Category Archives: World Cuisine

Chicken Tagine with Spinach, Olives & Preserved Lemons

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Whale received multiple Moroccan themed ingredients and a tagine for her birthday so naturally this is the result. On a side note we’re also going to Marrakech in the summer. I’m sure you could do this without using a tagine – a large casserole dish would probably suffice. Recipe modified from a gorgeous book – The Food of Morocco.

Ingredients

Marinade

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 clove crushed
good pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp of lemon juice

Tagine

4 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
3 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pickled lemons, quartered
few strands of saffron
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
good handful spinach
200ml chicken stock
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
handful pitted olives
large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Make up marinade in a large sandwich bag (or a plastic bowl). Add the chicken, give a good squidge around and stick in the fridge for a few hours.

When ready to cook, put the saffron in 2 tbsp warm water. In a large frying pan sweat the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic for and sweat for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip half the onions into the tagine (put the other half to one side) add the chicken stock and saffron water, then layer over with lentils and spinach.

In the frying pan fry the chicken with the cinnamon and turmeric then once sealed add on top of the spinach, with the preserved lemon quarters. Stick the tagine in a cold oven and put on 160oC/320oC/gas mark 3 for 45-60 minutes. 5 minutes before serving take the tagine out, top with the remaining onions, olives and chopped coriander and stick back in the oven. Serve with a side order of tagine bread (recipe to come).

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Tiramisu Cake

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So George’s sister introduced us to our local Clandestine Cake Club. Each month they hold themed cake making/scoffing extravaganzas based on three simple principles:

1. You make a cake big enough to share
2. You get together and eat and share your cakes (and attempt conversations between mouthfuls of yumminess)
3. You take all sorts of cake home and get fat for the next week

This month’s theme was cakes based on other puddings or in other words, puddings masquerading as cakes. There’s no judging or egotism, just friendly people filling their faces as bemused members of then general public mosey on by. This tiramisu cake is based on the Smitten Kitchen tiramisu cake recipe, whose marsala cream is to die for. In fact, even if you don’t make the cake just make the cream and let spoon meet mouth.

Ingredients

For the coffee cake:

150g butter
120g sugar
150g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp coffee essence such as camp coffee or very strong instant coffee

For the chocolate cake:

130g plain flour
40g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter
2 eggs
120g sugar
120ml buttermilk (made simply by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to milk and leaving for 10-15 minutes)
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the coffee syrup:

3 tbsp coffee essence (as above)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp icing sugar

For the marsala cream:

250g marscapone
50g icing sugar
200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp marsala wine

Method

Preheat the oven to 160oC/320oF/gas mark 3  as you prepare the cakes and grease two 23cm (or thereabouts) cake tins.

For each of the two types of cakes, mix the dry ingredients together in separate bowls (sieved flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cocoa). Add the butter and mix with an electric whisk until each turns to a sandy consistency. Add the respective flavourings.

In a separate bowl or mug, gently beat the eggs for one cake and add to the mixture a bit at a time, whisking until incorporated. Repeat with the eggs for the other cake. The coffee cake mixture is now ready to be poured into the cake tin and baked for 20-30 minutes. To the chocolate cake mixture, add the buttermilk and continue whisking until it becomes smooth. Pour into the second tin and bake for 20-30 minutes.

When baked, take the cakes out of the oven and mix up the coffee syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle evenly over the cakes and leave the cakes to cool fully.

To make the marsala cream, (which by the way, is extremely versatile and I challenge you not to eat any before it sees your cake) begin by beating the marscapone with the sieved icing sugar. In a second bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add around a quarter of the cream to the marscapone mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the cream to the marscapone and fold very gently, so as not to lose the air from the mixture. When evenly mixed, store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your cake…if you can manage to not eat it all first.

To assemble the cake, place the chocolate cake on a plate or tray (the chocolate cake is slightly more structurally sound thus it makes sense for it to go on the bottom). Cover with a thick layer of marsala cream. Place the coffee cake on top. Spread the remaining marsala cream over the top. Dust with cocoa powder in some kind of pretty pattern. And go and join your local CCC!

Tadaaah!

Meen Molee [South Indian Fish in Coconut Milk]

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Very quick and very straightforward. I made this, just about, after coming home from an 80 km bike ride with feet I couldn’t feel and hands I couldn’t stop shaking. And it still turned out alright. So it can’t be that hard…! Adapted from Mighty Spice.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
2.5cm ginger
2.5cm fresh turmeric (use a teaspoon of ground turmeric)
1 large onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
500g white fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
400ml can coconut milk/cream
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp curry powder
handful of green beans
1 carrot, peeled into slivers

Method

Mince the garlic, ginger and turmeric together into a paste. If you have one use a mini blender, but I don’t so I made do with a stick blender, a large mug and a little oil.

