Plum Cous Cous



The Young Man has jetted off to Australia for his "summer holidays" and I am now cooking for 1 (or two, since I like to have the second portion for lunch the next day). As the YM says, now's my chance to eat all the herbs that he normally turns his nose up at and to put chilli in everything. There are some benefits to having the run of the house (g).

As I often do when the YM is away, I immediately turned to Nigel for some lazy cooking-for-one food inspiration. Most of the recipes in his The 30-Minute Cook (subtitled The Best of the World's Quick Cooking in my older edition) and Real Fast Food are for 2, so you get great grub without copious amounts of leftovers to somehow cram into your poor overworked freezer.

This is an adaptation of a recipe for peach and almond cous cous in The 30-Minute Cook. I've made it with peaches before and loved it, but it will be another month or so before peaches come down to anything like the price that would permit their wanton inclusion in a side dish (g).

Plums are in season, though, so here we go.

Now, you are probably not going to get lots of luscious juice from a plum like you would with a peach: since you want to be able to dice your fruit, it may not quite have reached the point where it is dripping with sweet nectar. You might want to compensate for this with lots of lovely fresh ground black pepper. You might also want to adjust the amount of lemon juice you use depending on the sweetness of the plums.

I had this with the very brilliant Crisp Spiced Grilled Chicken from the same book. I never can get enough of the stuff. Nigel has even convinced me that you really do want to leave the skin on when it's grilled chicken. And since no-one was around to see, I even got to scoop up the marinade that got stuck to the foil in my grill pan and scoff that down as well. Just don't tell the YM, alright!

I didn't have almonds on hand, so they got left out, but if you want to add them back in, the original recipe calls for 2 tbs flaked almonds, toasted.

Plum cous cous

100 g cous cous
2 large plums, diced
Handful of mint leaves, chopped
Large handful of flat-leafed parsley, chopped
2-3 spring onions, sliced
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Sprinkle cous cous with 100 ml water, leave for 10 min, then break up the lumps that form with your fingers. Chop the parsley and mint, but not too finely, and mix with the lemon juice and olive oil in a salad bowl. Add the spring onions to the dressing.

Halve and stone the plums and cut the flesh into large dice, saving any juice. Add the plum flesh to the dressing along with the cous cous.

Enjoy!