Friday, 27 September 2013

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons are widely used in Moroccan cuisine. Once they are ready to use, you wash the excess salt from the lemon and, in most instances, you use the rind of the lemon. Preserved Lemons do take about a month before you can start to use them. The brine in which they sit, allows the lemons to ferment at room temperature in a cool dark place.

I know I have been posting a lot of small condiments of Moroccan cuisine lately, but it will be worth it in the end. These past few posts are some of the basic necessities of Moroccan cooking and there are plenty more where that comes from. 

The picture featured below was taken at the same time as the Preserved Lemons were made. Once they have been sitting in their brine for about a month I will take another picture to show the difference and final product.

What you need:
10 lemons
150g coarse sea salt
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
cold water

How to:
1) Squeeze the juice of 5 lemons into a bowl.

2) With a sharp knife cut a deep cross into the top of the lemons. Cut almost all the way to the bottom of the lemons. Ensure the cut lemons are still joined at the bottom.

3) Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt inside each cut lemon then push the cut lemon together and place into a sterilised jar. 

4) Once all lemons are placed into the jar, layer the remaining salt, bay leaves and cinnamon stick in between the lemons.

5) Pour the lemon juice over the lemons and fill the jar, enough to cover the lemons, with cold water.

6) Leave to ferment for a month in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar gently every 3rd day or so.

Ben's Food Blog is also on Facebook, please go to the below link, like and share the Facebook page to spread the blog out there - thank you for your support :)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Moroccan Mint Tea

The national drink of Morocco is Mint Tea. This drink is served usually before and after every meal in Morocco. It can either be enjoyed hot or cold. 

The Moroccan's don't stir the tea, the way they mix the tea is by pouring in and out of the teapot. The first glass is poured, then tipped back into the teapot to stir/mix the brew. Then from a height, the tea is poured into brightly coloured and patterned tea glasses. 

Mint tea cleanses the palette and has such a refreshing taste. 

What you need:
1 tbs Chinese gunpowder green tea
2 tbs sugar
large handful of mint leaves and stalks
boiling water

How to:
1) Put all the ingredients into a teapot and allow to brew for approx 3-5 minutes.

2) From a height pour into one glass. Then return that glass of tea to the teapot.

3) From a height pour into selected number of tea glasses. If you prefer the tea cold, allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate before serving.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Moroccan Dry Spice

Wow, it has been a while since I wrote my last blog, sorry all. I have been doing some experiments with some dry Moroccan spice mix. I tell you now, the smells are amazing and so are the tastes.

I have made 2 Dry Spice Mix's; Ras al Hanout (1) and Baharat (2). Both of these can be used to either marinate meat, use in Tagine and to flavor Cous Cous. To make a marinate for meat just add a little olive oil to make it wet and rub it into your meat.

Moroccan is by far my favorite cuisine. Smelling these spice mix's puts you right in the centre of Morocco's spice markets and the heart of Moroccan cuisine.

1) Ras al Hanout

What you need:
Lightly roast and finely grind -
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
the seeds from 6 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns 

2 tsp sweet paprika 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp allspice 

How to:
Mix all spices together. It will keep for up to 3 months in an airtight jar.

2) Baharat

What you need:
5 tbs sweet paprika
4 tbs black pepper, finely ground
3 tbs cumin seeds, finely ground
2 tbs coriander seeds, finely ground
2 tbs cinnamon powder
2 tbs cloves, finely ground
1 tbs ground star anise
1 tsp grated nutmeg

How to:
Mix all spices together. It will keep for up to a year in an airtight jar.