Cumin Spiced Couscous with Dried Apricots, Sultanas and Tahini Grilled Aubergines

This couscous dish was inspired by Ottolenghi’s basmati & wild rice with chickpeas, currants & herbs recipe. I didn’t measure the ingredients, but to give you an idea of how much spice I used for a serving of 6: 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp curry powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1.5 tsp salt.

2014-08-04 19.19.07I threw together some couscous, leftover bulgar wheat, stir fried bell peppers, chopped dried apricots, sultanas and crispy fried onions. The sweetness of the dried fruit is a lovely addition to spiced dishes. I’ve also tried this with chopped parsley and coriander, which adds a freshness to the spices, and chickpeas, which could turn this dish into a vegetarian main course.

I paired the couscous with some meatballs, chicken skewer, and grilled baby aubergines/eggplant drizzled with tahini sauce. Tahini is a Middle Eastern staple ingredient that is most commonly used to make humus, but I had not tried it as the main ingredient of a sauce. Now, I am a tahini sauce convert. Tahini can be quite dry in texture, but with the sourness of the lemon juice and juiciness of the aubergines, it is a great combination. It is quite an expensive ingredient, especially if you don’t plan on using a whole bottle, but it is so easy to make homemade tahini.

2014-08-04 19.19.45Notes:

  • Homemade tahini (adjust quantities in this ratio) – 4 cups toasted sesame seeds, 1/4 cup neutral flavoured oil such as sunflower oil. Blend until smooth.

Tahini sauce

  • 3tbsp homemade tahini, see notes
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic crushed/1tsp garlic powder
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • 3tbsp water, more if needed
  1. Whisk together to create a watery paste consistency.
  2. Refrigerate and use as needed. It will keep for up to a week.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Balsamic Vinegar

Watermelons. Everywhere!

I recently returned from a month in Shanghai, and 8 days in Bulgaria, where I consumed unbelievable amounts of watermelon. Now at home in London, they are still everywhere! And since they are only £2.50 at Booker, my mum is hoarding them like a squirrel!

So what do I do with this abundance of food? Try something different! (Otherwise it gets boring, no?)

Pinterest (my go-to website for food inspiration) gave me a wealth of ideas, but the balsamic, feta watermelon salad seemed popular. Although I’ve tried fruit with cheese, I had never even heard of this combination. The slight saltiness of the feta pairs well with the juicy, sweet watermelon, and the sweet and sour flavour from the balsamic vinegar ties the two together and gives the salad a unique twist. With all the liquid from the watermelons, this salad is surprisingly filling! The list of ingredients are below, but adjust quantities to taste. I would advise including enough cheese for each bite of watermelon.

2014-07-20 14.38.42

Watermelon salad with feta and balsamic vinegar

  • Watermelon flesh, small cubes
  • Feta cheese, small cubes
  • Mixed salad leaves
  • 3/4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar for each portion