One thing you absolutely mustn't do during Ramadan is watch cookery programmes- firstly, they can make you pretty hungry, but the second and more fatal, is, no matter what you are watching being cooked, you want. Strike that…the first thing you see being cooked, you want. Case and point, this morning, and my hubbie and I watching Rick Stein in Morocco- now, all of a sudden, this is what we 'HAVE TO EAT TONIGHT'. OK, so as we have no ingredients at home, we trek to Tesco and even though we somehow leave the all important cous cous at the counter, my husband is at present going to purchase some more… I tell you, it becomes an obsession.
However, despite all of this shlepping, I'm a pretty big fan of Moroccan cuisine- the colours, the spices- serious treats for the eyes and tum. Tagines, on the other hand were a bit of bother to me- the idea of dates in tagines or overcooked vegetables really left me feeling a little underwhelmed, but after visiting Marrakech last year, I learned that tagines are so versatile. You can literally put anything in it, and they become little pots of personality. So, as I don't like dates in tagines- in my pot of gold, I've taken them out, and overcooked vegetables? I just add them later. No set ingredients- often what I have in the garden or left over in the fridge.
Give this a go- Mo-rocking chicken with a side of spinach and lemon and squashed coriander and tomato salad.
To serve 3-4 people
1. 1 baby chicken
2. 1 onion (finely chopped)
3. 1/21 inch ginger (finely chopped)
4. 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1 tsp fennel seeds
7. 1 tsp all purpose seasoning powder
8. 1 tsp coriander powder
9. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
10. 1 tbsp tomato puree
11. 1 tbsp honey
12. 1 carrot (cut into big pieces)
13. 1 courgette (cut into big pieces)
14. Handful of green beans
1. Heat a heavy base pan with 3 tbsp vegetable oil.
2. Add the onions and cumin and fennel seeds.
3. Once these are brown, add the chicken pieces, and the garlic, ginger and powders 7-9. Stir and add tomato puree and honey.
4. Add 2 cups water and leave to boil for 20mins.
5. Now add the cut vegetables, and leave to cook for a further 10/15mins. (If you like them more cooked, you can add these earlier).
6. With the final minutes to go, add the handful of green beans. If you do like dates, add these in now. If you like olives- add in now!
Spinach and lemon
1. 1 bunch fresh spinach (finely chopped)
2. 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
3. 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
4. 1/4 lemon diced (with skin on)
1. Add ingredients 1-3 to a pan.
2. As the spinach is fresh, it will cook really fast, so keep turning it and smashing up the onions and garlic.
3. This should take only a matter of about 5mins, so with the final few stirs, add the lemon pieces and work into the spinach.
Squashed coriander and tomato salad
1. 4 ripe tomatoes (finely sliced)
2. Handful of coriander (finely chopped)
3. 1/2 lemon (finely chopped)
4. 2 tbsp olive oil
1. As all ingredients are finely diced/ sliced. Put the contents into a large bowl, and squeeze! Best part of the whole process- I like to imagine I'm doing my own neck massage- work those knots!
2. Finish with some salt and olive olive- ooooh. emmm. geee. Delish!