Saturday, 17 April 2010
Spring & Cooking
Cooking at the mo as family etc here this weekend. Decided to try Jamie Oliver's Chicken Tagine. Sainos supermarket lady saw me examining the displayed cookbook and explained they had Moroccan preserved lemons in stock, phew, and the prog had only aired the night before. Bought said lemons at vast expense but to me they tasted not v.exciting. Cd've saved myself £4 by adding lemon juice. We'll see what the final deeply authentic dish tastes like. I had to watch the recipe on Channel Four 'catch-up' in order to check the ingredients, but basically you rub and marinate the chicken with cumin, coriander seed and ginger, and some olive oil for 2 hrs, fry chicken, fry onions and garlic too, add chicken stock, pinch of saffron, plus stoned olives and 3 small preserved salted lemons. I also added aubergines because I had some around, and stoned dates because another recipe suggested them. Then you simmer the whole lot slowly for 1 1/2 hrs. I didn't buy Jamie's latest book, Jamie Does Spain, Italy, Morocco, Sweden Greece & France, because I have 50 cookbooks, but maybe I will in the end, because he is such a good original simple cook.
It was fascinating watching him go around the Marrakech market collecting tiny slices of various ingredients in his stew pot/tagine and then taking the pot to the baker's oven (or bathhouse-stove embers?) to be cooked. I approve of main courses that can be prepared in advance like tagines, which sound so much more glamorous than stew.
A week later: Yes the recipe was a great success. I do think the preserved lemons added an unusual taste which made it different but still delicious. Went down very well with the family. Next day we had a drinks party in the sun. For this event I'd ordered some of the food from Waitrose Entertaining and made the rest. Fortunately the young helped prepare and serve, and then they sat down and ate an enormous lunch. Took me a week to recover from all this catering and excitement.