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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.
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…
A dish for spring:
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.
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!
Ginger is still a running theme or obsession of mine currently, so there you go: another ginger recipe but fiery this time and velvety, and so perfectly suited to the cold spell we are having in London at the moment… Will it snow? Will it not?!
Slice the squash in large chunks and take all seeds out but do not peel it- This last step is much easier to take after roasting! No sweat! Take the easy route for once… You can also roast it whole in the oven and chop later, as in my picture!
Roast the sliced squash with a bit of olive oil- I use Olivio at the moment.In a hot oven under grill for 20 min should do. Take the opportunity to roast other roots vegetables or pepper and aubergines at the same time – you can always use those in salads or couscous later!
Peel the butternut slices when ready and soft.
Mix them in the food processor with the stock, boiling water and all the other ingredients – but do be careful with the chilli: you want a gentle kick, not a huge explosion!
If using a Thermomix, get it to heat at the same time as you chop (100°C/speed max/5 min).
Dilute with the cream and coconut milk especially if you find it too strong or too thick: it should be served creamy though, not watery.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of coriander.
While you sip, feeling virtuous and engaged, there is still time to write your New Year resolutions : Why not change the world this year?! One step at a time. Be bold!!! There is much that needs doing… Ok, more soup and wholesome food might be a good start; some exercise will not kill you; but do not stop at that, go further: the future is ours! Lets be ambitious. Lets save the world this year. I mean it. Find a platform, a charity, a movement and go with it. And above all: choose your motto!
No wars, no drugs, no hunger.
It feels good already just saying it.
I am very excited about sharing this recipe! Maybe it is its simplicity, or its taste combination, or maybe it is the fact we are approaching Easter but I feel really excited about posting this…
It was in a cold train station, very early one morning, that I tasted this dish and was instantly hooked! This little cream pot with a soft runny egg in the middle revived memories of the ham and egg “oeuf cocotte” I used to be served as a child – a comforting, protein-packed and tasty starter…
If you don’t want to splash on truffle oil or truffle paste, you can just replace it with chopped ham and a pinch of sweet paprika. Both versions work just as well but I had bought Truffle oil and Truffle paste from Tartufaia Truffles in Borough Market as a Christmas treat and a dash of both elevated a simple family dish to new heights of deliciousness!!! I prefer using duck eggs for this because there is more of it and they cook slower than hen ones so you are less likely to overdo them ; but any egg will do – just adjust the cooking time to the size.
Take an oven-proof small dish like a “ramequins” or dariole mould and put a large dollop of crême fraîche in it. Push the curved side of your spoon in to create a dip. Crack your duck egg inside the dip. Dribble some truffle oil and add some truffle shavings (or use some Tartuffaia truffle paste if you can). Truffles are an expensive treat but you only need a little oil or paste to release the most powerful aroma so it is worth making the effort.
Steam in an electric steamer or in a pan with a little water for under 10 minutes. Stop the cooking as soon as the yolk start to set. The white will set before the yolk does and so the result is a soft boiled egg in a dish!
Serve boiling hot with a small pinch of sea salt. Add some buttered “soldiers” on the side! This is regressive and blissful cooking…