tagine

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Carefree Couscous: Two Heart-Warming Dishes To Beat the Cold

Published January 15, 2014 by The Feminist

couscous

Do you know the song “Baby, it’s cold outside”? I’m guessing you do, but if not, I advise you to leave this site because you are no longer welcome here.

It is one of my favourite songs of all time, because it is so incredibly cheesy and old-school romantic. No “shake your booty” or “talk dirty”, but a flirtatious conversation between two lovers. In this song, the man tries to persuade the woman to stay, as it is way too late and too cold to go outside. His arguments are very persuasive, from the romantic “Listen to the fireplace roar!”, to the creepy “Think of  my lifelong sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died”.

However, no matter how persuasive his arguments may be, they are never as convincing as a steaming bowl of couscous. And this is where the following recipes come in. They will persuade even the most reluctant to take of their coats and hats and join you for a heavenly plate of Middle Eastern delight.

Trust me. If you want your lover to stay, put some heart-warming couscous on a tray! (Okay, that was a God-awful rhyme, but you get my point.)

Baby, It’s cold outside!

PS: Contrary to popular opinion this song is NOT a Christmas song. It’s a song about cold weather, there’s a difference.

Fragrant Cod Tagine

This is a wonderfully fragrant and light dish. Succulent cod, warm spices, fresh coriander and last but not last a large dome of steamy couscous to absorb all the yummy broth…

Once your lover has tasted this, he’ll be lying at your feet for all eternity.

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Ingredients:

  • 800gr cod fillets, cut into chuncks
  • 2 red peppers, cut into strips
  • 250gr spinach, blanched
  • 1 fennel, roughly sliced
  • 400gr/ 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 4cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • Vegetable stock
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, chili and spices until the spices start to release their heavenly scent.
  2. Add the peppers and fennel and stir in the honey and can of tomatoes. Use that same can as a measuring cup and add the same amount of vegetable stock to the pan.
  3. Let it simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the sauce is absolutely fabulous. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Add the blanched spinach and lay the cod chunks on top of the vegetables. Press them carefully in the sauce.
  5. Cover with the lid and lit it simmer for another 5 minutes until the cod is tender.
  6. Sprinkle some fresh coriander over the top for additional fragrance and zing.

Wintery Maftoul One-Pot with Brussels Sprouts and Tofu

This may seem like a rather odd combination, but the wintery awesomeness of the Brussels sprouts goes so well with the sticky (almost risotto-like) maftoul. I absolutely adore maftoul (also known as Palestinian couscous), because of its larger grains and robust flavour. If you can’t find maftoul, you can of course use regular couscous, but it won’t create the same soulful comfort.

Should you be questioning the compatibility of Brussels sprouts, raisins and tofu, do not worry. Even my mom looked slightly confused when I put this dish on the table. However, once you’ve tasted this you will no longer doubt that this is indeed a flavour bomb that will simply knock your socks off.

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 200gr Brussels sprouts, cleaned and outer leaves removed
  • 100gr tofu, cut into chunks
  • 50gr maftoul
  • Approx. 100-150ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½  chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of star anise
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Handful of raisins

Method:

  1. Blanche the Brussels sprouts until they are just under cooked. Drain and rinse them with ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Cut them in half and set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallot, ginger, chili, spices and honey until they start to caramelize. Stir in the maftoul and fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Cover with vegetable stock and let it simmer until the maftoul has absorbed all the liquid. Taste the maftoul and add some extra stock if the couscous is still too al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tofu in a pan until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Add the raisins to the maftoul mixture and stir in the Brussels sprouts and fried tofu.
  6. Finally, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.
  7. Eat straight from the pan in front of the tellie. Delish!

Around the World in 4 Vegetarian Dishes

Published May 28, 2013 by The Feminist

Take a food trip around the world and you will soon realize that vegetables are undeniably the most versatile ingredients on this planet. Every country, on every continent, has at least one special vegetable dish of which it is extremely proud. So let us all honour these dishes and remember that the humble vegetable is –and should be- the centre of our food pyramid!
Furthermore, vegetarian dishes allow us to combine ingredients from one country with the recipe from another, creating fusion cooking at its best. What about a very English radish in a very Moroccan tagine? Why not? I tried it and it worked out brilliantly! It is time to get out of your comfort zone and try combinations you would normally never try! Who knows, you might discover some new favourites while you’re at it!
If you know other fantastic vegetarian dishes from around the world, feel free to share them, since we’re all global citizens 😉

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Moroccan date, orange and radish tagine


Putting radishes in sweet tagines may sound really disgusting, but put your prejudice aside for a moment and absorb the brilliance of this dish. The fresh and peppery taste of the radishes marries so well with the sweetness of the sticky dates and the fruitiness of the orange! Serve with a bowl of couscous or some flatbread.
Ingredients(serves one):
• 1 bunch of red radishes, tops removed
• 1 tbsp runny honey
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• ½ tsp turmeric
• 2 pieces of confied ginger, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp ginger syrup
• 4 tbsp water
• 1 orange
• 6 dried dates, stones removed and cut into strips
• Pinch of ground cumin
• Fresh mint
• Toasted almond flakes
Method:
1) Heat a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the radishes and honey and sauté for a couple of minutes.
2) Add the vinegar, ginger, ginger syrup, turmeric, cumin and water and let it all simmer until the radishes are al dente.
3) Peel the orange à vif and cut out the segments of the orange between each membrane. Squeeze the juice of the remaining orange on top of the radish tagine.
4) Stir in the dates and orange segments and heat through.
5) Finish by sprinkling over some chopped fresh mint and almond flakes.

