Seven vegetable couscous

by E. on March 18, 2011

Inspired by an episode from Cooking the World which was filmed in Morocco, I decided to give couscous a shot.

I had only made couscous once in my life – back when I was a doe-eyed fresh out of junior college lass backpacking the Eastern coast of Australia. I vividly remember the San Remo pack, ZJ’s violent reaction to undercooked couscous and my deep embarrassment which led to the disposal of the said pack of couscous in the backpacker’s “free to use” pantry section.

Fast forward 7 years (Gasp! I am getting old. Dang). Kitchen wiser and confident that I will not fail on couscous again, I attempted this recipe but with a few changes.

For starters, I did not have said fresh parsley and coriander in the pantry so I had to leave that out. No powdered ginger either and since I was short of time, grating fresh ginger went out the window too. Also, I had used up my last zucchini and had only three wee tomatoes in the veggie basket. To bulk up the dish, I used a green and red capsicum which actually went down really well. Anyhow, I made do with what I had and this was the final result. Pretty neat huh?

Recipe Review

The vegetables did mighty well but do remember to control the flame. I left mine on medium and ended up with a lot less gravy than what I had hoped for. It is best to bring the stock with the vegetables to a rolling boil and reducing the flame right down to sustain a gentle simmer.

Now, truth to be told, I did the couscous in a bamboo steamer over the boiling stock and vegetables in a wok.

The couscous didn’t cook through although I had followed the recipe to a T. Perhaps I am cursed by the good monks on the San Remo packet or I am meant to be sworn enemies with couscous. Either way, I had to empty out a cup and a half of stock over the couscous before it finally became “fluffy”. Lesson learned, DO follow the packet instructions.

Happy cooking!

corned beef – tomatoed and thymed

by Anne Grace on February 27, 2011

i’ve got a mauritian friend who has a rather different style of cooking so i’ve always been rather interested in learning how to cook the dishes she makes. the difference in geographical location kinda justifies the different styles we’re into. so this is something i learnt from her.

i’m not too sure whether this is a mauritian thing or just an S. Ng thing. all i know is that it tastes pretty darn good with rice.  i warn you though, the dish doesn’t look all that appetising but trust me, it tastes better than it looks.

tomato and thyme corned beef (recipe from the mauritian, S. Ng)

what?
a can of corned beef
a can of whole peeled / diced tomatoes
half an onion (or a whole, if you love ‘em) thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
5-6 thyme sprigs (or 2 tspn dried thyme)
sugar
salt
parsley to garnish (optional)

how?

1. fry corned beef till half cooked (you won’t really see a change in colour or texture. i went by my instincts) and take them out.
2. then fry the onion, garlic till brownish and add in the thyme.
3. throw in the tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of water and allow it to simmer for about 8 minutes.
4. add in as much sugar and salt as you desire, according to your taste then put the corned beef back in and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

VOILA!

my brother said it looked like a pile of brains. me thinks he’s changed the statement to ‘tasty brains’

trust me, it tastes better than it looks.

strawberry yoghurt tarts

by Anne Grace on February 21, 2011

with uni starting in a month’s time, i’ve been working out my tart-making skills while the time permits. i haven’t quite had good runs with the tarts coming out of my oven. they always either came out too doughy or too elasticy or they completely bailed on me and shrunk to biscuits.

as i lamented the issue to a friend, she suggested trying out tart shells made out of the stuff they use for cheesecake bases.

and i did.

strawberry yoghurt tarts (recipe from A. Cheng):

what?

1. tart shell*:
graham (or digestive) crackers (i like chocolate coated ones)
butter
sugar

2. strawberry-yoghurty goodness:
1 cup strawberry yoghurt
125g cream cheese
1 tspn gelatin (add more if a jelly-er texture is desired)
lemon zest (optional)
lemon juice (optional)

how?

1. tart shell **:
– preheat oven to 170 deg celcius
– crush crackers either manually or in a food processor, adding sugar according to the severity of your sweet tooth
– add enough butter so that the mixture likens wet sand
– press the mixture into cupcake moulds (i chose to make mini tarts.)
– leave them in the oven for about 5 minutes (10 if you’re doing normal cupcake sized tarts) or until they brown a little and smell good (not burnt)
– take them out to cool

2. strawberry-yoghurt goodness (recipe can be halved, quartered accordingly)
– mix all the above ingredients, though first mixing the gelatine in enough hot water to dissolve it.
– fill up those glorious tarts
– refrigerate

i must admit, this documenting in the kitchen is rather new to me. the photo below will say it all.

yes, that was what was left of the batch. ^^”’

* the original recipe used a shortbread recipe for the tart shells

** some graham cracker tart shell recipes say to refrigerate the tarts so they don’t require any time in the oven. haven’t tried it yet so am not too sure about it.