Moroccan Harira meets vegan cottage pie

11 Dec

Moroccan Harira meets vegan cottage pie

They say that travel broadens the mind, but what does that actually mean?

Moroccan style vegan cottage pie by Deena Kakaya

Does it mean that we learn about other cultures and ways of life, new languages, different cuisines or perhaps unfamiliar landscapes and explore intriguing wildlife or flora? Does it mean that we speak to people that we wouldn’t ordinarily speak with and feel their joys, anguishes and reasons for fatigue? Or does it mean that we push ourselves out of a comfort zone and this in itself grows us?

I suppose it depends on not only where you go, but how you travel. Did lying languidly on a Mauritian beach a few years ago broaden my mind in an educational sense? Listening to an ex-prisoner on Robben Island telling us about the rationally differentiated ration card and cutting sun-reflecting limestone in the sun however, left me wondering how forgiving a person I am?

I spent 9 days in Dubai last week. It was my fourth visit and my husband travels frequently for work. In fact, we went to the same resort as we had visited last year when my boy was just a year old. We had decided many years ago that we would never visit the same destination twice, but many things change when you have children.

Moroccan style vegan cottage pie by Deena Kakaya

Dubai is packed full of ex-pats and a myriad of cultures, plethora of cuisines, a whole haze of languages and my eyes blur with the multiple construction sites. It is hot, it is growing and it is has promise. So, what did I learn during my recent travels?

Well, I had a few moments to think whilst my husband fed my boy falafel and green rice in our favourite Lebanese restaurant within the resort. I had just watched, and admired a belly dancer whilst considering whether her body had been augmented and was now listening to the live singer whilst scooping up the most wonderful garlic and herb hummus with fresh balloon bread. My mind wandered off and that I do learn when I am away is that the jurisdictions of possibility are all in my head. Look at the people around me. I made a point of trying to learn the story of as many people I came across in Dubai as I could. The waiter from India who has doubled his salary by moving, didn’t stop at other’s notions of what is inconceivable, the female taxi driver who had escaped a harmful relationship and gained independence had not put limitations on herself either.  The people who yearned for sunlight and sand between their toes, or even just safety…they didn’t stop moving did they?

So from sipping Harira to wanting healthy comfort food at home, here are those two worlds on a plate. Harira is a fragrant with cinnamon and saffron and kind soup that is deep with lentils and gently spiced. This is an oil free recipe and vegan too. I haven’t even used any cheese because it is not needed with those Moroccan essences. I have used the finest sweet potatoes sent to me by Riverford and some of their massive shiny leeks that enhance the light sweetness of this dish.

for the full recipe head over to great British chefs

10 Responses to “Moroccan Harira meets vegan cottage pie”

  1. Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry December 12, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Moroccan Harira cottage pie meet a very happy Bintu.

  2. Katie @ Whole Nourishment December 14, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    Mmm I love harira. And I love how you made it into a winter appropriate pie, especially with the sweet potato topping. Glad to hear you had a nice holiday from regular routine recently!

    • Deena Kakaya December 17, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks so much Katie, funny how it just works xx

  3. Lisa December 15, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Sounds delicious. Interestingly, I recently made a curried version of Shepherd’s pie that was also vegan. Such comfort food.

    • Deena Kakaya December 17, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Absolutely Lisa, this is the food of warm and exotic snuggles x

  4. kellie anderson December 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    The vegan shepherd’s pie is always ripe for tasty interpretation. This Moroccan twist sounds really lovely, Deena. I’m glad you had a nice holiday with your family. Never been to Dubai. Our warm holidays are always spent at ‘home’ in Florida with my Dad. But it sounds a fun place for young families (and keen shoppers!)

    • Deena Kakaya December 17, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks so much Kellie. Your at ‘home’ holidays sound much more gorgeous than my visits back to Leicester 😉 xx

  5. karen278 December 17, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Oh yes Deena, what is NOT to like here, it’s comforting and spicy and full of veggies! C’est parfait! Karen

    • Deena Kakaya December 17, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Thanks Karen, I could eat this one every week through winter x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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