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Mexican sweet corn pancakes


The sweetness of the corn blends perfectly with the spicy depth of cumin and chilli! Serve with home-made guacamole or a tomato salsa.
Ingredients (serves 4) :
• 300gr canned sweet corn
• 1dl rice milk
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 120gr plain flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 3 tbsp cornflour
• 1 egg
• Pinch of dried chilli flakes
• 1 tsp ground cumin
Method

1) Mix 200gr of sweet corn in a blender with the milk, sesame oil, chilli, cumin and a pinch of salt until you get a smooth paste.
2) Add the egg and sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.
3) Finally stir through the remaining sweetcorn.
4) Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then drop spoonfuls of the pancake mixture into the pan. Cook them for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown.

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Indian Potato and Cauliflower curry


Nothing beats the aroma of a home-made curry! Moreover, it doesn’t just smell and taste delicious, the bright yellow curry specked with tomato red and minty green makes me instantly happy! Serve with naan bread.
Ingredients (serves 4)
• 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
• 5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
• 4 tbsp turmeric
• 4 large tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 3 tbsp garam massala
• 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
• 1 tsp fenugreek
• 400ml coconut milk
• Fresh mint and coriander
Method:
1) Blanche the potatoes and cauliflower in some salted water together with 2 tablespoons of turmeric. This will give the cauliflower and potato a lovely yellow colour.
2) Dice the tomatoes into small cubes. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, all the different spices and the tomato puree. Fry for a couple of minutes.
3) Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
4) Add the blanched potato and cauliflower and simmer for a couple of minutes (the cauliflower and potato should be cooked through but still al dente)
5) Finally sprinkle on some chopped mint and coriander.

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Italian multicolour carrot risotto with feta and capers


This risotto is a wonderful explosion of flavours! The richness of the risotto rice, the sweetness of the carrots, the saltiness of the feta cheese and tangy taste of the capers: what a match made in heaven! Add to that the fragrant mint and sage and the beauty of the yellow and purple carrots and your meal couldn’t be better!
Ingredients:
• 350gr risotto rice
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 400gr yellow carrot, finely chopped
• 400gr purple carrot, chopped into large chunks
• 50gr fresh sage
• 50gr fresh mint
• Pinch of chilli powder
• 250gr feta cheese, roughly chopped
• 100gr capers
• Mix of different nuts and seeds
• 40gr pecorino cheese, grated
• 1dl white wine
• Vegetable stock (approx. ½ liter)
Method:
1) Heat some olive oil in a large pan and fry a couple of sage leaves until they start to release a heavenly scent. Add the purple carrot and sauté with a pinch of chilli until they are al dente. (the reason why I cook the purple carrot separately is because the purple would otherwise completely ruin the beautiful yellow hue of the risotto)
2) For the risotto, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the yellow carrots and the rice and stir well, then add the wine and simmer until reduced completely. Add a good ladleful of the hot vegetable stock and stir continuously. When all this has been absorbed, add more stock. Continue adding more stock, stirring continuously, until the rice is cooked. Stir in some fresh sage and grated pecorino.
3) Spoon your beautiful yellow risotto on a plate, top with the sautéed purple carrots and finally sprinkle on some crumbled feta, capers, nuts and chopped mint.

Kitchen Goddess on a Roll: my best homemade dishes of the week

Published February 12, 2013 by The Feminist

I’m guessing you have a very busy life. With all of the commitments of family and work responsibilities pulling you into a thousand different directions. So I can imagine that it must often seem like a real chore to get dinner on the table. But if I can do it, so can you! Please don’t think that because I’m still a university student, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Because I do! I attend classes, do research for master papers and write blog posts ( 😉 ) and a whole other bunch of stuff that I will wisely not mention. So yes, I do know what stress is all about.
All the more reason to eat wholesome, home-cooked meals that will comfort body and soul, don’t you think?
I hope these three dishes, inspired by three different continents, will motivate you to put on that apron and get cooking. (Because cooking is far less expensive than a therapist.)
1) Asian Salmon Curry with Rice noodles

This recipe is both healthy and comforting at the same time!

