Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken CousCous and a Little Lunch Time Curry

***This is one of my most popular blog posts, so to make life easier… here is the link to the chicken cous cous recipe… CLICK HERE****

Today our wonderful little Possum turned 10 months. Double digits already! They always said it would go faster than a blink of an eye, I never really could comprehend it, but wow. It has gone so fast. Today we celebrate by staying at home, quarantined with snotty noses, hanging out in our flannelette pyjamas. I felt like a mum today, “Come here so I can wipe your nose”. Yup, definitely a mum.

So we needed food to help make us better. Spices, vegetables and garlic were in order!

Lunch was this lovely Broccoli Cauliflower and Pea curry, which was tried and tested before. A possum favourite.

Mum and Possum Lunch

Mum and Possum Lunch

It makes me a happy mumma when Possum gobbled up all the broccoli first.

Broccoli Snot Monster

Broccoli Snot Monster

Dinner tonight was a favourite of mine, Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken CousCous. I have spoken before about how wonderful the Leon chain is and their super fantastico cookbooks. This recipe is from the first book (the best of the bunch). It is one I make often when friends are coming over as it’s tasty and simple. This was a good way to use up some of the chicken stock in the fridge that I made last week. I managed to find another blogger today who gushed over Leon with the same amount of love I feel for them… here is her post. It includes the recipe for the couscous. I do a few little tweaks. Instead of raisins or sultanas, I used chopped dates. I also like to add some vegetables in with the couscous. Tonight it was cauliflower and zucchini (chopped kale is another good one). I have made it with wholemeal couscous too which was still very tasty. I made a little blunder tonight and added over a litre of stock instead of just 500ml. It was a bit wet compared to normal but still a great combination of flavours.

Chicken couscous

Chicken couscous

The recipe calls for garlicky tomatoes to be served with it (as well as mint, coriander and pine nuts). All of which I feel are essential to turn a good dinner into an awesome one. To make my life easier, I roasted some sweet potato “wedges” in the same tray for Possum’s dinner (they’re her favourite thing at the moment).

Garlicky Tomatoes

Garlicky Tomatoes

Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken Cous Cous

Affordability : MODERATE. Uses a whole box of cous cous plus meat and herbs. We have mint in the garden but I had to buy coriander. I managed to score a tray of mini roma tomatoes on quick sale which made this a bit cheaper. I always have a jar of pine nuts so didn’t have to buy some just for tonight. The recipe makes plenty, you will have leftovers for certain.

Time Factor : MODERATE. You will need to peel and chop 10 cloves of garlic all up. A little bit time consuming. A little hint is to squash the cloves with the side of your knife before attempting to peel. This will loosen the skin and make it much easier and faster. The two trays were in the oven for 35 minutes.

Complexity : LOW. A bit of chopping and marinating but fairly straight forward.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Feel good, garlic laden, comfort food. Always a winner. Plus Possum loved it, though she did get a chilli flake on one of her pieces of chicken and wasn’t too happy about it.

Mess : LOW. Two pan wonder. Plus a bowl to marinate the chicken.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. The ratios were a bit off tonight with the stock mix up plus not buying enough chicken. But Lego Man and I were still both pretty full afterwards. We did enjoy a bowl of ice cream with my homemade strawberry jam/syrup on top though.

Possum Friendly? YES. Salt kept low by using homemade stock plus no extra salt added. Spices didn’t seem to be as strong as usual (didn’t measure as I had a baby on my hip at the time) but flavour was lovely. Possum gobbled up her serve, but wasn’t super keen on the cauliflower.

Would I make it again? Yes, most certainly.

Leon's Not Too Spicy Chicken Couscous

Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken Couscous

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Third time lucky

Tonight the capsicums went back in the oven yet again. I can’t throw out that much food. Finally, after three evenings in the oven the rice was, well, mostly cooked. They were a sideline accompaniment to tonight’s dinner of chicken tikka masala. Don’t worry, I don’t have a home tandoor oven, not did I marinate the meat for hours on end. I bought a packet from the supermarket. A surprisingly tasty one at that. I don’t want to sound like an infomercial, but “The Spice Tailor” range has yet to fail me. And they really do only take about 10 minutes. They include real spices and the ingredients list has no numbers, flavours, colours or preservatives. So once a week now we have curry night, usually on a day that has a fair bit going on. It’s quick, easy and tummy filling.

The sauce for tonight's dinner

The sauce for tonight’s dinner

And there is only one capsicum left to eat… finally. Lego Man is getting it in his lunch tomorrow.

Speaking of lunch, our meal planning plan for lunch is leftovers. With our little family of 3 it seems to work pretty well at the moment. Except when dinner is a bit crap. And no one wants the left overs. Like today. So lunch today was freezer surprise, a yummy curry of red lentils, cauliflower and green peas. I will thank my mum for this one. She had the brains and know how to swap the Indian curry paste for massaman curry paste and to also add a spoonful of curry powder (I have a Malaysian one I use). Possum and I shared a serve and the two of us finished it off happily. Possum inhaled 4 big florets of caulifower, good to see she likes strong flavours like her mum. She finished off her lunch with cucumber sticks (always) and yoghurt, quite authentic really.

This meal is super cheap to make and a great one to keep in the back of your mind when doing the grocery shopping and cauliflower is on special. Make up a big batch and freeze. Especially good with a dollop of plain yoghurt and a few springs of coriander.

Yummy lunch, with the cauliflower picked out to cool down for Possum.

Yummy lunch, with the cauliflower picked out to cool down for Possum.

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Possum loves her curry

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Yummmmmm

And here is the scale for dinner tonight.

  • Affordability  :  MODERATE. The spice pouches cost $5 and make 2-3 serves. Worth the cost in terms of time alone. You could make the meal cheaper by substituting meat for a vegetarian alternative such as mushrooms or paneer.
  • Time Factor  :  EXCELLENT. Faster than take away equivalent.
  • Complexity  :  LOW. The instructions are on the pack and are 3 short bullet points. There is also a few extra suggestions. Tonight it was “add capsicum”. Done and done.
  • Deliciousness  : EXCELLENT. Not my favourite of the sauce range so far but very tasty.
  • Mess  :  LOW. Curry pot, rice pot, bowls and cutlery.
  • Tummy Filling Factor   : EXCELLENT. On a cold night it was lovely to share a hot bowl of curry with a dear friend. A nice hot cup of tea after helped to top it all off.
  • Possum Friendly?  MODERATE. After how much she loved the curry at lunch today, I’m confident to give her a piece of chicken to munch on at lunch tomorrow and a piece of capsicum (which she has munched before with no reaction). We are heading to my work tomorrow to have lunch with the gang so I don’t want her lunch to be too messy (not like today’s effort!).

And finally a photo of dinner. Bed time for me, big day. Baby learning to move and she went under water for the first time at swim lesson today plus two lots of visitors! Good night y’all.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala