I must confess coming up with a menu after last week’s delicious lasagna was rather intimidating. I’m not sure that this one topped the lasagna, but it was definitely tasty. The menu was Moroccan cous cous with dried fruits, seeds and date sauce for the main course. For dessert, fig and almond bars. I love the combination of sweet and savoury in North African dishes. And the parsnip works wonderfully as a cous cous substitute, since it has a delicate sweetness to it- much better than cauliflower for this dish.
So without further ado, the recipes.
Moroccan cous cous (this is slightly different from the last one we made in a cook-up, so I’m including the recipe again). Serves 4.
-4 parsnips (about 1 small per person)
-handful of macadamia nuts
-juice of 1 orange
-dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin
-handful of raisins, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots (sliced)
-fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
-spring onions, chopped
-date sauce (see recipe below)
Instructions: Put parsnips in food processor and pulse until it resembles the texture of cous cous. Add in macadamia nuts and pulse again until combined.
Pour orange juice over cous cous. Add spices to taste. Add toppings and stir before serving, with a spoon of date sauce on top.
-1/2 cup dates
-juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (depending on size and your taste)
-dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, dried chili
-water as needed (approx 1/2 to 1/2 cup)
Instructions: Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Add water until desired consistency is reached– I like the sauce to be on the thick side, but not like pudding.
Note: I garnished the cous cous with a fresh fig, and served it with a side of marinated cabbage, carrots and shallots.
Fig and almond bars
1 1/2 cups almonds, soaked at least 4-6 hours or overnight
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 dates, pitted
pinch of cinnamon, pinch of salt
heaping 2/3 cup dried figs, soaked
heaping 2/3 dates, pitted and soaked
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB lemon zest
Instructions: To make the crust, put almonds in food processor and process until crumbly. Add rest of crust ingredients and process until it begins to stick together a bit.
Press half of the crust into the bottom of a non-stick pan (I used a 9×9 inch square). Set aside the other half of the crust.
For the filling, place figs, dates and lemon juice in food processor and blend into a paste. Add a little water if needed, but you want it to be thick. Stir in lemon zest by hand.
Spread the filling over the crust. Then sprinkle the other half of the crust on top of the filling and smooth it down with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set before serving.
These are delicious and substantial but not overly sweet.