17 July 2013

Lunch time: Couscous salad

Aw man, my poor neglected blog! I have been so incredibly busy, I have had little to no time to even think about blogging, let alone attempt to write something! And I was so keen to post something! Anything! I bought a new camera (a real DSLR! Yay! I've got a Real Camera for Grownups now!) and I've been dying to use it on some pictures for the blog! I'm still fiddling with settings and getting used to taking pictures with it but hopefully you can see some sort of improvement. So for my lack of posts: my sincerest apologies

But what I won't apologise for is that delicious bowl of golden yellow, enticing green and popping red, orange and pink at the top of the page. Oh boy. One of the perks of working from home has definitely been that I am able to make my lunch fresh at lunch time and since I like a bit of variation every now and then, salads have been my go-to lunch for a while now. They're so versatile! I always follow the same formula for my lunch salads: a good base, with a huge helping of veggies (usually tomato, cucumber and bell pepper), and a nice heaping pile of protein. Apart from that, it's usually a free-for-all, depending on what I have in the fridge and what I'm craving at that moment.

This salad follows my formula to a T, and then adds a few dashes of extra-special to bring it right up to the top of my favourite lunches! Have you ever eaten couscous? I hadn't, until recently. It's a semolina-based Arabic staple dish with a texture not unlike rice. Fresh couscous is made of tiny semolina pellets that are then steamed. Most supermarkets don't sell fresh couscous, however, they sell pre-steamed couscous pellets that take next to no time to prepare, making it an excellent alternative to rice or pasta. The texture is very light and fluffy, making it the perfect base for a salad dish as it's delicious both cold and hot from the pan.

This delicious lunch salad is a cinch to put together. Simply bring some water to a boil, take it off the heat, tip in your couscous, stir some spices through, and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Done! One delicious and filling salad in next to no time! And with the slight heat from the spices, the crunch from the cucumber, and the sweet and sour from the apricots and tomatoes, this is the perfect little salad for a summer day.

Couscous salad
(filling lunch salad for 1)

75 grams dried couscous
80 ml water (roughly, but follow the instructions on your packet of couscous to be sure)
5-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cucumber, cubed
3 slices of turkey deli meat, stacked and sliced into cubes, or a small piece of turkey breast, cooked to your liking and cubed
4-6 dried apricots, cubed
1 teaspoon hot curry spices
salt and pepper to taste

Cook your couscous according to the instructions of your packet. (It will most likely be a variation of 'bring water to a boil, take off the heat, tip in your couscous, allow to stand for 3 minutes, stir to separate and make fluffy') Once done, add your curry spices and salt and pepper to taste. I like mine spicy so I usually add about 1 teaspoon, followed with a small amount of salt and a reasonably large dash of pepper. Stir through to combine the spices and the couscous properly, and place your couscous in a deep dish or bowl. Add your veggies, meat and apricots and stir to combine. Taste and adjust spices to taste, if necessary. If not: Enjoy your lunch!