I know this may sounds strange and very obvious, but I'm from a friendship circle of eaters.
We like to eat. Surviving off cigarettes and soy piccolo lattes is just not us.
We talk about what we had for breakfast. We discuss our lunch options and we already know what's on the cards for dinner. Every little detail is mentioned, usually accompanied by a hand gesture and some intense lip smacking.
And boys. Boys boys boys.
I really don't think I could ever be with someone who doesn't enjoy a good meal. I dated a guy who would go a whole day without eating, and not care at all about it. It made me nervous. Sometimes the only thing he'd eat all day was a sausage sandwich. It was horrifying. I would bake him muesli muffins and slip them into his pockets when he was walking out the door to work. I'd make dinner with him and insist he had a second serving (along with me, ha). I even took batches of frozen lasagne over to his house. It was probably really annoying, but honestly I just can't help it. If you date me (God forbid) I will feed you.
When I was in Melbourne recently with a group of close girlfriends we were so dedicated to the good food cause that every morning we would spend hours trekking across the city to find a recommended restaurant or cafe, no matter how hungover or starving we were. By mid afternoon, after hours of shopping, we would all suddenly become quite snappy with each other. We coined it "hangry" hungry/angry - the lowering of blood sugar levels making us grumpy after a few hours of non-food consumption. A trip to Veggie Bar and a few brown rice balls later, we were as happy as larry.
One night we went to a local house party where, I would like to point out, that we knew maybe 2 people. On the stove was a caterers sized pot of dahl and next to it a huge bowl of steamed rice.
It got demolished. Mainly by us, the party crashers...And by us, I most definitely mean just me.
I vaguely remember hunting down the guy who made it and declaring my love for him right there on the spot for his amazing dahl efforts. It got a bit awkward.
Well, this meal is perfect for those moments of hazy hangriness when your tum is empty and you aren't pleasant to be around. It offers everything to satisfy the most intense of hungers - protein, carbs and veg. The humongous couscous was given to me by the food editor at work. She bought a packet for me after one day where we spent a good 15 minutes discussing the merits of giant couscous and how the bigger ones are much more exciting than the smaller stuff.
In my life, yes.
Lamb Chops, Cous Cous Salad and Spicy Stewed Capsicum
1 red capsicum
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1/2 a red onion
1 cup dried extra large cous cous (moghrabiah)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 a cub roughly chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted, roughly chopped walnuts
2 cups baby spinach and fresh mint leaves - shredded finely
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
And zest of half a lemon
1 garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
A few sprinkles of cinnamon
Slice up the capsicum, chop up the tomatoes and cut the onion into small wedges. Place in a small saucepan with some olive oil and salt and pepper and cook on a moderate heat until soft. Add in the harissa paste and a few splashes of water and let simmer away for a few more moments. Set aside.
Boil cous cous in the vegetable stock and water until soft, but still holding shape (about 15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, and zest, minced garlic, cumin and a cinnamon. Drain the cous cous and immediately transfer to a bowl and cover in the dressing - if you don't do this pretty soon after draining the cous cous will stick together. Add in the walnuts, cranberries and shredded spinach and mint. Stir through to combine.
Meanwhile heat up a grill pan to high heat. Cover the lamb chops with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. When the pan is hot enough place the chops onto the grill and cook off on one side for about 4 minutes. Turn over to the other side to continue for a further 3-4 minutes (I like my meat medium to rare, so change this according to how you like it).
Serve chops with the cous cous, stewed capsicums and a side of natural yoghurt.