Lady’s night in.

When Mossy is away, the ladies-in-waiting rally around to keep me from getting too bored or worse, into some mischief I can’t explain my way out of later. Last week it was Lady Yardley’s turn on the couch and true to form she turned up with a lovely drop of Riesling, one of my favourites from the Clare Valley. With forty minutes to bath and bed the littles before she was due to arrive, I decided to put together one of my most delicious meals, couscous with Mediterranean veges. A dish so oft cooked at our place, its been relegated to nights alone, as the mere sight of sweet potato and red capsicum sitting on the bench together is enough to drive Mossy to despair. Poor dear.

One of those dishes you can pull together with pantry items and a few fresh ingredients, this is comfort food at its best. Overloaded with carbs, butter and olive oil it looks amazing and tastes even better. Quantities are for two ladies, pre-diet with a little left over for lunch.

Chop Chop

While you are feeding your children, turn on the oven to 170 degrees and chop the following into bite size cubes

Sweet potato

Red capsicum

Red onion

Zucchini (should you eat it, we don’t, ghastly things therefore omitted)

Carrots

Really, any veges you like that you can cook slowly, mushrooms would work well however, see above.

Peel and roughly chop 3 garlic cloves and add, along with a glug of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt & pepper before placing in the oven to gently cook. There now, looks so much nicer than the effort actually put in doesn’t it!

Keep a watch, you will need to rotate the veges and add more olive oil if it looks like its drying out. Cook until everything is nicely softened, though not mushy.

While this is happening, bath any children whether they like it or not and prepare for bed. Ensure your wine is cooling in the fridge, poor an early glass if necessary. Generally is.

I like to transform Rainbow Lane back into an adults only space once the littles are a-slumbering by lighting candles, adding music and settling the table thoughtfully before completing dinner.

Prepare your couscous according to the directions on the packet but generally the rule is one cup of water or stock, a tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of salt brought to the boil before adding one cup of couscous. Turn the heat off, cover and leave to rest for a few minutes whilst the water infuses into the grains of wheat. Fluff with a fork and add some accessories you have in your pantry to dress it up, we have company after all! I like to garnish with chopped semi dried sultanas, cranberries, dates and apricots as well as a sprinkle of toasted almond slivers and a hefty handful of coriander.

For this occasion I lay some chicken breast (free range only please) and vine tomatoes over the vegetables 15 minutes before the cooking was complete turning halfway. You could easily match lamb backstrap or cutlets, even a slow roasted shoulder to this but it is loveliest, I believe, on its own with a good splash of olive oil.

A superb night of reminiscing commenced in between forkfuls, Lady Yardley and I had a lot of ground to cover. Both fond of social media in all its guises, two weeks had passed since our last opportunity to swap stories, there was much to catch up on before the night was over…Mossy, you missed out.

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