Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jamie goes Moroccan

Just back from Morocco I stumbled about a Moroccan inspired Jamie Oliver recipe that ticked all my boxes - I adore cooking with lamb and I had all the necessary vegetables and spices. I didn't have sweet potatoes so used butternut squash instead. And I didn't used lamb fillets but a shoulder of lamb, so no pleating, just rubbing the spice mix into the meat, chopping up the veg and letting the oven do it's magic. The smell that drifted out of the kitchen was heavenly and very authentic Moroccan. Served on a bed of couscous and with a glass of red wine it was a dish worth serving even the most discerning dinner party guests. Très bon!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A stroll through the Souk in Agadir

Did you see the British newspaper discussion about butcher's displaying their meats in their shop windows?  I thought those protests rather silly when I read about them a few weeks ago and remembered them when strolling through a souk on our trip to Morocco last week. Now there between all the beautifully displayed produce you truly see sights that are not for the squeamish and which remind you how sanitized our eating habits have become.
Aside from that I once again felt a little sorry for myself that I couldn't just take all those wonderful fruit,  vegetable and herbs home with me - but just look for yourself - and don't scroll all the way down if you are of a delicate disposition.....

 A typical Moroccan welcome - Mint Tea

 The Souk in Agadir
 the first strawberries of the season

all the spices you could want for

oranges from the horn of plenty

fragrant herbs

 beautifully displayed vegetables

 and no shortage of eggs


 and more olives


 nuts and fruits

 And now the butcher's

 Sheep's heads
 Tripe and sheep's feet - as the sign says: Taste Nature!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The ugliest Fish makes the best Stew

Remember the ugliest ever fish I found at Marseille's fish market? Just as one should not judge a book by its cover, monkfish probably looks so scary to hide the fact that it is one of the finest, tastiest fishes. In Provence it is called "the poor man's lobster" although I think that this refers more to the shape of the monkfish's tail.
So when I had to decide what to cook for my fellow blogger Michel and his wife Shirley who are staying at their lovely house in Sablet and came for dinner last night, I thought fish, thought Provençal and born was my version of "Queue de Lotte à la Provençale".
For 6 servings you need:
2 monkfish, cleaned, skinned and filleted (ask nicely and let your fishmonger do the work, if he refuses, go elsewhere or have a look at this video - it shows what a pain it is to do it yourself.
1/2 cup white wine
2 medium cans chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized mild white onions, halved and very finely sliced 
2 or 3 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
a handful of capers
olive oil, pepper and salt, red pepper flakes

Cut the cleaned monkfish fillets into generous, chunky medaillons and keep in the fridge until needed. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté over moderate heat until they begin to soften. Let cool.
Add a splash of olive oil to a second, ovenproof pan that is large enough to hold all ingredients. Add the onions and garlic and let sweat over moderate heat until translucent. Add the canned tomatoes, the white wine and let bubble away for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Season to taste. Skin the cooled down cherry tomatoes, taking care not to lose any of their juice, then add to the sauce. Stir in the capers.
You can prepare the recipe up to this point so that just 20 minutes before you are ready to eat you add the fish medaillons to the sauce (take care to cover the fish with sauce) then bake the stew for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C/350F.
I served this with baguette last night but we discussed that rice would probably be nice, too. And no, to accompany this fragrant stew we did not drink white wine but a light, nicely chilled red from the Loire Valley - Aristide Luneau St. Nicolas de Bourgueil 2011. A good match, merci Robert!
But best was all the laughter around the table, the great company of Shirley, Michel and their friend Kerry. Proof? We never got around or even thought about taking photos, so this one is of the left overs Robert and I will share tonight. Hope there is some of that nice wine left, too!