The other day I brought home a couple of fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned. As I cast about for recipe ideas, I spotted a couple of Moroccan fish recipes, using a couple of variations on a chermoula as a marinade. With that as inspiration, I dug out my heavy duty mortar & pestle and have it a good wash. I don’t use our mortar & pestle all that much, but every time I do, I keep wondering why I don’t use it more. I think it’s a mental block; even though I know it doesn’t take too much effort or time for a simple paste, there’s still that hesitation. It’s not my first tool of choice, and that’s purely out of habit rather than anything else, I think.
These lamb chops are a firm favourite in our household. We usually get a french-trimmed rack of lamb and then cut them up into individual chops (although there are probably cheaper ways of doing this dish). Then divide them into portions for two, rub in some marinade, and freeze in a ziploc bag. On days when you don’t feel like making too much of an effort, it’s an easy job to defrost a packet, put them in the oven for 15 minutes and have a great meal ready in a jiffy.
I find the Moroccan flavours go amazingly with lamb, with the slightly bitter rocket and tangy sweet pomegranate providing a wonderfully tasty counterpoint.
Moroccan food, especially the tagines, are close to our heart. Or rather more accurately, close to our palates and our stomachs. The cuisine uses a lot of the same spices; coriander, cumin, saffron, mint etc but in different ways and combinations. And the zing of the preserved lemons is a joy to the tastebuds. So whenever we feel like have something nice, but not Indian, one of our defaults is a Moroccan tagine. I’ve got a couple of books on Moroccan food and have enjoyed working my way through most of the recipes.
I’ve adapted this particular one from ‘The Moroccan Collection‘ by Hilaire Walden. The cooking process was fairly standard for a tagine, some attention up front and then a little peek every now and then while it simmers away. The result was very nice and because of the artichokes, something slightly different than usual.
We are constantly trying to have a low-carb, zero-grain lunch. This means that all varieties of rice and wheat are out, and we keep searching for ways to make this meal more interesting. Its usually soups or salads, but sometimes, you want some hot food, and a quick stir-fry is usually the answer. This is a light yet filling lunch that I quickly threw together the other day. The chickpeas have a Moroccan flavour to them, which is complemented by the indian flavourings in the beef.
Beef with chickpeas, radish & cherry tomato stir fry
When you walk past the fish counter at your local supermarket and see alluring rows of fresh, glistening salmon fillets, it becomes difficult to resist them. But when you reach home, there is always the question of how to cook them. We usually prefer our salmon pan-fried with a pinch of salt, pepper and a twist of lemon at the end. But occasionally one wants something more, but still without too much effort.
This tray-bake recipe is a simple one that requires some chopping skills and a couple of hours of marination. Instead of chopping by hand, you could put all the ingredients for the salsa verde in a small mixer, but try and keep th emixture a bit coarse rather than turn it into a smooth paste. I think that provides and extra dimension of texture to the dish. If you are short of time, you can cut down the marination time too. But try to keep it for at least half an hour to let the flavours seep into the fish.
In the photo, I’ve served the salmon with some roast potatoes and steamed buttered sweetcorn and green beans. But it would also go very well with some steamed rice or even couscous.
- 4 Salmon fillets (approx 800g), cleaned and de-scaled
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- A few slivers of butter
- Salsa verde (see below)
For the Salsa verde
- Handful of dill, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 fresh large red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tsp capers, finely chopped
- zest & juice of half a large lemon
- 2 tsp harissa paste
- 1 tsp ras-al-hanout powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt & crushed black pepper, to taste
- Place the salmon pieces in the baking dish. Mix all the salsa verde ingredients and rub vigorously into the fish
- Cover the baking dish with cling film and leave to marinate for 2-3 hrs.
- Pre-heat an oven to 200C
- Remove the cling-film from the fish, scatter the cherry tomato halves around the fish pieces. Place the slivers of butter on top the fish.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil, and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces of fish).
- Check the fish, and when it is nearly done, remove the foil, turn up the heat to 220 and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot.