Friday, 13 February 2015

A Pilgrim's Help in Confronting a Demon!

Couscous with Cheddar, Mushrooms and Onions

The company who make Pilgrims Choice kindly offered some of their cheese if I'd like to taste it, cook with it and blog about it. Since cheese is a favourite of ours, I was happy to say yes.  And because couscous has long been a problem for me - apparently healthy but bland - it seemed a good idea to take the bull by the horns, grasp the nettle, etc etc. Especially as middle-eastern food is trending in magazines.

Oddly, I get on well with tebbouleh which involves bulgar wheat - along with couscous, it's made from durum wheat. Bulgar could be a substitute here.

Pleased to say this actually worked well, so the birds will not be getting the rest of the couscous (after I soaked some to put in their latest bird cake-in-a-mug). The cheese was Pilgrims Choice Extra Mature Cheddar and made an excellent nibble before the cooking began. Would be a full-flavoured addition to a cheeseboard as well as for cooked dishes.

The recipe takes 30 minutes or so once the ingredients are ready. The quantities would serve 2 as a main; I made half because Mr P shares my uncertainly about the grain.

Couscous with Cheddar, Mushrooms and Onions

60g wholewheat couscous
150ml boiling water
30g pine nuts or flaked almonds (optional)
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion (80-100g), peeled and coarsely chopped
100g mushrooms, wiped and stalks trimmed, fairly thinly sliced
Heaped tbsp snipped herbs, e.g. parsley, coriander, basil, sage, or thyme leaves
50g cheddar, coarsely grated e.g. Pilgrims Choice Mature!

1  Place couscous in a small bowl. Stir in the water and leave for a few minutes.
2  Meanwhile, toast the nuts by heating gently in a small, dry pan for about 5 mins,
          stirring frequently to prevent charring.
3  Empty the nuts into the couscous. Use the same pan to heat the oil.
4  Fry the onions gently for 5 mins.
5  Add the mushrooms and fry a further 5 mins.
6  Add these to the couscous with the herbs and about 3/4 of the cheese and some
          ground black pepper and mix well.
7  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
8  Heat through by either microwaving (maybe 1min30secs) or placing under a hot grill
          for a couple of minutes.

The ingredients can be juggled around to some extent. Grated nutmeg might be good, or finely sliced leeks instead of onions. A couple of crushed garlic cloves could be added at Stage 4, as could some finely sliced red pepper.

To my surprise this was an easy cook-up that I'm very likely to prepare again. I don't expect to serve it to Mr P any time soon, but with this quantity, the second half could be chilled and reappear at room temperature the next day.