Sunday, 4 August 2013

Chermoula Chicken on Cous Cous

Here it is, my first Moroccan/North African recipe. This recipe has two steps, first the wet spice mix (Chermoula) and then the chicken and cous cous. I found it better to make the spice mix a couple hours before you cook with it, this will allow the mixture to settle and the flavours to blend together.

Chermoula can either be mild or hot. You can add more chilli to this recipe to make it more hot. It goes well with seafood and poultry. Chermoula can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. All you have to do is add more olive oil to the top of it when you take some Chermoula out. 

What you need:
Chermoula -
2 tbs cumin seeds, lightly roasted
1 tbs coriander seeds, lightly roasted
1 1/2 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2-4 whole small red chillies, seeded, scraped and roughly chopped
juice of 2 lemons
100ml olive oil
1/2 tps sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1kg Chicken thighs
500ml chicken stock

250ml water
250g cous cous

How to:
Chermoula - 
1) Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the garlic and chillies are ground to a paste. Pour into a clean jar and cover with olive oil. 

Chicken and Cous Cous -
1) Put the chicken and chicken stock in a baking dish and put in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add the chermoula spice mix on top of the chicken. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

2) Boil water in a pot and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Add the cous cous and cover for 2-3 minutes. Fluff up with a fork. 

3) Put the cous cous on a large dish topped with the cooked chermoula chicken. Pour the remaining stock/sauce from the bottom of the baking dish over the chicken and cous cous.

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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Moroccan - My Favourite Cuisine

There are so many different types of cuisines around the world, but my all time favourite is Moroccan. I can remember the first cook book that I had was a Moroccan cook book. I still have that book to this day.

The mix of Roman, Arabic and Spanish from the more recent times and from the Byzantines, Phoenicians and Carthaginians in the ancient times, these civilisations make up what is now a cuisine of its very own, Moroccan.

Not only is the food full of flavour but the cooking utensils used to create these beautiful dishes are one of a kind. A tagine is terracotta heavy based saucepan with a funnel looking lid. I personally don't know exactly what makes the difference between a tagine and a regular saucepan, but the taste is so different when cooked in a tagine. And there is nothing that can beat an authentic meal right down to the pot it is cooked in.

I haven't posted a Moroccan recipe on my new blog yet as there is so many to choose from and they are all so good. If you have any suggestions of a Moroccan dish that you would like to see, please leave it in the comments below this post.

If you are into spices then Moroccan food is definitely for you. 

I had booked a trip to Morocco last year and was told a couple months before the trip that the tour that I had planned had been cancelled as there was not enough people who booked to go on the tour. I am definitely going to go to Morocco in the future, especially to taste the food.

Morocco's national drink would have to be mint tea. The mixture of Gunpowder green tea and spearmint will provide a refreshing taste and cleanse the pallet. Mint tea is drank any time of the day and drank anywhere. Mint tea is never stirred but poured into the glass from a hight. The first poured glass is then poured back into the tea pot to mix the brew. Then the tea is poured into a Moroccan tea glass from a height.

I will be posting something Moroccan very soon, this post is just a preview of some of the awesome food that Moroccan's can offer.

Spiced Rice

You can't go past a good curry, especially when the weather is raining and cold like it is here tonight. What does everyone usually have with their curry? Rice? Why not spice your rice up a bit and make it shine. 

We don't eat plain rice with our curries any more, we eat Spiced Rice. This is another quick and easy recipe that you only need the one pot for. Our cupboard is full of a wide range of spices. When spices are added to something plain, like rice, it makes your taste buds dance. 

The spices used in this recipe all have a very strong flavour and when you smell them, it reminds me of a Christmas lunch mixed with a licorice shop.
This recipe requires two bay leaves. I personally find fresh bay leaves have a lot more flavour in them than the dried leaves. It can sometimes be hard to find fresh bay leaves around, so why not plant a grow a bay tree? We have done just that. I have bought mum her very own bay tree and in the past three years she has had it, it has tripled in size. Yes it may only be about 30cm tall and has a way to go before becoming a large tree, but it has so many usable leaves on it already.

Serves 4-6

What you need:
225g basmati rice
30g ghee OR butter
5 green cardamom pods, bruised
5 cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
450ml water
salt and pepper to taste

How to:
1) Melt the ghee in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium-high heat. Add the spices and bay leaves and stir for 30 seconds. Stir the rice into the ghee and spices so the grains are coated with ghee. Stir in the water, salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

2) Reduce the heat to as low as possible and cover the saucepan with the lid. Simmer, without lifting the lid, for 8-10 minutes, until the grains are tender and all the liquid is absorbed. 

3) Turn off the heat and use 2 forks to fluff up the rice. Re-cover the saucepan and leave to stand for 5 minutes