No-meatballs with green couscous

This recipe is adapted from a Turkey Meatball recipe in Waitrose Kitchen magazine January 2015. Enough for 2:


  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (more for finally baking the ‘no-meatballs’)
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 1 courgette (grated)
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained (the other half was used in Sausage and white bean stew) and mashed)
  • 1 tsp allspice (ground)
  • 50g feta (crumbled)
  • Small bunch of parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tsp tahini mixed with 2 tsp water
  • Black pepper
  • 120g wholemeal couscous
  • 130ml boiling water
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 4 sprigs of mint (chopped)
  • Small bunch of coriander (chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 50g rocket

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, and gently cook the onion for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Meanwhile grate the courgette and squeeze as much excess liquid as possible from it. Mix together the onion, garlic, courgette, beans, allspice, feta, half the parsley, black pepper to taste, and the tahini/water mix.

Form into 10 balls. Roll each in oil and bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for about 20 minutes, until browned.

Put the couscous into a bowl and mix in the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, and then the boiling water. Cover and stand for 6 minutes. Cook the peas as indicated on the packet. Mix the peas, the remaining herbs and the lemon juice, into the couscous. If necessary, keep warm until the balls are cooked, adding the rocket immediately before serving.

I did find that the balls did not hold their shape very well, despite the binding effect of the tahini/water mix. If I make this again, I think that I will try adding some fresh breadcrumbs.


Moroccan mushrooms with couscous

This is based on a recipe I found on the BBC GoodFood website. Enough for 2:


  • Oil
  • 150g mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ 410g tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 90g couscous
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • 3 soft dried apricots (diced)
  • 20 raisins
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 130ml boiling water
  • Flat parsley (roughly chopped)

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms and stir constantly over a high heat until they start to soften. Set aside.

Heat a 1 tbsp oil in another saucepan. Gently cook the onion 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cumin and chilli flakes, and cook for 1 min. Then stir in the tomatoes, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ½ tbsp. of oil and the harissa and stir into the couscous (in a bowl). Stir in the dried apricots, raisins and pin nuts. Pour over the boiling water, stir and then cover. Leave to stand for 7 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

When the tomato mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, stir in the mushrooms, the chickpeas and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve, fluff up the couscous with a fork, and serve with the mushroom mixture, scattered with parsley.

I served this with some green beans.


Herby salmon & couscous parcels


Not my recipe but today’s suggestion from BBC GoodFood for a quick supper (slightly modified so as to use basic couscous and sundried tomatoes (ie things that are in my cupboard!)):

  • 110g couscous
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon juice (a good squeeze)
  • 200ml vegetable stock (made with vegi-stock powder)
  • A handful chopped fresh herbs (eg parsley, plus thyme, tarragon or rosemary)
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 salmon fillets, approx 140g each
  • Black pepper

Cut the garlic in half and rub the inside of a bowl with the cut side. Put the couscous into a bowl and stir in the oil, followed by the lemon juice and stock. Cover with and leave to stand 10 mins, then uncover and fluff up with a fork. Keeping back some herbs, mix in the rest of the ingredients, other than the salmon. Season with black pepper.

Heat oven to 180C (Gas Mark 4). Cut two large sheets of non-stick baking paper, then divide the couscous between them. Place each fillet on the couscous, top with the remaining herbs and season with black pepper. Fold the paper over, then twist the edges to seal – like a Cornish Pasty. Place the parcels onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until the fish is cooked. Serve in the bag.



Left-over lamb tagine


I had the remains of a slow-roast half leg of lamb left over from the weekend, so I made a tagine – for 2:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 small red chillies (cored, deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cummin
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed)
  • 6 dates (stoned and roughly chopped)
  • 4 soft dried apricots (each cut into eight pieces)
  • 12 raisins
  • 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml of lamb stock (I had some in the freezer – you could use a beef stock cube, or beef/chick stock cubes 50/50)
  • 1 carrot (cut into smallish pieces)
  • 1 parsnip (peeled and cut into smallish pieces)
  • 100g swede (peeled and cut into smallish pieces)
  • Cold roast lamb – cut into smallish pieces

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan. add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in  the chillies, the spices and the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients except the lamb. Mix well and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until all the vegetables are cooked (about 45 minutes). Stir in the lamb and turn up the heat so that the meat is pipping hot.

Serve with couscous.



We finished the remaining Lamb Tagine with couscous and wilted spinach. Here is the couscous recipe – enough for 2-3:

  • 120g couscous
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Boiling water

Put the couscous into a bowl. Mix in the harissa and olive oil.

Add boiling water so that it just covers the couscous. Stir and cover, and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff-up with a fork. When you are almost ready to serve, steam (in (metal) sieve) over a pan of boiling water, until piping hot. NB. don’t try microwaving couscous it will go lumpy!


There was enough couscous left over to make a salad for a lunch box. I microwaved a small quantity of diced onion, yellow pepper and sun-dried tomato, with a small amount oil for 50 seconds at 750W. I allowed this cool and then added small amounts of raisins, dried cranberries, pine kernels, pistachio nuts and mixed seeds. I mixed this with the remaining couscous, and stirred in some oil and vinegar dressing.

Lunch Box Ideas


If you want to eat a salad at work how about one of these? I always put beetroot and tomatoes in my lunch boxes. They add a lot of colour as well as having good taste and texture.
The other bit is usually some kind of carbohydrate and changes from day to day. Here are two examples:
1. Couscous with cooled roasted vegetables (this time sliced onions, red pepper courgette and garlic, tossed in olive oil and roasted at about 150C for somewhere approaching an hour), raisins, dried cranberries, pistachio nuts, pine nuts, and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame); with oil and vinegar dressing and chopped coriander. The couscous having previously been prepared by stirring into the dry couscous a small amount of harissa mixed with olive oil and then adding boiling water sufficient to swell the grains, but not so that they go soggy;
2. Puy lentils and camargue rice – equal quantities of the two ingredients (rinsed and cooked in a pan of water for about 20 minutes, then rinsed with cold water and left to drain). Add sliced spring onion, chopped celery and red pepper to the cold rice and lentils and finish with oil and vinegar dressing.