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Roasted Vegetable Couscous

A popular deli counter option but did you know how quick and easy roasted vegetable couscous could be to prepare?  Really, all it takes is a tiny bit of chopping and the rest is time!

You can roast whatever vegetables you fancy too.  If you really can’t stand roasted tomatoes, leave them out!  Love roasted cauliflower (and you should!), then pop it in!  Got some leftover parsnips looking a bit suspicious? Hey, shove them in, no one will notice!   I like to stick to Mediterranean vegetables for the most part, with the occasional bit of cauliflower or sweet potato thrown in for fun!  The quantities don’t really matter and this is a great way to use up odds and ends in the fridge.

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Serves 4

Mediterranean Vegetables, For Example:
~ 1/2 aubergine
12 cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 courgette
2 red onions
1 teacup of dry couscous
1/2 a vegetable stock cube

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Chop up your veggies into bite sized pieces.
– Place on a roasting tray.
– Drizzle with olive oil.
– Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
– Roast for 30 minutes.
– Take 1 teacup of dry couscous and your stock cube and put it in a serving bowl.
– Take 1 teacup of boiling water and add to the couscous.
– Give it a little swirl and then leave it for ~ 20 minutes.
– Come back and fluff it up with a fork.
– Take your veggies out of the oven and tip into the couscous.
– Mix and enjoy!  Can be served hot or cold, however you fancy it.  Makes a fabulous main or a nice little side dish.

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The roasted veggies are super versatile and the couscous super quick!  Make up a huge tray of veggies and save yourself some prep work for meals later in the week!

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Death to the Mare’s Tails!

They look kinda funny, don’t they? Like weird asparagus.  But BEWARE! These are Mare’s Tails and you will never defeat them.

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We once had an allotment.  We dug that place over religiously, we weedkilled, we rotovated, we pulled and we grafted.  We never got them all.  So to discover that the entire left hand border of my garden is infested with them was… well, vexing.  But I shall not go down without a fight!  The first wave to poke their heads above ground got zapped with Roundup Gel.  Then the next day the whole border was hit with a good soaking of the strongest glyphosate I could buy and each stem bruised to allow it to penetrate.

There go my dreams of keeping things organic (my go to weed killer is neat vinegar) but organic won’t win this fight.  The best I am hoping for is to kill as much of it as I can before raking up the gravel and laying weed suppresant fabric and just keeping things in pots along that border rather than planting direct into the soil.  This is a fight I know I won’t ever really win but I can cheat and run away!

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Honey, I’m home!

So… this has been a rather long and unplanned hiatus.  I want to apologise to anyone who has missed my random ramblings.  This year has been a strange one and has been rather challenging in a lot of ways.  Life has been throwing me some curve balls and there have been a lot of ups and downs.  However, I’m back, I’m healthy, I’m happy and I am determined that 2014 is going to be a brilliant year and that I will not allow this blog to suffer any longer.  I love blogging, I love sharing all of my foodie thoughts and experiments with you guys.  I love receiving comments from people who have tried things and being able to offer and receive advice. 

In order to motivate myself I have even gone and got myself a domain name, just to pretty things up! If you want to add http://www.annainthekitchen.co.uk to your bookmarks and check back with me in the year to come then I promise not to go AWOL again and to keep the recipes coming!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, I always have so much fun trying new and exciting Christmas recipes and I hope you find some things to try yourself on this blog.  There are always some recipes I revisit every year so here’s a quick reminder of some things I’ve shared previously that I love to cook:

My Christmas Cake Recipe.  Can be made even as late as Christmas Eve (If you start first thing in the morning!)

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An excellent Christmas breakfast, my Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns are full of christmas flavours!

Anna's Breakfast Bites

Anna’s Breakfast Bites are an essential part of our Christmas.  If you prefer something savoury, or just need some brunch to keep the munchies at bay while waiting on the turkey, these are a fantastic crowd pleaser!

Christmas Muffins

If you are in need of a very quick recipe to whip up and take into the office may I suggest my Christmas Muffins

Cranberry Fool, a brilliant way to finish a Christmas meal if the traditional Christmas Pudding just isn’t for you!

