Category: Artichokes

Rocking The Casbah – The Food Of Morocco

The selection for March and April over  at The Cookbook Guru was The Food Of Morocco by Paula Wolfert which really fits in with my explorations into Middle Eastern Food via Persiana and MENA.

 First, the book is ENORMOUS!!!! If you dropped this on your foot, you would be in serious danger of breaking a toe.  Or two. It was really quite difficult to choose the recipes to try, there were so many and so many that sounded delicious.

Second, it is beautiful – not just the recipes, the photography, the writing, everything about it is lovely. I would love to have this in my own collection as it is so well curated and contains so much of interest but sadly, it is quite expensive so, at the moment is just on the wishlist!

I have been sick for nearly a week now so I have left my run here a little late.  Thankfully the anti-biotics have started to kick in and hopefully I can get this post out whilst it is still April somewhere in the world.

I have made four things from this book and whilst I would have loved to have a post for each, for the sake of brevity, I’m putting them all together so I can get something out before Christmas!!!  I have also not included any recipes as that would have taken even more time but, if you like the look of anything let me know and I can send ’em through!

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // BRIK WITH TUNA, CAPERS AND EGGS

I was not familiar with the brik, (pronounced breek) which is a Moroccan snack consisting of a very thin pastry called warqa wrapped around various fillings, one of which is this delicious but to me, uncommon, combination of tuna and egg. 

Not surprisingly there was no warqa pastry at the local supermarket and because I was running so late on this, I could not shop for it so I used the much more readily available filo pastry for my briks.  You can apparently also use spring roll wrappers, or if really brave, make your own warqa pastry.

So first up you saute up some onions, then add your tuna, capers, parsley and some parmesan cheese.  And yup, this mix just on it’s own tastes AMAZING. I’m surprised there was any left to make the briks. Personally, I blame the hosts of reality tv cooking shows for constantly telling people to taste their food during cooking!

Then you make place the tuna mix on the pastry but make a little hole to hold the eggs.  I don’t think it matters if it spills over a little like mine did.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

Then you quickly seal this up and drop it into some hot oil to fry up – the idea being you want your pastry crispy and your egg still a little bit runny.

So, did I cook the perfect runny egg brik?

Sadly, no.  My egg was cooked through. 🙁

This was not all bad though, it certainly made it easier to take the remainder for lunch the next day.  And OMG, so tasty.  I’ll definitely be trying this again and trying to nail that runny egg.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO //POTATO TAGINE WITH OLIVES AND HARISSA

This tasted as good as it looks.  And one for my vegan friends!!!  The colours are so beautiful and the flavours blend together beautifully!

Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa
Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // THE BIRD THAT FLEW AWAY

This a lovely chickpea dish with a delightful name.  Paula Wolfert explains that is it a “plat de pauvre” (a dish for the poor) that is made when you can’t afford to buy a chicken.  It’s so good I think I would eat it regardless of whether I had a chicken or not!

The Bird That Flew Away2
The Bird That Flew Away2

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO INSPIRED // ARTICHOKE SALAD WITH ORANGE, LEAFY GREENS AND DATES.

A Spanish restaurant I am very fond of does a salad with oranges, artichokes and dates which is To. Die. For.  In order to recreate it’s flavour, I used Paula Wolfert’s Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad and added artichokes and some lemon and olive oil in the dressing.  I think it worked really well and I loved the hint of orange flower water.  It was not exactly my restaurant salad but it was pretty close. And look at how pretty it is! 

Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad
Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad

 This was an amazing book and I am so glad that The Cookbook Guru drew it to my attention.  The next few months we will be cooking from a book by a true legend of Australian Cooking, Margaret Fulton.  I can’t wait.  And I promise to be a bit more timely!

Have a great week!

 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

Artichokes – Delicious Vegetable or WMD?

Artichokes didn’t feature on the menu when I was growing up.  I’m also not overly fond of the ones you get in the deli which taste more of the vinegar they come in that anything else.  So, I had actually never eaten a fresh artichoke until last year…I‘m not sure what prompted me to buy some because let’s face it, they’re not an attractive proposition.

Water Lily Lamb Salad
Water Lily Lamb Salad

I don’t mean the way they look, that’s awesome  – the amazing colours, the gorgeous mix of purple and green and their sculptural shape…

Artichokes

They are almost like something that should be in should be in a bouquet rather than on your plate and, just to prove that point, here’s one I prepared earlier….

Artichoke-Kale-bouquet
Artichoke-Kale-bouquet

 

Gorgeous.  And functional.  If you get a little peckish…pull off a leaf and have a nibble.  Win. Win.

So, when I say they are unattractive, what I really mean is that they are hard work.

Imagine trying to explain the artichoke to someone from another planet…

“Well you’ve got to trim off the leaf tops with scissors, then brush them with lemon so they don’t go brown”

Yeah but if you didn’t cut them, you wouldn’t have to…

“Never mind about that.  Then you have to scrape out the choke…

Scrape out the what?

“The choke…it’s kind of a hairy bit at the bottom…”

It has a hairy bottom? And you EAT this?

Uh Huh.

Removing the Choke
Removing the choke

Why’s it called a choke?

Not sure but if you don’t remove it all sometimes the fuzz can get caught in your throat and apparently it can be very painful.

Oh my God.  This hairy bottom vegetable wants to kill you. You humans are bonkers.  Anyone else would run a mile from this thing…There’s no way I”m eating that.  Might come in handy as a weapon though…

Ok, so I”ll just dip these deliciious leaves in melted butter and eat them myself shall I?

What?

That’s a traditional way of eating them.  You dip them in melted butter and then you drag ’em through your teeth…

Melted butter you say? Ok, I’m in.

Artichokes with Parmesan Butter Sauce

Why aren’t more foods dipped in melted butter?   As far as I can ascertain the only things that are regularly dipped in butter are artichokes and lobsters both which are pretty good anyway. Why aren’t we doing this with some of the revolting  stuff (beetroot springs to mind) to make it taste better?  I guarantee more people would like Brussels Sprouts if they came liberally doused in melted butter.  Just saying.

Anyway I digress.  You know what is also good?  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…but a few more of my favourite things are mayonnaise, lamb and capers.

And all of these delicious things can be found in the Nancy Spain recipe for Water Lily Lamb Salad.  And this time, I really did prepare one earlier….

 

Water Lily Lamb Salad 2
Water Lily Lamb Salad 2

Apart from the cutest name ever, the Water Lily Lamb Salads are pretty damn good and would make a great starter for a springtime lunch.  It’s such a lovely way to present the meal as well…albeit, I cooked my artichokes for the full 25 minutes as recommended by Nancy and they kind of fell apart, hence my slightly awry water lillies in the photos!  Tasted great though.   Still, I’ll cook them a lot less next time.  You could sub in chicken for the lamb as an equally deliciious variant.  Or an egg salad would be incredible…

And, if you needed any further incentive to eat artichokes, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the Artichoke Queen Of California in 1947.  And look where it got her…

No, not dead of a barbiturate overdose  at the tender age of 36…wow, you people are cynical…

Marilyn Monroe - Artichoke Queen
Marilyn Monroe – Artichoke Queen

I”m going to be spending my week hanging around greengrocers, waiting to be crowned queen of something.

Then again…why limit myself to produce when I can crown myself

qofe

It’s your week, may as well make it awesome.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

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