Today I take you to Marrakech, the red city of the desert, the Mother of all oasis! We went to the fruit and veg’ souk to choose the ingredients for a very typical Marrocan soup in the warm colours of the flag.
Diced vegetables for a stunning mix of colours
- Split-peas, one cup
- Water, 5 cups
- Carrots, 2 diced
- Red onions, 2 diced
- Cumin, 3 Tbsp
- Parsley , chopped to taste
- Lemon, ½ squeezed
- Salt and pepper
- Bay leaves, 2
First wash and chop all the vegetables.
Then melt the onions in a pan (with lid) and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook until brownish.
Add the well rinsed split-peas, the diced carrots and churn all into the hot oil for a few minutes.
Add the cumin and the bay leaf with the 5 cups of water.
Season with pepper and a little salt ( I prefer to add the rest of the salt at the end).
Leave on a medium heat for 45 min to one hour. Remove the bay leaves. Check the tenderness of the split-peas and carrots. Serve with parsley and lemon juice . Add salt or water if necessary.
Good food is a journey in itself, it bears a story, it stirs your soul. It takes you away and back…
Posted in 3 to 4 ingredients, family favourite, Postcards from abroad, pot luck, soup
Tagged cumin, healthy, morocco, savoury, soup, split-peas, vegan, vegetarian
A dish for spring:
Falling apart in the pot…
A Mallorcan recipe of melting lamb in a reduction of wine, thyme and rosemary.
This is the perfect hot-pot to serve guests at a dinner party because you will have left it to cook in the oven all night and therefore only need to reheat and serve – leaving you lots of time to : A/lay a really lovely table, B/concentrate on pudding or C/ do your nails and get yourself pretty!
Spring is the new lamb season so this dish really comes into his own now but do check with your butcher that he is giving you a spring lamb and not anything he’s had in the freezer for a while. Though you can also try this with a tougher goat or kid joint and it would be just as delicious and tender.
- A shoulder of lamb (with bone in)
- A bottle of spanish Rioja or Mallorcan red (some body and flavour!)
- A mix of diced carrots, onion and celery (or other root veg) to flavour the juices
- A bundle of thyme and rosemary, tied in a string, with bay leaf optional
- Salt and pepper to season (always towards the end)
- OPTIONAL: Add 6 to 8 dry or fresh figs towards the end – you will love this!!!
Rinse and pat dry your joint.
Make a pretty bundle with the herbs, tie in string.
Brush and chop the vegetables. I do not tend to peel them. It is easier and healthier with skin on so why bother…
Put the ingredients in a large pot with a lid and pour the wine over. The liquid should be at two third of the meat. Add some water if needed.
Leave to cook, covered, in the oven for at least 8 hours at 160°. I put it around 11pm when I go to bed and stop it when I get up at 7:30.
Season with sea salt and black pepper. Leave it to cool, then remove the fatty blob bits that solidify at the surface – it is worth doing this if you have the time, to get a leaner dish.Taste then reheat just before serving, leaving the dish uncovered.
I promise you the house will smell like the farmhouse restaurant, lost in the hills of Mallorca, where I first tasted that dish. It was generously soaked in the rich wine juice and tasted as if the meat had been infused in thyme and grape juice for a long long time – which it had!
Here I indulge my love of all things ginger! Don’t you love this warm colour and spice?! And it goes so well with pumpkin it would be a sin not to pair them… Here is your week-end recipe, just in time!
Libby’s pumpkin purée is a very ubiquitous ingredient in the UK and it is a great product to use when winter makes fresh fruit a bit more scarce… So this is a cupboard or pantry recipe, unashamedly quick and practical.
- Eggs, 3
- Libby’s pumpkin purée, 3/4 of a jar
- Brown sugar, 150g
- Rapeseed oil, 100ml
- Self-Raising Gluten free flour mix, 150g
- Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
- Ground ginger, 1 generous Tbsp
- Cinnamon, 1 Tbsp
- Vanilla extract
Blend the eggs with sugar and pumpkin purée.
Add the oil, then the flour mixed with the bicarbonate.
Blend in the spices. I use a robot for that but you can make do with a hand whisk because all the ingredients are very easily blendable.
Pour the mix into a rectangular pan and bake for 30 minutes at 180°.
This is a lovely and light cake with lots of seasonal spices, perfectly suited to the winter and delicious with a cup of chai latte or coffee latte.
Because it is rather low in sugar and has no dairy in it, I will still call it a bread but it is as indulgent as it gets! The pumpkin purée makes it very moist and similar to a gingerbread. Just a nice, healthy twist on it…
NO butter, no dairy, no gluten! No fun?! Actually plenty of taste – As I said I DO love all things ginger…
“Caviar d’aubergine” or Aubergine dip is a traditional middle eastern dish and I love it everywhere and anywhere because it is super healthy and oh so simple to whip up. I can hardly believe I have not yet included it in this blog… For us, it always goes with our family size pot of hummous and lots of fresh veg and homemade bread to dip in.
I have been recently immersed in the excellent book by Dr Michel de Lorgeril “Le nouveau régime méditerranéen”- a well written, even humorous scientific essay-
and I am loving the idea that simple, century-old recipes still hold the key to good health and longevity. Aubergine salad or dip is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet and as such needs to feature in a balanced diet. So here it is : not a fad’ and not made of fancy expensive ingredients nobody has heard of – just authentic, simple and classic food.
- Aubergines, 4 medium size
- Tahini, 3 Tbsp
- Lemon juice, of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Garlic cloves, 2
- Olive oil
- Pepper and smoked paprika to taste
Slice the aubergines in two halves, drizzle a little oil over and put them in the oven for 1h at 160°.
Once cooled, peel them and cut them up in chunks. Press them with a potato masher or put them through the food processor with all the other ingredients until you get a smooth cream.
Check the seasoning. It needs to be sharp and well balanced but not too pungent. One tip: cut each garlic clove in twos and removed the greenish shoot in the middle to take the edge off the garlic but still have a beautiful flavour.
Serve with oatcakes or flat bread. Or just with cut up raw carrots and peppers if you are going Paleo!
A venitian market
Posted in 3 to 4 ingredients, family favourite, pot luck
Tagged budget, dip, eggplant, hummous, lemon, Lorgeril, mediterranean diet, paleo, smoked paprika, vegetable