olives and pieces of egg.  Stir in the cooled potatoes and beans.  Dress with the vinaigrette and gently mix together.

5.  Melt a little butter in a frying pan and add a little olive oil and heat until the butter has just melted.  Place the Tuna steaks in the saucepan, season with salt & pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice.  When the Tuna steak has a light colour on on one side, turn it adding a little extra olive oil if necessary and cook until the second side is also lightly coloured.  The fish should not be overcooked and should still be a little pink in the centre.  Alternatively, cook the Tuna steak in your own preferred way.

6.  Serve a pile of salad onto each plate, placing a still warm tuna steak on the top and decorating with the pieces of egg and olives.  Alternatively serve the tuna steaks separately, decorating one large dish of tossed salad with the olives and egg pieces so that guests can serve themselves.  Drizzle just a little extra olive oil over the salad if you wish, or have extra dressing and seasoning available for guests to help themselves.

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This lovely combination of cold chicken and vegetables dressed in a spicy yoghurt mayonnaise and served with hot rice, makes a perfect light but spicy dish for a warm summer evening.  We enjoyed it so much I took the recipe on holiday with me, along with some tomato relish plus little packet containing the spices I needed and then made it in our holiday caravan in the French alps.  (I am always looking for straightforward and quick to prepare holiday recipes, after all it’s my break too!)  The finished dish looks very pretty and would be an attractive addition for a buffet, perhaps as an alternative to the much sweeter Coronation Chicken.  A small portion, perhaps on a bed of lettuce with little or no rice, would make a delicious starter.
Update 6.2.11:  I made this recipe as part of a buffet in a quantity that would serve 50 people.

The recipe came from one of my favourite cookbooks and probably one of my best charity shop finds: Hot & Spicy Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals with recipes by Judith Ferguson, Lalita Ahmed and Carolyn Garner.  Ideally this would be a good use for cold meat left over from a roast.  As I had none I gently pre-cooked some lightly seasoned chicken thighs in a small saucepan along with a little olive oil and some finely chopped onion, allowed them to cool and removed the flesh in strips.  This was then used to finish the recipe. One ingredient that I dispensed with was onion purée.  I certainly was not going to buy a ready made version, if I could find some, as it would be so easy to make myself, but it was rather a lot of work for such a small amount.  In the end I simply gently cooked half a finely chopped small onion in the microwave. On subsequent occasions I have used a good tablespoon of my own home made Spicy Tomato Relish in place of the onion, tomato puree, chilli powder and cayenne pepper, just adding the paprika.  The relish includes a little apple and sugar, making it slightly sweeter, but it was enjoyed by all and I will make it this way in future.  If using tomato relish in the recipe chilli and cayenne can still be added to taste for lovers of spicy food but less will be needed than in the original recipe.  In my version I have also adjusted the proportions of other ingredients, including doubling the quantity of sweetcorn and adding an extra pepper in a different colour.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mexican Style Chicken Salad
(Serves 6)

450g/1lb poached chicken, breast or meat from thighs, cut into small pieces
140ml/¼pint mayonnaise (more if you wish) – not salad cream
140ml/¼pint natural yoghurt (more if you wish)
1tsp paprika
3 medium peppers, seeded & finely sliced: suggest one each red, orange & green
½ x 325g tin sweetcorn, drained (but more if you wish)
a little paprika to garnish
1tbsp Spicy Tomato Relish
or
1tsp chilli powder
pinch cayenne pepper
½tsp tomato purée
1tsp onion purée

1. a.If using the chicken thighs lightly season them and gently cook in a small saucepan with a little olive oil and some finely chopped onion.  When cooked thoroughly, leave to cool, remove the flesh in strips.  Drain and reserve any cooking liquid, which can be cooled and frozen to use as stock.  Set aside the drained onion unless using tomato relish, in which case it can be kept with the stock if you wish.

b.  If using cold leftover chicken cut it into strips, checking for and removing any gristle.

2.  Deseed the peppers and cut into small strips, a similar size to the strips of chicken.

3.  Open and drain the sweetcorn.

4.  Mix together the yoghurt and mayonnaise.  Stir in either the tomato and onion purées (or onion cooked with the chicken or some onion chopped and gently cooked until transparent) along with the chilli powder and cayenne pepper or the tomato relish, which already contains spices. (If using tomato relish a little additional chilli powder and/or cayenne pepper can be added, according to taste.)

