Just a few days ago, was our 3rd wedding anniversary. It was a week filled with feasting while watching recorded Harry Potter movies ( one of our favs)- the best type of celebration! We ended the week off with yummy lobsters, sashimi and dessert at a local gourmet food market- Pasarbella. The best memories are made with the simple things in life – food, wine and fantastic company. On one of those celebratory nights, I made this vegetarian feast. I’m very into Moroccan cuisine now so this has some elements of it.
I bought these beautiful orange and purple baby carrots which were from New Zealand. There were the star of the dish. When baked simply, they’re so tender yet crunchy and the baking brings out their sweetness.
Pomegranates are beautiful fruits with their deep red seeds and juice. If you’re selecting a pomegranate, get the heaviest fruit. The heavier it is, the more seeds and juice it has. There are many varieties of pomegranates. I prefer the ones from India as they’re darker in colour and sweeter as well. Store your pomegranate in the fridge. The trick to removing the red seeds is to cut the ripe fruit into half and push the skin inwards with your thumb so that the seeds ‘pop’ out. Then, immerse in a bowl of water and carefully remove the seeds. The seeds should sink and the pith and membranes should float. Scoop out the membrane and pith, drain and enjoy your pomegranate seeds. You can keep the red seeds in the fridge for a few days. They go great with salads or just on their own.
Baked Baby Carrots with Goat’s Cheese Pomegranate Couscous
Serves 2 as main course
- 500 g baby carrots
- 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted & ground
- 2 tsp coriander seeds,toasted & ground
- 2 tsp fennel seeds,toasted & ground
- large pinch of paprika/cayenne
- pinch of brown sugar
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/8 c white wine
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- fresh mint leaves
- goat’s cheese
- pine nuts, toasted
- seeds of 1/2 large pomegranate
- 1 medium purple onion, sliced
- drizzle of honey
- 1/2 c couscous, cooked according to packet instructions
Season baby carrots with toasted and ground spices, paprika, salt,brown sugar and toss with olive oil, lemon juice. Lay onto of large rectangular tin foil. Bring both end of the foil and fold together, on top. Fold one end of the tin foil packet. Pour in the white wine. Fold the other end. The packet should resemble the picture above. Put packet on a baking sheet and bake at 200 C for 15-20 mins. Remove from oven. Unfold the top of the packet till carrots are ‘exposed’. Baked carrots uncovered at 220 C for about 10-15 mins till they are slightly browned. Remove carrots into a separate bowl and set aside. Keep the baked carrot juices for later.
While carrots are baking, cook couscous as per your packet instructions. I used vegetable stock instead of plain water for more flavour. Use a fork to break up any lumps.
For the dressing, mix 1/4 c of the carrot juices with a drizzle of honey.
Toss couscous with pomegranate, onion slices, mint, pine nuts and crumbled goat’s cheese.
Serve couscous with baked carrots on top drizzled with the dressing. Crumble some goat’s cheese and scatter some pine nuts and mint on top.
You can omit the goat’s cheese to keep this dish vegan and substitute quinoa or any mild flavoured grain for the couscous. The sweetness from the carrots and pomegranates is nice with the tangy goat’s cheese. Yum!