A gourmet meal: Veggie Cous Cous with White Fish

We love healthy eating in our family but also enjoy tasty food, and this meal combines all of these options. It is easy to make, cheap and it also looks rather gourmet. So as well as making it for your family, you could also use this recipe to impress friends and family when they come over for a meal — they will be so amazed by how you managed to come up with such a fancy looking dish as well as looking after your child! This is like the “Master Chef dish” for the working mum. You will spend a bit more time in the kitchen however, so it is good to cook at the weekend when your partner it around. Or you could make it whilst your toddler is distracted watching cartoons.

I came up with this recipe whilst experimenting with different ingredients one day; I didn’t have much in the fridge/freezer and had to come up with an interesting and tasty recipe to see us through until the on-line shop arrived. I had some courgettes and carrots in the fridge, frozen fish fillets in the freezer and a pack of wholemeal cous cous.  I had already tried mixing veg with cous cous in the past and the idea of adding fish didn’t seem too crazy to me, so I just went for it! I applied my granddad’s philosophy and utilised my creativity in the kitchen, and boy did it work!

My little boy loves this meal! I made it for myself and my husband the first time and he wanted to try some. So I sat him on my lap to try a bite and he kept asking for more! So I now make it for all of us. It’s a really healthy, nutritious and tasty meal to make for the whole family.

You can also use different veg in the cous cous, like onions and finely chopped peppers or mushrooms. But I’ve found the courgette and carrot combo works best with the fish.

However, we would love to hear your feedback and what other veg combos you have come up with. So have fun with it and enjoy!

Ingredients – Serves 2 Adults and 1 Toddler

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes for veg, 15 minutes for couscous, 20-25 minutes for fish

  • 1/2 Carrot
  • 1/2 Courgette
  • 1 Tin of Giant Marrow Fat Peas
  • 50 gr Giant Wholemeal Couscous per person (150 gr)
  • 3 frozen White Fish fillets (Haddock, Cod or Basa)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  •  1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • Unsalted butter for cooking
  • Olive Oil for cooking

Method

1. Chop the veg in to small chunks (depending on how much you like your veg, you can make the chunks bigger or chopped finely).

2. In a saucer add a drizzle of olive oil and add the carrots first, as they take a bit longer to cook. Cover with a lid and gently fry on a low heat for 5-8 min until they start to soften. Then add the courgettes and fry for a further 8-10 min with the lid still on, until all the veg is soft. Make sure to to stir occasionally.

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Veg mixture

3. Turn the oven on to pre-heat at 170 degrees (Fan oven).

4. Add the couscous to the veg. I love the Merchant Wholewheat brand, as it gives a lovely toasty flavour to the mix, but you can use any brand of Giant couscous. I have tried it with normal couscous but the mixture comes out too wet… Giant couscous is best as it absorbs all water and the lovely veggie flavour better.

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5. Turn up the heat to medium and fry for about 5 min without the lid off, stirring regularly to get the couscous evenly toasted.

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6. Add 100 ml of cold water for every 50 grams of couscous; so in this case add 300 ml water to the veg and couscous mix. Leave the lid off and bring to the boil stirring occasionally. Whilst you are waiting for it to simmer, start prepping the fish.

7. Line a small baking tray with tin foil. Add 3 knobs of butter and place a fish filler over each one. Then add another knob of butter on top of each fillet. Sprinkle the fillets with the paprika and parsley.

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Ready for the oven

8. Cover with tin foil “al cartoccio” style (check out or Techniques section if you’re unsure), and put it in the middle shelf of the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the fish is flaking and no longer pink in the middle.

9. By this stage your couscous mix should be simmering nicely. Reduce the heat and cover with the lid. Cook for 15 min, stirring occasionally. If all the water has evaporated before the cooking time is up add a bit more water as you don’t want it to dry out.

Whilst this is cooking drain the tin of marrow fat peas.

10. When your cous cous is done, turn the heat off and stir in half the tin of peas (you can add the whole tin if you like but I find this to be too much). Put the pan aside with the lid still on until the fish is cooked. You want to retain moisture with the veggie mix so it doesn’t dry out.

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Yummy veggie and couscous mix

11. When the fish is cooked you will see the butter and spices have blended to make a lovely sauce underneath the fish, which will have also incorporated the fish juices.

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Your kitchen will smell so good when this comes out of the oven!

12. Portion out the couscous in bowls. Add a fish fillet on top of each portion of couscous – I end up with 1 1 /2 fillet per adult and 1/2 fillet per child, depending on how big the fillets are. Tilt the baking tray slightly and scoop out the lovely fish sauce with a spoon, to drizzle over each portion of food.

Presto pronto, it is now ready to serve!

I have also used this recipe without the fish for a tasty lunch. You can just make the veggie couscous and then grate parmesan cheese over it when served in the bowl.

Feel free to experiment with this recipe and let us know what other veggie combos you come up with. Enjoy!

 

 

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