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Lemon tagine with eggplant

Tagine is one of Morocco's most famous dishes. I had it at least once a day during my trip, which could have been a bit monotonous, had it not been for the fact that there are tons of different varieties.

The name 'tagine' refers to both the dish and the earthenware pot in which it's cooked. The conical shape of the lid is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. When the water is turned into vapour during cooking, it condenses on the inside of the lid and runs down to the edges of the bottom, and not dripping on the ingredients. Because of that, they bake and brown instead of being cooked in liquid.

If you don't have a tagine, you can still make this recipe in any ovenproof dish with a lid. The effect won't be exactly the same, but it will be delicious. Tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal, but we can use a stovetop or an oven. We'll cook it over low heat - slow cooking allows the tomato sauce to caramelize and reach a full flavour.

Recipe: Lemon tagine with eggplant

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • one onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3-4 hot peppers
  • 2 tso ras el hanout
  • 2 tsp harrisa
  • one piece cinnamon
  • 5-6 cardamom seeds
  • one eggplant
  • 3-4 preserved lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • tbsp honey
  • 250 ml tomato passata
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Slice onion and garlic, cut the eggplant into large chunks.
  • Heat one tbsp of coconut oil in your tagging (or, if you don’t have one, any other ovenproof dish).
  • Brown the eggplant chunks so that they’re golden on all sides, but not yet soft in the middle. Set aside.
  • Heat another spoon of coconut oil.
  • Brown onion and garlic over medium heat.
  • Add ras el hanout, harissa and whole chilli peppers.
  • Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add remaining ingredients: browned eggplant, tomato passata, preserved onions (cut into halves or quarters), lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Cover and place in the oven.
  • Cook in the oven for 2 - 2,5 hours, gently stirring every 45 minutes.
  • Serve with bread or couscous.

Broccoli and soba noodle salad

Super quick and super easy recipe for an Asian-style lunch. Few ingredients, little work and a very satisfying meal. Tenderstem broccoli go great with soba noodles and spicy dressing with soy sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice. You have to try it!

Recipe: Broccoli and soba noodle salad

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 200 g soba noodles
  • 250 g tenderstem broccoli
  • a handful coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped red chilli pepper
  • one tsp black sesame seeds
Method
  • Cook the noodles according to the package's instructions.
  • Blanch the broccoli in a boiling water for 3 minutes. Submerge in a bowl of ice water for one minute.
  • Place noodles and broccoli in a targe bowl.
  • Combine with coriander leaves, chopped chilli and soy-tamarind dressing.
  • Divide between two plates and top with black sesame before serving.

Recipe: Soy-tamarind dressing

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • one tsp grated ginger
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • one red chilli pepper, sliced
Method
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Set aside for at least 15 minutes, to let the flavours combine.

Potato waffles with smoked salmon

I love potatoes and I love waffles - and I have no idea why I've never made potato waffles before. It's a delicious way of using leftover potatoes. To be honest, I didn't really have any leftover potatoes, but it was still worth making them.

Potato waffles are perfect for brunch. You can serve them with smoked salmon, yoghurt and chives. Surely, it's not the lightest bite you can imagine, but you have to eat something on those cold, rainy mornings, when you crave something hearty to cheer you up.

Recipe: Potato waffles with smoked salmon

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • one cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tso ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt
  • one cup potato puree
  • one cup buttermilk
  • 85 ml melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
Method
  • Sieve flour into a bowl, add baking powder, soda, nutmeg and salt. Combine.
  • Combine oil, whisked eggs, buttermilk and potato puree in another bowl.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and set the dough aside for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat a waffle maker.
  • Cook each waffle for 3-4 minutes (or accordingly to the waffle maker manual).
  • Serve with smoked salmon ang yoghurt. Top with chopped chives and coarse black pepper.

Green curry and broccoli soup

I enjoy hearty dishes in the first cold days of winter, but comes January, I start craving something lighter. This is my perfect January soup: bit spicy, warming and fully comforting, but light and green at the same time.

When you look at the recipe, it might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. The recipe is super easy and putting everything together will take a maxiumum of half an hour and that includes making the curry paste and crispy broccoli topping. And you can always use a good store-bought green curry paste and limit the toppings to fresh coriander and sesame seeds.

Recipe: Green curry broccoli soup

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste
  • one large broccoli, divided into small florets
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 limes
  • a handful fresh coriander
Method
  • Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
  • Add broccoli florets and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Slowly add the stock and coconut milk, combine, cover and bring to boil.
  • Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender - 5-10 minutes .
  • Before serving, blend or process until smooth.
  • Season with lime juice.
  • Top each serving with fresh cilantro and crispy broccoli florets.

Recipe: Crispy broccoli florets

Ingredients
  • a handful broccoli florets
  • one tbsp coconut oil
  • one tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
Method
  • Heat coconut oil in a small pan, add broccoli and fry for one minute.
  • Add soy sauce combined with honey and continue cooking, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add sesame seeds and combine.

Recipe: Green curry paste

Ingredients
  • 5 medium green chilies, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • a bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • one tbsp coriander seeds
  • one tsp ground cumin
  • one tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
Method
  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

Christmas cookies

It seems to be the first Christmas post in the history of this blog! I guess it's fair to say that I'm not crazy about Christmas. However, this year I felt a strange need to make edible Christmas tree decorations. The cookies are simple, easy and fun to make. And even the biggest Grinch would admit that they're adorable.

Recipe: Christmas cookies

Makes about 15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 75 g butter
  • 150 g flour
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
Method
  • Sieve the flour and combine with sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine with butter.
  • Add an egg and mix to a firm dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut cookies (I used a star-shaped cookie cutter).
  • If you want to hang your cookies on a Christmas tree, make a small hole in a top of each one.
  • Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes and let cool.

Recipe: Orange icing

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • Extra: a few branches of rosemary
Method
  • Whisk sugar and orange juice to make thick icing.
  • Using a bruch, cover each cookie with icing and top with some fresh rosemary.
  • When the icing is set, thread ribbon or cord through the holes and hang on your tree.
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