Tuesday 18 December 2012

When life blocks you from the internet... make salad.

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Oooooh boy! It’s been awhile… Sometimes I forget that we’re living in China.  When daily life gets overwhelmingly busy and I don’t have much time to do anything other than work and prepare for work the next day, it’s like I could be living anywhere in the world. Then I’ll try and do something totally normal like use Google, write on my blog, and stalk my friends on Facebook, and I’m blocked from all of it. All. Of. It.  And I’m frustrated back into reality.  I’m having a blast here in China, but there are many things that show themselves as the reality of life here and I have to remember that sometimes ignorance is bliss.  We’re slowly getting the use of certain tools back that allow us to work around the firewalls here on the mainland, and so hopefully I’ll be able to get into a routine again. Hopefully. (note: I’m not always blocked from using Google, but for reference it is blocked about 85% of the time). 

But I'm back now, temporarily at least, and I have lots of lit bits and pieces to share with you! I'll hopefully be able to continue with some semi-regular posting and life sharing, hooray! Let's have a celebratory salad... yes, salad. A nice, fresh, simple salad. Ah bliss.

While one reality is living behind a virtual iron curtain, another reality of living here is the fact that people don’t seem to cook food without an inch of oil in the bottom of the pan.  It’s not greasy, it’s oily. For the first time, I understand the difference, and so do my innards.  It’s time for salad.  I’ve craved salad before, but never like I do here.  Fresh foods are often considered quite sketchy, organic foods (if you can find them) are generally about as organic as that Channell bag is Chanel and if you even go near an article written about the farming and inspection practices in the newspaper you’ll want to eat nothing but imported soda crackers for the rest of your life.  Needless to say, fulfilling the salad craving isn’t always easy. Slowly, with time we’ve learned where to shop, what to trust, and what to turn a blind eye too. 

And so it is that this salad, while simple, was borne from weeks of planning and searching for various ingredients.  Never has so much pre-work gone into a couscous salad. I’m certain of it.  Happily, this turned out to be exactly what I needed.  It was fresh, it was crisp, it was refreshing.  My body rejoiced after this one.

There is nothing earth shatteringly new about this recipe.  In fact it’s a very simple couscous salad that uses minimal ingredients and requires only a few steps easy steps, but the result is a highly flavourful, healthy salad.  Oily innards beware!

Mediterranean Couscous Salad 

Approximately 1 – 1.5 cups cooked couscous
200g feta cheese, cubed
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ of a small cucumber, diced
1 can French Lentils, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt to taste

1.     Combine the couscous, feta, tomatoes, cucumber and lentils in a medium bowl
2.     Add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly
3.     Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to allow flavours to meld


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