I have a great understanding of what’s terrifying – and to tell you the truth, I have a brilliant track record of spookiness, wearing a yellow raincoat at the age of seven to disguise myself as a ghost to give you just one example. I spent a long time racking my brain as to what I should make this week; I had considered whipping up a dessert but, as always, I went with what I was craving that day and it was couscous.
Couscous with roasted vegetables is one of my favourite dishes to eat – vegetables that are normally in couscous salads include peppers, onions, courgettes. And in light of Halloween being this week, I decided to add pumpkin, too. Like aubergines (which I wrote about in my second recipe), pumpkins seem to be a vegetable that’s ignored in supermarkets – or sometimes not even sold. So, I was mildly surprised when I found culinary pumpkins in the Tesco Metro on Nicolson Street. Note: there is a difference between carving and culinary pumpkins. Carving pumpkins tend to be tasteless and watery. In my couscous salad, I added some diced lamb just to add some flavour, but it’s entirely optional.
Ingredients: 1 cup (approx. 225ml) couscous, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of oil, ½ a pepper, 1/3 of a courgette, ½ onion, 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 culinary pumpkin, 1 vegetable stock cube
Slice the top of the pumpkin to make a hole. Then, cut a circle inside the pumpkin and scoop out the flesh, separating the pumpkin flesh from the seeds. Once you have removed all the seeds, scoop out some more flesh from the bottom of the inside of the pumpkin. Dice the flesh, along with the pepper, courgette, onion and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
Place the vegetables on an oven tray, lined with kitchen foil and sprinkle one teaspoon of salt on them – this allows the juices to come out of the vegetables when roasted. Then add on two tablespoons of oil. Cook the vegetables in the oven for 20-25 minutes, at 220˚C.
Now to make the couscous, pour the cup of water and oil and add the stock cube into a saucepan, Gas Mark 5. When the water starts boiling, add the cup of couscous and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt into a saucepan. The couscous should cook quickly as you stir it. When it is completely submerged in the water, switch the hob off and cover the pan, allowing the couscous to chill for 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables are ready, pour everything (including couscous) into a bowl. To carve your pumpkin, use a medium knife. If you want to add meat, just dice the meat and cook it on the hob with a little bit of oil until well cooked – my lamb only took a few minutes.
Tesco Cous Cous (500g) – 70p, Tesco Peppers (3Pack) – 99p, Tesco Courgette – 40p, Tesco Onions – 16p, Tesco Cherry Tomatoes – £1, Tesco Vegetable Stock Cubes (10Pack) – 20p, Tesco Culinary Pumpkin – £1.50. Total Cost: £4.95. Cost Per Serving: £2.46.