Tag Archives: cumin

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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Carrot & Chickpea Burgers

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I don’t know about you but when faced with a bag full of carrots and not much else I struggle to think of anything other than ‘soup’. However a quick browse on the BBC Good Food website unearthed these burgers. They’re a little more faffy than standard chickpea burgers but they stuck together better than any I’ve previously made so I thought I’d share the method.

Makes 6-8 burgers

Ingredients

350-400g carrots, grated
400g tin chickpeas, drained/rinsed
1 onion, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbsp tahini or hummus or maybe even…smooth peanut butter?
1 egg
80-100g breadcrumbs (1 thick slice of bread, grated)
1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
flour

Method

If you have a food processor (which I don’t!) add 1/3 of the carrot, the chickpeas, onions, garlic, spices, hummus/tahini/peanut butter and egg and blitz to a paste. If you don’t have a food processor stick them in a large bowl and use a stick blender to blitz. If you don’t have a stick blender then maybe this recipe is not for you…!

Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the remaining 2/3 of the carrot for approx. 10 minutes. Add to the paste in the bowl  along with the breadcrumbs and stir together. Get a large plate and cover with a layer of flour. Use your hands to form the carrot mix into patties (eurghk, I hate that word) and place on the flour. Handling gently, flip over and coat the other side in flour.

Using the same frying pan, to save on washing up obviously, fry up the burgers for a few minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Serve with salad, chutney, flatbreads, mayo, whatever!

No picture ’cause we too greedy. Sozz.

 

J

Middle-East Feast

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We would certainly recommend this as a lazy weekend afternoon set of recipes. There’s nothing particularly difficult here, but it’s nice to get everything together in a leisurely manner – even factoring in time for a mid-aftermoon cocktail! Equally you needn’t cook everything here, feel free to mix and match as you see fit!

feast

Serves 4-5

Harissa Lamb Kebabs

Ingredients

400g lamb steaks, cut into inch cubes

Marinade

1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
a few cloves, ground
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Method

Mix up the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stick in the lamb and smush around till all sides of are coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. 15 minutes before you plan to eat, remove from the fridge and stick on a skewer, leaving a small gap between each cube. Stick under a medium grill for 10-15 minutes (or to your preference) turning every so often until the outsides are slightly charred and hey presto.

Oven-Baked Aubergine

Ingredients

1 large aubergine
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
few handfuls of raisins
handful walnuts, chopped up

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Halve the aubergine lengthways and slash the cut side. Wipe all over with olive oil, stick in a roasting tin and season with salt, pepper and a little paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile sweat the onions and garlic in a little oil, add the spices and cinnamon stick, raisins and nuts and a little water. Cook till the onions are translucent, adding water if things start to stick. Remove the aubergine from the oven, take off the foil, cover in the mush and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Flatbreads

See here

Hummus

Ingredients

1 tin of chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika

Method

Drain the chickpeas, preserving the water in a separate jug. Whizz them up with a blender until they are crushed, before adding the tahini paste, lemon juice, paprika and seasoning. Whizz a little more, a cautiously add bits of the chickpea water until you reach the desired consistency.

Tasty Tabbouleh

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large handful of herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Method

Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs to a bowl. Drizzle over the oil and lemon juice, season well.

Yoghurt, Two Ways

Ingredients

400g natural yoghurt
1 tsp harissa paste
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
handful fresh mint, basil and coriander leaves, roughly torn
squeeze of lemon juice
pepper

Method

Add half the yoghurt to one bowl, stir in the harissa. Add the rest of the ingredients to a separate bowl, stir and that is essentially it! Time to enjoy all this incredible food!

J&W

Is Cumin Safe For Cats?

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WordPress is a source of some fairly trivial but occasionally useful and interesting statistics. I just happened to be perusing these in an attack of mid-essay procrastination when something rather unexpected caught my eye. A question. One to which I do not know the answer but more intriguingly, one to which I’m unsure anyone would know.

Or possibly more pressingly, why they would want to know.

Or possibly most pressingly, why on earth did it lead here?

The question in question? Well, lift your gaze and you shall see that it just so happens to be the title of this post. Is cumin safe for cats?

Of course now I am curious. Nearly 3.5 million Google hits tells me that quite a few other people are curious too. And somewhat chastises me for thinking what a ridiculous question it was. On closer inspection however quite a few of these hits appear to be Google showing me results for various other tenuously linked searches. Maybe not quite the 3.5 million hit behemoth to place alongside “where did we come from?” and “why are we here?” an initial glance would suggest but then again maybe not quite as ridiculous as I first concluded. So…why did it lead here?

I realise we use a lot cumin. It makes it into approximately 1 in 7 of our posts on this site according to our tag-cloud and probably a lot more in our every day cooking. We’ve probably also mentioned our shared fondness adoration for cats once or twice. However I hardly think those two facts constitute a reason for highlighting our blog which is clearly limited on the feline herbal remedy front. Maybe it’s something we should look into. So much for search engine optimisation! I might as well post about badgers and their predilection for toasted peanut butter marmalade sandwiches or why termites absolutely hate courgettes.

(Don’t ask me why by the way, they just do.)

A quick browse through the other search terms which have directed traffic our way throws up some other amusing morsels, two of my favourites being “paratha is dangerous” (to what, vegetables?) and “picture of manky old banana” (which I admit, we do have on our Banana Cupcakes recipe).

I’m intrigued to know now if anyone else has noticed odd search terms leading to hits on their sites – feel free to have a gander and share below.

