Tag Archives: Moroccan food

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

Moroccan spiced paneer, potato, asparagus and olive stew

17 Apr

 

Moroccan spiced paneer, potato, asparagus and olive stew

Moroccan spiced paneer, potato, asparagus and olive stew by Deena Kakaya

 

I’m feeling more alive these days.  I’ve already made my first trip of the year to Brighton, butterfly world and the zoo. We are now frequently taking walks in the park. Today I shook the branch of a tree heavy with pink blossom and to my toddler’s delight; confetti adorned his face and sweater. As I watched his face beam, I took in the sounds of chirping birds, chattering over ducks and felt the glint of sunshine in my eyes. I love spring time.

I’m also eating differently too, as I mentioned in my recent posts. Soups have given way to salads and mugs of green tea with cherries soaked into the mug have been replaced by slim and tall glasses of blueberry lemonade. Snacks of cheesy crackers are no longer the go-to, but strawberries with melted dark chocolates are welcomed in.

Still, I have said it before and I shall again…nothing can cajole me in the way a curry does. It feels natural. It doesn’t have to be an Indian curry though.  This week on twitter I caught some of the conversation about a fusion Udon noodle pot that is available in supermarkets. It was something with an ‘Indian twist’ in the recipe. Some people were clearly unimpressed at how these two cuisines could combine, or maybe it was the way that they were combined that was the cause of dismay. Anyway, I don’t see (well-executed) fusion recipes as a modern atrocity. Very simply, I think that if it ‘works’ (tastes good), then all is good.

On that note, I share with you a recipe for Moroccan spiced paneer, potato, asparagus and olive stew that feel fresh with mint and easy spices, light and juicy, zesty with lemon and the stew has bite and depth.  I haven’t used a ready-made Moroccan spice blend because there is no point; this one is so easy to make with store-cupboard ingredients. I normally buy large bags of spices from an Indian grocer but the folk from Schwartz pointed me towards their handy spices that are available from supermarkets; handy when I can’t get to the Indian grocer which I have to travel to! They are also conveniently packed so I took them away with me when I was demonstrating in Brighton for Vegfest. I found the spices of great colour and they smell just as they should do-lingering and fresh. This recipe uses ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon which you can get from the Schwartz range.

I have also used savera paneer in this recipe because it is the closest thing out there to homemade paneer.

Moroccan spiced paneer, potato, asparagus and olive stew

Ingredients

2 medium sized potatoes

150g asparagus tips

225g paneer, cubed

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 medium red onions, finely sliced

3 tbsp. olive oil

Thumb sized piece of ginger, minced

A handful of mint leaves

The juice of one lemon

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground turmeric

600ml vegetable stock

Salt to taste (the vegetable stock would be salty, so only use salt once you’ve tasted the stew)

1 cup of chopped tomatoes (tinned)

125g pitted queen olives

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add onions, sauté until they soften before adding the paneer garlic and ginger and cook until the paneer starts to catch a golden colour.
  2. Stir in the ground turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and coriander and sauté for 30 seconds before adding the potatoes and mixing well.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and the tomatoes and bring the stew to a simmer before squeezing in the lemon juice and the mint leaves.
  4. Cook for 7-10 minutes before adding the asparagus and the olives and then cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with cous cous or fresh bread.

 

This is a featured post but any views expressed are my own. For more recipes from me and other contributors, you can check out great british chefs

Chermoula marinated Halloumi, apricot and rocket salad with a chilli and agave yoghurt dressing

19 Dec

Chermoula marinated Halloumi, apricot and rocket salad with a chilli and agave yoghurt dressing
Is it nearly spring yet? Last night I went to sleep whilst creating some special spring recipes for a magazine and this morning I woke to beautiful sunshine and feeling a bit of a glow within; evidently, I hold magical powers.

It gets to this time of year when the number of philosophical posts I see on social networking sites spikes and I think I register what most of them are about. There’s a lot of stuff on the value of family, kids and love, how psychotic you are and assessing mental age. Then there’s all the stuff about following your dreams and believing in yourself. Now this is the one which gets me, because believing is one thing, but doing something about it is a whole other thing, isn’t it?

I think the ‘doing’ part is all in the mindset. I read something today about the behaviours of mentally strong people. Mentally strong people realise and know that nobody has the power to make you feel weak, or bad. We are are in charge of our own emotions, we are in charge of our lives. We are not in control of how other people behave but we can certainly control our emotional responses to any given person or circumstance. Mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results, don’t give up and don’t waste time.

Don’t waste time. I made Chermoula, dunked some halloumi in it and stuck it in the fridge for an hour. Look at how it turned out. Exactly.

Chermoula is a lively, zingy, herby Moroccan blend and really works well with the salty halloumi. They are beautifully harmonious with the sweet apricot and the heat from the rocket just finishes the whole dish lip-smackingly!

Ingredients to serve 2-3

200g Halloumi
200g rocket leaves
4 apricots, stoned and cut into slices
300ml plain, natural yoghurt
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp chilli flakes

For the Chermoula

50g coriander, roughly chopped
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
3 tbsp olive oil

Method
1. Start by making the Chermoula. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz it together. Gradually add the olive oil until its smooth.
2. Cut the halloumi into large chunks or equal size and then mix them with the Chermoula. Put the Chermoula coated halloumi in the fridge for an hour or so, or until you are ready to use it. Meanwhile make the dressing by gently whipping together the yoghurt, agave nectar and chilli flakes.
3. Prepare the plates with a small pile of rocket, then the apricots and yoghurt dressing.
4. Heat a non-stick pan and place the halloumi onto the pan on a medium flame. Heat the halloumi through and cook until its lightly golden on one side and then flip it over. Use the remaining, reserved Chermoula, as additional dressing if you wish.
5. Serve the halloumi hot, on top of the salad you’ve prepared. Eat it whilst it is hot, to make the most of the texture.

I am linking this to Karens cooking with herbs challenge because my Chermoula is full of them! image

I am also linking this to Vanesthers spice trail because it contains paprika spice-trail-badge-square

This week I would like to link this to Mark of Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/ Luv Made With Love Mondays,

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