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Tag Archives: cassia

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Dates, Apricots and Couscous

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This recipe was inspired from a recipe by Anthony Worrall Thompson. http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/4817/moroccan-chicken-tagine

Ingredients
The Tagine
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon or cassia stick
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp tagine mix (The Essential Ingredient has a very good one)
750 gms chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
2 tbls olive oil
2 eschallots, finely  chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100 gms dates cut in half
1 tsp  honey
½ tsp saffron strands, soaked in a little warm water
300 mls chicken stock
400 gms tin chopped tomatoes
100 gms roughly chopped dried apricots

Couscous
225 gms couscous
4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
225 mls chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt
Handful chopped parsley or coriander
Handful of flaked almonds

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Method
Heat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Place all the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind to combine, then tip half into a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss until evenly coated. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 – 1 hour.
Heat a large tagine or heavy based casserole and add half the olive oil. Tip in the chicken and cook over a fairly high heat until evenly browned, then tip onto a plate. Add the remaining olive oil to the tagine and stir in the remaining spices and the eshallots, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of  minutes or until the onion is softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
Return the browned chicken pieces to the tagine with the dates, honey, saffron mixture, chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Add the chopped apricots and cook a further 15 – 30 minutes until the chicken is completely tender but holding its shape and the sauce has thickened.

To make the couscous, place the couscous in a large bowl and add the oil and lemon juice. Mix well, ensuring that all the grains are coated. Heat the stock in a small pan and season generously with sea salt. Pour over the couscous, stir well, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes before gently separating the grains with a fork. The couscous can be left like this for up to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, check the seasoning  and place in the microwave to reheat for a couple of minutes. Fluff with a fork. Scatter the herbs and flaked almonds just before serving.

Serve the chicken in the cooking tagine with side dishes such as Greek yoghurt,  green olives, chili paste and pomegranate seeds, and with herb-scented couscous.IMG_5438 enh

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Red Wine, Pear and Almond Cake

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This is essentially an upside down pear cake. The recipe is based on Valli Little’s recipe from Delicious Home Cooking: http://shop.abc.net.au/products/delicious-home-cooking-hbk.

The recipe is very similar to my own Frangipane Tart: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/01/quirkys-frangipane-tart/

Ingredients

375 mls red wine
300 gms caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills ( I used cassia quills instead)
3 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
150 gms butter
3 free range eggs
75 gms plain flour
150 gms almond meal
1 1/2 tsps baking powder

Method

Place the red wine and 150 gms of the sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon/cassia and the pears, making sure all the pear slices are submerged in the red wine.

Cover the surface with a piece of baking paper cut to fit the pan. Cook for a minimum of 10 minutes or until the pears are tender.  I found that the pears needed 20 minutes or so to cook. You can cook the pears the day before, leaving them to steep in the poaching liquid for a richer, deeper flavour and colour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (less if your oven is fan forced – I suggest 160 degrees C). Grease a 22 cm springform tin.

Beat butter and remaining 150 gms sugar in a food processor until pale and well creamed.

Optional: 1 tsp almond essence and 1 tsp vanilla paste can be added to the creamed butter and sugar at this point for more depth of flavour.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour, almond meal and baking powder, by pulsing carefully.

Drain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid. Arrange the pears slices in the springform tin in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping. Spread over the cake batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil to prevent burning.  When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place your poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for 6 – 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Brush the warm cake with the poaching syrup, using a pastry brush. You can brush the cake with more syrup just before serving, if desired.

Serve with lashings of whipped cream, custard or ice-cream!

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