Thursday, 16 January 2014

halloumi and balsamic roasted vegetable couscous salad

... sometimes it can be very dull cooking for a vegetarian... there, i've said it.  It's out there... but sadly it's true.  I want to be inventive and creative but we're also going through a really busy period at work and I have become one of those awful tube-travelling zombie types who barely makes it home alive and so to have to then become some kind of kitchen goddess is pretty tiresome... plus, like millions of us out there The Viking and I are pretending to be on some kind of health kick so I have to be extra creative whilst still maintaining the usual nutritional balance. Plus, the thought of going back to the god-forsaken supermarket fill me with dread... it's not the endless drudge through produce, it's the other un-happy souls that make me feel so desperate... who actually loves January?  Whoever they are should be liquidated immediately...

halloumi and balsamic roasted vegetable couscous salad
fortunately, just outside our nearest tube station there is a wonderful old-style deli and supermarket run by a wonderful iranian family... they have some rather unusual produce in there but they also have a fab selection of delicious stuff that at a rushed grab can make up something a little exotic for dinner... i'm still in the process of stocking my London larder and they have all kinds of interesting herbs, spices and oils...

2 carrots - halved lengthways and thickly sliced
2 courgettes - halved lengthways and thickly sliced
10 chestnut mushrooms - halved
1 small onion - halved and thickly sliced
3 cloves of garlic - unpeeled
a handful of fine green beans - halved
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of rosemary
a handful of torn coriander
a pinch of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
olive oil and salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
a few pieces of pickled beetroot
a handful of rocket leaves
a handful of watercress
1 block of halloumi cheese - sliced
250g couscous
400ml boiling vegetable stock
sesame oil

place all the veg and herbs into a large oven-proof casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil and the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the paprika and fennel then toss around, place the lid on and roast for 30 mins on 190C

remove the lid, stir and roast for a further 15 mins until beginning to brown

prep the couscous by placing it in a large bowl and covering with the stock and olive oil ...I used a little lemon infused olive oil... cover and set aside for 5 minutes

take the veg out of the oven and set aside whilst you grill your halloumi... I like mine sliced quite thick and nicely golden but do it to your preferences

and now it's just a simple job of bringing it all together... I like to use the casserole dish as the main vessel for the final dish, so pour the couscous, beetroot and salad leaves into the veg, sprinkle over a little sesame oil and toss it all together coating the couscous in all the gorgeous oils and juices

eat and of course, enjoy!



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