Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yummy Vegetable Soup; Fruity Couscous Salad

My success rate with vegetable soups is usually pretty hit-and-miss, so I figured I'd write this one down since the seasonings really came together nicely.

1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp cornflour
4 cups water (measurement is very approximate!)
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large potato, diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen peas
~1 cup short noodles, uncooked
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
black pepper to taste

Saute onion until translucent, add garlic and fry for one minute. Dissolve cornflour in 1 cup of water, add to the pan. Stir over medium high flame until it begins to thicken, gradually add the rest of the water. Bring to a gentle boil, then add carrot, sweet potato and potato and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Add capsicum, mushrooms, short noodles and seasonings and cook for five minutes, then add zucchini and green peas and cook for a couple of minutes or until zucchini is just tender. Serve immediately.

The rest of dinner was my favourite zucchini loaf, and an experimental fruity couscous salad of my own devising. I tried one from the deli counter at Coles on the weekend and it was all wrong (not to mention containing the bulbous purple fruit of Satan, which Mr Bat will not permit to pass the threshold of this house), so I was inspired to attempt my own. Here's the recipe, as far as I remember.

1/2 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4 cup couscous
1/4 cup currants and diced dried apricots
1 cup water
1 generous scoop of margarine or butter
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 red capsicum, diced
ground black pepper
juice of half an orange
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

Saute onion until transparent, add garlic and fry for one minute. Pour in water and bring to boil. Add couscous, dried fruit and butter, stir to combine, then cover and take off the heat. Leave for 5 minutes. Return pan to heat and fluff couscous with a fork to separate all the grains. Cool in the fridge. When cool, stir through chickpeas, capsicum and black pepper. Whisk together orange juice, vinegar and olive oil, pour over salad, and stir to combine. Rest in fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow flavours to blend.

For a first attempt it wasn't half bad, but it still needs tweaking. I think probably some more greenery should be involved, and also toasted slivered almonds.