Grilled Vegetables with Couscous
Hub worked through the weekend and even when we ate out/in with other people they were either former or current colleagues. The thing about Shanghai is that though it's a big city, it's a small world. You always have someone from your past turning up at some point to live/work there as well, or a friend turning up for work or visit. So if he wasn't stuck on the computer or screaming away in a conference call, he would be talking shop with the men we had lunch/dinner/brunch with over the weekend.
Coming back from brunch on Sunday, we discovered that the Teenager had gone A.W.O.L.. He didn't call to ask for permission to leave the house, and we didn't find his note till a few hours later. This was the first time that this has happened - and just a few weeks after I told a few mothers that my son loved staying in his room and had never asked to go out.
I know that it's normal for Teenagers to want to hang out with each other when they can. At the same time I'm starting to worry that they may get up to no good. Shanghai can be a very dangerous place for expat teenagers.
My instinct was to scream, get him to come home immediately, ground him for 3 weeks etc - but I resisted and decided to wait for him to come home. I worked out my speech and it contained the following grand lines :
- he's still a minor under our responsibility, therefore he needs to ask for our permission before he goes out. And that by talking to us, not leaving messages around the house;
- we need to know who he's seeing, the person's phone number and address;
- I'm not the first mother to set this rule, surely he needs to have done reasonably well at school in the week before he's allowed to go out;
- a curfew helps protect him (and prevents him from being a nuisance to others) for I didn't give birth to him, give up my career etc to have something happen to him;
- I expect him to behave himself no matter where he is and that should start with his attitude towards his mother at home.
Our guest on Saturday evening has 3 kids too of which 2 are twins. The boys were late bloomers who after a shaky lazy start are starting to do well academically in addition to being good musicians and sportsmen. I can only hope that something positive will rub off on my boy before it's too late (meaning before the IB Diploma in the short term).
I've kept the menu simple for dinner : Salad with Tandoori Prawns, Grilled Vegetables with Couscous, Steak and Chocolate Fondant. Hub really enjoyed the couscous, which was like a winter version of the Taboulé.
Before adding the fresh herbs
Grilled Vegetables with Couscous :
240g medium dehydrated couscous grains
360ml hot vegetable or meat stock
1 tbsp salted butter
pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 fennel bulb
1 celery stalk
1 small red onion
1 red chilli
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves
fresh flat leaf parsley
fresh mint leaves
3 cherry tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Spread them out in an ovenproof dish and drizzle olive oil generously over them. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a hot oven till they are cooked (but still crunchy), turning them over half-way through the cooking.
Turn on the grill and brown the vegetables.
Place the couscous grains in a large salad bowl. Pour the hot stock over them. Leave for a few minutes till the grains have absorbed the liquid, add the butter and fork through the grains to fluff them up.
When the vegetables are nicely grilled, place them on top of the couscous. Chop the fresh herbs and tomatoes and add to the dish. Squeeze a lemon over everything.
Mix just before serving, adding more olive oil if necessary.