For a brief moment England experienced summer this week and as usual we were totally unprepared. What’s wonderful about the temperamental English summer that is usually so fleeting is that everyone embraces the soaring temperatures wholeheartedly because we are well aware that they are short-lived and fleeting.
These are my favourite pieces of the year, the evenings are balmy with watercolour pink skies and you can smell burning charcoal everywhere as rusty barbecues are dragged out of garden sheds. Our snippets of summer may not be tropically hot but they call for summery foods. This salad is perfect for picnics or to bring along to barbecues as a quick, easy option for veggies.
150g of giant couscous
3 tsps of cumin seeds
2 tsps of fennel seeds
1 tbsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/3 of an aubergine, diced into small chunks
10-15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 a courgette, quartered and sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cucumber, quartered and sliced
40g of flaked almonds
40g of chopped walnuts
30g of sultanas
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lay out the prepped aubergine, courgette and red onion on a lined baking tray, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile toast the cumin and fennel seeds for a minutes before transferring to a pestle and mortar and grinding into a fine powder.
- Using the same dry frying pan, place it back on a medium heat and toast the flaked almonds until browning. Then remove and place to one side
- Finally heat a teaspoon of oil in the frying pan and add the sultanas. Fry until they become swollen and golden.
- When the vegetables are almost done bring a pan of water to the boil and add the giant couscous. Boil for 7-8 minutes before draining and transferring into a large bowl.
- Add the roasted veg, olive oil, ground spices, cucumber, nuts, tomatoes and sultanas.
- Combine thoroughly before adding in the maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stirring well before serving.