Saturday, August 24, 2013

Festive Couscous And Moonblush Tomatoes (Nigella)

From my previous post, we had a "Dinner with Nigella", African Drumsticks which I have served with Festive Couscous and Moonblush Tomatoes. I'm sharing today, the recipes for both the couscous and the tomatoes.

A Nigella Meal : African Drumstick served with Festive Couscous and Moonblush Tomatoes

Festive Couscous recipe is from Nigella Christmas. And in the book, she has included a roasted Cornish Hen recipe, where some of the roasting juices is mixed into the couscous. Since I did not make the roasted Cornish Hen, I have replaced the roasting juices with some lemon juice, to taste. I have made only 1-1/4 cup of couscous but kept the amount of the spices as per the full recipe. In place of the golden raisins, there's an option to use either dried cherries or dried cranberries and I have used the latter. I could not find any pomegranate and have omitted that, it would be lovely if the couscous is sprinkled with the ruby red pomegranate! Overall, a very nice couscous dish, just make sure you get the seasoning right, it makes a lovely side dish for roasted chicken, meat or fish.

Festive Couscous
(adapted from "Nigella Christmas", Nigella Lawson)
3 cups quick-cook couscous (I made only 1-1/4 cup)
1/2 cup golden raisins (replace with dried cranberries)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt (salt to taste)
3-1/3 cups freshly boiled water, from a kettle (1-1/3 cup water)
lemon juice to taste
seeds from 1 pomegranate, or 1/2 cup seeds from a container ( did not use this)
handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  1. Put the couscous into a heat-proof bowl or a pan with a tight-fitting lid, add the golden raisins, spices and salt, and give everything a stir.
  2. Pour the freshly boiled water over and cover with plastic wrap or the lid; let it sit for 10-15 minutes, by which time it should have absorbed the water.
  3. Fluff the couscous through with a fork to separate the grains, then carefully pour in some of the juices that have collected in the roasting pan of Cornish hens. (There's a roasted Cornish Hens recipe that comes before this in the book, to replace the roasting juices, I just added some freshly squeezed lemon juice).
  4. Fork through again and check the seasoning before transferring to a serving dish.
  5. Drop half the pomegranate seeds over the mounded couscous, mixing them in gently with a fork.
  6. Scatter the remaining pomegranate seeds over, sprinkle with some chopped cilantro and serve.

Moonblush Tomatoes : We love cherry tomatoes, almost in any roasted chicken that I made, there would surely be some cherry tomatoes around, used mostly in some salad. For this time, they are a star of their own. I like the name Moonblush Tomatoes, Nigella has named it as such, simply because she left the marinated tomato halves in a very hot turned off oven overnight, and the next day, you will be rewarded with lovely "moonblush tomatoes". I did not however left it in the oven overnight, as I've only decided to make this on the spur of the moment, a couple of hours before dinner time. So I have marinated the tomatoes, and baked them at 200C for 30 minutes. The next time, I would try Nigella's method of leaving them in the oven overnight. 
These Moonblush Tomatoes are delicious! They can be used in salad, with bread, in sandwiches, pasta and very good eaten as they are. I would definitely make these again.

Moonblush Tomatoes
(adapted from "Nigella Express", Nigella Lawson)
1 lb, about 24 in number, on-the-vine cherry or other baby tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder (my addition)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the olive oil, salt, thyme and sugar. 
  3. Put them in the oven and immediately turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening it.

I'm linking this post to Cook Like A Star, where the featured chef for this month is NIGELLA LAWSON. Cook Like A Star is an event organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and the co-hosts for this month are Anuja from Simple Baking and me, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. Cook or bake any of Nigella Lawson's recipes and link your posts to any of the hosts' linky which will stay open for the whole month of August. All submissions to this event must be current posts, published within the current month of this event, any older posts will be deleted. Please mention and link Cook Like A Star somewhere in your post. Do join us, everyone is welcome!

Cook Like A Star featuring Nigella Lawson, from 1st August to 31st August 2013


  1. A festive meal! Those moonblush tomato halves look so good paired with couscous.

  2. The couscous looks real festive. I'll also try it out.

  3. Hi Joyce, those tomatoes looks so yummy ,pick some fresh tomatoes this morning [cherry / big boy] these wlll be on my table tomorrow . Thanks for sharing :).

  4. What a meal! It all sounds delicious and anything with the name of "moonblush" has to be great! That's a must try! Have a good weekend, Joyce and thanks for the recipe!

  5. Hi, Joyce! You are really good in cooking. How I wish to be your neighbour to try all your cooking! So delicious!

  6. Love the name 'moonblush' - wonder if its in the dictionary or one of Nigella's madeup word! Anyway, moonblush tomatoes look delish!

  7. What a round up of Nigella's dishes. I wish I had stumbled on it earlier as I have the Kitchen book right next to for the past few weeks. I love Nigella.

  8. Oh I'm a Nigella fan and this looks simply marvelous - my mouth is watering!
    Mary x

  9. Moonblush tomatoes is such a catchy name... we could probably make two whole trays and eat them all!

  10. Couscous is my daily weekday lunch staple. Healthy and very versatile!

  11. The couscous looks so good. I love eating it for lunch and dinner, and I'm glad to have a new recipe to try! Thank you for sharing! I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog tomorrow for one of Ryan's necklaces, and I'd love for you to stop by! I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday!

  12. I love this couscous, looks delicious and healthy! Looks great with the chicken.

  13. Joyce, what a charming name "Moonblush Tomatoes". Trust Nigella to come up with such an elegant name!

  14. Couscous is very easy but not much flavor like rice, should go very well with the very flavorful chicken, I like the look of those tomatoes as well...the name itself sounds good already:D

  15. moonblush !what a cute name ! and interesting to know about leaving overnight method too!

  16. Hi Joyce,

    Agree with Lena that Moonblush Tomatoes is such a cute name! We have just planted some baby tomato plants and can't wait to harvest them and eat them being moon-blushed!