New year’s resolutions – made any? Beyond the trying to shout less and remembering to breath more, I don’t set myself up to potentially fail with anything specific, unless I can think of fun things (like finding a Sauvignon Blanc I really love, for example). Mainly because January’s a pretty miserable month anyway, so why challenge yourself further?! But one thing I am pushing myself to do is to consistently take my lunch into work. Every day. Apart from the health factor, the money that can be saved is immense – especially for those with a healthy appetite!
The key to forming that taking-lunch-to-work habit is to batch make ahead a meal that you love. Like when you are doing that food prep on Sunday night, you’re already thinking “I can’t wait to tuck into this tomorrow.” I’m one of those people who is motivated by a hearty, warm meal in the middle of the day so tend to get excited about chunky grain dishes that I can pop into the work microwave. Also, I seem to have a winning streak if I make something a little different/special than the pasta and salad combo I’ll often grab in the evening. So hello artichokes. And in similar vein, giant cous-cous isn’t something I use that often. As it’s the depths of winter, I’ve chucked in a good smattering of fresh mint and dill which always make me think of long summery evenings, especially when combined with lots of lemon. And a glass of the said Sauvignon Blanc.
For cheese lovers, feta, goats cheese and ricotta can be added.
Ingredients (4 servings)
Oil for frying
4 shallots or two medium sized onions
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 chilli – optional
200g giant cous-cous
1-2 lemons – zested and juiced
400-500g ready cooked artichokes (tinned or from a jar)
Mint leaves – 20-30g
Dill leaves – 20-30g
- Dice the shallots or onions and fry in a drizzle of oil. After a few minutes, throw in the garlic and chilli if using and cook for a little longer.
- Rinse the giant cous-cous in a sieve and throw into the pan. Stir well and allow the grains to dry-fry for a couple of minutes, stirring, whilst you add the lemon zest and a good pinch of salt.
- Pour in around 500 ml of water and simmer the giant cous-cous according to the packet instructions, usually around 5-6 minutes. You may need to add a little more water if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- If you are using tinned artichokes, pop them in halfway through the cooking time. If you are using the ones from a jar or deli-tub – which always seem softer – add them at the end of the simmering time.
- When the couscous is tender but still has a nice bite, stir in the shredded herbs and lemon juice and season. Serve hot or cold.