"Tagines Et Couscous", Ghillie Basan (Editions Larousse)
Generally, I am someone who likes to get things done fast, because I hate to not put off to tomorrow what can be accomplished now. Yet sometimes, I can be quite a big procrastinator and suspend chores until a later time (next days, weeks or months) instead of taking care of business straight away.
Some months ago (at least 5 months ago), the Editions Larousse gracefully sent me a few of their new releases to review. Being a serious blogger, I carried out my assignement without delay and wrote lengthy posts about most of them. However, one single book was left aside. For some unknown reason and no matter how much I adore the subject it deals with, I never seemed to find the right moment to choose a recipe from it, put an article together, cook the dish and photograph it.
"Procrastination is like masturbation.Here's a confession. I am a perfectionist, I tend to take that task too seriously and put a lot of importance on delivering quality work, hence my refusal to get it done in a sloppy way and to dash the process. I guess that is why it took me ages to get my butt moving. Well, maybe...
At first it feels good, but in the end you're only screwing yourself. "
- Author Unknown
I always promised myself to get the job finished by June as the cookbook contains lots of estival recipes using vegetables such as zucchinis, eggplants, bell peppers or tomatoes (I only buy seasonal and regional produces). Then, the summer holidays came and I felt that it would be waste of time if I blogged about this booklet while nobody is around or when everyone is too busy to read my critique. So, that is how I end up sharing with you my impressions on it only in October. Better later than never...
So, this Friday I have chosen to babble about "Tagines & Couscous" which is Ghillie Basan's smallish (144 pages long), but nonetheless extremely interesting publication which is a fabulous compound of scrumptious Moroccan tagine, coucous and side dish recipes (60 all in all).
Apart from being a restaurant critic and workshop host, this Scottish-based chef is also a cookery and travel journalist/writer whose articles appeared in magazines as well as newspapers (the Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday, BBC Good Food Magazine, TasteTurkey as well as Today’s Diet and Nutrition) and who has written a number of highly acclaimed books (over 20) about the traditional Middle-Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisines.
Ghillie Basan's book dispenses a wide variety of classic formulas for rich, hearty and aromatic meat (chicken, lamb, beef and duck), fish, seafood and vegetarian tagines (one-pots flavored with fragrant spices, cooked and served in heavy clay vessels called tagines which are generally painted and glazed - tagines are a dish as well as a piece of kitchenware), couscouses, sides (salads, ratatouilles and grilled vegetables), condiments (ras-el-hanout, harissa or preserved lemons) and desserts (melon or orange salads).
Her mouthwatering concoctions are delicious, colorful, spicy and authentic. Thanks to her easy to follow recipes, you'll be able to recreate an Oriental-style feast without trouble and in a matter of minutes as a majority of the casseroles demand less than 40 minutes of preparation. And you don't even need a the real vessel to cook them to perfection. As a mattrer of fact, you'll obtain the same results with a cast-iron pan.
The "Spicy Carrot & Chickpea Tagine" I am presenting today is just marvelously rustic, hearty and pungent. It is a quick, vegetarian, nourishing, versatile and refined cold weather meal that is common to areas of Morocco where meat is considered a luxury. It pairs really well with yoghurt and flatbread (check out my "Batbout M'Khamer" recipe). An excellent mezze item or main course!
The Fairy Hobmother visited me and granted one of my wishes!
How cool is that?!
Many of you might have already heard about The Fairy Hobmother... For those who think that I've lost my marbles, watched too many fantasy films à la "Lords Of The Rings" and read quantities of epic novels, be reassured, everything is ok with me. I have not yet lost all my mental capacities and I am far from having taken any psychedelic drugs. No! I am just talking about someone who works with Appliances Online, an internet store which sells all sorts of home appliances ranging from cookers to washing machines. In his/her free time, he/she visits blogs and distributes out gifts (hand mixers, Amazon gift vouchers, washing machines, etc...) to individuals.
As you might have guessed by now, I am one of those happy few who got a visit from one of those good doers and was kindly offered a 50£ Amazon voucher! You can imagine how huge the grin on my face was when I received an e-mail annoucing me the news. I never would have thought that this could happen to me after visiting Angie's wonderful site. Incredible!
Well, dear readers, you can also be the next lucky one! Just leave a comment under this post, make a wish and cross your fingers. Who knows what will happen? In any case, I am pretty sure the Fairy is listening and is eager to fulfill your dream. Good Luck and many thanks to my kind Fairy Hobmother David!
Adapted from "Tagines & Couscous" by Ghillie Basan.
Serves 2 (as a side dish).
3 Tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, cut into half-moons
2 Cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 Tsp Ground turmeric
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 Tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs Honey
3 Medium carrots, cut into thick slices (diagonally)
1 Can (400g) Chickpeas, drained
1 Tbs Rosewater
Fine sea salt, to taste
A small bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1/2 of An organic lemon, cut into wedges
1. Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy bottomed pan (cast iron), add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft and slightly browned.
2. Add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, honey and carrots.
3. Pour in enough water to cover the carrots and cover with a lid. Cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
4. Toss in the chickpeas and check to make sure there's still enough water in the bottom of the tagine/pan, cover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
5. Add the rosewater and season with salt.
6. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cilantro over the top.
7. Serve with the lemon wedges
The rosewater is optional, but highly recommended as it adds a very interesting flavor to the tagine.
Serve with a dollop of thick yogurt and some flatbread ("Batbout M'Khamer"). You can also scoop some of that tagine over some rice, couscous or bulgur.
~ Tajine De Pois Chiches Et Carottes Au Curcuma Et A La Coriandre ~Recette adaptée du livre "Tagine Et Couscous" par Ghillie Basan, Editions Larousse.
Pour 2 personnes (comme accompagnement).
3 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 Oignon, coupé en demi-lunes
2 Gousses d'ail, hachées finement
1 CC de Curcuma moulu
1 CC de Graines de cumin
1/2 CC de Cannelle moulue
1/4 CC De Poivre de Cayenne
1/4 CC de Poivre noir moulu
1 CS de Miel
3 Carottes moyennes, coupées en tranches épaisses (en diagonal)
1 Boîte (400g) de Pois chiches, égouttés
1 CS d'Eau de rose
Sel de mer, à volonté
1 Petit bouquet de coriandre, haché finement
1/2 Citron bio, coupé en quartiers
1. Faire chauffer l'huile dans un plat à tajine ou une cocotte à fond épais (émail), puis ajouter l'oignon et l'ail et faire revenir jusqu'à tendreté (ils doivent être légèrement dorés).
2. Ajouter le curcuma, le cumin, la cannelle, le poivre de cayenne, le poivre noir, le miel et les carottes.
3. Verser suffisamment d'eau afin de couvrir les carottes et refermer avec le couvercle. Cuire doucement pendant 10-15 minutes.
4. Ajouter les pois chiches et assurez-vous qu'il y ait encore assez d'eau dans le fond du tagine/de la cocotte. Refermer avec le couvercle et laisser cuire encore 5-10 minutes.
5. Ajouter l'eau de rose et assaisonner avec le sel.
6. Retirer le tajine du feu/la cocotte et saupoudrer avec la coriandre.
7. Servir avec les quartiers de citron.
L'ajout d'eau de rose n'est pas obligatoire, mais fortement recommandé car la saveur du plat s'en voit réhaussée.
Idées de présentation:
Servir avec un peu de yaourt épais et du pain plat ("Batbout M'Khamer"). Vous pouvez aussi servir ce tagine sur du riz, du couscous ou du boulghour.