Moroccan-style chicken with pomegranate and fennel couscous, plus bonus home decorating. And a tutorial on box corners.

Now if that title doesn’t put you off, you’re a star!

The weekend before last was a milestone one for me. I cooked Sunday lunch (He who Cooks does all the cooking normally). And I made outdoor cushion covers. The flowering wisteria made me do it.

The inspiration behind the cooking was David Herbert from The Australian. I love his recipes!

Moroccan-style chicken

adapted from David Herbert

  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pork dripping ( or olive oil, but I used pork dripping, because we’d had a pork roast the night before)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek paste ( or other chilli paste, such as the harissa paste David suggests)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 red capsicums, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • I fresh chilli, sliced for garnish
  1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and ground cumin.
  2. Heat the fat in a large non-stick frying pan and add onion, garlic and ginger.
  3. Cook for 4 minutes; remove onion et al and add chicken pieces.
  4. Cook chicken for about 3 minutes each side.
  5. Add tomatoes, chilli paste, honey and ¾ cup water or stock.
  6. Stir in capsicum and spinach. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly.
  7. Sprinkle with sliced fresh chilli, and parsley. Serves 6-8

Warm couscous, fennel & pomegranate salad

adapted from David Herbert

  • 200g instant couscous
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons pork fat (see above, substitute olive oil for health and authenticity reasons!)
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Seeds from a pomegranate
  • Prepare couscous according to packet instructions.
  • Cut fennel lengthwise into 3-4mm thick slices.
  • Heat fat in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden.
  • Add garlic, fennel and zucchini; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.
  • Stir mixture through couscous.
  • Add herbs and pomegranate seeds, tossing well.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6-8

Home dec sewing

The inspiration behind this was the gorgeous spring weather, flowering wisteria and an outdoor eating area with attractive but uncomfortable chairs that needed seat cushions.

I had already bought upholstery fabric, and calico covered cushions from IKEA. That was last summer. Now it was spring. Time to sweep up the purple snow and do something about those chairs!

I cut the covers out in one piece that wraps all the way ’round the cushion insert.

There is a seam at the top curved side, with a zip, and down both sides. There is no seam at the square bottom edge, where the back of your knees are when you are sitting down. So I had to make box corners.

I don’t think I’ve ever made box corners before. Clearly I have never made a proper tote bag.

And, so I don’t forget for next time, I took some construction photos. Also I like the way the fabric looks from the inside, and close up.

Okay, here’s the tutorial.

  1. After you’ve added the invisible zip to the top edge, sew all the way down the side seam to the folded edge

2. Turn the fabric so the seam runs through the center of a triangle

3. Press the seam flat, taking care not to press the diagonal folds

4. Sew across the seam. My cushion side edge was 3 cm, so I sewed a line about 2.7 cm long from diagonal edge to diagonal edge (I know, clear as mud. Go and search YouTube for a real tutorial!)

This is what it looked like after stitching

5. Trim the seam

6. Turn it out to the right side, and viola! a box corner! Repeat for the other side.

7. Add cushion, zip it up and repeat until you have 6 covers.

8. Enjoy the outdoor dining and vow to do no more home dec sewing. Ever. Or at least until 6 months time..

8 thoughts on “Moroccan-style chicken with pomegranate and fennel couscous, plus bonus home decorating. And a tutorial on box corners.

  1. ‘purple snow’….. What a gorgeous image. Lovely fabric for the cushions. And thanks for sharing the recipes. I was gifted two Australian Women’s Weekly recipe magazines years ago: Dinners (from 2 to 50 guests) and cakes/bars. I have used those recipes repeatedly.

    • The women’s weekly recipes are classic. I and many other Australians have lots of their books. How neat that you’ve enjoyed them on the other side of the world,

  2. I have a weakness for wisteria too and we are enjoying our own flowering on the side fence at the moment. Thanks for sharing the info on box corners too. I have a couple of cushions very similar to this to sew covers for and you have just given me some much needed inspiration. Love your fabric choice too.

    • I’m been tempted to use this fabric for a winter skirt. It really appeals to me. If I was a faster sewer I think there could have been less cushions in spring, and an extra piece of clothing in winter.

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