Fish tagine with saffron & almonds

Serves: 4

Nat cooked this number last week and it was awesome.

Low calorie – 299 per serve to be seriously precise – and packing so much flavour, we had it with cauliflower rice remit with toasted cumin and coriander: some currants mixed through – as Nat pointed out – would have sealed the deal.

To think you can eat dinner like this on the couch mid-week, with a glass of vino and some catch-up TV actually makes the weekday slog OK. These are the moments to look forward to.

There is nothing not to like about this one and plenty to love. Do a kilo of fish like we did and toast the goodness into lunch at work as well.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Good pinch, saffron
500ml hot fish or chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
Green chilli, sliced (de-seed if you don’t want it too hot)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato puree (passata)
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp ground almond (almond meal)
Zest of 1 orange, juice of ½
1 tbsp honey
700gm white fish, cut into chunks (make it a kilo and call it lunch)
Small bunch coriander, chopped
Handful flaked almonds, toasted
Couscous and natural yogurt to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan; add the onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Meanwhile, put the saffron in the hot stock and allow to steep.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan and cook for a few minutes more. Add the spices and tomato puree, stir for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, ground almonds, orange zest and juice, honey and saffron-scented stock. Simmer until thickened a little and the tomatoes have broken down.
  3. Add the fish to the pan; stir in softly and cover with a lid; simmer for a few minutes until just cooked. Check the seasoning.
  4. Serve scattered with the chilli along with the couscous and a blob of yogurt. Or cauliflower rice if you are a genius like Nat.

Karen Martini’s Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Eggs and Coriander

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Meatballs out of the oven and waiting for the passata and eggs.

Serves: 4

I am yet to do a Karen Martini recipe that hasn’t been a keeper and this is no exception.

What a Sunday night treat, served with this clever Adam Liaw salad.

The spicy lamb meatballs are divine, what with the richness of the egg and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. And it all presents beautifully.

Sadly, so well that you will struggle to make a lunch out of it the next day. This really is a dish that is hard to stop eating.

Both of the boys loved them with Oliver describing them as ‘better than better’. Little did he know he was eating chilli, sumac and coriander.

A winner on all fronts.

Ingredients

1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
½ onion, finely diced and cooked with a little oil until soft
500gm lamb mince
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
7 eggs
½ bunch parsley, leaves picked
½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
2 tbsp sumac
8 tbsp tomato passata
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Place spices, chopped parsley and coriander, salt, onion, lamb, 1 egh and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and combine well with your hands.
  3. Roll lamb mixture into 8 oval football shapes, coat in parsley and coriander and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sumac and bake for 15 minutes; remove from the oven.
  4. Spoon passata into an ovenproof dish, place meatballs on top, crack 6 eggs over the top and bake for 12 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.

Jamie Oliver’s Couscous Stuffed Roast Chicken

 

Serves: 4

This roast chicken is on a whole other level and a quick read through the ingredients will tell you why.

It looks and tastes dramatic. Real Jamie sort of stuff. The filling forms such a fabulous base for the chicken – so much so that you almost don’t need a side.

Though an orange, olive and onion salad couldn’t hurt!

Enjoy as much as I did.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken
1 cup couscous
Zest and juice of an orange
Zest and juice of a lemon, reserving the lemon halves
2 handfuls of pistachios, or any nut,  roughly chopped
2 handfuls of dried blueberries, or any dried fruit
1 large handful of fresh mint and parsley, plus a little extra to throw on top, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to coat chicken
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cardamon seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Put the couscous, orange and lemon zest and juice, dried fruit, nuts and fresh herbs in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and half a cup of warm water and mix everything together.
  3. With a mortar and pestle or spice blender, pound all the spices with the salt until you have a powder.
  4. Stuff the bird with the couscous mixture. Block the cavity with lemon halves that you have squeezed the juice from. This will keep the couscous from falling out of the chicken.
  5. Rub the chicken with a little olive oil and all of the spice mixture. Throw on the rest of the fresh herb mixture.
  6. Roast the chicken for an hour or so until a thermometer reads 70c. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Lamb marinated in yoghurt

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Lamb sans glug.

Serves: 4

Super simple Matt Moran recipe I pulled from The Australian Financial Review in 2008! Gives you some indication of the backlog.

I was introduced to ras el hanout about 10 years back and it is one of the most versatile spice mixes you can get. Ras el hanout means ‘house spice’ and in Northern Africa and parts of the Middle East, every spice shop competes with their own version of it.

Some interpretations have up to 30 spices included in it.

You won’t find it at Coles though Herbies and David Jones (Food Hall) have it.

