Summer and Ice Creams

ice cream drawing

I don’t know about where you live, but in the UK as soon as the sun pops her head out everyone rushes to buy an ice cream; any day out is punctuated by stops in shops or at ice creams vans for a cone of fluffy white Mr Whippy, its like a national obsession. Even people whom you never see eating anything sweet suddenly hanker after ice creams in the sun (you note I say sun, it doesn’t even have to be warm, it could be almost minus figures but a glint of sunshine and there will be people queuing up for ice creams!)

But that’s where it’s difficult for us, obviously no ice cream van will serve egg and dairy-free ice cream, so no chance of a cone like the majority of the population. You think we’d be fine with an ice lolly from the same kiosk, but no, 90% of ice lollies are may contain (usually milk, sometimes nuts) and we can’t be taking that risk on a day out at a remote beauty spot. So, sadly my daughters have learnt to put up with a cold drink when their friends are oohing and aching with delight over their creamy ice creams. Only rarely do others think that maybe they (or their children) should abstain too, to not make my daughters feel different and out of place – they deserve and want their ice cream treat after all.

We have found a few safe and reliable brands and are in absolute joy when those are for sale. I can’t begin to describe how happy we were when we found totally safe New Forest Ice Cream raspberry sorbet for sale at a local national trust property – it was even in its own little tub with the spoon tucked into the lid – oh the joy! That was the first time little S had ever had the delight of her own little tub, and she’s 8 years old!

Now I’m on the parent committee at school and I have to say they have always been outstanding in catering for my girls, but we have an event coming up with ice creams provided from an ice cream van. At the meeting I asked, if possible, we could make sure there was something available that was suitable for those on a restricted diet (and its not just my children). Well, I have to say I was most upset as I got totally shouted down, that it would be far too complicated to do that and I should buy my own and the ice cream van could keep them frozen for me. I was so upset, I don’t think it was too much to ask, and I’ve never requested anything before, but it just proved that people just don’t ‘get it’. My over riding aim is to make sure my girls (and others in a similar position) don’t have to be different, don’t have to have the ‘special’ food that no one else would want to eat, that they can have food which is as appealing, tasty and desirable as everyone else, or even better than! I know my children aren’t as important to others as they are to me, but I would hope it would be human kindness and compassion to ensure everyone is thought of and included….. I guess there is still a mountain to climb in terms of attitudes and perceptions, no doubt not helped by the current flurry of articles in the press about parents starving their children because they’ve ‘made up’ some food allergies due to their own needy behaviour. Sigh!

I hope things are changing but I’m also sure we’ve just started on the path. I work in the legal profession and so my colleagues are all smart and well educated, but I’ve even encountered lack of consideration with them. Not with me, but a work colleague is so severely allergic to fish that even the smell of it will cause anaphylaxis. There have been warnings and notices requesting a no fish in certain areas, just to make sure it is safe for her, but still people are disparaging, going past the rules and insisting on eating and cooking fish ‘because its their right and they’re hungry’ even though they know they’re putting her at risk. It really makes me fearful for the future, when my girls have grown up and are making their own way in the world, will they too have to cope with such lack of thought and compassion too?

 

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Dairy-free Home-made KitKat Bars

