Friday, 7 September 2012

3 Story Food Story

Insalata di Couscous, Pepe & Lenticchie Rossi con le Spezie Esotici
Exotic Spiced Couscous, Red Lentil & Pepper Salad

Oh, it's just a little salad! Nothing to get excited about! Well- actually, it probably IS- because this combination of flavors was pretty crazy and pretty fantastic! Talk about multi-cultural! Arabic and Indian, rolled into one- how could that possibly be a good idea? Well curious reader- I suppose you will have to try it for yourself and find out!

And the good thing about it is- that it is quick, easy and inexpensive to make... so what have you got to lose? Nothing! But you have a wonderful, light and Summery evening meal and a lot of fun to gain if you give it a go!

The Arabian influence was in the couscous, which was flavored with just a little Ras el Hanout Rouge powder. To make it, I took 2 cups of couscous, added a cup each of finely chopped parsley, mint and Spring onion, covered that with boiling water, added a teaspoon of the spices and seasoned with salt and pepper. I added the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil, stirred everything up well, and let the couscous "do its thing" whilst I prepared the lentils and peppers...

For the peppers, which were regular mild red peppers, I cut it into a very fine dice- I needed about a cupful in all. I sprinkled them with salt, coarsely-ground black pepper, a little sugar and a little olive oil and sautéed it for just a minute or so, until it developed a nice glaze and lost a bit of that extreme "rawness" and became a little "smoother" in flavor.

The real stars I suppose were the lentils- and they were pretty delicious! To make them I made a very fine dice of carrot, onion, parsley stalks, a little celery and a little chopped garlic. I sautéed these for 2-3 minutes in a little olive oil and added a tablespoon of tandoori powder and 2 cupfuls of red lentils.

I stirred them in well, added the juice of half a lemon, a squeeze of honey and a shot of Tabasco. The lentils didn't take much longer than 4-5 minutes to cook, and whilst I set them to one side, ready for serving, I squeezed the other half of lemon into my pan, added a teaspoon of Ras el Hanout rouge powder, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of honey and stirred these vigorously with a wooden spoon to make a nice, hot, vinaigrette- delicious!

Using my serving rings, I first set out the couscous, which I pressed down firmly and followed this swiftly with the lovely red lentils, then last but not least the ruby red peppers... mmmh! I added a little of the dressing/reduction, a garnish of mint and chives- and yes indeed- dinner was served! So buon appetito! Hope you give it a go and hope you enjoy it too!!

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