Posts Tagged With: tagine

Radio Tarifa Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifa is one of the windiest towns in the world, home to windsurfers and a whole host of eccentric folk (apparently the relentless wind sends people mad!)  Most places in Spain have three winds, Tarifa has five!  It is located directly across the med from Tangiers, an equally nutty Moroccan town.

Tarifa has long been regarded as a great example of the merging of all things Hispanic and African, not to mention, there is an awesome band named Radio Tarifa who rock our worlds (see below), they’re also a mix of Moroccan, flamenco and other beats. Really when you get down to this coastline, cultural borders blur into one hectic mix of all things med. There is an ancient feel in the air around here, Romans, Greeks, Punics, Carthagens…… it makes sense that people who want to live in such beautiful climes and always have done.

I learnt to make good cous cous and tagine on the open fires and portable gas stoves of Morocco, in garages, date plantations and even the odd oasis. Moroccans are like Italians when it comes to their cooking, namely, don’t mess with it brother!!!! Keep it the way it has always been and momma knows best et al. Which is cool, makes things easier.  I cooked a tagine in the Atlas Mountains and added beetroot to the mix and then spent the rest of the evening in some form of food induced exile.  They turned their nose up at my meddling with the ancient, alchemical laws of the tagine.  Seems I haven’t quite learnt my lesson!

I have had a good meddle here. I love to add a little tahini to the mix to add some richness and paprika is a superb local delicacy that creeps into most things I cook over here on the Costa Calida.  The rest is all fine, fresh, fresh, med veg and fistfuls of cumin from the markets of Marrakech to get things flowing in the right direction.

The secret here is a thick and rich sauce to start with and gently steaming the other veggies over that. This makes this dish brilliantly tasty and the veg chunks are cooked until perfectly tender and succulent.  The nature of tagine recipes is wide and uber-complex, but this one is straight forward and mighty fine.  A tagine is just the pot’s name really, it’s unique conical shape, but it’s what goes into it that matters.

I serve this with fluffy cous cous in a tagine dish, there is  plenty of gorgeous sauce to make the cous cous nice and moist. My tagine dish has a very sticky base, otherwise I would cook the sauce in the tagine base and then whack the lid on. That would be the authentic route, but I have used a pan here to make this easier and avoiding sticky situatioGod, I love Morocco, the dunes of the Sahara and the peaks of the Rif mountains are just a hop, skip and ferry away from here and it is calling my name in capital letters.  It’s such a massive empty place, full of amazing people and tasty treats.  This tagine takes me back……

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

The Bits

2 med onions (finely sliced), 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 3 inch cube of ginger (finely chopped), 5 big fat plum tomatoes (chopped rough), 1 courgette, 1 large red pepper, ½ large butternut squash, 4 large carrots (all veg chopped into large chunks), 4 teas ground cumin, 3 teas paprika, 1 teas cinnamon, 1 teas ground coriander, ½ handful roughly chopped dried apricots, 6 dates (finely chopped), 1 heaped tbs dark tahini (dark has a more intense flavour, but regular tahini is fine), 2 cups good veg stock, s + p to taste
350g cous cous (for three), 1 pint good veg stock, 1 teas cumin seeds,

Do It

Get a nice good glug of olive oil hot (high heat here) in a large saucepan, pop your onions in and cook until soft and going golden, add your garlic and ginger and your spices. Stir well and often, get it all combined nicely, then add your chopped tomatoes and stir in. It should all be smelling amazing and cooking down well. Taste and adjust accordingly. When the tomatoes have all broken down, 5-10 minutes, add all of your other veggies, stock and dried fruit stir in a little. Stick a lid on it and leave for 30 minutes to cook slowly, no peeking!

When the lid is taken off, you’ll have a gorgeous tagine waiting with plenty of rich sauce to be soaked up by the cous cous.

To cook your cous cous, warm a pan with a little oil and toast your cumin seeds for one minute, then pour in your cous cous and stir well, add some s+p to taste and pour in some freshly boiled water (straight from the kettle is good).

Cover the cous cous with water, 2cm above and then cover tightly with a lod and leave for 20 minutes to cook off the heat. When you lift the lid, fluff the cous cous well with a fork and add a little oil if it needs a little help.

Puerto Mazarron Sunset

Puerto Mazarron Sunset

Serve

As warm as you can, in a tagine dish preferably. Lay out plenty of cous cous on the base, spoon over plenty of sauce and then scoop on your vegetable tagine. Cover with more sauce and a good drizzle of great olive oil.

We like to eat out of the tagine dish in a communal fashion, pop it in the middle of the table and enjoy with your nearest and dearest, just like in Morocco. We had ours with hummus or a nice garlic yoghurt.

At the shepherds house - Bolunuevo, Mazarron

At the shepherds house – Bolunuevo, Mazarron

Foodie Fact

We use tahini in many ways, but here it adds a creamy richness to the tagine without the use of our old friends butter/ cream and the dairy gang, with the added advantage of awesome health benefits and easy digestions.  Tahini is full of vitamin B’s, essential for keeping the body ticking over, enhancing metabolism and sorting the immune system out.

