Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Jerk Roast Vegetable Couscous

I use couscous a lot as I love the texture and how you can oomph it up in the flavour department to take it in lots of different directions.  It’s like the artist’s canvas just waiting for paint. This time I’m using up the last of the Jerk seasoning on roasted vegetables and adding the zest and juice of lemon and some chopped parsley for a deliciously simple dish.  Eat with some roast chicken pieces or a spiced pork chop or an easier protein option would be some cubes of feta.

Jerk veg and couscous

Jerk Roast Vegetable Couscous
You will need:

1 large red onion
1 red pepper
2 large carrots
1 courgette
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Jerk seasoning
1 tbsp butter
250g couscous
250ml vegetable stock (hot – from cube is fine)
1 lemon
Small bunch curly parsley

Preheat the oven to 200C
Chop the carrots into batons, red onion into chunks and red peppers into slices and place on a baking tray.
Dust the vegetables generously with Jerk Seasoning and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil then toss together and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the couscous by first melting 1 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
Add 250g couscous to the melted butter, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
Take the couscous saucepan off the heat and pour in 250mls hot vegetable stock, stir with a fork, cover with a lid or cling-film and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying or griddle pan over a medium heat, chop the courgette into slices and cook in the heated oil until turned golden on each side. Set aside.
Take the lid off the cooked couscous and use a fork to fluff up the grains.
Zest the lemon and then juice it and add both to the couscous and stir well.
Finely chop the parsley and stir through the couscous.
Once the jerk roast vegetables are finished cooking toss together in a large serving platter with the lemon and parsley couscous and the golden courgette slices.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Citrus CousCous

All in the name this is a very citrusy couscous.
Citrus CousCous
Both lemons and oranges are used for sweet and zingy goodness. I’m good for eating vegetables but fruit not so much.  There’s an awful lot of munching and crunching in chewing an apple so much so that it puts me off, I do love a fruit salad where everything is chopped into bite-size pieces and there’s plenty of berries involved and perhaps a dollop of cream.  All the better if it’s prepared by someone else.  Here the oranges used were easy peel satsumas and I used the zest and juice of the lemon.
Citrus CousCous 2

Citrus Couscous
You will need:
1 tbsp butter
250g couscous
250ml hot chicken stock
1 lemon
2 easy peel satsumas
1 small red onion
handful walnut pieces
handful rocket leaves
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the couscous, stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the stock, give a brief stir and then cover with a saucepan lid or clingfilm and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile prep. the other ingredients : zest and juice the lemon, peel and segment the satsumas, peel and slice the red onion.
Remove the lid and use a fork to fluff up the grains.
Add the zest and juice of the lemon, satsuma segments, onion slices and walnut pieces along with the rocket leaves and mix through.
Eat warm or cold.
Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Uncategorized, What's for Dinner Mom?