homemade KitKat - dairy-free Apparently KitKats are the most popular chocolate bar, at least in the UK. They are utterly ubiquitous and can be found in any store, packed lunch, handbag etc. There is also something completely iconic about the red wrapper over silver foil with the immediately recognisable logo – however it was only when I started to do some research on how to recreate this icon of the chocolate bar world that I found out that the logo is different in Europe and the rest of the world to that in the US. It’s similar but strikingly different when you’ve expecting the usual recognisable logo. It’s funny what you learn! vegan Kitkat I’d been planning on recreating popular chocolate bars for a while – they’re something so standard that so many people just reach for in a moment of hunger or just temptation, but which are completely unobtainable to my girls. Yes, we can buy the odd chocolate bar, they can’t usually be found in convenience stores and on the whole they’re really not very ‘fun’ – more worthy and wholesome or adult orientated. KitKats were an obvious choice to play around with, thanks to their ubiquitous popularity. But how to make a KitKat at home? I was stumped as to how to make the thin wafer layers, and then what is the cream layer made of? (hence all my research!) and how to make the correct finger shape? So many problems to be overcome! The first light bulb moment was when I bought this lovely chocolate bar making kit from Mason Cash – authentic chocolate bars are now possible :-) Then my next, major, far more exciting light bulb moment was ‘ why not make the wafer layers out of flat tuile biscuits? They’re thin and crispy and if I made a suitable template, they could be made the exact size to fit into my lovely new moulds. Perfect! The only remaining issue was the cream filling between the wafer layers – nowhere could I find any clue of the ingredients but I did watch a programme a while back about the making of KitKats and I seem to recall it was a mixture of cocoa, sugar and water? Really, water? I’m not convinced my memory was correct so I’ve opted for a buttercream style filling of dairy-free margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder. Once thinly layered with the tuile it makes a pretty authentic substitute. Vegan KitKat So what was the final result like? Were they anything like a KitKat? Well, my girls rated them as ‘heavenly’ which is pretty high praise, but then again they’ve never eaten a real KitKat before. D and I were also pretty impressed with the results, the tuiles and cream gives the perfect insides and the only discernible difference was the chocolate was far better quality and much darker than the original confectionary. No bad thing in my eyes! They weren’t even very hard to make, just a little time consuming with the various processes involved (and I would recommend the tempering of the chocolate to give that amazing shine) but I made them from start to finish in about 2 hours with plenty of breaks doing other things – not bad! dairy-free homemade KitKats To make 8 you will need: 150g dark chocolate, 1/2 a tuile recipe and 1/2 the chocolate cream recipe and some flexible moulds to make the bars in. For the chocolate cream:

1 tbsp dairy-free spread/margarine 4 tbsps icing sugar 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Beat together until smooth, set aside.

The process:

  1. Start by tempering the chocolate. In a microwave or over a Bain Marie, only just melt the chocolate, then stir until all the pieces are melted. You need to bring it down to degrees either by stirring in the bowl until the temp had reduced or pouring out onto a cold work top ( I have a marble board which is perfect for the job) and move it around with a palette knife until it has cooled and has turned beautifully shiny.tempering chocolate
  2. Pour a blob into each mould and evenly coat all the sides, a small brand new paint brush may help. Leave to set for a few minutes and then paint on another layer (or preferably two more). Place in a cool spot to firm up.chocolate coated chocolate bar moulds
  3. Next make the tuiles following the recipe above ( you will need a template which allows the right shape to be made to fit into the moulds).tuile templatetuiles for chocolate barsOnce the tuiles are cold, gently (as they do shatter very easily) sandwich together 3 or 4 tuiles with a thin layer of the chocolate cream in between each layertuile wafers
  4. Place into the lined chocolate moulds and then seal with more melted chocolate.kitkat insides
  5. Leave to set in a cool place, cover in foil for an authentic look and keep in the fridge. I know they keep well for at least 4 days, I can’t tell beyond as they’ve never lasted that long in this house!!dairy-free, nut-free KitKats

                      dairy-free, nut-free KitKat

Vegetarian Paella Salad

Vegetarian Paella Salad

Do you match wine? I’m no wine expert, although I do certainly enjoy a nice chilled glass of white or rose, but I’ve recently started to notice how some wines compliment and some wines clash with certain flavours. The lovely people at Yapp Brothers challenged me and some other food bloggers to match a wine in the #DrinksOnUs competition. They asked me for my favourite dishes to cook and then suggested an appropriate match. I opted for fresh, herby flavours and was sent a stunning bottle of 2007 Pinot Blanc from the Alsace region of France. Wow, what a gorgeous wine; straw yellow, this soft and delicate dry white wine is filled with honey and floral aromas. It was a fresh palate bursting with ripe orchard fruit and so much flavour – it could certainly stand up to robust flavoured and herb scented foods.

