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April 23, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


This recipe is one I make all the time. It is ridiculously fast and easy which makes it ideal for those days when you stumble home from work/lecture/the night before, too tired to contemplate real cooking.

All that is involved is a little chopping and stirring. It is great eaten alongside some grilled sausages or chicken, or just straight out of the pot in front of the TV. Moreover, it is cheap to make, with couscous being the primary ingredient. It’s also a pleasant change if you are getting sick of rice, but admittedly not as cheap. Couscous is a grain which can usually be found packaged or in the bulk food section of your local supermarket. It pays to compare prices because sometimes the packaged grains are less pricy than the bulk ones.

Tomato Couscous

Tomatoes seem to be cheaper lately…but then I am pathetically bad at maths. I’m sure though, that this recipe would work with half a tin of tomatoes (plain, not the odd flavoured ones)
Large knob of butter
Dash olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed, chopped, however you can come by it
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin (worth investing in – the flavour is amazing)
1 cup couscous

Heat the butter and oil together in a good sized pot (the oil stops the butter from burning) and gently fry the garlic. While this is happening, dice the tomatoes and add them to the pot with the cumin. Cook this for a couple of minutes ‘til everything looks soft and mushy, then add the couscous and stir to coat the grains in the garlic- tomato mixture.

Add 1 cup of water and bring to the boil, stirring. Once this has happened, take the pot off the heat, clamp the lid on and leave for 5 – 10 minutes. By this time the grains will have swelled up and absorbed the water and your dinner is ready.

This serves four as a side serving (and not the miserly “side servings” you get with those instant pasta packs, I’m talking generous here), or two as dinner in its entirety, with leftovers for someone’s lunch tomorrow – depending on your appetite.

When I first started flatting, my boyfriend and I didn’t have a bed for three months, let alone the money to buy exciting ingredients…so it is in the spirit of that cold and often miserable time that I bring the bargain food tip of the week: Get thee to Moore Wilson’s! Situated on Tory Street, it is an unexpected Mecca for cheaper foods, especially, I find, for dairy and Asian ingredients. It also has surprising potential for hilarity with its enormous cheeses, catering vats of mayonnaise and behemoth tins of fruit. Reasonable tequila there too, now that I think of it…


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Comments (2)

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  1. Kay Vincent says:

    Could Laura Butler possibly be an alternative incarnation of May 14th’s food writer, Laura VIncent?

  2. Julian Vincent says:

    sounds like my sister to me…

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