I haven’t made it myself though I have included Matt Moran’s take on the spice and once I am out of my current supply, I will give it a go.

I served the lamb with cous cous (which according to Natalie I cannot master and so she refers to it as ‘glug’) with chicken stock, almonds, currents and coriander and at Nat’s highly successful recommendation, roasted red onion pieces and baby carrots, sautéed in the pan with honey.

You’re welcome!

Ingredients

600gm lamb backstrap
100gm natural (fat-free) yoghurt
1 tsp ras el hanout
Bunch of mint, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp preserved lemons thinly sliced

Ras el hanout

2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp table salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
3 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cloves

Method

  1. For the ras el hanout, combine all the ingredients well and store in an airtight container.
  2. To prepare the lamb, cut the lamb into 3cm pieces. In a bowl, mix the yoghurt and ras el hanout with half the mint. Place the lamb in the bowl and coast with the marinade. Marinate overnight.
  3. To prepare the skewers, soak some bamboo skewers in water for an hour (to prevent burning).
  4. Pre-heat the grill to hot. Place four to five pieces of lamb on each skewer and season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Grill the skewers for a minute on each side.
  6. Serve the lamb and scatter over the preserved lemon and remaining mint.
  7. Glug.

Bisteeya

Serves: 8

This wonderful recipe – courtesy of my mother – is seriously great and in so many ways.

Whilst it is a bit of an effort to make, it absolutely rewards: it looks beautiful as part of a banquet, it tastes really special, it’s fun and as I discovered, it is Oliver (my 8 year old) friendly. So friendly that he asked if he could take a slice in his lunchbox to school; this coming from a kid that thinks that tomatoes are dodgy.

Try this just once and I promise you’ll have a smile on your face!

Ingredients

1 c butter
2 c slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
Ground cinnamon
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
½ c chopped coriander
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp saffron threads, crushed
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
salt
1 c water
3 tbsp lemon juice
6 eggs, beaten
filo pastry
icing sugar

Method

  1. Sauté the almonds in 1 tablespoon butter until golden, and then remove and drain on paper towels.
  2. When the almonds are cool, chop them coarsely and combine with the sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Sauté the chicken in 1 ½ teaspoons butter until lightly browned and then remove.
  4. Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender, and then add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the coriander, garlic, cumin, saffron, pepper and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the water, bring to a boil, and then add the chicken and cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, cut into small pieces, and toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  7. Simmer the onion mixture, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the eggs and cook until softly set, and then season with the remaining lemon juice and salt.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
  10. Arrange 10 – 12 sheets of filo on the paper in a pinwheel fashion, brushing each with melted butter.
  11. Top with a sheet folded in half and brushed with butter.
  12. Arrange the chicken in a 9 inch circle over the pastry and spoon over the egg mixture.
  13. Top with the almonds and fold the sheets up on top of the filling.
  14. Repeat the pinwheel pattern over the top with 10 – 12 more sheets of filo, brushing each with melted butter.
  15. Tuck these sheets gently under the pie and brush the top with butter.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and then remove from the oven.
  17. Place baking paper on another baking sheet, place over the pie, invert, and return the pie to the oven and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes.
  18. Invert the pie onto a platter, sift over some icing sugar, and sprinkle on some cross-hatch lines of cinnamon.

Moroccan fish tagine with almond couscous

Serves: 4 – 6

As much as anyone loves a three hour slow-braise tagine, there isn’t time on Tuesday night for such extravagance.

Which is why we have some fabulous tagines like this one.

To reduce the calories even further, skip the butter and add a little chicken stock to your cous cous.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
250gm cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup fish stock
½ preserved lemon, flesh discarded and rind sliced finely
16 pitted Kalamata olives
4 x 180gm skinless, deboned gemfish (or blue eye cod) fillets
Sea salt
Black pepper

Cous cous and to serve

2 cups couscous
30gm butter
1/3 cup flaked almonds, toasted

Handful coriander leaves

Method

  1. Heat oil in tagine (or saucepan) over medium heat. Gently fry onions for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic and spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Stir through tomatoes, stock, lemon rind and olives. Remove half of mixture and place in a bowl.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper and lay it over the mixture still in the tagine. Top with remaining mixture from bowl. Cover with lid and reduce mixture to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes until fish is just translucent. Scatter coriander leaves on top.
  4. Meanwhile, boil kettle. Pour couscous into large mixing bowl and top with knob of butter. Seasons with salt and pepper. Pour two cups of boiling water over couscous and cover bowl tightly with cling wrap. Allow to stand for 3 minutes.
  5. Fold almonds through couscous and serve the tagine on the couscous with the coriander.

