Catching up is an excellent excuse for eating.
I’ve been away having numerous catch-ups and visiting some favourite old haunts. London is a favourite old haunt and feels a little like a second home, in no small part because of the many fabulous people living there who I am lucky enough to call my friends.
Some of my happiest London memories involve long afternoons with our friends Patricia and Omer, eating delicious home-cooked Mediterranean food and perfecting cidra-pouring as afternoon slipped into evening. So of course I jumped at the chance for a catch-up over a home-cooked meal at theirs.
Patricia, Omer and their gorgeous children live in Bromley, South London. I have a special little spot in my heart for this part of London as my grandparents lived there with my Mum when she was small. There is a treasured 1950’s clock from Locksbottom which still hangs on their wall, albeit in their rest home unit. So you will understand I couldn’t resist taking this photo of a Locksbottom bus as we walked back to Bromley station.
This post is inspired by the delicious couscous salad Patricia and Omer served with lamb and slices of avocado. I’ve based it on a Turkish kisir but I can’t promise it’s as good as Omer’s. It’s a pretty good lunch though, and a recommend serving it with sliced avocado.
- 1 cup cooked couscous
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T red pepper paste
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 telegraph cucumber, diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed then sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 chopped parsley
- 3-4 sprigs of mint, chopped
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 1 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 t chilli flakes
- Fresh avocado slices to serve (if desired)
Place your couscous in a large salad bowl. Pour over the olive oil and mix thoroughly; some kisir recipes even recommend mixing with your hands. Next, add the red pepper paste, again mixing in very thoroughly.
I made my own paste by whizzing up a jar of roasted peppers. For the more dedicated, there are some amazing-sounding recipes for making red pepper paste, or biber salçası, from scratch. I loved reading this one with its beautiful, mouth-watering photography.
The vegetables, lemon juice, herbs and seasonings go in last. Keep mixing until everything is evenly spread and combined. I recommend popping this in the fridge for an hour or two before serving to let the flavours mingle.