Many of my dishes are throw-it-together-type affairs – usually an effort to use up the odd ingredients I have left in my cupboard and fridge before embarking on the weekly supermarket visit. It never fails to surprise me when these dishes turn out wonderfully and just like that, a cobbled together, ramshackle meal becomes a firm favorite in my recipe repertoire.
We often forget that all recipes, at one point, were invented and constructed usually by chance or circumstance. Maybe the chef was out of a certain ingredient, was forced to improvise by using something else and, presto, a classic dish was born.
These thoughts and questions fascinate me. How did someone discover that by adding yeast to flour that most magnificent of foods – bread – would be the outcome? Someone way cleverer and more food curious than me, that’s for sure.
My impromptu creations are definitely less impressive but equally delicious, none the less. This particular meal was borne out of necessity but it was so delightful we’ve had it many times since – although I must admit to slightly tweaking it every time. It’s all dependent on my cupboard content! I assume it will continue to evolve but for now this has been the most satisfying incarnation of what is an excellent fallback mid-week meal.
Aine Carlin is a vegan blogger who specializes in vegan recipes. She also has a keen interest in vegan fashion and is currently training to be a stylist where she hopes to promote cruelty free clothing and beauty. You can find more of her vegan recipes and vegan friendly fashion over at www.peasoupeats.com.
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of chili
1 tsp vegan vegetable bouillon powder
1/4 cup freshly podded peas (or frozen)
1/4 cup mixed sprouted beans (optional)
1 tsp harissa paste
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
1 large sweet potato
1/4 cup roasted red pepper hummus
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit. Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork. Rub with oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
2. Place the couscous in a bowl along with spices, salt and pepper. Mix the vegetable bouillon with 1/2 cup freshly boiled water and pour over the couscous. Mix with a fork and cover with cling film or a plate (my preference). Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and then fluff with a fork.
3. Stir through the harissa paste until the couscous is evenly coated.
4. Pod the peas and add to the couscous along with the mixed sprouted beans. Lightly season and pour over the lemon juice and a little more oil (optional).
5. Serve warm in a bowl. Slice the baked sweet potato lengthways and place on top of the warm couscous.
6. Mix the hummus with the lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper, dollop on the sweet potato and eat.