Saturday, 25 August 2012

Dreams of Exotic Places...

I'm lying in bed, on a bleak Sunday morning, full of germs and missing my voice. Ahhh what better time to update my blog. Yes well, it seemed like a great idea, only Chester, my son and his partner's 5 month old kitten has decided that my tummy/chest is a good place to snuggle up - so typing is rather tricky. He's a rather adorable young man, but insists on taking on my 3 cats...incessantly, so it wasn't a huge surprise to find, upon visiting the vet yesterday, he's been brewing an abscess or several from claw and bite marks (you'd think he might reflect on the pain and work out what's causing it - wouldn't you?). Looking at him in the pic,  butter would melt in his mouth!?

Usually, on a Sunday morning, I spend time going through the latest culinary delights on Stuff Recipes. My list of bookmarked recipes I 'must try', is growing faster than my ability or perhaps time available to give them a go. Today, there was a delicious sounding Lamb and Kumara Tagine (sweet potato), which I'm determined to make tonight.

I have two tagines, one that's perfect for one or two, and a bigger one, I could possibly use to serve 4-6.  I don't usually follow a recipe as I have some awesome spice mixes from The Best Ever company...only problem is they only sell at fairs and don't have a I have to stock up and use them sparingly. My favourites are the Ras El Hanout, Persian Mix and the all time fav...Baharrat. Sprinkled over chicken, fish, any meat, they give a wonderful exotic flavour, add onions, potatoes and any other vegetables, bake on a low heat for 1 and a half hours (or longer), and the meat is divinely tender and moist. The beauty of tagines is that the design causes the steam to condense in the lid and run back into the dish - so no drying out. I do the same just with vegetables, always adding the greens such as broccoli towards the end so they don't go soggy.

The tagine is great for me, being somewhat disorganised - I never quite manage to get the slow cooker organised, so that I come home to a house filled with delicious aromas and dinner waiting to be served. It's so simple to prepare tagine cooking, the dish can be used on the element/gas for browning, then transfered straight into the oven. So if I'm home by 5pm, we can still have the delicious aromas AND a dinner waiting to be served by 6.30ish. They can be somewhat expensive to buy though...I watched Peta Mathias Peta Mathias Culinary Adventures in Marrakech with envy, as she went to markets and was faced with piles and literally piles of terracotta tagines - presumably a far cry from our $NZ100++.

Ah well, I guess tagine envy will get me nowhere!