MEDITERRANEAN COUSCOUS

Our town of Toulon is not so far from the Maghreb and part of our cooking is greatly influenced by this part of the world.
My Nan and my Mum had never heard about tabouleh, tajine, bricks or couscous before Algerian-born French people came to Toulon after the Algerian independence war and share with the locals their cooking habits.
All of these dishes are part of our cooking now, and, above all, couscous semolina is one of our usual tasty and quick side-dish option.
Tabouleh is another of our favorites during summer:
tomatoes, green, red and yellow peppers, black olives, onions cut into tiny very small chunks combined with olive oil, lemon juice and couscous semolina, this cold dish really delights each of us.
Chickpeas salad with raw onions and much vinegar is my Dad’s favorite.
So, what about Mum’s mediterranean couscous?
She doesn’t use to cook fish couscous. Meat couscous and vegetables couscous are her favorites and today, she cooks a meat couscous for lunch. She often says that, may be, people from Maghreb would be shocked by her meat couscous because she cooks it her own way:
It’s rich in vegetables but poor in meat. I don’t pretend my Mum cooks couscous as well as people from Maghreb but her mediterranean couscous is really tasty and we enjoy it!
Here are the broad outlines of her mediterranean couscous recipe and proportions are as follow:
For 600 gr couscous semolina, she uses 2 kilos vegetables! Vegetables she uses for couscous depend on what she has in stock and it can be any of these: tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, leeks, red, green or yellow peppers, turnips, cauliflower, pumpkin, celery etc. Then, she also adds 400 gr ready cooked chickpeas, some spicy North African sausages, chunks of leg of lamb, a bit olive oil, some spices and it’s done!
prep-time-med-couscous

Ingredients 6 servings

  • 600 gr Leg of lamb
  • 6 Spicy North African sausages (merguez)
  • 10 Carrots
  • 4 Peppers
  • 3 Turnips
  • 5 Tomatoes
  • 2 Leeks
  • 4 Zucchini
  • 10 ml Olive oil
  • 1 Can 500 gr chickpeas
  • Thyme, salt, spices

Instructions

    1. Peel carrots, turnips and tomatoes and cut them into chunks.
    2. Wash leeks and slice them thinly
    3. Wash peppers, remove seeds and cut into small chunks.
    4. Pour 10 ml olive oil in couscous pan and brown lamb chunks lightly over low heat.
    5. A few minutes later, meat is browned. Add vegetables, 4 pinches powdered thyme, 1 teaspoon couscous spices and salt as taste. Stir regularly and cook over low heat for 30/40 minutes.In another pan, bring 1L water to a boil.
    6. Add hot water, cover and let simmer for 60 minutes.
    7. Cook spicy North African sausages: Place them in a frypan, prick them with a fork, cook for 15 minutes. Turn them regularly and remove grease from frypan once they are cooked.
    8. Place 600 gr couscous semolina in a conical strainer and water it with cold water. Mix well with hands until it’s totally wet.
    9. Put wet couscous semolina in couscous steamer and place the steamer on top of the base, so that it absorbs the flavors from the stew. Cover. Break it after 3 minutes cooking with a fork, add a dash olive oil and cook for 30 minutes more.
    10. Bon appétit!

couscous-1

      1. Peel tomatoes, carrots and turnips. Cut them into dices. Wash leeks and slice them thinly. Wash peppers, remove seeds and cut them into small chunks.

Brown meat in a bit olive oil.

      1. Pour a bit olive oil in a couscous pan and brown lightly lamb over low heat for a few minutes.

 meat is browned. Add vegetables, 4 pinches powdered thyme, 1 teaspoon couscous spices and salt as taste. Stir regularly and cook over low heat for 30/40 minutes.In another pan, bring 1L water to a boil.

      1. Once meat is browned, add vegetables, 4 pinches powdered thyme, 1 teaspoon couscous spices and salt as taste. Stir regularly and cook over low heat for 30/40 minutes.In another pan, bring 1L water to a boil. Add hot water, cover and let simmer for 60 minutes.

Cook spicy North African sausages.

      1. Cook spicy North African sausages: Place them in a frypan, prick them with a fork, cook for 15 minutes. Turn them regularly and remove grease from frypan once they are cooked.

Place 600 gr couscous semolina in a conical strainer and water it with cold water. Mix well with hands until it's totally wet. Then, place it on top of base in couscous strainer. Cover, add olive oil and cook for 30 min.

      1. Place 600 gr couscous semolina in a conical strainer and water it with cold water. Mix well with hands until it’s totally wet. Put wet couscous semolina in couscous steamer and place the steamer on top of the base, so that it absorbs the flavors from the stew. Cover. Break it after 3 minutes cooking with a fork, add a dash olive oil and cook for 30 minutes more.

Bon appétit!

    1. Bon appétit!

PARMESAN CHEESE CRUMBLED MUSSELS

Parmesan cheese crumbled mussels is a recipe I’ve imagined because I had to staple up a good meal for unexpected guests.

