Monday, 28 February 2011

Get Your Passport to Morocco

This week, why don't you invite a little exotica to your table? Moroccan cuisine is one of the most delicious cuisines of the North African region and we now add the Al Fez range of sauces, pastes and spice-mixes to our shelves that will help you recreate the flavours of Morocco with its rich spiced sauces, slow-cooked tagines and delicate, rose-scented pastries in your own kitchen. Like Indian Cuisine, Moroccan cuisine is incredibly diverse due to cultural influences from all over the world down the ages. But what makes Moroccan cuisine even more even more appealing is that it is fairly healthy using a minimal amount of olive oil and cooking techniques like braising, grilling and baking. And the ingredients it calls for are so easily found in Indian home kitchens; chickpeas, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs and honey.
To serve up a delicious meal begin with a platter of olives from the extensive selection we have on offer. For appetiser serve some of our fresh Pita bread warmed up and drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive oil and nutty Al Fez Zahtar (an ubiquitous blend of thyme and sesame seeds so difficult to replicate that Al Fez gets theirs straight from Morocco) and spicy Harissa paste (hot chilli paste from Tunisia that blends chilli heat with aromatic spice notes.) Continue your journey through Moroccan cuisine by losing yourself in an aromatic Tagine redolent of spices, served over steaming hot Couscous. In fact you could consider picking up one of our Moroccan Tagine Kits that contain all of the essential ingredients - a delicately seasoned apricot couscous, aromatic spices and a deliciously thick sauce concentrate – required to make an authentic, Moroccan meal meal in minutes!

Serve a large Fatoush Salad for cool crunch, seasoned with Zahtar, generous drizzles of Olive oil and Lemon juice to round of the meal. And  - we insist - that you conclude this exotic journey for your palate in the sweet notes of a selection of exotic stuffed dates we stock or even more perfect would be some pistachio Baklava drizzled in sensuous orange blossom water. It's never been easier to go gourmet!

Tagines are slow-cooked Moroccan curries braised at a low temperature, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. It is traditionally cooked in the tagine pot, to which it owes its name. Try the Al Fez Honey & Almond Tagine, a sweet spiced sauce that combines the richness of honey with the nuttiness of almonds, It is perfect with chicken, lamb or even vegetables. For a more robust option try the Spiced Tomato & Herb Tagine sauce that has hints of Cinnamon. Or for really typical tangy Morocan oomph, try the Spicy Lemon Tagine Paste which is a wonderfully complex concentrate of spices with a rich & zesty flavour of lemons.

Apricot & Coriander Chicken Tagine:


Preparation time: 30 minutes; Serves: 2

Ingredients:





  • 2 chicken breast-cut into 1" cubes

  • 1 tsp Ras El Hanout

  • 1 tbsp Al’Fez Apricot & Coriander Sauce

  • 1 small onion-chopped

  • 1 green pepper/capsicum-deseeded and quartered

  • 4 garlic cloves-chopped

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes


Method:



  1. Rub the ras el hanout on the chicken cubes and set aside or 5 minutes.

  2. Heat oil in a pan and cook the chicken breasts over medium heat until sealed.

  3. Add sauce, cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.

  5. Serve on a bed of rice or couscous.


Alternatively, here is a vegetarian recipe for Moroccan Vegetable Tagine:


Preparation Time: 20 minutes; Serves: 2

Ingredients:



  • 1 aubergine-diced

  • 1 red pepper-deseeded and quartered

  • 1 yellow pepper-deseeded and quartered

  • 2 onions-chopped

  • 4-5 cloves of garlic-chopped

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp Al Fez Spiced Tomato & Herb Sauce

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tbsp pine nuts-lightly toasted and chopped

  • 1 tbsp almonds-sliced

  • Fresh parsley-chopped


Method:



  1. Put all the vegetables in a roasting pan and marinate with salt and pepper. Roast in an oven for 20 minutes at 180 C/350 F OR Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pan. Sauté the onions and garlic first till they turn translucent. Sauté the vegetables till they become tender and glazed.

  2. Add the Spiced tomato and herb sauce and mix well.

  3. Add chopped dry fruits, chopped parsley, coriander and mint Serve hot.


Stock up on readymade tagine sauces to prepare a quick Moroccan meal. Use these tagine pastes as a base for casseroles, as cooking sauces, dressings or as dips straight from the jar.


Ras El Hanout: Ras el hanout is Moroccan spice blend with a spicy kick, a floral fragrance and subtle nuances within an overall robust flavour. It is extremely versatile, adding a golden colour and an aromatic and enticing flavor to chicken and vegetable tagines. Add a half teaspoon to a cup of rice or cous cous while cooking to transend the ordinary. Mix with oil, garlic & lemon juice to make a heady marinade or use it as a seasoning in salads, curries, stews, rice and dips.

Preserved Lemons: Preserved lemons are the quintessential condiment of Moroccan cooking, used to flavour a variety of dishes – from lamb and vegetable tagines to salads and savoury pastries. These are soft skinned fruits with a fresh zesty flavour. Add these to salads, marinades, sauces and dressings to perk up your palate.


Preserved Lemons: Preserved lemons are the quintessential condiment of Moroccan cooking, used to flavour a variety of dishes – from lamb and vegetable tagines to salads and savoury pastries. These are soft skinned fruits with a fresh zesty flavour. Add these to salads, marinades, sauces and dressings to perk up your palate.

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