MOROCCAN COOKING

Moroccan Utensils

Tajine  To  Couscousiere
Delicious and spicy cooking of Morocco and their utensils are featured in these pictures.
The scents of coriander, cumin, saffron, marjoram, and onion mingle with the pungency of olive oil and the sweetness of sandalwood, and mint,  delighting the senses that makes me to love the Moroccan food, I love spicy dishes.
Serving dishes-tajines
Coucousiere, tajine utensil to cook tajine dishes (lamb tajine etc), a large bowl to serve cous cous and garnishes.


A Teapot for the Mint Tea
The tea is flavoured with mints-using dried or fresh, and it is served in clear glasses.  The tea is served for the main meals and also to go with sweets.

Tajine means two things, one is a stew and the other one is the vessel in which the stew is cooked.

Tajines the cooking utensil of Morocco

Couscousiere is a large double boiler with holes in the bottom of the upper pot allowing its contents to steam. The bottom of the couscousiere is for cooking the stew,  and the top part is for cooking  the couscous.  While the stew is cooking, the steams is used for cooking the cous cous.

The couscousiere

Recipe for the Stew

Preserved lemons is very important for Moroccan cooking.

Also dried fruits are mixed into stews, couscous.   Icing powder is essential to dress savouries (pastries dishes).

The flavour of Morocco is hot and spicy, with a touch of sweet and sour.  The sour and sweetness of the fruits bring out the beautiful flavour of the dish.

COOKING TAJINE AND COUSCOUS IN A COUSCOUSIERE

dried apricot and preserved lemons

Moroccan Lamb Vegetable Tajine / Stew with Couscous 

Ingredients:

2 lamb shanks

The vegetables, 
Pumpkin, broccoli, beans, potatoes, broad beans, carrots, cheek peas
1/3 cup raw almonds (optional)

Spices:
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 apricots, 6 dated, chopped
small fresh turmeric, chopped
some saffron

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon dry marjoram
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon dried mint

chili, apricot and dates
mild chili, chopped appricots and date

1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
Oil to saute
6 cups meat stock / water ( or more then 6)
Salt to taste

Couscous

1 cup couscous
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemons
4 chopped dried apricots
Chopped fresh coriander, mint or parsley to garnish

Steps:
In a hot pan, pan-fry the shanks with oil to seal, keep aside
Saute the onion, garlic with oil in the bottom of the couscousiere until soft
Add in the rest of the spices, saffron the water and cook to simmer
Add in the lamb shanks, and cook-bring to simmer again
Continue cooking over medium high heat for the first half hour, covered
Lower the heat, add in the dates, apricots, almonds and braise for another hour
After that, add in all the vegetables and continue cooking until the vegetables are cooked
The last 10 minutes of cooking time, you can steam the couscous on top
Check the couscous and add some more water if needed,
Add some chopped apricots, preserved lemons in the cous cous, at the last 3 minutes of cooking

Total cooking: 2 hours and half approx
To serve: Serve hot.
Place the couscous on a serving dish
Place the stew on a serving Tajine, and place extra broth on a serving bowl

 
Serving the Stew (Tajine)  And  Couscous

Lamb and Vegetables Tajine, cous cous
and the broth

Mint tea is served in glasses through out the meals.

You can cook these dishes  in any heavy based pots, you do not need to have a tajine or coucousiere.  To cook the cous cous,  simply follow the instruction from the packet, instant cous-cous is easily available in the supermarkets.

Next time I may cook a Moroccan dessert, and I will share the recipe with you.

Until next time
Susi

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Happy Easter

 

It is a belated wish to you for a Happy Easter, I hope your Easter was very enjoyable and a happy one.

We had a lovely Easter with our grand children and their parents.  Mary Rose, Thomas, Henry and Lily always are fun to be with, also  it was good to see their mum-Melanie and dad-Lance.