J

The answer by the way appears to be yes, cumin is safe for cats, according to its absence from the ASPCA “Plants Toxic to Cats” list. But that doesn’t mean you should start supplementing your cat food or arranging a pet passport for your next trip to Morocco…

Potato & Toasted Chickpea Curry

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Originally I intended this to be a sweet potato and chickpea curry, however when I went to retrieve the desired ingredients the “sweet potato” in my cupboard turned out to be a very red-skinned standard potato! Shocking, I know.

Not to be deterred however, I bravely soldiered on and thus present you with the fruits of my labour. I really think toasting the chickpeas is worth it, you get so much more from the spices and it’s not exactly much of a faff! It looks like a lot of ingredients but it really isn’t complicated to cook. That’s one of the reasons I love curry – you can turn out something incredible with very moderate effort!

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 large waxy potato, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
2 medium onions, quartered and sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli (or more if you’re a fan of heat) finely chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained, washed and patted dry
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
1-2 cups frozen peas
handful green beans
1 cinnamon stick
1 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
glug of golden syrup
parathas to serve

Spice mix

3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly ground
2 tsp fennel seeds, roughly ground
salt and pepper

Method

Mix up the spices and set aside. In a large casserole dish heat a little oil over a medium heat and add the onions. Sweat for 8-10 minutes before adding a glug of golden syrup, garlic, grated ginger and 2/3 of the spice mix. Give a good stir and cook for a further five minutes, adding a splash of water every now and again if anything starts to stick.

Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, potato and cinnamon stick, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Make sure everything is covered in liquid – if not add a little water. Cover and leave to simmer to 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to remove anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check the potato and carrot every now and again with a knife – once they start to go soft add the peas and beans and cook for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a separate frying pan. Add the drained/patted dry chickpeas and fry for 5-6 minutes over a medium-high heat. Shuffle regularly to get an even covering. Add the remaining spice mix and continue to toast for a further couple of minutes until golden brown. Throw into the curry, stir everything around, season to taste (I always keep the spices I have used to hand during cooking so they can be added when necessary). Chug in one final glug of syrup and serve with a paratha.

Look, I even managed to take a photograph this time!

J

Yummy Scrummy Curry

Caramelized Carrot & Ginger Soup

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This is a very similar recipe to the Spiced Parsnip soup from January, which I guess shows the versatility of the recipe for accommodating various root vegetables! It’s a brilliant way to use up a bag of carrots when you can see they’re “on the turn”.

Serves 5-6.

Ingredients

800-1000g carrots, chopped into 1cm cubes (roughly)
800ml vegetable stock
2 medium onions , finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
squeeze of golden syrup
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
½ tsp chilli powder
2-3 tsp ready minced ginger (if being lazy like me!)/1 5cm pieces fresh ginger, grated
plenty of salt’n’pepper

Method

Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan/deep frying pan. Add the onions, carrots and a good squeeze of golden syrup and stir to coat everything. Caramelize over a medium-high heat*, stirring every so often, for approximately 10 minutes. Mix up the spices and add to the pan, along with the garlic and ginger.

Make up the stock and if anything starts to stick too vehemently to the pan, pour in a little and stir/scrape off. After 5 or so more minutes cooking and stirring add the rest of the stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and add a lid. Cook for approx. 20 minutes and check the carrots to see whether they are soft enough to blend/zhuzzhh.

When the carrots are soft blend/zhuzzh with a stick blender/zhuzzher. Obviously the longer and harder you blend, the smoother the soup. I’m not one for adding cream/mascarpone or whatnot to soup as I feel it somewhat undermines the health aspect, but I’m sure you could easily add some.

Serve with freshly baked ficelles (or bake-in-the-oven baguettes if you don’t have time!)

*Ideally I would have roasted the carrots and onions in the oil/golden syrup/spices for approximately 45 minutes at 200oC/400oF/Gas 6, however the oven I had access to was not working so this was not possible!

J

‘Don’t-Ignore-Me’ Chicken Korma

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I get the impression Chicken Korma is somewhat of an unloved second-cousin to what springs to most people’s minds when they think of curry. This reputation is no doubt bolstered by the fairly weedy offerings from supermarkets and take-aways and in my opinion is completely undeserved.

Korma can be delicious. Creamy, nutty, spicy, it’s a wonderful taste experience. This recipe is taken almost verbatim from John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice cookbook, a Christmas present from my sister. It’s extremely quick – although you will need some kind of processor/blender – so if you’re after curry-in-a-hurry you could probably knock this up quicker than you could order and receive a take-away.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

2 medium chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces
1 tin coconut milk
50g cashew nuts (or almonds)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot chopped into thin strips
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
1 small chilli
1 heaped tsp coriander
1 heaped tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
good few twists of pepper
1 heaped tsp hot curry powder
juice of 1 lime

Method

Add the coconut milk, nuts, ginger, chilli, coriander, cumin and salt to the food processor and whizz until smooth.

Heat a little oil in a decent-sized frying pan/saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Sweat for 5 minutes then add the curry powder, stirring to coat the onions. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan. After a couple more minutes add the chicken and cook, stirring every so often. After a further five minutes throw in the coconut paste and stir to cover everything. Squeeze in the lime juice, bring to the boil then add a lid and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for approx. 15 minutes, stirring every now and again. With 10 mins to go throw in the carrots and for the last 5 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat to thicken up the sauce – if it gets too thick just add water.

Serve with:

– rice
– naan
– bhaji
– raita
– mango chutney
– all of the above

Sorry, again no photo. Really need to get back into taking pictures of things before I scoff them! You could totally throw in some spinach or kale into this to up the veg content too.

J