Monday, September 27, 2010

Cauliflower Couscous with Cumin Honey Dressing

You know when you think to yourself "I want to capture this moment and stuff it into a little box, wrap a pretty ribbon around it and keep it forever and ever"? That's the thought that kept popping into my head this past weekend.

We spent the weekend with family in Hermanus and it dawned on me that there is an expiration date on these get-togethers. Stopping for breakfast at a farmer's market, the smell of freshly baked vetkoek luring you closer, biting into the soft pillowy dough and savouring the curried mince inside. Exploring the twisty streets of a town none of you call home, flitting in and out of little stalls, digging up treasures in secondhand shops, embarking on a leisurely stroll along the beach front, happy to be together, happy to be in this moment. Sipping on cold drinks at a tiny little cafe, watching the people go by, listening to the children's screams of delight, moaning about the indecisive weather.

Returning home, congregating in the kitchen, chopping colourful batches of vegetables, nibbling on your find of smoked and roasted olives, chicken browning in the oven, dishes clanking in the washbasin, catching up on the good, the bad and the ordinary in each other's lives. The sun drenched afternoons curled up on a chair, your mom and husband on either side of you and your aunt in the opposite chair, flipping through magazines, chit-chatting about life, love and everything else. Knowing that we are still at the bottom end of the road, having just embarked on our journey, while others are nearing the very top.

And the thought occurs to me, repeatedly: "I need a pause button". I want to press down on it. Hard. Is that too much to ask? It feels like the hourglass has been shattered and I'm trying desperately to hold onto the sand, which is trickling ever faster through my fingers. Trying to secure immortality for the people I love. Long gone are the blissful days of childhood when the harsh reality of an expiry date never even occurred to me.

In Afrikaans we have a saying "Waar die hart van vol is, loop die mond van oor", which can be roughly translated as 'what's in your heart will be reflected in the words coming out of your mouth'. Today, more than ever, my heart is filled to the brim with thoughts of my  family. Overflowing with memories of sun drenched days and hazy mornings. Evenings strung together, perfumed by the smell of food, punctuated by laughter. Wanting to hold on tightly and never let any of it go.

Think I can do that?

{Side-note: All of this has nothing to do with food, but as I explained, my heart is literally stuffed with all these thoughts, leaving precious little space for anything else. My next post will focus again on the food, glorious food! I hope you'll bear with me.}

Cauliflower Couscous with Cumin Honey Dressing 
Adapted from Raw Epicurean
Serves 4 - 6

1 cup couscous
2 oranges
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp honey
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup raisins,
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
handful fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)

1. Boil a cup of water, then place couscous in a medium sized bowl and pour boiling water over. Allow to soak up the water - this should take around 7 minutes - then fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, juice half an orange and combine with lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and honey to form a salad dressing. Peel the remainder of the oranges and cut into segments.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine couscous, orange segments, cauliflower, spring onions, raisins and almonds. Pour salad dressing over, toss to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Scatter parsley over and serve.


Michael Olivier said...

What a lovely emotional nostalgic piece this is - something to come back to and feed on when you are down.

Sharon said...

Ai...laat jy my ook sommer verlang na lekker familie vakansies...en padkos...!

Arnold on September 27, 2010 3:33 pm said...

A nice story, a nice recipe and nice photos.

Tara on September 27, 2010 4:27 pm said...

I'm making this for dinner...YUM!

Swathi said...

Lovely dish, You made make over to couscous with cauliflower and cumin honey dressing.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Love your chopping board! was looking for one like that for a while and found one yesterday. Isn't prop shopping fun :-)
Couscous is my li'l one's favorite she would eat it with anything and sometimes as is. Now I have a new recipe for her!
Thanks for sharing!

Wendy @ Mint Tea said...

hello there, apologies for being a complete stranger but I do get your feed and read your blog diligently! I love that saying and I loved reading this piece! hope you are well. xxxxx

Joanne Bruno on September 27, 2010 9:16 pm said...

I actually love posts like these. Even if they have nothing to do with the food, I think sometimes it's more important just to hear what people are feeling. Gorgeous couscous dish to go with a gorgeous post.

Eliana on September 27, 2010 9:56 pm said...

Awesome post and even more awesome dish. Love all the colors and different flavors and textures.

Karen on September 28, 2010 3:30 am said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time...I love weekends like that.
This cumin honey dressing sounds great!

Marisa on September 28, 2010 8:18 am said...

Thanks Joanne! Yes, I need to work on getting my feelings out more often. :-)

Marisa on September 28, 2010 8:26 am said...

Definitely yes!

Marisa on September 28, 2010 8:26 am said...

Yep, prop shopping *is* fun! Discovered some lovely props in a 2ndhand shop this past weekend - watch out for them in upcoming pics.

Marisa on September 28, 2010 8:26 am said...

Lovely "seeing" you again Wendy! Have noticed you've been rather quite, miss your posts.

Zabwan said...

What a beautiful evocative post, Marisa, you captured the precious moments with family so well! It's lovely to see your personality come through in your blog :)

Faith on September 29, 2010 2:30 am said...

This is such a lovely post! Sounds like it was a fabulous weekend. The couscous looks delicious, I love the oranges and raisins for a bit of sweetness!

polkadotcupcake on September 30, 2010 1:21 pm said...

Oh I can hardly wait to try this, I always love your recipes.. i've been loving cumin at the moment as well, isn't it divine!

Sweet artichoke said...

This is a lovely post, very well written! And, waow, I love your pictures :-)... and the couscous - cauliflower salad looks absolutely delicious!

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