Monday, September 26, 2005

My Moroccan Meal

Yes, it's been almost a week, probably the longest I've gone between posts. But you will understand when I tell you that the transeasonal cold has hit our household, laying waste a plenty. And you will most definitely understand when I tell you that I was so sick that I wasn't even reading my favourite blogs, let alone writing in my own!

So to catch up on a meal from last weekend, here is the menu:

Tagine of Lamb with Prunes
Crunchy Country Salad
Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts
Heidi's Tofu Chocolate Mousse With Persian Fairy Floss and Turkish Delight

The first three recipes all came from Ghillie Basan's Modern Moroccan. The dessert, was from 101 cookbooks last month, which I have been so eager to try. I don't have a photo of the dessert, unfortunately - the camera battery ran out and guests tend to look at you kind of funny when you're photographing their plate instead of giving it to them - but I have some leftovers and will put a photo together later hopefully. (Although, how long is proessed tofu good? It's been sitting in the fridge for a week now, with little spoonfuls taken out every now and then).

The tagine was incredibly easy to make - I simply threw 1 1/2 kilos of diced shoulder lamb in a large heavy bottomed pot, with a handful of garlic and ginger, a couple of onions, a pinch of saffron and cinnamon, some oil and water to cover. I let this simmer gently for a couple of hours and then added a packet of pitted prunes, which had been soaking in warm water for a while. I had flirted with the idea of using dates, as I much prefer them, but looked at the relative sugar content and dates have twice the sugar of prunes! So I decided to stick to the original recipe, the first time anyway. Added a few spoonfuls of honey and cooked for a while longer.

Now the sweetness of the tagine is supposed to be offset by the heat in the salad - which was composed of red onion, capsicum, garlic, green chilli, oil, lemon, mint and celery? Now I know the title is "Crunchy Country Salad" but to me the celery struck a really odd note in this dish.

I made the couscous, a celebration dish, well, not exactly according to the instructions, which were detailed and a little lengthy, given how quickly I had to throw it together. And throw ended up being the operative word. Essentially, I finely sliced a handful each of apricots and dates and threw these, with slivered almonds and pistachios, into hot oil to brown. After a minute or two, I tipped in about half a bag of couscous, mixed and added water. (WARNING, THIS CAN CAUSE AN ALMIGHTY BUBBLING AND SPITTING AND CARRY ON, WHICH WILL LEAVE YOU FEELING SLIGHTLY GLAD AND SLIGHTLY GUILTY THAT IT WAS A GUEST WHO WAS HOLDING THE SAUCEPAN AT THIS POINT). You can add saffron, cinnamon and sugar if you have the presence of mind. I didn't.

I served tagine, salad and couscous with small pita breads. In hindsight, I would make the tagine one day in advance, the leftovers were much tastier. That could also be because I upped the salt and pepper and added fresh lemon juice and a lot of mint. To me, the recipe is not a standby yet, it shows promise but still needs work. The couscous i think could be nice, with a few additions and maybe some more oil.

And the dessert? Now that's another story all in itself. And I have a lot of catching up on other people's blogs to do!!

Note: I did take photos of the tagine, salad and couscous, but blogger is not letting me upload them for some ridiculous reason. I'll try again tomorrow. But I wanted to say I'm baaaaaaaack! I'm heeeeere ... heehhehehe


At 12:13 AM, Blogger Clare Eats said...

Sounds Great!!!

Blogger can be a bearch sometimes

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Caroline said...

Glad to hear that you're finally getting around to going Moroccan. I must say that I'm not a fan of prunes myself and always use dried apricots instead. Never thought of using dates!

Also, I have to let you know that I've tagged you for the foodie leg of Basic Juice's meme with two tails - The Best in the Last 30. Enjoy!

At 1:42 AM, Anonymous joey said...

That dinner sounds great! I did a Moroccan dinner some posts ago was a chicken dish with pears...yummy but in need of further tweaking as well...

I couldn't upload pictures yesterday either...bother!

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well. I hope you are feeling back to normal soon!

The dinner sounds great! I can't wait to see the other pictures.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger plum said...

Hi Clare, I've finally solved it, for now anyway! Bloggah irritates me sometimes, but hey, it's free!

Hi Caroline, I'm pleased to have finally gotten my act together and now that I have all these little bags of ingredients, I plan to do some more. I also bought some ras al hanout (I know you made yours but I just DID NOT SEE THAT HAPPENING .. hehehe. This is from the lovely packaged Mecca range and it has rose petals in it and I Could Not Resist. Thanks for the tag - I shall get into it as soon as I've done my first proper IMBB entry!

Hi Joey, I see you've been off having BIG ADVENTURES! And I must go check if the Elizabeth book you're reading is the same one I've read. I went on hols once reading one of her books and the rest of the group got very annoyed because I was so enraptured I wouldn't put it down!

Hi Joe, yes stupid cold! I've put some photos up of the tagine and couscous (you would NOT believe how hard it is to take pictures of couscous - it's not a particularly great photo but that's the best of about 20 which I took!!) I wanted to re-create a photo of the chocolate mousse and pashmak dessert for IMMB 19, but I think I am just going to have to write it up. Oh well, there's always next time.


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