Couscous dish

We all have a certain dish or type of food that suddenly reminds us of childhood and mummy’s cooking. A chocolate cake, a rice pudding, a stew… One of mine is a couscous dish.
It’s basically a north African curry.
In France, there is a big north African community because of the old French colonies (like Indian community over here).
It’s not exactly like a curry (the couscous dish is a one and only) as curries are different; made with different types of meat, fish, vegetables, hot or mild…

This North African curry is usually made with 3 types of meat all added together (lamb, chicken and hot sausages) but like we’re vegetarians, I only make it with the vegetables.
After a couple of attempts, mine tastes very close to my mum’s but still there is something different…

What can I say, I can’t compete against the couscous queen!!

Anyway, this is my version.

For a 4 hungry people couscous, you’ll need:

– 1 big onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 big carrot, chopped in half an inch slices
– 2 courgettes, roughly chopped
– 2 peppers (any color), chopped
– Half a tin of chickpeas
– One tin of chopped tomatoes
– 1 stock cube
– 1 dessertspoon of ras el hanout (north African blend of spices)
– 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika
– Salt and pepper

Fry the onion in a large saucepan.

After 5 min, add the garlic. When the garlic starts cooking, add the carrot and spices.

Leave it for 3 min then add the chopped tomatoes and the stock cube. Cook with a lid for about 15min then add the other vegetables. If you don’t have enough moisture, just add some water.

Leave it to simmer for a while (30 min).

When your vegetables are cooked, put the chickpeas in. Season to taste, it needs quite a lot of salt.

Put it aside, lid on and wait for 10min before eating.

Serve with couscous (what we call couscous in the UK is actually only the name of the whole dish; we call it couscous semolina in France).

Mylène

Sorting out a website and more

These last few weeks, we were thinking about selling our goodies online; we thought about it since we started our business but we didn’t have a real think about it until the last few months.

At the same time as trying to create a website, we ordered safe and beautiful boxes to send our stuff in. We finally got macaroon boxes and decorated biscuit boxes and they look absolutely amazing! I’m so happy with them! Even if the website isn’t ready (at all), I’m really excited about it!

Anyway, I had a quite busy week last week but very nice. I had a lot of occasions to celebrate : 3 Birthdays and, of course, Valentine’s day. This year was the first year when I really felt creative about it so I let my imagination go!! Valentine’s day is really big over here compared to France where people don’t really celebrate lover’s day.

I made a whole meal as a valentine’s present, my starter was a roasted red pepper soup with goat cheese. It was very tasty!

Here’s the recipe:

For 3 people, you’ll need:

–  4 red peppers
–  1 medium onion
–  1 clove of garlic
–  Half of a potato
–  Half a litre of vegetable stock
–  1 desert spoon of sugar

Cut in half and de-seed your peppers. Roast them under the grill until the skin goes black. Put them in a jug and cover it with cling film. When it’s cooled down, remove the burned skin, chop your peppers and leave them in a bowl.

Chop the onion, garlic and potato and cook them for 5 minutes in a bit of oil. Add you peppers and stock and cook for about 15 minutes. Blend your vegetables and season with salt, pepper and sugar.

You can serve it as it is or with a piece of goat cheese and a drizzle of cream.

Also this week, we worked in a lovely shop in Northampton: St Giles Cheese.

We supply them every week with a selection of our stuff. They are really nice people who care about local businesses and the quality of their products, I really recommend this shop, and not just because they sell our stuff!

Mylène

Halloween

As you know, Halloween is here and it doesn’t only mean kids coming to knock at your door for treats . It means an other occasion to make seasonal and fun recipes.

When I think about Halloween, I especially think about pumpkins. They are wonderful for loads of things. Pies, soups, toasted seeds for a healthy snack, muffins, ice cream, cupcakes, cheesecakes,…

I couldn’t wait to try some recipes. So let’s buy pumpkins!

The first recipe I tried was a pie.

It was a “normal” pumpkin pie recipe that I found in one of my vegetable cook books. I used very dark sugar instead of light brown and all I could taste was the sugar and the spices. I couldn’t taste the pumpkin at all. It was still good but not wonderful. Well, maybe it’s only personal taste.

I wasn’t totally impressed by the pie so I had to try something else. I then made cupcakes. I used a recipe found on the internet, very easy to find. I made them and they looked really good and tasted great!

 

I was glad with the result of the cupcakes but I still had half a pumpkin to use.

I didn’t even think about it for one second, it had to be soup otherwise the kitchen would have been full of goodies and I would have been too tempted to resist eating them!

The soup was very nice, especially the texture but if I could have had another variety of pumpkin, it would have been much better (the one I had was grown for the size and shape and not for the taste). Anyway, here is the recipe…

You’ll need

:

– 1kg of pumpkin
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 2 onions
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 800ml of vegetable stock
– a pinch of cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg
– 200ml of cream (less or more, depends of your taste)

Chop all the vegetables. Cook for 5 min the onions in some olive oil. Add the other vegetables and cook for 2 min. Add the stock and the spices. Cook until the pumpkin is tender.

When it’s cooked, blend the vegetables and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!