We are back online – apologies for the light posting recently but normal services can now resume! We have moved into a new flat and the kitchen is kick ass so I have no excuse not to cook up lots of lovely food. It’s got quite a nice electric stove, loads and loads of drawers and cabinets for all my gadgets and even a big island / breakfast bar – perfect for rolling out pastry yay. I should not be this excited about a kitchen but I totally am.
And to celebrate here’s one of the first meals I made in said fabulous new kitchen…
Tagine should be a staple in every vegetarian’s repertoire – this North African dish (named after the pot in which it is cooked) has got a real depth of flavour that I find isn’t always easy to achieve with just vegetables. The dried apricots help give that complex flavour and they basically melt away so don’t be scared to add them even if you’re not into fruit in your savoury dishes. In the recipe below I’ve roasted the squash separately as I think this gives a better texture and stronger flavour but if you’re feeling lazy you can just chuck it in the pot!
This is a super flexible recipe, great for using up whatever veg you have to hand. It’s quick and easy to prepare in advance but tasty enough to serve at a dinner party – maybe with houmous, pita, grilled haloumi, olives or whatever other Middle Eastern flavours take your fancy…
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 a large butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper, large dice
- 2 medium carrots, large dice
- substitute other vegetables as desired, eg spinach, chard, courgette, etc
- 1 can plum tomatoes
- 1 can chickpeas
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 50g (1/2 cup) dried apricot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon each: cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne/chilli powder, chilli flakes and harissa (North African chilli sauce – optional)
- 2 teaspoons each: ras el hanout and za’atar or sumac (If you don’t have any of these North African spices in your cupboards, a teaspoon each of thyme and oregano would imitate za’atar, a squeeze of lemon juice will give a sourness like sumac and a teaspoon of mixed spice gives some of the flavours of ras el hanout. Or add 1 tsp of each if you have them all.)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry spices together and divide in half. Mix half the spices with the diced squash and a bit of olive oil, place on a tray in the oven and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 20-30 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, soften the onion in a bit of butter or olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the rest of the spices, the other chopped vegetables and garlic, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, honey, dried apricots and stock, heat until boiling.
- Reduce the heat and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have cooked and the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Add the roasted squash and chickpeas, stir to combine and heat through for another 3-5 minutes.
- Serve over couscous!
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