Saffron Couscous with Cranberries and Almonds

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (1 of 14)

COUSCOUS | A versatile and popular alternative to rice and pasta

Couscous. A staple in North Africa, not many know how versatile these small steamed balls of semolina can be. Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a popular alternative to rice and pasta.

In Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, couscous is steamed over a simmered stew after being tossed with a little water or oil and water. This takes much longer than the ‘instant’ method, whereby couscous is boiled in water or stock for 5 minutes and then steamed for another 5 minutes before being “fluffed up” with a fork.

For myself, the beauty of couscous lies with its cross functional applicability between a pilaf and a salad. For this simple recipe, I have added a pinch of saffron to add a bit of colour and delicate taste. For some tangy sweetness I added some cranberries and for the crunch factor, some crushed roasted almonds. Feel free to throw in some pine nuts too!

Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (2 of 14).jpgSaffron couscous with cranberries and almonds

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes | SERVES: 4 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chopped shallot
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup of wholemeal couscous (or plain)
  • 1.5 cups of water (if using wholemeal)
  • pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oilSaffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (12 of 14)

METHOD:

1. Soak saffron threads in half cup of boiling water to release the flavours. Remember, a little pinch of saffron goes a long way.

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2. In the meantime, chop the shallots.

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3. Roast the almonds on medium-high heat by stirring gently on a pan (about 1-2 minutes). Once roasted, crush with mortar and pestle. Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (13 of 14)Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (7 of 14)

4. Pour tablespoon of olive oil into a saucepan on medium-high heat. Throw in shallots and stir for one minute.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (9 of 14)

5. Add the remaining cup of water. Once boiling, throw in the couscous, add a pinch of salt and pepper and let it cook for 5 minutes before closing the lid. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (8 of 14)

6. Juice the lemon and remove the pips.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (6 of 14)

7. Once couscous is done, remove the lid from the saucepan and pour in the lemon juice, cranberries, and crushed almonds. Fluff with fork until fluffy in texture.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (5 of 14)

8. Serve while warm. Feel free to sprinkle some pine nuts an additional cranberries on top for garnishing.Saffron couscous with cranberries and almonds (4 of 14)

 

Homemade Organic Granola with Honey and Sea Salt

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (13 of 29)

For those of you who love granola, it can easily be made within the comfort (and confines) of your own small kitchen (trust me, I know this because I have a small kitchen) in a total of less than 30 minutes. All you need is the base ingredient, rolled oats, plus fruits and nuts of your own choosing. The beauty of making your own granola at home is the control you can exercise over what goes exactly into your pot (not to mention the considerable cost savings). As an additional bonus, it also leaves your house smelling absolutely amazing for hours afterwards (thanks to the cinnamon). The honey delicately sweetens the oats while the sea salt adds an interesting savoury dimension that makes your tastebuds hunger for more. Try this recipe for yourself – it is not overly sweet and is sure to become a real crowd-pleaser.

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INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 10. Makes 6 cups.)

  • 4 cups of organic rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup of organic coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup of organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts and dried fruits (I used a breakfast mix – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and blueberries, raisins, flax seeds – plus a handful of almonds I crushed myself).

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METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line two roasting trays (or if you have large over, one roasting tray) with parchment paper. If using raw almonds, crush the almonds in a mortar and pestle.

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2) Mix all the dry ingredients together – oats, cinnamon, salt, chopped nuts and fruits – in a large bowl.

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3) Mix all the wet ingredients together – coconut oil, honey, vanilla essence – in a smaller bowl.

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4) Combine to two together by pouring the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir together with a spatula (or your hands) until the oats are all evenly coated.

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5) Spread the mixture onto the two roasting trays in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from oven and stir. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

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6) Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely. Store it in an airtight container for storage.

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To serve as a healthy breakfast treat, top the granola with some greek yoghurt, fruit (I used nectarines), and drizzle with honey. Can also simply be served with milk. Enjoy 🙂

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (served with nectarines and yoghurt) (1 of 10)