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, whereby Yapp Brothers sent me a bottle of wine to match to a favourite dish. I hadn’t heard of Yapp Brothers before but am thoroughly impressed by their range, knowledge and customer service. If you need a specialist wine merchant then i would certainly recommend them.

Pinot Blanc and Paella

I have to say this was a very exciting challenge for me – such a wonderful way to get the inspiration flowing and I’d love to be able to do more wine and food matching in the future. It’s so interesting how a wine can bring the taste of a dish alive or totally kill it dead.

Anyway, on tasting the full flavoured wine I thought it could stand up to some serious spices, and my thoughts turned to smoked paprika. It being a warm day ( and to be honest it was more convenient to make supper in advance!) I went along the salad route. Somehow these thoughts morphed into a paella salad of saffron and smoked paprika infused rice, studded with stunning fresh and marinated vegetables and lifted with a sherry vinegar dressing. More paella should be made as salads, it worked stunningly well!

The match with the wine was also rather pleasing ( remember I’m a novice at wine matching), but the robust, strongly flavoured white added to the subtle spicing of the rice dish and resulted in a well matched pair. Maybe you’ll give a try and tell me what you think?

Vegetarian Spanish paella salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

free from paella

serves 4

1 cup rice
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron
8-10 small plum tomatoes
1 red pepper, cut into chunks and roasted for 20-30 mins in oil ( preferably chilli oil)
1/2 jar of marinated artichoke hearts
3 spring onions, sliced
Handful of blanched peas
Handful mixed olives
Large handful parsley, roughly chopped
Lemon wedges to serve

For the dressing:
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron

  1. Put all the dressing ingredients in a small saucepan and warm slightly to let the smoked paprika and saffron infuse, set aside.
  2. Boil the rice in water flavoured with the other smoked paprika and saffron. Once cooked, toss in the dressing.
  3. Leave to cool to room temperature and then stir in all the other ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  4. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges

vegan paella salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caprese Tomato Pasta Salad

tomato pasta salad, vegan We seem to live off salad in the summer – to me there is not much more delightful than an array of stunning salads to dive into on a warm sunny day. But if we have them too often it’s easy to revert to the old family favourites again and again.

My girls love pasta salad, so much so that its become the ‘what I want to eat when I’m not feeling great’ staple! But like most children they like simple flavours with nothing too challenging. This was an attempt to get them to enjoy fresh tomatoes which they simply won’t eat (I have no idea why, I think tomatoes are one of the best foods on the planet!), I thought that if the tomatoes were in the pasta salad then maybe, just maybe they would be tempted. Well, I was wrong. There was no fooling them and the salad was left to one side. However, it was only a partial disaster as it left more for me and D and it is an absolute stunner of a salad, especially when made with a gorgeous array of sweet, ripe tomatoes. Do make sure they are the best tomatoes you can find as there are so few ingredients in the salad you really need the tomato flavour to shine through.

If you love tomatoes I’m sure you’ll love this recipe. If you like tomatoes you’ll find they work so beautifully with the pasta, balsamic vinegar and basil that you will start to love them. If you hate tomatoes, well, maybe this isn’t the right recipe for you!

Caprese Tomato Pasta Salad (egg-free, dairy-free ,nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) caprese pasta salad serves 4

200g pasta 200g mixed tomatoes, chopped fairly small Large handful of basil, roughly chopped 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper

  1. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and seasoning.
  2. Whilst the pasta is warm mix in the dressing, stir well and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and basil, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary – easy huh?

