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Tag Archives: tagine

Preserved Lemons

 

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Preserved lemons are the easiest and one of the nicest ways to make use of a lemon bounty.

In late summer, earlier this year, I was the lucky recipient of lot of beautiful lemons from an old tree in Burradoo, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. The lemons were mostly quite big and thick skinned, with a mild tang. They were well used in my kitchen, for several weeks. Lemon cake and lemon curd were obvious candidates for the produce.

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I also made a jar of preserved lemons for a visit to my Palm Beach haven. I’ve made preserved lemons a few times, using various recipes. I turned this time to see what Jamie said on the subject. The following is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Ingredients

Fennel seeds
Coriander seeds
Cinnamon stick
Peppercorns
Bay Leaf
Sea salt
Large fat Lemons

Method

You will need a good preserving style of  jar for this recipe. Make sure the jar is clean, there’s no need to sterilise.  The jar should also have a strong clasp or well fitting lid. The jar should be airtight.

In a bowl, mix the spices and the sea salt. Cut a cross into the lemons, almost to the base, but making sure that the quarters stay together. Push the seasoned salt into the lemon segments. This can be tricky as the the lemons are slippery, but persevere.

Pack the lemons as tightly as possible into the jar. The less space there is between the lemons the more attractive it will look and you won’t need to use so much salt. As you layer the lemons, juice will be squeezed from the lemons. Make sure the lemons are covered with juice – you can top up with additional lemon juice if needed.

Close the lid and put the jar into a cupboard away from the light. The lemons will be ready after one month of preserving. Jamie says that the lemons will last for about 2 years – I have usually used them all before then!

To use, discard the flesh and pith and use the rind with grilled chicken, lamb or fish, and in Moroccan tagines and casseroles.

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Slow Cooked Food and Cast Iron Ware

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A friend recently married, has acquired the Rolls Royce of slow cooking cast iron ware, Le Creuset.

http://www.lecreuset.com.au/Resources1/product/Material/Cast-Iron/

These wonderful cast iron cooking utensils have been hand made in France since 1925. I own several Le Creuset casseroles and baking dishes, as well as a grill pan and some ceramic dishes.

I also own some cast iron ware in other  brands, but Le Creuset is definitely the “top”.

If you are interested in long slow cooking, cast iron ware is the only way to go.

Here, for the benefit of my newly married friend, and as requested, are the links to some slow cooked food in cast iron ware, including that other wonderful cooking device, the tagine.

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/04/08/jamie-olivers-shin-stew/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/08/23/jamie-olivers-mexican-chilli/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/05/03/slow-cooked-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximinez-movida-recipe/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/10/27/moroccan-chicken-tagine-with-dates-apricots-and-couscous/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/05/09/tagine-of-lamb-shoulder-with-apricots-and-raisins-pomegranate-couscous-and-avocado-salad/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/09/winter-pies-beef-and-red-wine-pasties-ham-leek-and-mushroom-baby-pies/ The recipe for beef pies includes a slow cooked beef and red wine filling.

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Jamie Oliver’s Pomegranate and Chicken Stew

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A beautiful, fragrant and easy dish to prepare. The pomegranate molasses gives it a really spicy and rich flavour. Somewhere between a stew and a tagine.

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The dish has all those wonderful Middle Eastern flavours, but unlike a tagine, cooks in less than an hour in a cast iron casserole or heavy bottomed pan on the stove top.

Here is the original: http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=pomegranate-aamp-chicken-stew

As usual I have tweaked a couple of things in my version.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 higher-welfare whole chicken, jointed  (I removed the skin from the pieces for a more healthy dish)

2 tsp paprika

2 onions, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp sambal oelek

2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, plus extra for the rice

300 ml tomato passata

4 tbsp pomegranate molasses

200 ml pomegranate juice (use store bought + the juice from the pomegranate from which you derived the seeds)

Coconut rice*

Pomegranate seeds

3 fresh figs, quartered

Method

Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, then brown in the hot oil for 7–8 minutes. Remove the pieces to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add another splash of oil with the onions. Stir well, being sure to catch the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook slowly for 15 minutes, till onions are soft, adding the garlic, chilli and the coriander for the last 5 minutes. Stir in the passata, molasses and pomegranate juice, season well, then bring to the boil.

Return the chicken with any juices to the pan, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, checking often that it’s not sticking.Toss in a handful of pomegranate seeds.

Scatter the rice with the extra coriander, then place the chicken on top and scatter with the remaining pomegranate seeds.

I served the dish with fresh figs on the side as a refreshing taste to offset the pungency of the sauce.

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*Coconut rice

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cup boiling water

1/2 lemon

Method

To make rice, combine the rice, coconut milk, boiling water and lemon in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost cooked. Turn off heat and leave rice to finish cooking.

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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

Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins, Pomegranate Couscous and Avocado Salad

Since I acquired and first used my beautiful crimson red tagine, featured in the post on Rozelle Village Markets, I have been very keen to give it a proper Road Test.

A working dinner with old friends allowed me to to give it the Top Gear treatment, and it passed with flying colours.

Pre-dinner nibbles  – toasted flatbread with rocket pesto, and tomato and green olive dip.

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The Top Gear team provided the production values. Jeremy photographed the Event,  Richard the director gave creative advice and James brought some curious items from his Man Lab to enhance the theatricality of the Event. The Stig was notable for his absence. Perhaps he doesn’t like lamb…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tagine spice (Essential Ingredient make a fabulous blend)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

Method

Combine spices and salt in a large bowl.  I prefer to grind my own in mortar and pestle. Add the oil, rind and half the juice and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Put the lamb mixture into a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricot roughly chopped and raisins. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Tap half a pomegranate over the tagine to release the jewel like seeds, and scatter with a sprinkling of pistachio kernels. 

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Pomegranate Couscous

Cook your favourite couscous recipe – mine has lots of oil and butter to enrich it  – and serve with the seeds of the other pomegranate half scattered as artistically as the slippery seeds will allow!

Avocado Salad

A selection of your favourite salad greens  – on this occasion mine were rocket and baby cos lettuce – with baby Shepard avocados, and a great dressing.  Lindeman’s E.V. Olive Oil and Raspberry Vinegar worked well.

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Village Markets Rozelle

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Saturday morning in Rozelle and by 8.30am the street is buzzing with locals and heaps of incomers descending on cafes and the wonderful Rozelle Markets, situated under the spreading trees in the grounds of Rozelle Public School.

The feel is definitely flea market, where everything second hand is sold: books, vinyl and clothes, clothes, clothes. You can get food too, like blini, fruit salad, coffee, even designer cup cakes.  But second hand bargains are the order of the day.

My friend Ken, purveyor of vinyl par excellence, has a stall where you can also pick up some real bargains – I acquired a beautiful tagine, crimson red ceramic top with heavy cast iron base for a mere song. While I was passing the time of day on the stall on another Saturday with Ken and partner Laurel, a passer-by snaffled up an Atomic coffee maker in mint condition, which Ken gallantly guaranteed to accept the return of, if not in perfect working order!

Like any market worth its salt, you have to be there for the bargains and the one offs. Don’t go with a purchase in mind, just be serendipitous.

The Markets:

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And the tagine:

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