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Friday 14 October 2011

Recipe: Mum's Orange & Almond Cous Cous

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

Cous cous is one of those foods that can be mind numbingly bland. In the hands of any would be - or accidental - food assassin,  it could have everyone around the table slumped over with their tongue handing out, bored to death.

First time I tried this was at Marc's house. (old school friend) I think I was 7 or 8 years old! I'd never seen anything like it, and filled my bowl with trepidation. I'm glad to say Marc's mum was no food assassin and I snorked my portion along with various other French bonne bouche that his mum had put out for us after a hard day's climbing!

I've traditionally made cous cous with hearty winter flavours provided by roast vegetables and nuts, raisins and chicken stock.

But orange juice used to make the cous cous -  add a really fresh dimension, fantastic!

This recipe is by my mum, and jolly good it is too . . .

ferdiesfodlab recipe mums orange cous cous and almonds

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
1 medium onion
3-4 handfuls (depends on size of serving dish) Marcona (round) almonds for decoration
green part of 2 spring onions  (finely chopped)
half a small fennel bulb  (finely diced)
1 orange for decoration
juice of 1 orange
large knob butterl
large handful dried fruit (apricots/cranberries/sultanas)
cous cous (2 tablespoon per person)
6-8 cherry tomatoes
cooked green veg – could be green beans or very finely chopped mange tout
6-8 black olives

You can also add boiled egg (quite soft), dates or nuts

Soften the onion in some oil and drain
Roast the almonds at Gas mark 6 for 15 mins  (enough to decorate the serving dish you plan to use)
- leave to cool a bit, coat in honey and sprinkle with salt.
Stew cherry toms (I do mine in the cast iron pan with a bit of oil and salt) until very soft. Remove and try to keep intact for decoration.

Place cous cous in a bowl and add boiling water and salt to taste. Add a knob of butter and stir in.
Warm the orange juice and reduce slightly – then add to cous cous.
Then add dried fruit and greens, fennel (finely chopped) spring onion & olives
Put the mixture in a nice bowl, cut the orange into discs and place round edges of bowl. Use honey coated almonds and cherry toms on top of cous cous for decoration.  (you could also use some of the egg or the olives as well)

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