Friday, May 05, 2006

Moroccan dreaming

With less than a week til I move back into my house, my thoughts are elsewhere (counting pennies to pay for it, for a start!). I have been cooking, but not snapping pics.

I wanted to make a Moroccan cauliflower dish, like I have eaten at the Moroccan Soup Bar but couldn’t find a suitable recipe and ended up making a basic vegetable tagine instead.

Actually it was a “saucepan” not a tagine, as it was made on the stove top without the aid of the namesake cooking vessel.

The Moroccan inspired saucepan
Flavours:
Fresh ginger, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Coriander seeds, ground
Cumin seeds, ground
Chilli, dried or powdered (to add a little spice but not hot like a curry)
Cinnamon – 1 quill or piece of bark*

Vegetables:
Sweet potato or pumpkin, cubed
Onion, sliced
Zucchini, chopped
..ad lib with whatever you have in the fridge

Protein:
1-2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed well
(some people have been known to add meat)

Juice:
Good quality vegetable stock (chicken if going for the carnivorous version)
1-2 cans of chopped tomatoes

Fry the spices, except cinnamon, in some vegetable oil then add the densest vegetables and onion. Stir. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cinnamon and stock. After a while add any remaining vegetables. Simmer some more. Add more stock if required to give it a ‘stew with lots of juice’ consistency. Check seasoning, add salt if necessary.

Prepare couscous as desired. If you were a purest it would have been steaming over the stew all the while, but I just did the quick method (1 cup of couscous steeped in 1 cup of boiling water, covered with a tea towel for about 10 minutes) – stir through a bit of butter and fresh chopped mint, if you have it, before serving.

* I love the strong taste of cinnamon bark, it really adds another dimension to the flavour which powdered cinnamon doesn’t quite hit.

I used the leftovers for mini pies the next day. This was a quick no-brainer, I’m hungry after working late meal thanks to the joys of frozen pastry. Drain off excess juice and mash or finely chop. Fashion into pies and bake in a moderate-hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Tastes great with tomato chutney and a salad.

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