Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club | June Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

My choices for June are:

Quick Couscous Salad with Peppers and Feta 
Macaroni Peas 

To see the complete list of recipes offered for June - click here

Quick Couscous Salad with Peppers and Feta

Oops! I made the wrong recipe - as I was at the store, I realized I had not written down the ingredients on my shopping list - I ran home, threw the other groceries in the garage, grabbed the book, and went back. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for me) I read the ingredients for the main recipe; this salad was already in the line-up back in August of last year. This month's recipe was a variation on that one, using fresh tomatoes and olives.

The salad I made, uses jarred roasted red peppers (I used sweet cherry peppers - so good), cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, parsley, and of course, couscous. I added some spring onion from my CSA box, in addition to the red onion; and to the leftovers a couple days later, I stirred in some fresh corn kernels from the leftover corn on the cob we had the night before - it was really tasty with the added corn.

I ended up using pearl couscous, which is a lot larger than your regular couscous. I remember when I first came across a recipe calling for the pearl, I could not find it. Now, when I wanted regular couscous, all my local store had, was the pearl couscous. Go figure. I actually ended up liking it with the pearl couscous, which I will use again the next time I make this - and there will be a next time.

The salad has a very light dressing made up of just olive oil and lemon juice, which is tossed with the warm couscous - I'm thinking this is Hugh's favorite.. he uses it often. However, I felt it could have used a little more dressing.

I may have made the incorrect recipe, but this was darn tasty - so light and refreshing; and it tastes just as good days later. This would make for great lunchbox fare (Ash!). 

Speaking of corn....  I received in my CSA box, corn on the cob, that the tops were lopped off! A third to half of the cob! Am I wrong to be disturbed by this? The company I received my box from, commented (on their FB page) that they cut just the tops off (ah, more than just the tops!) because they were unsightly looking. "Unsightly looking" to me, construes that maybe the corn isn't as fresh as I thought. It did still taste good, and that is what counts, but I felt this was just plain wrong.  Sorry to digress - had to vent a little. (Update: Received a phone call from my CSA - the reason for the tops being cut off, is due to WORM problems. The corn had worm holes... yeah, that would be unsightly.)

Macaroni Peas

Time was not on my side this month. I only completed two of the five recipes I committed to making. I almost did not get this one made - for I knew I would not be going to the farmer's market, and really did not want to make this recipe with frozen peas.

I got lucky - there was a whole bin of fresh peas at my grocery store. So I grabbed a bunch with hopes I would be able to get around to making the recipe - and I did!

This was a simple recipe, though it does require quite a few dishes to prepare - three pots and a blender. In the old days, it never, ever, crossed my mind as to how many dishes a recipe would use - and I used to prepare meals that would take a good four hours or so to complete! I guess I'm getting lazy in my increasing years...

The sauce for this dish is made up of fresh peas, garlic infused butter, and cheese; all is whirled together and then tossed with the noodles, along with additional (cooked) fresh peas, salt, and pepper. Just before serving it is topped with grated cheese and shreds of basil. The more cheese you use, the tastier the dish will be.

I found this to be pretty bland, even though I used three garlic cloves, to Hugh's one. I thought the sauce tasted pretty good on its own, and was looking forward to dinner, but the flavor was lost once it was tossed with the noodles. The bites with the most cheese tasted best, but I was trying to keep this on the healthy side, so I refrained from adding more.

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the the CCC website and look for the May LYL post for a list of their links - or click here to be directed automatically.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!



  1. Hi Cathleen, what a fun and entertaining post, I do love what you've created and in particular love the addition of the corn into your couscous dish, terrific! Since my youngest played college sports and for four years we tailgated twice a weekend in the fall and spring followed by large tailgates I did not prepare the cous cous for as you might imagine I've exhausted versions of that dish to suit me for awhile. There are mixed reviews on the Macaroni peas with some finding it too sweet, and you finding it too bland as for me on that one, everyone in my house loved it, perfectly as is, but then as I am writing you I've literally just recalled that after shredding the Parmesan, I had a little shredded cheese left and also through that into the mix. Hmm. Love to see what everyone enjoys and their experiences. See you around. PS- I am in agreement with you on the corn, and in the end, like you said guess they did what they had to do at the time. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Cathleen, both your dishes look wonderful and so very fresh and absolutely seasonal - my kind of food - gorgeous pearl couscous salad with the added fresh corn (jealous) and beautiful fresh peas from the farmers´ market for your lovely Mac & Peas - I opted for wholemeal macaronis here and I added a lot of herbs and cheese and the kids loved it that way!
    Thank you for participating again this month - always a pleasure to visit your lovely blog and marvel at your delicious and perfectly prepared and photographed food!
    Have a great week,

  4. Both of the dishes are beautiful! Love your photos! For the peas, I agree it's not the most intensely flavored dish. We served it with a pretty spicy protein so it worked out fine. As for the corn worms. Those things make me shudder every time I have to shuck corn from my CSA box. I remind myself it's good there are living things on it and this is what all corn should have, but blech. That said, the salad looks delectable!

  5. I remember making and loving that couscous salad. It's a great vehicle for just about anything you have on hand in the way of vegetables and herbs. The corn sounds like a delicious addition. Your sauce for the macaroni peas is such a pretty colour and looks so silky smooth and luxurious. Sometimes a recipe is worth the dirty dishes - sorry this one wasn't. I added spinach and tons of basil and made more of a pesto in the end so family would eat it.

  6. Cathleen - even though unsightly, I never mind the worms because it really shows that no chemical pesticides were used. But they are ugly!! However, your couscous salad looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it.

  7. Hi Cathleen, oh your couscous salad looks so lovely, love the ingredients you added. I enjoy both the pearl and regular size. The pea pasta we really liked here, seems like it received mixed reviews but that is what is so great about cooking in a group. Lovely post! Happy 4th to you!

  8. What devotion! Two trips to the grocery store? I am quite impressed. You certainly do not qualify as lazy. I'm surprised by your CSA corn too. That seems like an awful lot to cut off! My CSA corn is very hit-or-miss. Some weeks it's delicious, and some weeks it's pretty bad. I cannot figure out why.

  9. I made the couscous salad last year. It was delicious, I know you weren't disappointed. I wish I'd made the macaroni peas, but I'll add it to the list of ones to make. I'm sure it was wonderful with fresh peas! Nice choices, Cathleen.

  10. These two salads looks so good, but the corn story is kind of bothersome, lol! Gorgeous photos, as always!

  11. Vibrant colors in your salad. Great choices!

  12. Cathleen, Both your dishes look fabulous! We love couscous salad…and yours looks mouthwatering. The peas and macaroni is definitely something my family would love. As far as your corn goes…I agree with David…my grandfather used to tell us, that the worms are a sign of good corn!
    As always...great photos!

  13. these salads are really goof for health and people enjoy salad is really good for health.

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