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Raspberry Crème Brûlée

raspberry creme brûlée Whenever I’m lucky enough to go out for a meal with friends someone invariably orders creme brûlée. It seems to be one of the most popular desserts around, maybe because it seems a little tricky to make at home. In fact it’s incredibly simple – a slightly set custard underneath a caramelised sugar layer. A traditional crème brûlée is made with eggs and milk, so clearly I had my work cut out to recreate this without them. This recipe is a cornflour thickened dairy-free milk custard, scented with vanilla, which makes the perfect substitute. And I think the layer of raspberries adds a delightful and welcome tartness to the creamy top. The caramelised top looks tricky but it’s as simple as can be – a fine, even layer of sugar is sprinkled with a few drops of water and then caramelised either with a cook’s blow torch (preferable) or under a hot grill. If using a grill you must, must, must keep a close eye on it, you don’t want totally burnt sugar!

Raspberry Crème Brûlée (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan) dairy-free raspberry creme brûlée serves 4

250ml dairy-free cream, I used Oat cream

3 tbsps caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1- 1 1/2 tbsps cornflour mixed with 1 1/2 tbps oat milk

1-2 tbsps granulated sugar

20 raspberries

  • Mix the cornflour and oat milk together to form a smooth liquid, set aside.
  • Heat the oat cream with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vanilla.
  • Next, stir in the cornflour mix and whisk until the cream has thickened to thick yogurt consistency.
  • Place 5 raspberries into each ramekin, then pour over the creamy mixture and place in the fridge to firm up.

dairy-free set cream

  • Once set, sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar over the top.

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  • Caramelise with a blow torch or under the grill. Eat within an hour to make sure the caramel remains crispy.

egg-free vegan creme brûlée

Egg-free Tuiles/Wafers

 

tuile basket egg-free, vegan

I’ve dreamt of making delicate, light and crispy tuiles for a long time, but my egg-free attempts never worked. Whilst the results had been passable but they certainly weren’t good enough to be classed as an authentic wafer-thin tuile. It’s such a versatile classic recipe in which the paper thin, lightly scented biscuit or wafer is moulded into a variety of shapes – the classic tuile literally translates as ‘roof tile’ thanks to its gently curved shape. They add the finishing touch to any fine dessert when curled into straws (as often found in ice creams and sorbets), or they can be moulded into baskets or folded into cones.

The key feature of a tuile is that it has to be wafer thin. To achieve this, the dough needs to be thinly spread over a template, baked, and then a few seconds after coming out of the oven, carefully removed from the baking tray. To do this requires a palette knife and the tuile needs to be moulded straight away. Delay by even a few seconds and you’ve missed your chance; the tuile will shatter and break rather than be pliable. As speed is key I would suggest only baking a couple at a time, which makes this a laborious process, but there’s no real way round it.

I have to say that I am utterly delighted with the results of this recipe, they are so authentic that I dare anyone to taste a difference between these made with aquafaba ( water from a tin of cooked beans or pulses) and those made with the traditional egg white. We can’t. D said he was immediately transported back to childhood holidays with the French side of his family, eating lemon sorbet with a crispy tuile straw tucked into the frozen delight. So the results must be pretty good for a comparison like that!

lemon sorbet and dairy-free tuile straw

So lemon sorbet seemed to be the right thing to serve mine with (this one from New Forest Ices is egg, dairy and nut free) which went down a total treat. I also moulded some into baskets which is another classic tuile shape and filled that with creme pat and fresh fruit – yummy!

Egg-free Tuiles (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free tuiles

 

Makes plenty!

1/2 cup dairy-free spread or margarine

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp aquafaba

1 1/2 tsps vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup plain flour

  1. First cut a template out of cardboard, you want two circles with a diameter of 10-20cm. Then either line a cookie sheet with parchment and lightly grease, or use a non-stick baking mat. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade or 375 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Whisk together the spread and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Whip in the aquafaba and vanilla. (If the mixture starts to split quickly add 1tbsp of flour). Whisk in the rest of the flour and the salt until you have a smooth, velvety dough.
  4. Spread a thin layer of dough inside each template, being as even and careful as possible. Remove the template.tuile template
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until starting to turn a light goldenIMG_6643
  6. Remove from the oven and wait a few seconds, then start to manoeuvre a palette knife under the tuile. As soon as it it removed from the baking sheet, mould into preferred shape. It will cool and hold the shape within seconds.
  7. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.

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To make a classic tuile:

Once removed from the baking sheet immediately lie the cookie over a rolling pin and it should form the correct curved tile look

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To make a basket:

Once removed from the baking sheet, press around the base of a glass to form a basket

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To make a straw:

Once the palette knife has made sure the tuile is no longer attached to the baking sheet, gently roll around the handle of a wooden spoon.

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Mustardy potato and green bean salad

potato and green bean salad

It’s still Jersey Royal season, and I’m determined to use this wonderful seasonal produce as much as possible, while it’s still at its best. Most people prefer new potatoes very simply boiled, I like to cook them ‘en papillotte’ – so simple and no chance of getting them waterlogged. But still we’ve started to tire of them that way too, which is such a shame when they’re so wonderfully delicious.

So, here is a stunner of a potato salad recipe to fire up your imagination and add a bit of interest to your new potatoes when you’ve tired of the traditional recipes. As far away from a mayo-based traditional creamy affair as possible, and all the better for it, the strong mustardy dressing adds powerful background flavour and warmth, pepped up with the twang of shallots, chives and pretty chive flowers. The idea of honey in the dressing may seem crazy – honey with potatoes anyone? – but it is only a light touch which lifts the mustardy flavours without giving any noticeable sweet effect. The green beans add a little green crunch and I recommend them, although the salad remains almost as majestic without.

I can see this becoming my go-to potato salad recipe this summer.

Mustardy Potato and Green Bean Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan) N.B. contains mustard

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200g new potatoes, boiled whole in their skins until tender
100g fine green beans
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Chive flowers to garnish (optional)

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For the dressing;

1 tbsp whole grain mustard (yes really)
1 tbsp wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Top and tail the green beans and cut in half, blanch for 3-4 minutes and then plunge in cold water. Boil or steam the potatoes, until tender.
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into chunky slices and pour over 2/3rds of the dressing. Gently toss to combine. Leave to fully cool.
  4. Once cool, stir in the blanched green beans, chives and the additional dressing. Garnish with chive flowers.
  5. This salad is best eaten at room temperature.

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Holidays: Glorious South Devon

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This last half term we needed a break. We really needed a break. Some friends at work recommended Wowcher for great deals on family holidays, so I spent hours browsing, but even that led to my stress levels rising ( not the idea with a holiday!) – all the family friendly options were catered or all-inclusive. And as ever all inclusive holidays just wouldn’t be possible for our family with allergies to consider. Each meal time would be a supremely stressful occasion with us hoping our requests had been taken seriously ( or simply understood if given in a language we are not familiar with) and then examining the food for any anomalies, following by a lengthy period of watching like a hawk for any reactions. It’s hardly the relaxing time you want to have on holiday and I would have returned from any such holiday a frazzled wreck! Besides, as you may have noticed, I do quite like to cook!!

So self-catering it had to be, and in the absence of owning a lovely villa somewhere warm, we were looking at a 3 days getaway in the UK. And that’s how we came to be in South Devon. Doesn’t sound terribly exciting does it? Well it was absolutely beautiful and such a wonderful ‘get away from it all’ holiday, that even after just three nights we returned fully recharged and ready to face life again.

We stayed in the tiny little town of Buckfastleigh just on the southern edge of the stunning windswept Dartmoor. It was seriously tiny and picture-postcard pretty but also with more than you could possibly need. Oddly perhaps. I long for such a well stocked and friendly health food shop as The Seed just a few yards down the road. And what we would give for an outdoor lido, which this tiny place also boasted. There was even a vintage steam train that went directly to Totnes. In fact the steam train was so much fun that Big S, who is no train fan, claimed it was the best part of her holiday.

The Seed, Buckfastleigh

Totnes was indeed a great town to visit, one place where being a veggie is not unusual! There were plenty of lovely looking veggie places to eat, but sadly many not suitable for us due to an over abundance of nuts and seeds. That’s often our problem, places where you think we’d be able to eat aren’t suitable due to another item on the menu! Anyway we had a filling and tasty cafe style lunch at The Brioche, fitted in some shopping in the ethnic inspired and crystal shops, and got a big haul of interesting tasty ingredients from the massive health food shop.

