I received two of Rukmini Iyer's Roasting Tin cookbooks for my birthday: the original (affiliate link) and the quick version (affiliate link). I love everything about them, from the gorgeous looking food to the friendly and down to earth writing, but mostly I love the concept. Spend a little time prepping some ingredients, chuck them in the oven, go and do something else and dinner’s ready - the oven has taken care of the hard work.
As someone who’s recently been cooking their way through the incredible Dishoom cookbook, I'll just say: the recipes are amazing but they are demanding. The Roasting Tin cookbooks offer a welcome change of pace. The first recipe I made (from The Quick Roasting Tin) was "Chilli Peanut Beef with Red Peppers, Sweetcorn and Spring Onion" and while the vegetables and peanut dressing were lovely, the beautiful rump steak I'd bought turned to shoe leather in the oven. Nervous but undeterred, I tried a second recipe, "Chickpea, Halloumi and Red Onion Salad with Coriander and Giant Couscous". I really wanted this recipe to turn out well and it did not disappoint. Salty, paprika flavoured halloumi, sweet red onions and perfectly al dente couscous. All faith restored in the book.
Rukmini Iyer is spot on with her portion sizes and the quantities she specifies will feed three generously but I sometimes increase the amount of giant couscous from 200g to 300g (300g is the size of most packets) and add more stock (600ml instead of 400ml). This way it makes around five portions, which suits us as we’re happy to eat leftovers several days in a row. Whatever amount of couscous I use I always throw in some frozen peas and extra lemon juice.
The dish is supposed to be lightly roasted and it will be if you stick to the 30 minute roasting time but I like a bit more colour on my halloumi so I roast it for 40 minutes and it's perfect. The halloumi turns golden brown and the couscous still has bite. This is a real keeper of a recipe and delivers exactly what the book promises. We wolfed it down while marvelling at the flavours and textures achieved from less than 10 minutes of prep.
I use a roasting tin that's roughly 20 x 30cm (8 x 12"), which comfortably manages 200-300g of couscous.
This is a ‘Make Ahead Lunchbox’ recipe but I love it for dinner. Leftovers are best eaten at room temperature as fridge cold halloumi can be tough.
The Quick Roasting Tin (affiliate link) by Rukmini Iyer
- 1 tbsp olive oil (plus more to oil the tin)
- 200g wholewheat giant couscous (or 300g, see intro)
- 400ml vegetable stock (or 600ml, see intro)
- 250g halloumi, cubed
- 400g tin of chickpeas
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 100g frozen peas (optional)
- 100g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 15g fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice from half a lemon (or a whole lemon)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
- Drizzle a little olive oil into the corners of a medium sized roasting tin (this will help to stop the couscous from sticking) and add 200g of giant wholewheat couscous and 400ml of vegetable stock.
- In a large bowl, toss 250g of cubed halloumi, a 400g tin of drained chickpeas and 1 sliced red onion with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Add to the tin, transfer to the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
- If using frozen peas (100g), defrost in the microwave or soak for a few minutes in boiling water, then drain.
- When the roasting time is up, remove the tin from the oven and add 100g of roughly chopped spinach, 15g of chopped coriander, the peas if using, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from ½ a lemon (I usually use a whole lemon). Mix well, season to taste, eat immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.