…a little less frugal and a lot more indulgent *ROASTED VEG, CHICKPEA & FETA COUSCOUS*

6 May

couscous 1

I love the roasted vegetable couscous recipe I uploaded yesterday, as a potential recipe in my ‘living below the poverty line on £1 a day challenge’, but as I mentioned there are a few things I would do differently if I were not trying to cut corners and make this recipe as cheap as I possibly could.

I understand and appreciate that there are people in our country who are not as fortunate as I perhaps am, and would only just be able to afford my 59p recipe never-mind this slightly more indulgent recipe.  But yesterday I was thinking to myself what the cost of a bottle of water is in my local supermarket (approx. 89p) and what I paid last week for a lemon water drink (£1.95) when I was gasping for a drink in central London and it was all I could find.

I was actually pretty shocked at this and thought if I am paying £1.95 for a drink which lasted me half an hour and simply quenched my thirst, then surely I could spend a little more to make this lunch even more healthy, nutritious and enjoyable whilst still only spending a pound or so a day for my lunches.

I have friends who pop to Pret each day for a sandwich, drink and bag of crisps, this must cost around £7 each day?  And, I know others who pop to our local salad bar at lunch for a £4.50 a day salad.  None of these my budget will allow for, but this recipe with a few additions it will, so by goodness I am going to go all out!  Get ready folks we are about to get a little more jazzy with the couscous…

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 portions

COST: £1.07 per portion – which is quite a significant difference to my £0.59 recipe, but it is still much better than buying one drink for £1.95 or lunch for £4.50.  Eating this for lunch for 4 days would be do-able and actually it would make for a cheap lunch, in comparison to what you could be paying for this in a restaurant.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g couscous – this costs £1.25 in Tesco’s for 500g, so although you would need to buy the whole bag, you would only need half of it, which would make it 63p . Try to find the whole-wheat version for a slightly healthier version.
  • 1 and a half red peppers – now this cost me 80p per pepper as I bought it from my local Sainsbury’s.  You could shop around for this and get it for a lot cheaper in a local grocery shop or market stall (the bowls of peppers for £1 will get you 3 or 4 peppers). Mine cost me £1.20.
  • 2 red onions – look through all the bags/onions and ensure you get a large one if they are all the same price, this is what I do!  60p
  • 2 courgettes – I bought a packet with 2 courgettes in for £1
  • 1/2 a tin of chickpeas (200g) – I shopped around for these a little and found them at Asda for 62pI think these may be cheaper to buy somewhere like Aldi.  It is much cheaper to buy these dry and soak them yourself, though this will add some extra time to the preparation of this recipe, as they will need to be soaked overnight. So these cost me 36p.
  • 1/2 a lemon – it was 30p for a whole one (again shop around and you will get this cheaper!) 15p
  • 2 cloves of garlic – the bulb was 20p so approx. 2p
  • 1 stock cube – it was £1.09 for 8 stock cubes so this makes it 14p per stock cube
  • 300ml boiling hot water – this one you can have for free as we all have the right to water and I am sure you can make it hot (there has to be some cutting of corners here)
  • 80g of vintage/aged feta cheese – I have choose a vintage version of this as it will have a deeper/stronger flavour and therefore you will need less cheese to get the flavour and consequently it will be slightly healthier.  Feta cheese is quite expensive, but the cheapest I have found was in Waitrose (ummmmm I know!) for £1.69 for 250g, so for this recipe I spent 54p
  • 15 mint leaves – very specific I know, but if you roll these up like a cigar and then finely chop them, they are an excellent flavour enhancer, but too much and we have mint couscous and nothing else.  A bag of mint leaves was 80p, so use about 1/3 of this and it will cost approx. 26p
  • 1 tbsp olive oil – this is a general store cupboard ingredient so we aren’t going to cost this one (as I am also running out of money!)
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes (again a store cupboard ingredient!)
  • 2 tsp paprika (store cupboard ingredient)

HOW TO MAKE THE ROASTED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS…

First we need to make the couscous, so make up the stock using boiling water and dissolving the stock cube in this.  Then weigh out the couscous, place in a large bowl and pour the stock over the top.  Cover with a clean tea towel and place to one side.

Wash the vegetables and then chop them into slices… they can be left quite large at this stage.  Peel the garlic cloves, peel the onion and chop into quarters and leave in its quarters (otherwise it will burn).  Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp chilli flakes and 2 tsp of paprika and rub together to ensure all the ingredients are coated in spices and oil.

couscous 3

Roughly chopped vegetables coated in olive oil, paprika and chilli flakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, slightly brown/golden but definitely not burnt.  Allow them to cool, whilst you use a fork to break up the couscous, mix this well and then we can ‘mince’ all of the vegetables.

couscous 4

… beautifully roasted vegetables – even if I do say so myself!

Mincing is a chopping technique, so place all your vegetables (and garlic) onto a chopping board and then, using a large knife ‘rock’ the knife over the top of them in different directions, until all the vegetables are finely diced/minced.  Add these to the couscous.

couscous 5

My roasted vegetables once ‘minced’… look at those fabulous colours. YUM!

Now we are going to make the dressing, so in a small bowl zest 1/2 the lemon, then roll it on your chopping board using the palm of your hand to release the juices.  Chop in half and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the bowl.  To this add 1 tbsp olive oil and mix well.  Roll your mint leaves into a cigar shape and then finely chop these, you can use the rocking technique to make them even smaller and then add to the olive oil and lemon mixture. Pour this over the vegetables and the couscous, then open your tin of chickpeas, drain, add to the mix.

Finally crumble your 80g of feta cheese into the couscous, mix well and then we are DONE!  Now you can enjoy this lovely hearty roasted vegetable couscous…

couscous

From humble beginnings to a delicious, nutritious meal with all of our food groups… dairy, carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables; and a little fat/sugars, but good fats from the olive oil. DONE!

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