Cooking is still a bit weird here after all of our raw escapades. We are still eating mainly raw, with a few exceptions, when the produce and mood take us in a hotter direction. I need to keep my hand in because of the work that I do.
I’ve always loved a stuffed veg, Mum used to make stuffed peppers back in the dark ages on the early 90’s. Mum’s always been a bit of a maverick. I remember the first time she made cheesecake, in the mid 80’s with cheddar cheese! The family all came around to try this new found food. We’ve come a long way since then.
This is a dish along the lines of the millions of other ‘stuffed’ dishes on cyber space, the only difference being, this is ours and its only semi-stuffed. Recipes that spring to mind via what you have at hand are always my favourite. Spur of the moment cooking, making the best of what you have. This recipe goes against all of the food combining advice that we have been following recently, but we felt like living dangerously!
We are lucky to have brilliant courgettes at the moment from the farm and some sweet ripe peaches; combine that with a nut cabinet that never runs dry, mint growing wild like a madman in our garden and the ever-present cauliflower and you have the makings of a feast.
I decided to add the cauliflower to the cous cous, I love the subtle flavour that cauliflower gives off when steamed/ boiled. It added great flavour to the cous cous.
Being very much an amateur cook, I make many mistakes, or as I call them, great opportunities to learn. Cooking with an electric hob can be a real drag, but that is what we have. I much prefer gas stoves, mainly for controlling the heat by eye. When cooking the cous cous and cauliflower here, I forgot that the hob was still on very low and went off to do other things (drink tea), leaving the poor cous cous to overcook. Oh well, this is ‘real’ cooking and it still tasted good, if a little soft and congealed.
The French beans here are optional and can be substituted with anything else green and is season. Peas, spinach, broad beans etc would be grand.
We are an energy conscious household at the Beach House and don’t like turning on the oven unless very much necessary, namely, when we have lovely guests. Otherwise, it’s all hob. These courgettes could be blanched off in boiling water then thrown in a hot oven for a while, that would be nice. We have opted for the simpler and more efficient method of re-using your frying pan.
This is an ideal seasonal summer lunch which oozes flavour. All that sweetness and crunch with the bitterness of the olives. You could even cook the courgettes on the barbecue if you fancy!
2 cup wholemeal cous cous (or brown rice, quinoa etc), 1/2 cauliflower (chopped finely), 1tbsp good veg stock, 1 large onion (chopped), 10 french beans (topped and tailed and chopped), 1 teas carraway seeds, 2 cloves garlic (minced/ finely chopped), 1/2 cup olives (sliced, we like the green ones), 1 ripe peach (finely chopped), 3 tbsp hazelnuts, 2 tbsp raisins (chopped), 2 tbsp mint (chopped), 1 tsp parsley (chopped), sea salt and cracked black pepper, 1 tbsp good oil, 4 courgettes (halved lengthways)
Boil some water in a saucepan (follow quantities written on your cous cous packet, you will need a little less due to the water given off by the cauliflower) and stir in your stock, add your finely chopped cauliflower and cous cous, stir a little then tightly cover and leave off the heat to cook for 20 minutes. Fluff cous cous with a fork and re-cover until needed. If more water is needed, add now.
Heat your frying pan, add your hazelnuts and warm them through, lightly roasting them. Allow to cool, chop up into chunks.
Then heat some oil in the pan, gently soften your onions for 5 minutes, until slightly golden; add carraway seeds and french beans. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add your mashed garlic, cook for 5 minutes more.
Now add your mint, parsley and chopped hazelnut, stir for a minute to heat through, then add your cous cous and cauliflower, raisins, olives and peaches, with plenty of cracked pepper and some sea salt. Combine well. Be gentle with the cous cous here, you don’t want a mush! Cover pan and keep warm.
In another large frying pan, heat some oil and on a low/med heat, fry your courgettes face down. Allow them to colour for a few minutes then flip over, repeat this twice and the they should be cooked. You don’t want to overcook the courgette, it should still have a little crunch in the middle.
Place two courgettes on a plate, leave a little space inbetween, spoon over your filling. Pile it nice and high, finish with some of your chopped herbs.
We Love It!
This is a great dish, ideal for a light summer dinner. The combination of flavours and textures here is something that delights the mouth (even with overcooked cous cous)!
Cous cous is small balls of semolina flour, whole wheat cous cous is made with wholewheat flour and has higher nutritional properties. Wholewheat cous cous contains higher fibre and iron than the normal stuff, 1 cup gives you a third of your daily fibre requirement.