It was a feast at Easter, and my cooking from the Good Friday to Easter Sunday was well received even though the dishes were not perfect.  We had Good Friday buns and  an earthy Easter Crown bread on Sunday with hard boiled Eggs.

 

Good Friday Buns based on a recipe 1875, they were so good and easy to prepare.

Good Friday Buns
Good Friday Buns

 

Hard boiled eggs are there every Easter, to share.  This year the Easter Crown were decorated with these Easter eggs

Hard boiled eggs in herbs
Hard boiled eggs in herbs

 

The Easter Crown was made of brioche, and decorated with the hard boiled eggs.

Easter Crown 2014
Easter Crown 2014

We had enjoyed the Easter celebration, and the delicious buns.

The recipe of the buns is here for you,  bake them for next Easter.  But you can bake the buns without crosses and serve them at any occasions.

 

Good Friday Buns

75g butter

500 g plain flour

150warm milk mixed with 18gr yeast

350ml warm milk

A pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients to make batter.

Place it in a warm place to rise

Add in 125 g sugar, 125 g mixed dried fruits (sultana, currants orange candies) and add a teaspoon mixed spices (clove, nutmeg and mace powder)

Have extra flour ready to knead the dough very lightly

Knead this well into a dough, make it up into buns, and place them on buttered baking – tins.   Make a cross on them with the back of a knife, and brush a little clarified butter over the top. Wait for 10 minutes or more, and bake in a good hot oven 175 C degrees (pan forced) for 22 minutes.

Makes 16

 

Based on —Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations[Cassell, Petter, Galpin &Co.:London] 1875

 

 Happy Baking and Have Fun.

Until Next Post

Susi

 

Easter Time

It has been awhile that Easter Buns are sold in the shops, and I am sure people are enjoying to eat them since.  There are particular foods served on Easter.  Lamb has a very big part for Easter, eggs and Easter bread.  They represent something, and very symbolic.

Talking about symbolism of Easter food is very interesting. Egg symbolises rebirth, ham symbolises luck, lamb symbolises  sacrifice and cake/bread symbolises fertility.  For further information you could read ‘Food Time Line’ on the Web.

Easter is only a week to go, I think it is about time to organise the Easter Menu. For my family, Easter is a family get together, we celebrate Easter with my children and their children. We took the children  to church for the Easter rituals when they were little and we celebrate the Easter Sunday with beautiful food to share.  Meat dishes, Easter bread, Eggs are always in the menu. The foods vary every year.

One of our Easter Breakfasts

Brioche with Easter chocolate eggs
Brioche with Easter chocolate eggs
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One of our Easter Breakfasts

One of our Easter breakfasts was steamed buns instead of Easter buns, but the brioche was good to go with the Easter  chocolate.  Boiled decorated fresh eggs are always there for the family every year, only the colour  are not always the same.

Easter dinner, we have meat and other dishes, lamb meat is our favourite,  but Javanese cooking always served to make the festivity of Ester complete.

Hot cross buns is very popular with my family, only this year I baked Ester buns successfully, and I am happy to  share the recipe with you.

Home Baked Easter Buns

Every bakery in town supplies  Easter buns, but which bakery produces the best.  Rayner did the research, and he found out that it is somewhere in Melbourne.  It is too far to get them to try.  Indeed Fillipa’s breads are available in Traralgon, but they are expensive, more so the Easter buns, I could not  afford it.   It got me thinking to bake my own Easter buns.  There are a lot of recipes to choose from, and I decided to create one.  I pinched from recipes mixed with others, but it works.  My baking was superb, the buns were delicious, sweet and soft.

Preparation and Baking Easter Buns

The dough
The dough
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Knead the dough lightly until elastic

 

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The buns has proven and ready to bake

 

Freshly Baked Buns
Freshly Baked Buns
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Buns are glazed with sugar syrup while still warm

 

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Beautiful Easter Buns

 

Recipe  for the Ester Buns

It makes for ten buns, you could make two batches, and freeze them for the Easter.

