Tag: spring

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi


Every once in a while I decide to put my prejudices aside and try out a recipe from a magazine. Well, to some extent…
I know this may sound a little arrogant, but good recipe writing is a rarity these days. Even well-known food writers are increasingly publishing books (written by ghost writers, may I add) with recipes that simply do not work. As a recipe writer myself, I question whether or not the recipes are tested before publication. I know how disappointing it is when a poorly written recipe ends up in failure and a waste of ingredients, so my recipes are always tested before being submitted to an editor or published on this blog. I want people to gain confidence in the kitchen, not be turned off by disasters that are a result of crappy recipe writing.
Anyhow, to get back to my point…
This past weekend I picked up a copy of the newest Allerhande, a magazine published by Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. While I prefer to shop at exclusively organic supermarkets and markets (geez that also sounds snobby!), I regularly visit the supermarket for their organic line. I usually leaf through their magazine quickly, but rarely make one of the recipes. This issue, however, featured a really tempting couscous dish I knew I would have to make. It was really my intention to follow the recipe, yet as I was cooking I decided to give it my own twist. The original version (found on page 64 of the April issue) also looks very appealing, though if you’re making it, use 480ml of water to cook the couscous and broccoli rice. The specified 350ml simply isn’t enough!
Here’s my variation, to what already looks like a great recipe:

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi
Serves 4

  • 300g spelt couscous
  • 400g broccoli rice
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 480ml boiling water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • fleur de sel
  • 15g mint, leaves chopped
  • 15g chives, chopped
  • 15g parsley, chopped
  • 350g green asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 400g halloumi, in 8 slices
  • handful of almonds, chopped

In a large bowl mix the couscous, broccoli rice, ras el hanout and pepper. Pour in the boiling water and close with either a lid or plastic wrap. Allow this to ‘cook’ for 10 minutes. Make a dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Pour this over the cooked couscous, add the chopped herbs and stir well. Divide the couscous over 4 plates. Grill the asparagus for approximately 4-6 minutes in a lightly oiled grilled pan. Season them with salt at the very end. Divide the asparagus over the couscous. Grill the halloumi for 1-2 minutes per side and divide the slices over each plate. Garnish each plate with chopped almonds and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Easy Spring Sides

Yesterday I found beautiful wild sockeye salmon at my local organic shop and immediately decided that’s what we would be having for dinner. What I’m loving about shopping at Ekoplaza (PS: Let me clarify again, NOT sponsored, only my opinion) is that for some reason, I can enter the shop without having planned a single meal and still come home with a whole week’s worth of dinners at a very reasonable price. I’ve tried that before at normal supermarkets and the only thing it leads to is aggravation. I think it has something to do with the selection of products. Ekoplaza is always stocked with interesting, new foods, and choosing is easy because everything is good! I don’t have to spend too much time reading labels, which means I have more time to get creative with weekly meals.
But back to the salmon… and to what I served with it — which is what this post is about.
Sockeye salmon is sustainably caught (not farmed!) and has a deep red color and a firmer, more ‘meaty’ flesh. It is high in Omega-3’s which means it’s great for your heart and a miracle worker for your skin and hair. I like to score the skin with a sharp knife, rub in fleur de sel and mixed pepper and fry in a little olive oil, skin-side down first.
To serve with the salmon, I made two easy seasonal side dishes I’d like to share with you today. Both are so simple that they don’t merit a separate post each.

Spring recipes that are perfect for Easter!

spring easterAfter the long, cold winter months, spring comes with warmth, color and an abundance of culinary delights. This is a wonderful time to spend leisurely mornings wandering around farmers’ markets, soaking up some inspiration along with a much needed dose of Vitamin D! It’s also the season to start planting an edible garden, no matter how small. I don’t have much space, but I do have various pots of herbs I hardly have to tend to. And, I’ve grown courgettes, tomatoes, spring onions, turnips and radishes quite successfully. If I had more of a green thumb (and space!), I would probably plant much more!
The following recipes are a great way to celebrate spring — and perfect for Easter, too.

Asparagus with Croutons and Soft-Boiled Eggs

Green asparagusIt’s a beautiful day here in the Dutch suburbs — perfect opportunity to enjoy some outdoor eating! I bought gorgeous, bright green asparagus at the market yesterday and decided to use them in this beautiful little lunch. The combination of flavors and textures is really fantastic. Hope you’ll like it as much as we did!