Moroccan meatball tagine with lemon and olives

Serves: 4

For a low carb dinner, this is a fabulous recipe; flavoursome, exotic and filling.

I chose to type it up because it is a mince recipe (my favourite), it is healthy (less than 400 calories per serve) and frankly, it tastes like something you’d get at a Moroccan restaurant, let alone being a dish you’d prepare to keep trim or get trim.

The original recipe asked for lamb mince and lamb stock, though I changed this to lean pork mince and chicken stock respectively. It would be fine with turkey mince as well.

I also steamed and sliced in two zucchini at the end of the cooking, to add some greenery and fill out the recipe.

And of course cous cous with chicken stock and currants.

Eat well, feel good!

Ingredients

3 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
500gm minced pork (or lamb, beef, chicken, turkey)
Zest and juice of one lemon, then quartered
1 tsp cumin
1tsp cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
Small bunch flat0leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Pinch saffron strands
205ml chicken stock (or lamb if doing lamb)
1 tbsp tomato paste
100gm pitted black Kalamata olives
Small bunch coriander, chopped
Cous cous (with chicken stock, currants and toasted, slivered almonds) or fresh, crusty bread
2 zucchinis, steamed and sliced and added at the end
Method

  1. Put the onions in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put the mince, lemon zest, spices, parsley and half the onions in a large bowl and season; combine. Using your hands, shape into walnut-sized balls.
  2. Heat the oil in a tagine (or large pan/heavy pot) and add the remaining onions, ginger, chilli and saffron. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the lemon juice, stock, tomato paste and olives and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs one at a time, reduce the heat and cover, cooking for 20 minutes; turn the meatballs a few times during this time.
  3. Remove the lid and add the coriander and lemon wedges, tucking them in between the meatballs. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Add any pre-cooked/steamed vegetables, carefully combine and serve with cous cous or crusty bread.

Berber Tagine Omelette

Serves 4

I found this recipe on SBS Food by mistake.

It originates from Morocco, and is so simple to do, the spices turning into a wonderful sauce with the onion and tomato. I cooked it years ago for brunch though this is an anytime dish.

And almost as good as Nat’s famous Mexican eggs.

Ingredients

Olive Oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground paprika
10 tomatoes, peeled and diced
7 eggs, beaten
1 handful, chopped coriander
Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Heat some olive oil in the tagine on the stove, and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spices and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and coriander and then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a sauce consistency.
  5. Remove from the heat and pour the beaten eggs over the sauce, cover the tagine lid and place in the over for about 10 – 15 minutes or until it lightly puffs and sers.
  6. To serve, season well and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Neil Perry’s beef tagine with fried cauliflower

Neil Perry’s beef tagine with fried cauliflower

Serves 4

Holy shit, this is a great dish. The beef is so hot and intense, it is also a revelation and much more than your bog standard apricot and beef tagine in stock. It should surprise nobody that for me, Neil Perry is one of the best chefs around.

I thought about adding apricots to the dish to give it sweetness, though the raisins in the cous cous were more than ample. (I should have slightly adapted this recipe to be as I made it.)

Sprinkle with some toasted, slivered almonds and a handfuls of coriander and this is one of those meals where few words will be said.

Ingredients

1.2kg beef chuck, cut into 2.5cm dice
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 x 400g tin peeled, chopped tomatoes
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
½⁄ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Good handful of tast
Chopped coriander

Chermoula

1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
Sea salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp ras-el-hanout
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp coriander leaves
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
1 tsp crushed dried chillies
Juice of 1 lemon

Cous Cous

Cous Cous
Chicken Stock
Raisins

Method

  1. To make the chermoula, puree all the ingredients together in a food processor until relatively smooth.
  2. Marinate the diced beef in the chermoula paste for one hour.
  3. Heat three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan big enough to fit all the beef. When just smoking, add the beef (shaking off as much marinade as you can, though reserving the marinade) and quickly saute to colour and seal well on all sides.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and a cup of water to the bowl the beef was previously marinating in, mix well and add to the saucepan. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook gently for about two to two-and-a-half hours or until beef is tender.
  5. Toast the almonds and prepare the cous cous with the stock and the raisins.
  6. When the beef is nearly ready, bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower florets and cook for one minute. Drain the cauliflower well, allow to dry then shallow-fry the cauliflower in a small saucepan with the remaining olive oil.
  7. To serve, spoon the cous cous into bowls, ladle the beef on-top, sprinkle with the browned cauliflower, give a good grind of pepper and sprinkle with the coriander and almonds.