While we had eaten safely at the Brioche, it wasn’t without its stresses and issues so the rest of the time we ate in our lovely little cottage or took picnics with us on days out. Slightly dull, yes, but also far far less stressful. As I mentioned at the start, self-catering seems to be our only real option, although I’d love advice of other possibilities.

The weather played ball and we also visited the lovely seaside port of Dartmouth, traipsed over the windswept moor and played with the beautiful shiny pebbles at Blackpool Sands. And we only managed to fit in a fraction of the things there are to do. If you haven’t been, I wholeheartedly recommend it – the rolling hills and wild flower-lined country lanes are England at its idyllic best, with beaches and interesting towns. There is so much to do and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve had a break.

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dartmoor

Chive Bloomer

Chive bloomer Our chives are growing like crazy at the moment and I’ve been using them wherever possible, but still not making a dent in the abundant harvest (much to the bumble bees’ delight as they seem to love love LOVE chive flowers). So it was a case of thinking up ideas of how to use as many as possible, in as many ways as I could! IMG_6584 I was going to make a loaf anyway, to make our weekend lunches more exciting, so why not a chive loaf? Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a chive loaf before, but why not? The mellow oniony-ness of the chives would surely give a lovely subtle savoury note to a traditional white bloomer, and white it had to be, the idea of chives in brown bread just seemed so wrong. As it turns out, chive bread is very very good idea, perfect with a ploughman’s style lunch, in sandwiches or with a steaming bowl of soup (we had it with our family favourite tomato soup). Although, I’m not so sure it would work with jam on at breakfast time!! This is a particularly soft bread with a chewy rather than crusty outer.

Chive Bloomer (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) IMG_6499

  • 3 cup strong bread flour
  • 2 tbsp soya soured cream such as Tofutti or dairy-free yogurt
  • 2 tbsp dairyfree spread/margarine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsps dried fast action yeast
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dairyfree milk, I opt for Oatly
  1. Rub the spread into the flour until is resembles fine breadcrumbs, stir in the soured cream. Add the salt, sugar, bicarbonate, yeast and chives.
  2. Pour in the dairyfree milk and bring together to form a dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and silky and bounces back when pressed.
  3. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm spot to double in size (approx 1 hour)
  4. Knock back the dough, form into a classic bloomer shape on a floured baking sheet (or any shape you like), sprinkle the top with a little flour and score a cross with a sharp knife. This will give the bloomer effect.
  5. Cover with cling film (oiled) and leave for another 30 minutes to rise again.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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Tapenade couscous salad

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I’ve had a recent hankering for all things olive – I developed a taste for olives only in my mid-twenties and it was definitely a slow burner – starting off with eating one off a pizza to a nibble now and then. Now I sometimes just really want an olive or two!

This salad is delightfully different – bringing the concept of a vegetarian tapenade to a plate of giant couscous. It was partially about using up what I had in the cupboard but the results are a rather stunning salad and a nice contrast to a usual platter. I’d definitely recommend loads of parsley for added freshness and well as vitamins.

Tapenade Giant Couscous Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, fish-free, vegetarian and vegan)

tapenade couscous salad

  • 100g giant couscous
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml water
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives, I like Greek Kalimantan olives
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced or chopped
  • Large handful of parsley
  1. Soak the red onion in ice cold water to remove some of the ‘bite’.
  2. Dry fry the couscous in 1tbsp olive oil until golden. Pour in the water and balsamic and stir until absorbed. Taste, if not cooked through, add a little more liquid and continue to stir until cooked through (this will take 15 or so minutes)
  3. Drizzle over the oil, and a little more balsamic if you like, leave to cool.
  4. Drain and pat dry the onions. Stir all the ingredients into the couscous and ideally let sit for half an hour at room temperature for the favours to meld.

giant couscous with tapenade flavours - vegetarian