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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.

Vegan taco buffet

Perfect tacos: crispy, aromatic, colourful and vegan. Great for small or larger gatherings. All you have to do is prepare the toppings and ask your guests to compose their ideal snacks. I chose roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and corn, creamy cashew paste, pomegranate seeds, fresh chillies, aromatic coriander and lime juice. You can add your favourite fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Recipe: Vegan tacos

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • a bunch coriander
  • one corn on a cob
  • one cup cooked black beans
  • rosted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
  • cashew paste (recipe below)
  • 2 green chilli peppers
  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 1 lime
Method
  • Roast the corn at 180C for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  • Kut off the kernels and combine with cooked beans.
  • Deseed the pomegranate, slice the chillies and cut the lime into quarters.
  • Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a pan and cover to keep them warm.
  • Serve all the ingredients together and let everyone compose their own tacos: roasted sweet potatoes with pomegranate and fresh coriander or corn and beans with cashew paste and fresh chillies. Or everything altogether :)

Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes

Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • one tbsp olive oil
  • one tsp smoked paprika powder
  • one tsp sweet paprika powder
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Peel and dice the potatoes.
  • Cut the onion into eitghts.
  • Mix diced potatoes with onion, olive and spices.
  • Transfer into a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Cashew paste

Ingredients
  • 100 g cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 lime (peel and juice)
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Blend soaked chashews with milk, to make a smooth paste.
  • Add lime juice and peel, combine. Season with salt
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

I love tuna! Especially when it's lightly seared outside and almost raw inside. You have to try out this recipe: seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds with amazing dipping sauce with tamarind paste, soy sauce and honey. Perfect for ligh lunch or with a bottle of wine and fine conversation. It's a kind of dish that I appreciate the most: minimal effort, maximum results. The preparation takes 20 minutes tops, looks lovely and is really delicious. Give it a try!

Recipe: Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 200 g thick tuna steak
  • 3-4 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
  • one tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper
  • one spring onion
  • a few leaves of fresh mint
  • a few leaves of fresh coriander
Method
  • Slice tuna into smaller chunks and coat them in sesame seeds.
  • Heat sesame oil on a pan and sear four sides of each chunk for about 15 seconds per side.
  • Finely chop chilli and herbs.
  • Cut the tuna chunks into 3-4 cm slices.
  • Place tuna on the plate. Top with chilli, spring onion, mint and coriander.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce.

Recipe: Dipping sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 tbso tamarind paste
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • one tsp sesame oil
Method
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Vegan ramen

Is there anything better than a bowl of steaming soup on a cold evening? The only thing I can think of is a long sauna session. But I have always thought that eating Asian soups is a bit similar to visiting sauna, so ramen remains my first choice for rainy days. Also, I have bowls and pots at home, but I don't have a sauna.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish, containing Chinese-style wheat noodles, broth and various toppings. It's been extremely popular with foodies all over the world for the last few years. You can easily enjoy a great ramen in New York, London or Warsaw.

There are numerous version of the dish, starting with nearly every region in Japan taking pride in its own variation. My recipe is simple and vegan - with fried tofu, shiitake mushrooom and green chillies.

Recipe: Vegan ramen

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 l oriental broth (recipe below)
  • 200 g ramen noodles
  • 200 g firm tofu, pressed
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp runny honey
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • one carrot
  • 100 g fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried and soaked)
  • one green chilli pepper
  • a few branches of fresh mint
Method
  • Cut the tofu into thick slices.
  • Whisk soy sauce with honey and chilli flakes.
  • Cover each tofu slice in the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pan-fry tofu slices, about 1 minute per side.
  • Peel and julienne the carrot.
  • Slice green chilli.
  • Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Cut larger mushrooms into smaller pieces.
  • Pan-fry for a few minutes.
  • Divide noodles between two bowls.
  • Top with hot broth.
  • Add fried tofu and shiitakes, carrot, chilli and mint.

Recipe: Oriental broth

Ingredients
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled
  • 1/2 celery root, peeled
  • one leek, sliced
  • 2 l water
  • 5-6 slices of peeled ginger
  • one green chilli pepper
  • a few branches of fresh coriander
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
Method
  • Place all the vegetables, ginger, chilli and coriander in a large pot
  • Top with cold water and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Strain the broth through a colander.
  • Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and miso paste.

Ceviche

I love ceviche: it's delicious and full of flavour, beautiful and super easy to make. It probably derives from Peru, but is popular in many coastal regions of South America. The dish is made from fresh fish, cured in leche de tigre - a marinade made of citrus juices with coriander, chilli and onions.

Citric acid from limes or lemons cooks the fish. I like my ceviche semi-cooked and raw inside, so I usually leave the fish in the marinade for 15-20 minutes. If you're not a fan of raw fish, you can leave it to marinate for a few hours. Some chefs think the best marinating time for ceviche is as short as 2-3 minutes.

I have prepared two recipes - a very basic tuna ceviche and a sea bass ceviche with coconut milk and roasted sweet potato. There's plenty of room for experiments: modify the marinade adding juice from different citrus fruits, use various kinds of fish and seafood or play with the toppings, trying avocado, corn, grapefruit or pomegranate seeds. Make sure to use very fresh, good quality fish.

Recipe: Tuna ceviche

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 g fresh tuna steak, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • one garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Place the tuna in a bowl, add salt, combine and set aside for 2 minutes.
  • Combine lime juice with ginger, coriander, garlic and chilli.
  • Pour the marinade over tuna, delicately toss together and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Before serving, combine with red onion and coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roasted sweet potatoes or tortilla chips.

Recipe: Sea bass ceviche

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 g fresh sea bass, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3-4 tsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • one small sweet potato, roasted and diced
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Place the sea bass in a bowl, add salt, combine and set aside for 2 minutes.
  • Combine lime juice with coconut milk, ginger, coriander and chilli.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish, delicately toss together and set aside for 20 minutes.
  • Before serving, combine with red onion, roasted sweet potato and coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roasted sweet potatoes or tortilla chips.
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