We Rocked the Casbah

Been a cold old day here in the UK and the early signs of a cold winter are starting to appear. That means only one thing, Comfort food !

It just so happens that we have recently purchased a lovely royal blue tagine so what a perfect opportunity to give it a test. What kind of tagine to make was the next dilemma. So, at this point it is only fair that I thank Mr Jamie “Pukka” Oliver for a fantastic recipe for “Beef Chickpea & Butternut Squash Tagine”, though we did amend it slightly to make it our own.

Please note that you can use any kind of pot for this though I’m sure you’ll agree it looks pretty cool served in an authentic tagine. . .

Ingredients:

800g Beef Braising Steak – 400g Cooked Chickpeas – 1 Large Butternut Squash – 400g Tinned Plum Tomatoes – 1 Large Onion – 600ml Beef Stock – 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout – 1 tbsp Cinnamon – 1 tbsp Ground Ginger – 1 tbsp Cumin – 1 tbsp Paprika – 4 Cloves Sliced Garlic – Fresh Coriander – Salt & Pepper

Method:

Mix the ras el hanout, cinnamon, paprika, cumin & ginger in a bowl and add the beef and massage the spice mix into the meat. Set aside to allow the flavour of the spices to penetrate into the beef. ( Ideally overnight ) Heat some olive oil in the tagine and fry the beef for around 5 minutes until browned on the outside. Meanwhile slice the onion and add to the browned beef along with the tin of tomatoes, chickpeas, sliced garlic and half of the beef stock. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Place the tagine into the oven at 170c / 325f / Gas 3 and allow to cook for approximately 1.5 – 2  hours. At this point give the tagine a stir and add the butternut squash and remaining stock. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 1 – 1.5 hours. The beef should now be incredibly tender and break apart with a spoon. Sprinkle with fresh coriander, serve the beef tagine with cous cous and warm flatbread. . .

Note: Ras el hanout (Arabic for “top of the shop”) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.

Advertisements

Ultimate Yorkshire Puddings

Nothing goes better with Sunday roast beef dinner that a light well risen traditional Yorkshire Pudding. At their best they are fluffy and airy on the inside while having a satisfying crisp outside. Now while they are the perfect accompaniment to a roast beef dinner the batter mix is identical for Toad in the hole ( Sausages baked in the batter – No toads ! ) Some even eat them with jam as a dessert. . .

The important factor with this recipe is that it is made by volume not by weight, meaning that what ever measuring cup you use it must be the same for both the wet and the dry ingredients. ( Adapted from an original recipe by Yorkshire chef Brian Turner )

Ingredients:

1 cup Plain Flour – 1 cup Eggs – 1 cup water/milk  ( 50-50 split ) – Pinch of Salt – 1 tbsp Malt Vinegar

Method:

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add a pinch salt. Add the eggs to the flour and half of the water / milk mixture. Beat well until all lumps of flour have gone. Add the remaining water / milk and the vinegar. Give the mixture a final beat with a whisk and set aside to rest for a while.

Pre-Heat your oven to 400 f / 200 c / Gas 6 and add a muffin tray with each section containing either beef dripping ( traditional fat used ) or a vegetable oil to about one fifth of section. Allow oil to get really hot in the oven. Once the oil is heated work quickly and fill each section of the muffin tray with the batter. ( It should sizzle as soon as it comes into contact with the hot oil ) Place the tray quickly back in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door during this time or your Yorkshire puddings will collapse !

After 25 minutes the tray can be turned in the oven to allow for even cooking and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or until a they puddings are a deep golden brown.

Remove from the muffin tray and serve immediately. If you make too many don’t worry as they make a fantastic alternative to bread for a rare roast beef & horseradish sandwich. Sounds odd I know but watch the video below from chef Andy Bates to see what we mean. . .