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Simon Holst's Couscous & Salmon Salad and Cheesy Muffins recipes - 20 October

Couscous & Salmon Salad
Couscous is great - it 'cooks' almost instantly so requires little or no forethought.  The combination of salmon and couscous may sound strange, but it actually works well.

For 2-3 large servings:
220g can salmon
1 cup salmon liquid plus water
1/2 cup (instant) couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced deseeded cucumber
2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups finely sliced lettuce
freshly ground black pepper

Open and drain the salmon collecting the liquid.  Add enough water to make it up to 1 cup.

Measure the couscous into a large bowl. Tip the liquid into a small pot (or microwave bowl), heat to boiling then pour it over the couscous and set aside to cool for five minutes (or so).

Tip the salmon into a small bowl and add the lemon juice and olive oil.  Leave the salmon to stand for a minute then stir in the diced vegetables.

When the couscous has cooled 'fluff' it up with a fork, then add the salmon-vegetable mixture and the sliced lettuce (don't add the lettuce until you are ready to serve, or it will go soft).  Stir to combine and add a good grind of black pepper.  Serve immediately.

Easy Cheesy Muffins
Some years ago, during a bakers' strike, an easy bread made from self-raising flour and beer "did the rounds". Starting with the same basic ingredients, you can make wonderful cheesy muffins!

For 12 generous medium-sized muffins or 24 mini-muffins
2 cups self-raising flour
2 cups (200g) grated tasty cheese
1 large egg
1 cup lager or beer
about 2 Tbsp chutney optional

Heat the oven to 220C (210C fanbake) with the rack just below the middle.

Toss the flour and grated cheese together in a large bowl.

Break the egg into another large bowl and beat with a fork enough to thoroughly mix the white and yolk. Add the lager or beer (which can be flat or bubbly) and stir to mix briefly, then sprinkle in the flour and cheese mixture.

Fold together until most of the flour is dampened, but do not overmix. If you like the idea, drizzle your favourite chutney over the surface, and fold it in lightly so that it stays in streaks.

Spoon the mixture into 12 buttered or sprayed medium-sized muffin pans.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, nicely browned, and until the centres spring back when pressed.

Serve warm or cold, very popular for lunch. Warm mini muffins make excellent party snacks.