5.  Mix in the sweetcorn, peppers and chicken and stir well.  Chill before serving with warm long grain rice, lightly sprinkled with paprika.  Alternatively serve on a small bed of lettuce leaves.

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Fattoush is a delicious light summery salad well known across the Middle East.  It is packed full of fragrant flavours – lemon, sumac, mint and basil.  Fattoush can be served with any Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or even North African main dish making a good light alternative to a couscous based salad.  This recipe, from Nigella Lawson, was originally served alongside Za’atar Chicken.

The recipe below is almost the same as the one in the book Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson, in fact it was the repeats of the television programme that accompanied the book that originally alerted me to the recipe.  This was, however, just my starting point.  Some more research showed me that this is a fairly basic recipe to which other ingredients can be added, as you wish.  Optional extra ingredients widely listed are lettuce, radish, parsley, carrot (grated or batons), red or green pepper, red cabbage, black olives or pomegranite seeds (or arils): I particularly like the sound of this final idea. Feta cheese is another optional ingredient which would make this a more substantial salad (in fact this recipe is not unlike Greek Salad and has very similar basic ingredients, with the feta cheese and olives replaced with pieces of pitta bread, basil and sumac).  Not unsurprising really given the close proximity of Greece to the area normally considered as the Middle East.  It is perfectly acceptable to use pitta breads that are slightly stale: this recipe was used by cooks in the middle east for this very purpose.

Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad
(Serves 4)

2 pitta breads
3 or 4 spring onions (depending on size) or ½ finely chopped red onion
1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
Generous handful of fresh parsley (flat leaf if available), chopped
Generous handful of mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
6-8tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Salt
1tsp Sumac powder to sprinkle over finished salad
(see also list of optional ingredients above)

1.  Prepare the spring onions or red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, herbs and garlic and mix gently but thoroughly together.

2.  Dress the salad with the olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt.  Refrigerate until almost ready to serve.

3.  It is good to have the pitta breads slightly warm and still crisp so this final stage should be done just before serving.  Split the pitta breads in half and toast or put in the oven for five minutes.  They should be slightly crisp but not completely brittle.

4.  Using scissors, snip the toasted pitta breads into medium to small pieces and stir into the salad mixture.

5.  Sprinkle over the sumac so it is noticeable but not too thick.

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A simple potato salad is a delicious alongside a green salad as part of a summer supper.  This version is combined with Tzatziki, a yoghurt based accompaniment commonly served at Greek meals, but found around the Mediterranean and further afield under other names: all slightly different but all very similar.

The source of this recipe was an idea found at Good to Know Recipes and also called Tzatziki Potato Salad originally taken from Love Dips.  I revisited my recipe for own Tzatsiki, already posted on this site and used this, with the addition of a small amount of sweet red onion, for extra flavour and lots of mint, which very strangely was omitted from the Good to Know recipe.  As an alternative to Greek yoghurt I used a standard plain version, which can be combined with some crème fraîche for extra thickness.  However Greek Yoghurt would also give a thicker consistency and is often available in lower fat versions.  Finally, I sprinkled the whole salad generously with Sumac, a Mediterranean ingredient  more commonly found in the Middle East and North Africa, but also because I like it.  This can be replaced with paprika or some ground black pepper if preferred.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Tzatziki Potato Salad
(Serves 4)

500g new potatoes – substitute old potatoes if new unavailable
2/3 large sprigs of mint
300g Greek yogurt, or a mixture of plain yoghurt and crème fraîche or soured cream
½ clove of garlic
½ small red onion or 2 spring onions (optional – can replace garlic)
½ cucumber
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt & black pepper
Sumac or paprika (optional)

1. Scrub new potatoes and halve or peel and cut old potatoes into large dice. Cover with water, add a pinch of salt and a large stem of mint. Bring to the boil and cook until soft. Do not overcook as they could break up, which could be a problem using old potatoes.

2. Measure the yoghurt or yoghurt and crème fraîche/soured cream into a bowl.

3. Finely chop or crush the garlic and red onion or spring onions. Finely dice the cucumber. Chop the remaining mint, reserving a few whole small leaves to decorate. Mix these into the yoghurt along with the lemon juice and season to taste.

4. Gently combine with the potatoes, spoon into a serving dish, decorate with the reserved mint leaves and sprinkle with a little sumac, paprika or black pepper to serve.