No time to go to local store, I had to deal with what I had in stock to prepare this great meal.

I had a large piece of Parmesan cheese (Thanks to a jaunt to the Italian San Remo market!), and Parmesan cheese gave me much inspiration as I decided Parmesan cheese would be the theme of this meal, and particularly Parmesan cheese crumble. This cheesy crumble is really worth the trip and so fun!
It’s quick to do and goes well with any ingredient.

Regarding the starter, I’ve combined mussels with tomatoes, onion, basil and olive oil and topped the mixture with a Parmesan cheese crumble…

I’ve arranged this hot starter with a green salad and the starter was ready!
This flavors combination is really great, tasteful and just delicious!

Mussels with Parmesan cheese crumble can be served with green salad as a starter. You’ll get the contrast between the cold green salad and the warm Parmesan cheese crumbled mussels.

But you can also serve it as a smart appetizer in individual ramekins or in French verse (small glass jars) with a glass of rosé wine :)
I’ve used ready cooked frozen mussels for this recipe.

You can imagine other versions and change mussels for tuna, sardine or small shrimps. They will also perfectly match with Parmesan cheese crumble!
Ready to amaze and impress your guests?

Try this cooking style out and prepare these smart and refined Parmesan cheese crumbled mussels!

This mussels crumble is ready in  65 minutes. It's an easy recipe, price is fair.

Ingredients 4 servings

  • 500 gr Frozen mussels
  • 2 Big ripped tomatoes
  • 1 Table spoon olive oil
  • 1 Table spoon basil pesto
  • Dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil
  • 40 gr Flour
  • 35 gr Soft unsalted butter
  • 40 gr Parmesan cheese (grated or not)

Instructions

    1. Wash tomatoes and chop them.
    2. Reduce about 2 dried tomato in oil to a mash.
    3. Pour 1 table spoon olive oil into a skillet. Add chopped raw tomato, mussels and cover.
    4. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time.
    5. Then add dried tomato puree and basil pesto. Stir and cover. Simmer for 20 more minutes and stir from time to time.

Wash tomatoes and chop them.Reduce about 2 dried tomato in oil to a mash.Pour 1 table spoon olive oil into a skillet. Add chopped raw tomato, mussels and cover.Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time.Then add dried tomato puree and basil pesto. Stir and cover. Simmer for 20 more minutes and stir from time to time.

    1. Meanwhile, make Parmesan cheese crumble
    2. Grate Parmesan cheese, put it in a large bowl, add flour and soft unsalted butter. With your fingertips, rub the butter into flour and Parmesan cheese.

Grate parmesan cheese, put in in a bowl, add flour and soft butter. Rub the butter into flour and Parmesan with your fingertips. Crumble is ready!

    1. Put the mussels mixture in a bake dish or in individual ramekins and top with Parmesan cheese crumble.

Put the mussels mixture in a bake dish or in individual ramekins and top with Parmesan cheese crumble.

    1. Turn oven grill on and bake for about 10 minutes, until crispy and golden browned.

Turn oven grill on and bake for about 10 minutes, until crispy and golden browned.
parmesan-cheese-crumbled-mussels-end-3

RED CABBAGE SOUP RECIPE

Springy evenings are not so hot and it’s pleasant to have a soup on some of these evening meals.

May be it’s just because of its incredible color but red cabbage soup is my traditional soup for some of my springy diners…

Anyway, red cabbage is big enough to allow both and soup.

Red cabbage soup is not usual by us and it’s so unusual that people are always amazed each time I say I cook the red cabbage soup.

What? You cook soup with red cabbage? I thought red cabbage was to be used for a salad!

That’s a French reality: Most of people eat red cabbage raw and don’t even know it’s possible to cook it, whether for a red cabbage soup or for a garnishing to serve with meat.

Every one enjoys the crunchy of a raw but though red cabbage texture and taste change after it’s cooked, it’s also delicious!I don’t know about the usual way worldwide people eat their red cabbage, if they most often cook it or if they most often eat it raw, the only thing I know is that red cabbage is edible in both ways!

I often sprinkle some seeds or wheat germs, bean sprouts or oatmeals on my bowl of red cabbage soup to give it a nice look, but that’s optional!

This red cabbage soup recipe is suitable for vegan.
Red cabbage soup is ready within an hour.

Ingredients 4 servings

  • Half a red cabbage
  • 200 gr Potatoes
  • 1 L Water
  • Salt

Instructions

Wash and cut red cabbage into chunks. Remove core.

Wash, remove core and cut into chunks.

Peel potatoes and roughly cut them. Place red cabbage chunks and potatoes in a pan and add 1L water. Bring to a boil and cook for 50 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut them. Place red cabbage and potatoes in a pan and cover with 1 L water. Cook for 50 minutes.

Salt as taste and blend.

Season with salt, blend and enjoy!