Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dog's dinner

I've spent all morning at my desk. Well, not quite all morning... there was the leisurely breakfast, some suddenly-urgent knicker-folding, a bit of online shopping and the rearrangement of furniture which took place before I actually knuckled down. 'All morning' is probably about 90 minutes, in truth. But now I'm cold, hungry and stiff and it's only midday, so I venture out on a dog walk to kill time until it can properly be called lunch time.

The dog isn't keen. I dive into the freezer and retrieve a handful of treats which are scraps of leftover meat, often salvaged from dinner plates, cut up small and frozen. For the dog, not me. As we walk, I can feel the cold from the bag of frostbitten chicken (stuffed in my bra for rapid defrosting) and the biting wind blowing through my llama wool hat. I think longingly of the sweet and silky roast onions, squash, aubergine and courgette I've taken out of the fridge and the fluffy couscous I shall have with it. Then I spot the dog excreting from its back end and I realise I don't have a bag. I take off my gloves, fish out the treats and transfer them to the palm of one hand while using the other to carefully gather up the dog's offering and get it in the treat bag. Now I can't put my gloves back on unless I put the wet pieces of chicken in one fleece-lined coat pocket and the bag of doggy doo-doo in the other, so I complete the walk with bare hands. This was my reward:

A pile of roasted vegetables on top of some couscous on a white plate, with fork
My reward

Roasted vegetables and couscous


Cut up some veg - things like squash, aubergine, red peppers, courgettes, onions (at least one) - put them in a roasting tin with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, then cook in a medium-high oven for about 45-60 minutes, turning everything a couple of times. Don't let them shrivel or blacken too much or they will lose their sweetness.

I ate these with a packet of Ainsley Harriot's couscous - the best thing to come out of the larder since Angel Delight (and just as easy). Open packet, pour into bowl, add 160ml boiling water, wait 5 minutes, add a splash of your best olive oil, fluff it up with a fork.

I debated whether to add some Stilton salad dressing (left over from the weekend) or a dribble of balsamic vinegar to this, but it tasted delicious as it was so I didn't bother.

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