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This salad was made as a contribution for a shared supper with a group of friends.  I was asked to bring a green salad, so set about putting together a mixture of green salad and fruit items (although there were some dark red radiccio leaves in the mixed salad and the green pepper was slightly turning to orange/yellow.)   I used cider vinegar in the vinaigrette dressing as it complemented the sharp tasting green skinned Granny Smith apples.  Although they are sharp they add a sweetness and this can be increased by adding grapes.  Alternatively, green olives could be added to give a more salty flavour, although I did not add them on this occasion.  The whole salad was well received and one friend in particular was very complimentary.  I shall certainly be making this again.

As you might have gathered, this recipe is my own concoction, probably not very original but still was not copied from another source.  Pork and apple complement each other well and this would be particularly suitable to eat with cold ham or gammon, pork, pork pie or a pork based pâté.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Minted Apple Salad
(Select items from this list – choice & proportions according to personal preference)
Mixed green salad leaves
Rocket
Baby spinach
Chopped cucumber
Chopped green pepper
Chopped mint
Seedless green grapes (optional)
Pitted green olives (optional)
Dressing (can be increased proportionally as required):
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp cider vinegar
black pepper

1.  Wash leaves.  

2.  Slice cucumber in quarters lengthwise and chop.

3.  Chop and prepare other items as required and combine in a large bowl.

4.  Mix the dressing in proportion of 2:1 (oil to vinegar) add a little black pepper and whisk together thoroughtly.

5.  Shortly before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly together.

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Unflavoured, couscous is really unexciting.  However, flavoured with oils, lemon and herbs or spices it can be transformed into a delicious accompaniment not just for North African dishes, but as a side dish for simply grilled meat or as part of a cold or warm buffet.

This is my variation on a recipe from the book Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookbook. I have several books by this well known vegetarian writer who introduced a BBC vegetarian cookery series in the 1980’s. (See my version of the original recipe: Chickpea & Couscous Salad.) I have changed or substituted some of the ingredients for this version: the original included 1tsp miso (shoyu or soy sauce could be substituted) and 1tsp lemon juice, which I have changed to preserved/Pickled Lemon – also lots (and lots) of chopped fresh Coriander (and it must be fresh).  This is a simple unspicy dish, but would be good with a sprinkling of Sumac, a commonly used eastern spice (see recipe for Grilled Chicken with Sumac & Roasted Banana) or, for a hotter taste, add ½-1tsp Ras el-Hanout or Harissa paste at the same time as the oils.  Cooked couscous keeps for several days in the fridge and may be frozen for up to three months and should be thoroughly defrosted before it is eaten.  If it has coriander added the flavour could be affected when defrosted.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad
(Serves 4)

225g/8ozs couscous
400g/14oz tin chick peas, drained & rinsed
570ml/1 pint boiling water
30ml/2tbsp olive oil
15ml/1tbsp sesame oil
15ml/1tbsp chopped preserved/Pickled Lemon or lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
5/6 chopped spring onions or ½ red onion, finely chopped
4-6 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (depending on personal taste)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sumac powder (optional)

1.  Place the couscous, drained chick peas, oils, garlic, spring onion and chopped lemon or lemon juice in a large heatproof bowl or jug.

2.  Pour over the boiling water and mix together with a fork.  The couscous will absorb the liquids quite quickly.

3.  Add the fresh coriander, reserving a little as a garnish if you wish, and season.

4.  If it is to be eaten hot, this salad should be made just before it is served as it cools quickly.  (If necessary, it can be briefly reheated in a microwave, but may need a little more water if this is done although it is best not made too far in advance.)  Alternatively it can be left to cool and is ideal served cold, perhaps as part of a buffet.  

5.  Sprinkle with reserved coriander, or a few individual leaves and a little sumac powder (optional) or ground black pepper.

100_4946 Chickpea Couscous Salad

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Chickpea & Couscous Salad
Here is my version of the original recipe by Sarah Brown.  Good hot or cold.

