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Friday 27 February 2015

Leftovers Recipe Experiment: Cauliflower & Couscous

I was having a bit of a clear down in the kitchen last weekend and decided to clear out all the nearly empty sauce bottles, veg and bits that were on their way out. 

I find couscous is quite a good way to use up a load of veg! An onion, some chicken stock, roast veg and some couscous and you can usually make something acceptable!

Now given what I had, I thought a slight moroccan lean would be appropriate. Kinda!? A technique I’ve seen a couple of time recently is blended cauliflower! Just blitzed in a food processor! Anyhoo I thought I’d give that a try and mix it with the couscous a sort of  low carb couscous. And have a looksee how it came out.

As it turns out: Really really good!! 

It has the same texture as the couscous but a lot less carbs! 5% vs 25%! Really good substitute. 

Luckily I took notes  .  .  .   

: ) 

Quick note: I’ve put to a quick reference together for use int kitchen w/ tablets and phones here: Quick Ref
Includes Grains vs water ratios for types of couscous, and other grains.

ingredients (serves 6)
for the couscous
50g sultanas
75ml OJ
75ml apple juice

125g barley couscous 
220g boiling water 
1 chicken stock (dissolved in water)

1 cauliflower (blended)

2 onions (medium dice)
1 green pepper (medium dice)
6 dates (stoned, small dice)

20g almonds flakes
40g butter (melted for almonds)

3 tangerines (peeled, and segments cut into halves)
1/2 salted lemon (fine dice)
5g coriander (optional)

for the garnish
a little coriander (of course)

apparatus / equipment
food processor (I used the blender attachment for my stick blender)

or a grater (watch your knuckles)

Put the juices and sultanas in a small pot and bring to the boil. Then turn it off and put aside to soak.
Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add it to couscous.
Remove the stem from the cauliflower, break it up into florets and blend it until it’s the same consistency as couscous, maybe slightly larger, but not much.
Sweat off the pepper, onion and dates and put aside when ready.
Melt the butter and toast the almonds in it.
Use a wooden spoon or fork to lightly break up the couscous so it’s light and fluffy then mix in the cauliflower until homogenous.
Prep the tangerines, salted lemon & coriander, and add it all to the couscous, including the sultanas and juice!!
Mix, garnish and you’re ready to rock!!

Cracking combo!

thinking ahead
You can make this in the afternoon, and serve it room temp, or microwave it to heat it up.

what could go wrong? (notes)
For normal couscous use a ratio of 1 : 1.25  couscous : water by weight.
For barley couscous use a ratio of 1 : 1.75  couscous : water by weight.

Quick Ref for your phone, includes temperature conversion, couscous obvs, rice, meat doneness and more : )

If you want to eliminate the butter, you can toast the almonds under the grill.
You can use normal couscous too, just use a less water - 165g. 
Grains vs water ratios here: Quick Ref < bookmark me on phone / tablet!

You can get away with blending a little finer than this!!

Saturday 14 February 2015

Experiment - Recipe: Lamb breast / Belly cooked w/ a Cartouche & Topped Caramelised Veg.

Originally this was and experiment, which explains why the images don't exactly match the pictures. The recipe is 3 experiments later, and seriously lush!! So simple to make, inexpensive and so tasty!

Makes a great Sunday dinner recipe!! Succulent, juicy

Cartouche? Probably better at preventing spitting than any other use, not sure it brings anything to this party! You’re welcome to post a comment on that if you feel strongly about the benefits of a cartouche!!

ingredients (serves 4-6)
for the lamb breast / belly 
  (roast:  150C/180min)
2 lamb bellies 
4 onions
2 leeks
4 cloves garlic
2 lamb stock cubes
2 pints / 1L water. 

for the sauce
1 pint skimmed milk
1 tbsp flour
200ml water

for the roasties
8 medium / large potatoes
7g thyme (bruised)
7g rosemary (bruised)
4 cloves garlic (peeled and squashed)
150ml olive oil

for the greens
broad beans
radish pods (optional)
for the garnish
a touch of parsley if you fancy it

apparatus / equipment
pyrex dish & lid

lamb breast / belly
Put all ingredients into a roasting tray.
Coat the skin of the lamb with oil, and sprinkle with salt (draws water out of the skin makes it crispy).
Roast for at least 3 hours.
If it needs it, top up stock with another pint after 2hours.
After 3 hours, remove lamb and cut off the butcher's string.
Slice the lamb belly rolls into 1 cm pieces, and lay out on a tray.
Drain the vegetables, and put the stock to one side in a tall thin container. This makes it easier to skim off the fat.
Spread the remaining onions leak and bits over the sliced lamb and return to the oven at 180C/60m 
After an hour the top with have for a caramelised crunchy gorgeous surface.

make the sauce
Skim off as much fat as desired - more fat more flavour - but also A LOT more calories (and it's saturated fat from this cut).
Add 1/2 - 1pint of milk - add enough so that the seasoning is balanced.
Mix 1tbsp of plain flour with water until smooth paste, then gradually add more water until you get to a cream liquid consistency.

Add the flour liquid mix to the jus, stirring vigorously to start,  and bring to the boil stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened and the flour is cooked out - about 5-10mins. Season if required.

While the lamb is in the oven boil the potatoes in salt water, drain and leave them until they stop steaming.
Add the oil, salt and garlic and mix with a wooden fork until the potatoes have a fluffy coating of mashed potato.
Pour out onto a baking tray and roast 180C/45m - then turn them and return to the oven for another 15m.

Serve the lamb with roast potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings!!! Oh my goood, soooo good!!!

thinking ahead
This is great pre-movie fare. Stick it on while you making lunch for the evening viewing!! It really is as simple as chopping up a few onions and a squirt of anchovy paste, and into the oven with some stock. You can then claim 5 hours of cooking and hand the potatoes over to somebody else!!! : )

what could go wrong? (notes)
Not much, this is a pretty forgiving dish, just make sure it doesn't go dry! That, would be bad! Specially just before the movie!!

A must try lazy Sunday recipe! Don't forget the red wine!

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
If there's something you've tried at ferdiesfoodlab or a technique you want to know about drop us a line at and I'll put up a post about it!!


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