Tahini is also rich in calcium and a small blob can contain up to 35% of your required daily intake.  Many people believe that tahini boasts the highest levels of calcium in any food!

Here’s the soundtrack to our Tarifan Tagine, the incredible Radio Tarifa:

Categories: Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Berber Date Tagine with Orange ‘Kech Pilaff

Berber Man

The food we cook reflects our journey through life.  It’s been a long old dusty road with some tasty nibbles along the way.

Much of my inspiration for recipes and greater experiences in general have taken place away from the shores of my island home, Britain.  It is a grey Sunday today, in need of some sun and spice, so I re-visited Morocco for a classic(ish) tagine and pilaff meal.

I probably ate this alot when I was there, but due to the fog of time and the sheer influx of brilliant tagine in the streets of Marrakech (‘Kech) and beyond, I forget.  One tasty tagine seemed to blend into another, until you have a very long tagine spell which many people would just call ‘travelling around Morocco’.  Find out more about our passion for tagine pots here.

The Berbers are the indigenous people of Morocco, desert and moutain folk.  They have lived in Morocco since the beginning (whenever that was?!), well before the Arabs came and conquered North Africa.  Berber is one of the official languages of this incredible land.  Here’s some Nas El Ghiwane to get you in the mood:

We love the combination of spices and dates, there is bags of harmony in this dish with the lovely flavours of coriander and mint to finish things off.
You may use tinned tomatoes, but we prefer fresh. The orange is an addition that is not normally used in Morocco, but we’re a long way from Marrakech!

This is not cooked in a tagine (ours is stuck in Spain), but if you have one, what a great excuse to dust it off……

Blanched Cauliflower

The Bits

Berber Tagine
1 large cauliflower (leaves and all), 4 carrots, 1 big handful of stoned dates, 1 potato (for thickening sauce), 4 ripe tomatoes (chopped into small chunks, or 1 can of good organic toms), 1 ras el hanout (if you can’t get hold of this, I suggest a mix of your favourite spices.  That’s all it is really), 1 teas turmeric, 1/2 teas chilli powder (be careful here!), 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 2 teas chopped ginger, glug EVOO (E.xtraV.irginO.live Oil), 1 onion (chopped), 3 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 handful of chopped coriander and 1 of chopped mint, 750 ml (a wine bottle size) of good veg stock, juice of 1 orange, s + p to taste.

Dates and spices

Orange ‘Kech Pilaff
Glug of EVO, 1 onion (chopped) handful of roasted almonds, 1/2 handful of currants, 1 teas ground cinnamon, 350g long grain rice (we normally prefer brown rice, tastier and better for your belly), zest 1 orange.

Do It
In a large pan, blanch your potato, cauliflower (use the leaves as well, they are very tasty) and carrots. Add potato first for 5 mins then add the rest for 2 mins. Drain the veg well and refresh with cold water. Place in a bowl and add spices and ginger, stir, leave covered for a couple of hours to infuse and get yummy. Save the water for stock, approx 1.5 litre needed for the rice and tagine.  Just add an onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, some good stock powder, a bay leaf and some mixed herbs and slowly boil for 30 mins.  Strain out all bits and thats it.  A light veg stock.

Heat oil in a good heavy-based pan and gently fry you blanched veg for 5 mins, they should be getting nice and golden, then add onion and garlic and cook for another few minutes, add tomatoes dates and veg stock and simmer for 20 mins on low heat.  Season here, add orange juice and stir in the coriander and mint.  Do not over cook the veggies, they are not so good mushy.

Orange and Almond

For the Pilaff, heat oil in a pan and cook almonds for 5 mins then remove when golden. In the same oil add the onion and currants cook for 2 mins, add cinnamon then rice and coat all in all. Then pour over hot stock, cover tightly and cook for around 15 mins (depends on rice, remember no lifting the lid! Keep all that good steam in).  Remove from heat and cool for 5 mins.  Stir and lift with a fork before serving to seperate the rice and make it fluffy.

Finally, add the orange zest and almonds to the rice, stir again and serve with your tagine on your finest, colourful, platter (or just a plate).

The Berber Tagine

We Love It!

The crunch of the roasted almond, sweetness of the dates makes for a very rich sauce which is lifted by the zing of the orange, it all makes for a real taste sensation!  This was one of those dishes that really surprises you with its deliciousness.  This is now my favourite tagine recipe (until next time that is….)

Foodie Fact

Cauliflowers just don’t get  the credit they deserve.  They are full of good stuff.

Cauliflowers are full of vitamin C and manganese and a broad spectrum of anti-oxidants that give your system a real boost.  It’s also anti-inflammatory, aids digestion (plenty of fibre here, like most of the cruciferous bunch i.e Kale, Brocolli etc).

The coarse green leaves, which we love to munch on, protect the centre of the cauliflower, reducing the chlorophyll and making it white.

Boozie Bit

This is not booze actually, but we had some chilled Clipper Tea with this.  The ‘Green Tea with Echinecea’ variety, in a tall glass with plenty of ice, lemon and a dollop of honey.  You could very easily add booze to this, I’m thinking vodka or maybe gin would be pleasant.

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment