Tasty treats for lazy weekends
I love the versatility of dishes that work as a main course or lazy lunch. Soups, for example, are great served with warm soda bread that contains whole roasted garlic.
There is a hint of summer in the air already, with the sight of early rhubarb, peas in their pods and lighter foods.
Couscous is one of those great low-cost foods which I feel is making a new impact. There are many tasty yet light flavours that combine well with it, and it's fascinating to watch it double in size when you pour liquid or well-flavoured stock over it, then leave it to infuse.
One of my favourite serving suggestions is early summer vegetables, such as baby tomatoes, courgettes, red onions and garlic, with basil leaves, all roasted in the oven with lemon and olive oil then poured over the couscous. You can reheat it all in the oven for a great flavour.
Couscous is ideal as a vegetarian dish, served as an accompaniment or a casual brunch dish. For another fabulous yet simple couscous recipe, try roasting baby spinach, tomatoes and red onion with olive oil and a hint of cinnamon powder, then putting the vegetables on top of couscous and cooking it all in the oven for about 15 minutes. Allow the juices to run through the couscous then serve with Parmesan shavings.
Chicken, coconut and galangal is a great combination, and the soup I've given you can be served as a lunch or a main course. Use root ginger if you cannot find galangal.
Finally, it's back to baking with a feather-light sponge gâteau with elderflower curd and peaches, which you can substitute with fresh or tinned fruit, mangoes or pears.
Enjoy this hearty selection of low-cost recipes to take you through many a weekend.