Fry up the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the paste and tomato and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the fish. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots and beans then continue until fish is cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Sorry, no piccy. Wouldn’t have been able to hold the camera probably…

Homemade Chai in a Bottle

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Makes approx. 1.5 litres chai concentrate

Ingredients
10 tea bags
2 cinnamon sticks
80g light brown sugar
3-inch piece of root ginger, grated
10 whole cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 whole star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
peel of one orange (I peeled it like an apple, so the large strips won’t fit through the sieve at the end)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Method

Add all ingredients except the teabags and vanilla extract to a large saucepan along with a litre of water and bring to the boil. Boil around 800ml water in a kettle and add to the teabags. Leave to soak for a few minutes and squeeze. Add the tea to the pan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes before straining to remove the bits. Add the vanilla extract and decant into bottles whilst still warm. Seal the bottles and allow to cool.

Store in the fridge once cool. I would guess (though this hasn’t been tested) it would keep for 2-4 weeks unopened and 2 weeks once opened. When required, pour out around 2cm of syrup (more or less depending on taste) into a cup before topping up with hot milk or boiling water.

Makes a great Christmas gift all dressed up with ribbons, tags and a cinnamon stick and would also be nice as a flavouring in cakes and traybakes.

Feta and Roasted Vegetable Bulghar-Wheat Salad

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This tasty salad makes a nice change from the old ham sandwiches. It’s really easy to make and lasts all week so I tend to make a huge tub of it on a Sunday and it will keep until Friday – not that it ever really lasts that long. It looks really posh too.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

1/2 butternut squash, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1/2 courgette, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup of bulghar wheat
1 vegetable stock cube
handful spinach, chopped
100g feta
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 160*C whilst you prepare the vegetables. Throw them into a bowl and coat well in the sunflower oil. Add a teaspoon of each of the herbs and put on a baking tray in the oven to roast for 40-50 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, add the bulghar wheat to the a bowl and cover with two cups of boiling water. Add the stock cube and stir well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

When the bulghar wheat has soaked up the water, add the vegetables to it. Leave to cool before crumbling over the feta, adding the herbs and adding the chopped spinach. Chop the tomatoes and add to the salad. Season well and store in the fridge.

Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Spiral Pasties)

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More flipping swirly things! (Sorry)

Sadly, I haven’t ever managed to capture a shot of these little things. Once they come out of the oven, they are so elusive, you’ll be lucky if you can catch one for lunch the day afterwards. Inspired by a number of recipes, I have amalgamated the ‘best bits’ of each into this tasty concoction.

Ingredients

6 sheets of filo pastry (no, I don’t make my own – maybe one day I’ll give it a go)
1 bag of spinach (approx 500g)
200g block of feta
1 medium white onion
1 tsp garlic paste or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
handful rosemary (fresh, chopped), or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 medium egg
a sprinkling of plain flour
a little bit of milk

Method

Start by chopping up your spinach quite finely. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can from it, over a sieve to catch any bits you drop. This will seem tiresome, but it really is worth it. Grate the onion and similarly, squeeze the water out of that. Add the squeezed spinach and onion to a bowl. Crumble over the feta, herbs and mix well before adding 1/2 of the egg to bind it all together. Save the last bit of egg for later.

Open out your filo sheets onto a well-floured surface. Begin by brushing egg round the outside of the first sheet. Add 1/6 of your spinachy mixture in a long line along the longest edge of the filo sheet, leaving 1 inch around the edge clear (which should be covered in egg). Fold over the filo 1 inch lengthways and widthways, to fully cover the line of spinach and begin rolling the pastry to form a long sausage. Try not to catch any big bubbles of air.

When you have a spinachy sausage, brush one side of it with egg and use this as the glue to hold your spiral together. Roll the sausage around one end fairly tightly and use a bit of egg to glue down the last centimetre. You should have something that looks like this.

Brush the outside with egg and place on a greased tray. Repeat for the remaining 5 sheets of filo.

Bake in the oven at 160*C for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Take a photo before they all get nommed.

Chocolate Biscotti

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These make a great biscuit to dunk in tea. Once baked, they will keep for up to a week but they also freeze well if you choose to save some for another day.

Makes approx 50-60 biscuits.

Ingredients

60g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
220g sugar
2 eggs
260g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g chocolate of your choice (if using milk chocolate, lower sugar to 200g)
optional: 100g pistachios or other nuts, chopped

Method

Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Add eggs, sifted flour and mix to create a smooth dough. Add in chopped chocolate and nuts. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 160*C and grease a baking tray. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Halve the dough and roll into a log shape of around 30 cm or the length of your baking tray. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until firm. Leave to cool completely before slicing diagonally into 1 cm slices. Heat the oven to 140*C, places sliced biscuits on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until dry, turning half-way.