Monday 19 January 2009


On the most depressing day of the year (official statistic) I was woken up at an ungodly hour by rain hammering against the skylight above our bed. The day continued on its rubbish way with an aborted bus journey caused by North London gridlock, my late arrival into work, and the sort of endless mindless repeated tasks that make you wish you had stayed in bed. On the slow bus home I tried to read and think about food for tonight. I knew that I would be making a ragu to eat tomorrow and had been planning to roast some squash and beetroot to eat with feta for an easy dinner. Somehow though the midwinter misery made me long for the fresh tastes of sunnier days and while contemplating the squash I moved away from this and towards an old favourite.

Two years ago I blogged about my very unseasonal (bad Gemma) couscous salad which has been a standby tea for a few years. Since then the general theme - couscous, lemon juice, dried mint, cucumber, peppers, red onion, halloumi - had remained the same but with one key, and to my mind very important, adjustment. When the couscous is cooked fork it through and add the lemon juice first.

That's it. I know it's a tiny detail but but I suppose it makes sense. Adding the lemon first means it soaks into the couscous before you coat it with oil. If you add the oil first it just creates a little barrier to that all important fresh taste.

Oh, and for me a couscous salad, a glass of red wine, and lovely Heston Bluementhal making over Little Chef makes the most miserable Monday of 2009 just a little better. Although, based on the first episode, if that's really what the senior management of Little Chef are like he should have just left them to it.


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

My friend just said that yesterday was officially the most depressing day of the year. He had a really bad day too. At least we got it out of the way early on.

Good tip about putting lemon juice on first, I'll try that next time.

Lisa said...

Sounds like a very good standy recipe to me, I made do with leftover roast chicken but wish I'd been more creative.
Couldn't agree more on poor old Heston - he has his work cut out with that lot! Is it me or were they being deliberately difficult??

shanna said...

OK, now it's my turn to be glad. Thank you for leaving a comment on my site and pointing me here! Love your photography and site design! Going to have a bit of a look around now! :)

Anonymous said...

Lemon! Why haven't I thought about that?! Thanks!

Sam said...

cous cous salad is a great standby, I never thought it mattered when you add the lemon so thanks for the tip!

Gemma said...

Hi everyone, glad the tip was well received!

Gemma x