Kale, cobnut and goat cheese salad

This weekend felt very odd – my veg box was full of autumnal vegetables as the temperature soared towards 30.  Well, light barbecues and make salad while the sun shines say I.
We had a bit of a hot-potch barbecue with the current star of the grill: ribs done the Gourmet Grilling way with a dry rub marinade, slow oven cooking and a final barbecue “mop” over the top with a red cabbage slaw and this salad served as a starter while the ribs were finished over charcoal.
The goats cheese I got wasn’t as punchy as I’d like so would urge you to get something with a bit of a bite.  And since I think the cobnut season is over, hazelnuts would be a fine substitute.
Quantities below are two pretty big starter portions, plus a good sized lunch for me the next day, so I’d suggest it will give 4 normal appetite starters or a side, or serve 2 as a main.
Kale, cobnut and goat cheese salad
Prep time: 10 minutes if your nuts are shelled, 20 if you have to shell them!
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side/starter
200g kale, washed
120g giant wholegrain couscous
300g cobnuts weighed with shells (I’d guess about 100g shelled weight)
200g goats cheese
Rapeseed oil 
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons natural yogurt
1 tablespoon tahini
Juice of half a lemon 
Cook the couscous according to packet instructions – it should take about 6-8 minutes.  Drain and toss in a little bit of rapeseed oil to discourage it from solidifying in a big lump.
While the couscous cooking, prepare the kale by cutting out the central stalk, and shredding the leaves into roughly 1cm widths.  Cook the kale in a saucepan with an inch or so of water, tossing it about until its evenly wilted and cooked. Drain and coat in a little rapeseed oil and set aside.
Toast the cobnuts in a dry frying pan until beginning to smell nutty and turning a bit brown (if you have the oven on anyway, stick them in there, but I think it’s unnecessary to turn it on just to toast some nuts).  Crush the nuts roughly in a pestle and mortar.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
You’re now ready to assemble the salad. Stir the kale through the couscous and tip onto your serving plate.  Break the goats cheese into bits and scatter across, followed by the crushed cobnuts.  Finally spoon over the dressing in an artfully drizzly manner around and across the salad.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, or ignore the rain and cloud and make it anyway, just wear a warm jumper to eat it while imagining it’s still summer.

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