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The taste of summer – Israeli cous cous and feta salad

Apologies to anyone who comes to my online kitchen looking for some recipes, I have been very remiss of late. There’s a few reasons for this:

  • I have relocated to Battersea, this is the year of being topsy turvy and moving frequently, it seems.
  • Shortly after relocating, some mice came to visit. Some big mice. That liked to run along the worktop. I hate mice, apart from them being unsanitary, they completely freak me out. There is no logic to this whatsoever, I know they’re smaller than me and I can do them more harm than they can me. It must be a phobia, I completely freeze when I see them and I wish I could say scream, but it’s more of a panicky croak. In summary, I steered clear of the kicthen for a couple of weeks.

I started to miss my lunches. I am used to bringing in something tasty and healthy but, whilst my house became the mouse house, I started to use the company canteen again. Our company canteen could desperately do with a Jamie style overhaul. It offers: hot things in bad sauces, pasta that’s been cooked for (I would estimate) an hour in bad or weird sauces, cold fish fingers in the salad section (YES: salad section) and random bits and bobs. It’s saving grace is the said salad section with the likes of grated carrot but that gets tired very quickly, say 3 days. Let’s just say, the company canteen is not my favourite indulgence.

So, I braved the kitchen – be very proud of me. For 2 weeks, if anything brushed off my skin, I immediately thought MOUSE and jumped or ran. I scanned the counter, peeked behind the door, opened the cupboard and peered in expecting to be face to face with a fat grey mouse. But, there was none there. So, I proceeded to concoct something, fresh, flavourful and quick for work. Something to match this lovely weather and to satiate my lunch time appetite. I made a delicious salad with israeli cous cous, feta, tomato, black olives, parsley and pine nuts with some lemon to lift the flavours.

The recipe is very simple and quick. I think it will become a picnic favourite. This made one large lunch.

Ingredients:

100g israeli cous cous
3 spring onions, sliced
50g feta, crumbled
12 or so black olives, stoned and chopped
12 or so cherry tomatoes, chopped – I used juicy san marzana – highly recommended!
25g toasted pine nuts
a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
half a lemon & some good extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Cook the cous cous according to packet instructions (for about 10 minutes in boiling salted water usually).
Drain and cool, dress in some olive oil so it doesn’t stick.
Combine with the other ingredients and dress with 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil.
Season with S&P and serve.

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

15 Comments

  1. awww :( now you have me all jumpy and I have never seen a mouse that wasn’t in a cage.

    yick yick yick!

    but still that sounds like a lovely salad, especially with the feta. mmm i love the feta.

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  2. This looks so lovely, and I’m so excited to see a British blogger writing about Israeli couscous – does this mean you’ve found some somewhere? I’ve been looking for months and have never had any success!

    I hope you stay mouse-free!

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  3. I’ve had no success locating any Israeli cous cous either. It seems we are both in SE London, where did you get yours from?

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  4. Thanks fotocuisine! Me too.

    Lysy – thanks! I love israeli cous cous and use it alot. I’ve seen it in the jewish section of large supermarkets and I’ve bought it in Selfridge’s and Waitrose.

    Helen – we are indeed! Although this particular packet came from Selfridge’s :-)

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  5. I used to have a mouse for a bit in our old flat and hated it. It always made me jump. Your canteen sounds just like ours! The salad looks wonderful though!

    Lysy, if you have any kosher shops around where you live you can usually find it there.

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  6. Oh Gawwwwwwd, we had a mouse in the kitchen last year – and of course it was when Dear Husband was seconded to Brussels, so no help there. I’d be sitting alone watching TV and suddenly hear sounds in the kitchen and freeze, turn the TV sound off and stare at the door as if 6ft Killer Mouse was about to appear knife in hand. And at night I closed the kitchen door plus my bedroom door and stuffed a towel into the gap inder the door, just in case. Because, you know, Killer Mouse would of course make a bee line upstairs for my bed under cover of darkness…

    In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, you are not alone!!

    In the end, I was sitting downstairs and the neighbour’s cat was snoozing on the guest room bed. I heard a loud thump as yuo always hear when he jumps off the bed, and seconds later, he trotted downstairs with… a mouse in his jaws and a feline smirk on his face. Usually I’d take steps to rescue anything from a cat’s jaws, but this time I just patted him and let him out the door to enjoy his bounty in peace :o) Problem solved!

    I love couscous, particularly when there’s feta involved. Must really make an effort to do a big batch so I can take it to work for lunch too. It sure beats evil Tesco sandwiches!

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  7. What a delicious looking salad, all bright and summery :)

    I can’t find pitim (Israeli Couscous) here in the UK either, I rely on a couple of friends over in Israel sending me several packets a couple of times a year. I love it.

    The thought of mice in the kitchen freeks me out too, urgh, I reckon you’re very brave going back in there so soon :)

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  8. I’ve never even heard of Israeli couscous, I must search some out as your salad sounds delicious.

    G

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  9. I have made it my resolution to stop buying over priced tasteless lunches and bring mine in too! This looks lovely I may whip up a batch at the weekend! :-)

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  10. Sorry about the mice. I once made a bowl of egg noodles only to discover that the mice had been in the flour. It was horrible.
    The couscous looks great. I’m always looking for healthier recipes and I think I’ll try this out.

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  11. This looks really good. If I can’t get my hands on some israeli couscous/in a rush, do you think i could use barley instead?

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  12. Thanks Sylvie. Yup – kosher shops are a good bet.

    Jeanne – lol, your story made me laugh! I think the mouse is gone or has become adept at hiding. It absolutely beats the evil tesco sandwiches, I just refuse to buy them now.

    Thanks George. I have found it in the giant supermarkets in the kosher section. Worth a try? Or delis often have it. Not brave atall, just desperate to cook :-)

    Ginger – seek it out – it’s worth it! They’re like little sponge balls, delicious and with a lovely al dente bounce off of your teeth :-)

    Sarah – thanks & enjoy!

    renaedujour – oh, how awful for you! Enjoy the recipe.

    Heather – absolutely, or spelt or wheat, anything like that would be perfect.

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  13. I hate buying lunch too – generally unhealthy, expensive, and not half as nice as what I can make for myself! ;)

    Israeli cous cous is new to me too – going to have to hunt it down!

    Reply

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