Easter Buns

325 g plain flour
125 g mixed dried fruits
1/3 cup brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spices (cinnamon, clove and nutmeg)

10 g dried yeast
150 ml warm milk
33 g melted butter
1 egg (lightly beaten)

A paste for the cross
50 g flour
100 ml water
The glace
2 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoon water
(mix and heat it up until the sugar dissolves)

Method
I use the kitchen aid for mixing.

  1. In a small bowl mix the yeast with the warm milk.
  2. In a large bowl of the kitchen aid, put the flour, salt, spices, sugar, egg, and melted butter, mix gently and add in the yeast mixture.  Continue mixing for 3 minutes to make a smooth dough,  add in the dried fruits and mix together gently for a few seconds.
  3. Take the dough out of the bowl, place on a floured board and knead it until very smooth and elastic about five minutes.  Place the dough on an oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm place to prove until double in bulk, about one hour and a half.
  4. Punch the dough down, knead lightly, now the dough is ready for shaping.
  5. Shape onto 10, about 80 g each ball, and place them side by side on buttered pan.
  6. Cover with a clean cloth, set aside in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes or until doubled in size
  7. To make the paste, and decorate:  mix the flour and water until smooth, place the paste onto a paper bag, cut one corner of the bag.  Pipe crosses onto the buns.
  8. Bake the buns in preheated oven at 175 degrees C  (fan forced oven) for 16 minutes
  9. Reduce oven to 160 degrees C, and bake for 9 minutes further or until golden brown.
  10. (please adjust the temperature of the oven as every oven is different)
  11. Transfer the buns to a wire rack, glace the buns with the sugar glace while the buns are still warm.    Now you have 10 glossy Easter buns to enjoy.

We enjoyed the home baked buns, in the past we only eat them on Easter Sunday, well they are from our kitchen, we have to taste it first before sharing.

While the oven is hot I baked an open pie with chicken filling, you could do it too, it is saving the energy I love to make the best of the oven.

 

Chicken Pie

Serve for Two

Using a lining paste,  roll it out onto a very tin pastry sheet.  Place and spread the filling on it, then gather the pastry in, almost enclosing the filling.
Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes.  Use any filling as you wish, it could be egg and cheese, beef or mushrooms and carrots.

Freshly Baked Chicken Pie
Freshly Baked
Chicken Pie

This year,  I will also prepare the Easter Crown with two flavours.  It is made out of brioche dough, a rich  buttery dough , light and fluffy.

A sneak peak for the preparation of Easter Crown 

 

The Easter crown is ready to prove
The Easter crown, one side filled with savoury and the other filled with sweet is ready to prove
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Sultana and jam for the sweet filling
Ham and cheese for the savoury filling
Ham and cheese for the savoury filling

 

When it is proved to double  in size, bake in a hot oven at 190 degrees C for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.  Take it out from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack to cool.  When it is cold completely dress the Easter crown.   Drizzle with melted chocolate on the sweet side, and place mini Easter eggs candy/chocolate all round ( you need 16 chocolate eggs).

 

In Australia, Easter falls in Autumn, the garden is rather empty, only the white camellia brightens up the place and the foliage leaves add to the colour of the season.  Autumn leaves replace of the flowers, I put them in a vase for the house, before they all gone dry and are falling, but on the other side, a new potential flower is here, this is the ‘Bakano Etna’ cymbidium.  I thought it is good to share about whatis happpening around Easter at our place.

Autumn Leaves for the flower arrangement
Autumn Leaves for the flower arrangement

 

The budding cymbidium
The budding cymbidium.

Maybe the garden does not look so great, but Easter time is a happy time for everyone, specially for children, they love their sweets, chocolate eggs of course.  I wish you all to have fun and enjoy the preparation for  the big day.  Have a Very Happy Easter.

 

 

 

Until Next Post

Susi