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Ingredients:

• 250gr rice noodles
• 2 large salmon fillets
• 1 pak choi, sliced
• 1 broccoli, separated into florets
• 500ml coconut milk
• 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
• 2 large red chillies
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 onion
• 2 teaspoons of chilli powder
• 1 tablespoon of ground coriander and cumin
• 5cm piece of fresh ginger

Method:

1) For the curry paste, place the chillies, garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, coriander and ginger in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
2) Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
3) Stir-fry the vegetables for 3-5 minutes and take them out of the wok.
4) Heat some vegetable oil in the wok and add the red curry paste and fry for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. (leaving some of the curry paste for the salmon)
5) Stir in the coconut milk and sugar, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes
6) Season your salmon by rubbing it with the remainder of the curry paste and pan-fry the salmon until just cooked. The salmon should be pink and slightly translucent in the middle. Flake the salmon into bite size pieces.
7) Add the noodles, the vegetables and salmon to the curry sauce and season to taste with fish sauce.
8) Serve on a large plate and sprinkle some freshly chopped spring onion and coriander on top.
9) Your Asian omega 3 bomb is ready to enjoy!

2) Mexican Chilli sin Carne con Chocolate

Chocolate and chili are the Brad and Angelina of flavour combinations. That says it all, I guess 😉

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Ingredients:

• 250gr of minced seitan
• 2 carrots, diced
• 2 red peppers, diced
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 x 400gr can red kidney beans
• 2 x 400gr cans of chopped tomatoes
• 2 red chillies
• ½ tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tbsp cumin
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 25gr of dark chocolate

Method:

1) Heat some oil in a saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chillies, carrots, and peppers and fry until softened.
2) Add the seitan, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and cinnamon and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fry for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring well.
3) Add the drained kidney beans and the chopped tinned tomatoes and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then half-cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes.
4) Stir in the chocolate until melted.
5) Serve the chilli with a bowl of steamed rice and top each serving with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and coriander.

3) Moroccan Rabbit Tagine with orange and couscous

This is my take on a classic chicken tagine. The warm flavours of the cinnamon, dried raisins and orange make this tagine unforgettable.

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Ingredients

• 2 large onions, roughly chopped
• 1 rabbit, jointed
• 275ml of chicken stock
• 1 cinnamon stick
• Juice of 2 oranges
• 2tbsp of clear honey
• 100gr of raisins
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 1 tsp ground ginger

Method:

1) Fry the rabbit on both sides until golden brown and set aside.
2) Fry the onions with the honey in the same pot you used for the rabbit until the onions start caramelizing.
3) Add the carrots, the raisins, cinnamon and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes.
4) Add the rabbit and cover with the orange juice and chicken stock.
5) Bring to the boil and when it boils, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the meat falls of the bone.
6) Serve with a couscous salad with chickpeas and orange and garnish with toasted almonds.

Oh no! Not another vegetarian hippy!

Published October 13, 2012 by The Feminist

Oh no! Not another vegetarian hippy!

 

Believe me when I say that I absolutely love chicken tikka massala, lamb tagine, Peking duck, beef rendang and a lot of other meat dishes…

But I love this planet even more, and that is why I try to eat as much vegetarian as I possibly can. And before you start thinking “YAWN, not another vegetarian hippy trying to get me off my pork sausages!”, I’m not writing this post to make all of you meat lovers feel bad. I’m writing this post to prove that vegetarian food can taste as good –if not, even better- than meat. Should you decide to try one of the dishes mentioned below, well… WONDERFUL! But if this whole article makes you  just want to eat a burger, that’s fine by me too.

The main reason why I often opt for vegetarian food, is because it is better for the environment. We tend to take the earth’s resources for granted. Water? Trees? Fertile soil? Fish? If the meat production keeps expanding, there will be none of these things left. Bummer, don’t you think? Did you know by the way that to produce 1kg of meat, you would need 100 times the amount of water needed to produce 1 kg of wheat? Those numbers really make my head spin!

For some reason a lot of people – honestly,  I don’t know where the hell they get it from – believe a vegetarian diet only offers bland and boring food with no variety. But nothing could be further from the truth, because a vegetarian diet gives you the opportunity to experiment with new flavours and exiting ingredients.

So, to prove my point: here are a couple of my all time favorite vegetarian dishes!

1)      Squash & coconut curry: a rich taste and a velvety texture. Pure heaven!

2)      Pizza with caramelised pear and blue cheese: a wonderful and bold combination to make your pizza extraordinary

3)      Cauliflower risotto with capers and feta cheese: The sweetness of the cauliflower, the sourness of the capers and the saltiness of the feta cheese blend perfectly together!

4)      Sweet, sticky and spicy tofu with stir fried vegetables and udon noodles: a great introduction into the world of tofu for those who haven’t tried it before

5)      Grilled halloumi cheese with maftoul couscous and root vegetables and pomegranate:

It may sound like a lot of ingredients but it is so easy to make and a true joy to eat!

6)      Vegetable tagine with caramelised onions, dates and almonds: a one-pot-wonder!

7)       Rigatoni with peas and porcini mushrooms in a creamy asparagus sauce: My favorite recipe from Gino D’acampo’s Gino’s Pasta cookery book. It is incredibly easy to make, but is packed full of flavour!

8)    Chili sin carne con vino y chocolate : the bitter chocolate turns this Mexican favorite into something truly special

9)      Tomato and basil tarte tatin: a delicious savory twist on an French classic.

10)   Beetroot falafel with tahini yoghurt dip: I tried these colourful falafels for the first time from the BBC Good Food Magazine and I immediately loved them!