Simple Chicken

Chicken again tonight I hear you cry!!! And what is wrong with that? Nothing at all I tell you, nothing at all.  As a working mother I know how we can get stuck in a dinner rut due to time constraints and a lot of the time just plain tiredness.  Days are busy and you’re rushing around maybe buzzed up on caffeine but come 5 or 6 in the evening you’re ready to collapse and the thought of cooking a dinner can be overwhelming.  I know of a lady who when left to her own devices is quite happy for dinner to be a fresh baguette, some very good brie and some nicely chilled white wine.  Bread, cheese and wine would be heaven but plonk that on the table in front of a clatter of kids and they’ll be banging the knives and forks in a more than mutinous fashion.  Tempting as it may be to abandon ship a weekday dinner is usually dutifully and not joyfully provided.
Paprika and garlic roast chicken
So back to the chicken.  It may sound boring however it has the makings of providing some very simple and tasty dinners and that’s what we’re often after.
Sitting at my kitchen counter perusing cookbooks as I usually do over lunch at home I poured through Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Homemade’ cookbook.  It was a book that I bought for myself because I loved how lovely it looked, the beautiful layout, the sense of handcrafted design, it’s just a really good-looking book.
A roast chicken is one of the most simple meals there is to cook, simply bung it in the oven for an hour then thrown in some potatoes in their skins to bake for and additional 45 mins or so depending on size and that’s it.   Supplemented with some easy cook veg like broccoli or if you want to minimise prep. work, frozen peas will be perfectly adequate to provide a nutritious tasty and simple meal that has required zero preparation.
Roast chicken and salads
Next time you’re doing a roast chicken I recommend that you take an additional 5 minutes (max.) to try out  Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken’ which renders a beautifully bronzed, succulent and moist chicken.
Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken
You will need:
1 chicken
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon (I used the zest as well)
80ml of olive oil (I used Irish rapeseed)
1 tbsp paprika
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C
Crush the garlic and combine with the other ingredients –  a small jug would be ideal.
Use your hands or the back of a spoon to ease up the skin on the breast of the chicken, you’re just loosening it so that you’ll be able to pour a marinade in between the skin and the breast meat.
Tilt the chicken upright in a roasting tin so you can pour half of the marinade in-between the skin and the breast and use your hands over the skin to disperse it beneath.
Place the chicken flat and pour over the remainder of the marinade and then rub all over the bird.
Roast in the pre-heated oven, time will depend on size, I generally roast a medium/large chicken for 90 mins to 2hrs.

Potato Lemon & Rocket salad
Two other recipes I tried from Clodagh’s ‘Homemade’ book were a couscous and chickpea salad and a delicious lemon and rocket new potato salad.  I’m looking forward to trying out some of her other ways with roast chicken – moroccan-spiced, indian-spiced, tarragon, white wine and garlic butter & thai-style roast chicken.  Who said chicken was boring?!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?

Moroccan Beef or Lamb with Couscous & Broccoli

Even in summer we can enjoy our stews using cheaper cuts of beef or lamb to render very tasty dishes that are economical and lightened with an accompaniment of couscous.
Moroccan beef stew with couscous
If you bring everything to the table in large bowls and dish out according to appetite it means that leftovers do not have to be scraped from plate to bin and wasted but instead can be frozen in portion sizes or simply kept in the bowls in the fridge for reheating.  I recommend dishing out small portion sizes with the proviso that if you’re sill hungry that there is plenty more but good food is not going in the bin.
Moroccan Beef Stew in bowlsMoroccan Beef or Lamb with Couscous & Broccoli
You will need:
1 medium onion
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
500-600kg diced stewing lamb (or beef pieces, e.g. shin)
3 garlic cloves
3cm thumbwidth piece of ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
100ml water
2 tbsp runny honey
250g couscous (half pack)
Knob of butter
250g hot chicken stock (made from half stock cube)
Half head of broccoli
Method (Stew):
Preheat the fan oven to 150oC/Gas Mark 3.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pot and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes over a low heat.
Raise the heat to medium, push the onion to the sides of the pot, add the meat pieces, and brown for 2 minutes.
Peel and crush the garlic and finely chop or grate the ginger and then add it to the centre of the pot to cook for 1 minute.
Add the ground cinnamon and ground coriander and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomato puree, canned tomatoes, 100 ml water and honey and mix well.
Cook the casserole in the oven for 1and a half hours with a lid on. Check it after an hour and if there are any signs of it drying out, add some more water.
Method (CousCous & Broccoli):
(Cook just before serving)
Melt a knob of butter in a medium sized saucepan on the hob, add the couscous and mix with a wooden spoon to absorb the butter for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat.
Make up 250g hot chicken stock with boiling water and pour this over the couscous.  Cover the saucepan with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile break the broccoli into florets and place in a saucepan of boiling water ,return to the boil and cook until just tender, drain and keep warm.
Remove the lid from the couscous and fluff it up with a fork

‘Til next time, Sheila