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Mostly we boil beetroot and serve it very plain as part of a salad, with or without a splash of vinegar.  In the past I made a delicious recipe where cooked chopped raw beetroot was used as part of a beef stew (lovely – must find that recipe and do it again!). I have also seen it used, grated, as an ingredient in a very interestingly coloured cake.  However, we rarely serve beetroot raw so I was intrigued by this simple grated and marinaded dish.  I did adapt it a bit, using Cumin powder rather than seed, (the seed I had in the cupboard was rather old and only fit for the bin!), spring onion instead of shallots and Balsamic Vinegar in place of Sherry Vinegar.  In the end the result was so good that I made another batch the following day.

This recipe comes from Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis, one of two books she has written about life and food in Normandy, both including recipes. I read this book whilst on holiday in France, travelling through Normandy near to Loomis’ home. I knew just had to try this recipe on our return from holiday.  It seemed – and was – so easy! Susan Loomis recommends serving small portions garnished with a strong flavoured salad leaf such as Rocket (Argula) as it has a pronounced flavour. I think would make a wonderful addition as part of a mixed starter of French style crudités.

100_7594 Raw Beet Salad 1

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Raw Beetroot Salad
(Salade de Betteraves Crues)
Serves 6

1tsp sherry vinegar (I used Balsamic vinegar)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2tbsp olive oil, extra virgin if available
¼tsp cumin seed (about half of this quantity if using powder)
2 spring onions, just the white part, finely sliced (or 1 small shallot)
4 medium beetroot, trimmed, peeled and finely grated
Mixed green salad leaves to serve, preferably including Rocket (Argula) or parsley

1. Combine the vinegar with the salt and pepper and gradually mix in the olive oil. It will thicken slightly. Check and adjust seasoning to taste.
2. Stir in the cumin and onion.
3. Add the beetroot and mix well with the dressing.
4. Leave to marinade for at least 15 minutes before serving.
5. Serve on small plates garnished with the rocket.

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This is one of my favourite ingredient combinations for couscous.  It makes a good accompaniment for meat at a main meal but it could equally well be served as a light vegetarian lunch.  It is best when dressed with the oils and lemon while warm to allow the flavours to develop and is lovely served slightly warm as well, although there is no reason why it could not be served cold at a buffet or picnic.  

The original recipe comes from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookbook, a paperback first published in 1984.  If you want a more substantial dish then use two tins of chickpeas or double the quantity of uncooked peas below.  I also sometimes make it without the chickpeas, or substitute another bean. The original recipe called for 12-15 spring onions, which seemed rather a lot, so I reduced the amount by more than half.  I also substituted soy sauce for the miso, as I did not have any in my cupboard and used some of my stock of coriander leaves from the freezer, so did not have any fresh leaves available for garnish.  Increase the lemon juice if you want it more zesty, in fact you could also use more zest stirring it through the couscous in the initial cooking stage as well as keeping some for a garnish.   An even simpler microwave oven method of making this dish is the ‘throw it all in together’ method.  Combine all ingredients except the chick peas, seasoning and garnish.  Microwave until the liquids are absorbed.  Stir through the peas, season, garnish and serve – easy (chick)peas-y!

100_4946 Chickpea Couscous Salad

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Chickpea Couscous Salad
(Serves 4)

100g/4ozs chickpeas, soaked or 1x400g tin cooked chickpeas
225g/8ozs couscous
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 spring onions, chopped
4tbsp chopped coriander leaves
30ml/2tsp olive oil
5ml/1tsp miso or light soy sauce
570ml/1pint boiling water
15ml/1tsp sesame oil
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
strands of lemon zest & a few coriander leaves to garnish

1.   If you are using uncooked chickpeas, put them in a large pan and cover with plenty of fresh water but no salt.  Boil hard for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat and skim off any scum that has collected.  Cover and simmer until soft (50 – 60 minutes).  Set aside.

2. If you are using a tin of chickpeas gently heat through (in either microwave or a saucepan).

3.  Place the couscous in a large heavy based pan with crushed garlic, spring onions, coriander and olive oil.  Mix miso or soy sauce with the boiling water and pour over the couscous.   Bring to boil and then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed. 
(This can also be done in a microwave oven.  Leave the ingredients together in a bowl  for about 5 minutes, then cook on high for 3-5 minutes, until as much liquid as possible is absorbed.)

4.  Drain the warm chickpeas well and add to the couscous mixture with the sesame oil, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.  Fork over well.  Garnish with lemon zest and coriander leaves.

5.  Serve warm as a light main or side dish or cold at a buffet or picnic.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad
(a variation to serve with North African dishes, but it would be equally delicious on a cold buffet)

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