And finally, Fudge! That perennial favourite for home made gifts.  You can make this in so many different flavours, it’s  perfect for that personal touch, and so much easier than you think it will be!

 

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2012 The Vital Statistics!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 43,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Happy Hallowe’en!

Anyone else suffering from pumpkin carving injuries? I managed to slip a tiny bit while stabbing a pumpkin and managed to nick myself!  I can say that the knife was indeed incredibly sharp, as it promised (not sure it can really claim to be the “world’s sharpest knife” but definite points for effort!  Given the difficulty I went through getting it it was worth it! (2 supermarkets, 40 miles driven, the last pumpkin in Christendom I swear!)  Let the moral be: Always buy your pumpkin early and certainly not at 9pm the night before Hallowe’en!

I also decided to give parsnip carving a go.  I tried once, many years ago, to do this but it was next to impossible and I injured myself that time too.  This year I cooked the parsnip first and then scooped out his innards, still very difficult but I managed it! And, with the help of an electric tea light, I managed to get him lit up too.  (A regular tea light wouldn’t have fitted in but I could turn the electric one on and place it in upsidedown.)  I call him FrankenParsnip:

Unlike last year I haven’t been doing anything Hallowe’en related in the kitchen other than butchering vegetables (and myself).  I just haven’t had the time!  This evening I ditched the Trick or Treaters to go with my Gran on a drive through Fountains Abbey, a National Trust property near our houses.  They floodlit it and opened it up to vehicles so that those less able to get about could see it, it’s a lovely site, one of my favourite places in the whole world, so it was fantastic to be able to go and enjoy it with both my Gran, who just isn’t capable of walking so far these days, and my Mum, who is once again on crutches having managed to fracture a metatarsal lengthways!  (She’s talented, you have to give her that.)  Hopefully I’ll be getting my act together more over Christmassy things, not long now!!!  I’ll leave you with this spooky looking pic of Fountains Hall, didn’t quite mean to take it like this but I like it!

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Purchases and Outings

First of all I’m afraid I simply have to show off my latest kitchen purchase.  I finally found a pine dresser!!!!  I’m rather in love with it.  It’s really brought the kitchen together and all that extra storage space is very handy, finally I’ll have somewhere for my tea sets!

Speaking of tea sets last weekend I went along to The Secret Tea Room.  Quite by chance a few weeks ago I saw a retweet about there being tickets left for The Secret Tea Room’s road trip to York while I was on the bus.  The concept seemed simple enough and I was feeling adventurous so, knowing nothing more about it, within five minutes of arriving at the office I had booked myself a spot!  I’m so glad I did!

I turned up, not knowing at all what to expect, (other than tea!), and had a lovely afternoon sitting chatting to complete strangers, drinking more tea than ever before in my life (and rediscovering Oolong) and nibbling on delightful little sandwiches and delicious cakes.  All in all my idea of a great afternoon!  I deliberately went on my own, it was to be an adventure! And it was, I met some lovely people and had a lovely time. 

Lynn obviously puts a lot of effort into these events, (even more so when having to cart everything to York and back!) and it really showed.  You can read more about the whole thing over on her blog Bakelady as I am just not doing it justice!  Also present was Sophie of Little Pretty Things who provided us all with little bags of her divine chocolates.  They were sublime, although I don’t think I’m going to be a convert to the blue cheese one!  It was great to chat to her, she’s obviously so passionate about what she does, who wouldn’t be about chocolate?!

I’ve been rather busy recently so I hope you’ll all pardon the lack of posts recently.  On Monday night I made my annual pilgimage to see John Barrowman on tour.  He was as fantastic as ever, it’s always such a good show, it gives me such a buzz but thenthe innevitable comedown takes some getting over.  I hope to be up and at it in the kitchen again soon though so look out for more!

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BBD – Links

Here is the link to the RECIPE God, they took a rubbish photo of it!

Do not add the extra egg yolk to the custard!  And if at all possible cook it for longer at a lower temperature!  I had to tweak it to fit the filming times so it was, in fact, at too high a temperature so it would cook in time!  Hence the “caramelising”!  Wow, was that a family joke that didn’t translate!

And here is the link if you want to WATCH it… not sure it will work outside the uk and I have not the skills to save a copy!

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