So, I did not really have a birthday meal on my actual birthday. Fish and chips by the seafront, as lovely as it was, is not what I consider a celebration.
I still have not had that celebration yet, I’d like to do it with family and friends. However, I thought an interim measure, would be to cook something from my new recipe book. This recipe calls for the use of preseved lemons, so of course it was a must for me. I have never used them or eaten them before so I was intensely curious.
I did not find any Israeli couscous, so I opted to use some orzo that I already had in the cabinet. It helps that I simply love orzo, especially combined with anything minty. So this was really the perfect recipe for me.
The goat’s cheese was interesting. The recipe said ‘crumble’ over the dish but the cheese I had was squished and smooshed.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small leek, sliced and washed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 heaped tsp salt
1 preserved lemon, diced
250g Israeli couscous (also called giant couscous or ptitim)
700ml boiling water
200g shelled fresh peas
4 sprigs of mint, picked and chopped
4 sprigs of parsley, picked and chopped
100g goats’ cheese of your choice
Heat the oil in a large saute pan or non-stick wok. Fry the leeks and garlic on a medium heat for 2–3 minutes to soften, then add the salt and preserved lemon, and stir to combine. Tip in the Israeli couscous and continue frying for another 2 minutes or until the little couscous balls start to go golden.
Add half the boiling water and the peas. Boil until most of the water has soaked in, then add the rest of the water and cook on a high heat until it has also been sucked up by the couscous.
Remove from the heat, add the mint and parsley and stir well. Finally crumble the goats’ cheese all over and serve.
Really tasty dish. I would perhaps add a touch less salt next time round. And there will be another time. I love this recipe.
Honey & Co., by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer,