Friday, 26 September 2014

Moroccan Table: Lablabi Soup, Marrakesh Tajine with Rocket & Roses Cous Cous Fava Beans (vegan)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Beth Hart ~ I'll Take Care Of You
Shakira ~ Loca
Slash/Joey Ramone ~ New York City
Soul Asylum ~ Somebody To Shove
Pearl Jam ~ The Fixer
Jack Savoretti ~ Knock Knock
The Eagles ~ Wasted Time
Creed ~ Beautiful
Skin ~ Nightsong
Hunter Valentine ~ Liar Liar
Royal Blood ~ Come On Over
Norah Jones ~ Seven Years
The Cars ~ Drive
Chopin: Prelude #15 in D Flat op 28/15 "Raindrops"

My Moroccan Table

I am finally getting my mojo back folks. Let me tell you that it is such a great relief to me. I'm not back in the kitchen every day just yet but I am creating a lot of future recipes and managing lots of 'plotting'. That being said...I did manage to throw together a small dinner party for a few friends last week. I was inspired to create a Moroccan feast and found three recipes inside the covers of World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible Cookbook that I reviewed earlier this year.

I am a sucker for a chickpea soup and so the Lablabi Soup was a The tajine was chosen because of its suggestion of vegetables but I had to make two changes. One of my dinner guests doesn't like dried raisins and I am not a fan of dried apricots so I had to omit them. I did add some pomegranate molasses to give that sweet fruit hit and I think it worked really well. The recipes suggested serving harissa with each dish and so I made a batch of the Tunisian Harissa. Holy hotness folks. The tip end of a teaspoon blew our heads a smidge goes a very long way. So please be warned!! 

I wanted a grain dish to serve with the WFCVB recipes and I had a bag of Giant Cous Cous in my stocks. As I am 99% gluten-free now I hadn't even cracked open the bag but I was really craving a good cous cous side. I also had a tin of fava beans and decided to add them to the cous cous as it cooked. I then made a simple dressing using extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper and whisked them until emulsified. Once the cous cous was cooked I added the dressing and replaced the lid to keep in the heat as the flavours combined. I served the tajine, cous cous and harissa with a large salad of baby leaves, cucumber (and blimey did we need those refreshing slices after the harissa!!!), yellow and orange pepper. 

Each course was an explosion of tastes and textures. The soup was creamy and comforting with an intense flavour. The tajine was full of flavour and just had that 'something' that makes a dish more special than others. It wasn't hot spicy but deeply intense with flavour. The cous cous was a comforting support to the heady delights of the tajine. I enjoyed every second of making these dishes and I know everybody enjoyed eating them's good to be almost back. Now to the recipes...this weekend folks you get four of them...

NB: The Lablabi Soup, Marrakesh Tajine and Tunisian Harissa recipes are all from the World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible Cookbook published by Frances Lincoln Limited. 

First course: Lablabi Soup

Lablabi Soup   Serves 4

8 tbsp olive oil (I used half that amount)
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
12oz/350g chickpeas, soaked overnight and then drained
1 large red onion, diced
3 carrots, diced 
6 celery stalks, diced
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
handful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish
harissa to taste (recipe below)

Heat half of the oil in a saucepan/ when hot, add the garlic and saute until golden. Add the chickpeas and enough water to cover them by 1in/2.5cm. Bring to the boil, removing any foam that rises to the surface, and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer until the the chickpeas are soft. (Or cook the garlic in the oil and then add two drained tins of chickpeas, cover by a good 2" of water and cook for 20 minutes ~R~)

Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a wok. When hot, add the chopped onion, carrots and celery, and saute until soft; it helps if you cover the wok and let the vegetables sweat. Towards the end of cooking, add the cumin, coriander and paprika. Stir the vegetables into the cooked chickpeas, followed by salt and black pepper to taste. Pour half the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Return it to unblended soup, adding more water if necessary, and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice.  Serve with coriander leaves to garnish. 

Main course: Marrakesh Tajine

Marrakesh Tajine   Serves 4

5 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 level tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground saffron or turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 aubergine, diced or cut into 1/2" half moons
4 small potatoes, cut into quarters
1 large sweet potato, chopped into large chunks
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and cut lengthwise into 2.5/1" strips
6 artichoke hearts (fresh or canned)
125g/4oz green beans
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
handful of flat-leap parsley, chopped, plus more to garnish
handful of coriander leaves, chopped, plus more to garnish
small handful of raisins 
small handful of dried apricots 
OR 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses 
85g/3oz stoned olives
harissa, to serve recipe below

Heat the oil in a large pan and, when hot, fry the onions until they start to soften. 

Add the spices, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the aubergine, potatoes, sweet potato and green and red peppers. Sprinkle with a little salt as this helps prevent the aubergine from absorbing all the oil. 

When the aubergine starts to soften, add all the remaining vegetables and the tomato puree with just enough water barely to cover the vegetables. Add the parsley, coriander, raisins, apricots, (0r molasses) and olives. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until all the vegetables are really soft and the sauce is reduced until it is thick and rich, with the oil returning on the top. 

Garnish with lots of parsley and coriander, and serve with harissa and cous cous.

Side dish: Tunisian Harissa

Tunisian Harissa   Makes 1 very heaped cup of paste

1 red pepper
1 tbsp ground caraway seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2oz/60g dried red chillies, soaked in hot water
1oz/30g ground cumin
2fl oz/60ml olive oil
salt to taste

First grill the red pepper on all sides until blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film for 10 minutes to make it easier to peel. Peel, deseed and dice the pepper. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in the fridge in and airtight container.

And be warned...extremely hot!!!

Finally my contribution to the Moroccan Table....

Side dish: Giant Cous, Cous with Fava Beans

Rocket & Roses Giant Cous Cous with Fava Beans    Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 packet of giant cous cous 
OR gluten free maize cous cous
1 tin of fava beans, rinsed and drained 

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper

Cook the cous cous to the packets instructions adding the drained beans towards the end of the cooking time to heat through. 

In a small bowl whisk the dressing until it has emulsified and then drizzle over the hot cous cous and stir well. Recover with the lid to keep warm until serving. Spoon into a serving bowl...


I know these recipes use a lot more oil than I usually advocate but it is entirely your call on how much you use. I wouldn't serve these kind of dishes on a regular basis because of the oil factor so would class them as High Days & Holiday Dishes. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend is a fantastic one folks....


NB: The Lablabi Soup, Makkaresh Tajine and Tunisian Harissa recipes are not my creation. They are the hard work and creation of Chris and Carolyn Caldicott and theirs alone. I take no credit for them whatsoever but do send thanks for sharing such great recipes. The Giant Cous Cous and Fava Bean recipe is mine. I have no problem with you using the recipe or sharing it. I simply ask you give credit where its due as I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~