Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Moroccan meatballs with couscous

I went to Marrakesh in May last year and loved it - the food, the riad's, lanterns and souk's. I've since tried to recreate some of the incredible food we had there. I've also noticed that Moroccan cuisine seems to be more popular in the UK now. We ate a lot of couscous and spiced grilled meat and harissa (a spicy flavoured chilli paste). One recipe I found was for Moroccan meatballs served with a herby couscous - I cooked it with my boyfriend for my parents on Saturday night.
Ingredients - serves 4/5
1 kg lean minced lamb
1 red onion, grated or finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cm chunk ginger, grated or use a couple of tsp ground ginger
pinch dried chilli flakes
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Olive oil flavoured with garlic
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes (and swill half again in water)
200ml chicken stock 
coriander, chopped

To serve - 
400g couscous
500ml chicken stock/water
harissa paste
Pitta breads (I like the round little ones from Waitrose)

1. Put the lamb, onion, garlic and half the spices in a bowl and season well. Use your hands to mulch it all up and form small meatballs (we made 40)
2. Heat garlic oil in a large pan and add the meatballs in batches, frying until browned all over. Then scoop them out. Add the rest of the spices to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes, stock and season. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the meatballs and cook for another 20 minutes.
3. Make the couscous by adding the stock, a couple of teaspoons of harissa paste before forking through. Leave to absorb the liquid.
4. Meanwhile, grill the pitta breads by sprinkling with water then placing under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. 
5. Add coriander to the meatballs and fork some through the couscous. Serve by pouring some meatballs and sauce over the couscous and mopping it up with the pittas. 
- My Dad likes it with a kick so added more harissa paste.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mexican Fajitas

I love the whole tex-mex fajita thing. Last night I made these fajitas with my boyfriend - sizzling chicken, peppers and onion cooked in a griddle pan and then rolled up in a soft tortilla with salsa, guacamole, lettuce and grated cheese. We cheat, just the tiniest bit, by using Discovery seasoning paste but they're really yummy.

Ingredients - 
Chicken breasts, cut into strips
Red yellow and orange peppers, cut into strips
Red and white onion, cut into strips
Discovery Fajita Seasoning Paste
Tortilla wraps
Sour Cream (optional)
Grated cheese

1. Fry the chicken, peppers and onions until really well cooked and the onions are almost caramelised. Then add the fajita seasoning paste and stir in. 
2. Microwave the tortilla wraps to warm and soften.
3. To assemble, add some salsa to a wrap and top with the chicken and vegetable mix and then add some lettuce, grated cheese and guacamole. Fold up and eat!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Fig relish, Parma ham, rocket and cheese baguette...

I don't usually bother making gourmet lunches, normally just getting some soup or a peanut butter sandwich. But today was different as I saw an idea for this baguette - 
Salty ham with sweet figs and peppery rocket combine to make a great sandwich. I went to my local deli to buy the fig relish and some good ham (prosciutto or parma). I then bought some fresh baguettes, a few slices of good Cheddar (although brie or goats cheese would also work) and a bag of rocket. Assemble by spreading a thin layer of the relish before layering the ham, cheese and rocket with a grinding of black pepper.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are really good, soft yet chewy with just enough chocolate and a hint of vanilla. They're even better warm served with ice cream. 

250g plain flour
Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
Half tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
200g soft brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
325g chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 170c and grease a couple of baking trays or line with baking paper.

2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until well blended then add the vanilla and eggs until combined. Sift the flour and bicarbonate until just blended, then add the chocolate chips.
3. Drop cookie dough onto the baking trays with each cookie about a tablespoon. Don't flatten, leave a big gap between them.
4. Bake for about 14 minutes or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks.