Chicken and Lemon Tagine

December is always a little fraught for me. The looming prospect of financing a Christmas day that is filled with presents and food and fun. It is my favourite time of year but even I sometimes have that stomach churning feeling of doubt that I won’t be able to pull it off. I can safely say I did and am truly hopeful that next year I will do the same and better!

One of my favourite jobs last December was a shoot for National Geographic Food Magazine. A day spent cooking and shooting Tagine’s for their February edition.

I made a Lamb Shank and Prune Tagine, recipe provided by Nargisse Benkabbou her cookbook Casablanca My Morrocon Food is out this May.

I also cooked my recipe for chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine featured on the lead cover of the article along with my hand lifting the Tagine lid :).

Here are a few pics of the article, better still go and buy the magazine. I leave you with my recipe below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine

This is a fairly traditional Chicken Tagine recipe. You can add to it some raisin’s or some sweet dates if you wish, it is pretty flexible. I use saffron to infuse a little smokiness but if you don’t have any use a teaspoon of turmeric. You do not need to own a traditional Tagine to make this. In fact after the 2nd of my clay Tagines split on the hob, I now use a dutch pot. if I have guests over, I decant the stewinto the Tagine for serving. Otherwise the pot just goes on the table.

Serves 4 hungry people (IE my family) or 6 with a selection of sides.

Ingredients

Pinch of saffron (or a teaspoon of Turmeric)
550ml chicken stock
Glug olive oil
six to eight chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
4garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted
1 cinnamon stick
6 small preserved lemons, quartered quartered then cut into thin strips
200g green olives
Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley or coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

METHOD
Soak the saffron in a jug containing the hot stock for a few minutes. If you are using Tumeric add it to the stock now.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or deep sided frying pan over a medium/high heat and brown the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper whilst you brown them. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan or you will end up with steamed chicken. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices to the pan and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes then add the chicken and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer over a gentle heat, covered, for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Add the lemons and olives and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season to taste, scatter with the fresh herbs.

I serve this dish with cous cous or rice and some flat breads. Enjoy x


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An Autumnal Salad

I had a wonderful gig this summer, touring the country promoting Campingaz  BBQ’s. I toured pretty much every weekend showcasing my recipes and feeding the general public. The only downside from such a great job is that now I cannot even look at a steak, let alone eat it. I am cowed out!

Hence the last few weeks I have been trying to come up with no meat options for myself and the kids. The kids are not quite as enthusiastic about this phase as I am but I shall persevere.

After many a pasta, potato and couscous dish, even I was looking for something a bit different. Squashes and Beets are in season and on my last visit to Lidl (I bloody love that place) I grabbed some beetroots and made up this salad. It is soo good I have eaten it pretty much everyday for a week.  I hope you like it too.

Beetroot and Halloumi Salad

As long as you have the two main elements, beets and halloumi, the rest is up to you. There is something really addictive about the sweetness of the beetroot and the saltiness of the cheese.

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 4 small or 2 large fresh beetroots
  • pack of Halloumi
  • Rocket
  • Half a red chilli (finely diced)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Splash of olive oil

Method

Turn on the oven to about 180C, prick the beets and put them on a roasting dish, roast for about 40mins until they have a bit of give in them. Set them aside to cool enough for you to peel them.

Heat up a frying pan and slice up the Halloumi. Splash a little olive oil on the cheese pieces then fry them in a pan until each side has a golden tinge. Set aside and then peel and slice the beets.

Place the beet slices on a plate and lightly season with salt and pepper. Scatter the rocket leaves over the top then the Halloumi slices and chilli. Dress with the lime juice and olive oil.


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Burger Me

After doing a couple of shifts at the 3 Compasses Dalston for my lovely friend Michael AKA Stephen Fries. Flipping burgers and assembling his signature Stephens Piggie and Fat Ronaldo, he asked me to pop in and do a bit of tszujing for a burger shoot.

A few tips on styling a burger. First have a chef who knows how to cook a burger properly, which Stephen clearly does. The basic rule is, assemble the burger so you can see every element, the lettuce, the burger, the onion, the sauce. That and a little bit of oil to make the burger glisten just before you shoot. Thats it!

Have a lovely weekend.


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