Jewelled couscous and grilled fish is a refreshing party dish that can be easily scaled up for big numbers, writes DOMINI KEMP
At this stage, we are all probably fed up eating rich food and are counting down until the resolutions kick in. But as New Year's Eve looms large, I think the lure of one last bash - before diets are grasped like nettles (as in, very reluctantly) - is rather appealing, as long as the flavours veer as far away from the North Pole as possible.
This jewelled couscous is a bit of a mishmash of several recipes. I sometimes loathe regular old couscous if it's not freshly made, singing with lemon juice and at room temperature. It's also best in summer, when you can take that real citrus kick and cool it down with chunks of cucumber and juicy, sweet tomatoes. Does that sound too good to be true? Possibly. And as it's unlikely I'll be tucking into anything as summery as that for at least six months, here's how to perk up regular old couscous and make it appropriate for a New Year's Eve feast.
The key to this dish is to tone down the lemon juice by adding some orange juice. Warming it up with chillies, allspice and lots of dried fruit will also give it a warming feeling. Pomegranate will keep it crunchy and interesting, as will the cucumber and handfuls of chopped fresh herbs.
The couscous goes superbly with these fish skewers, which were not made with lovely firm chunks of white fish (which is ideal) but actually with sad little bits of supermarket fish. This meant that they slid off the skewers and did not behave impeccably for the photos. So fear not: you can ignore my instruction for threading on to skewers, if you prefer, and simply grill the fish on a high heat until slightly charred in places and piping hot. Then place it all on one big plate and dig in.
If you're very hungry, allow 200-250 grams of fish per person. If this is part of a few things on offer as a buffet-type communal supper, then 150 grams of fish is loads.
The same goes for the salad: if it's part of a larger bunch of things, you'll get eight portions out of it. But if it's the star attraction, then it would probably serve just six people. It is a good one to make a double quantity of, so you have something for the next day, to eat with a little goat's cheese, a few mixed leaves and some firm resolutions for the future.