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Veggie Tagine

vegetarian tagine

vegetarian tagine

It always amazes me how magical some films are. Have you ever felt like going somewhere, or doing something after watching a particular film? Films can be inspiring. I can only think of it as magic. How otherwise can you explain that I watched so many movies filmed in Morocco but none of them made me want to go there. Not even The Sheltering Sky. Beautifully shot, but frankly my dear, quite pretentious and boring. I love Debra Winger and I watched it for her, Malkovich on the other hand…(put meaningful silence and shoulder shrug here..)

The only film which made me yearn for going to Morocco was Casablanca. How absurd, a film made entirely in the studio holds such an atmospheric power. I love the fact that no one involved in the production expected it to be anything but a romantic film. I also love that the producers used a set built for another film, The Desert Song, to film the Paris flashbacks. Or the fact that they used a cardboard plane for the last scene, and to make it look bigger, hired little people extras to walk around it and make the perspective more believable. Fog was used to mask the appearance of the fake plane, but it made the scene even more eerie and atmospheric.

I was a bit obsessed with Humphrey Bogart when I was 13. I watched all of his films and to me he was an absolute icon and a perfect male model. I wonder what a shrink would have to say about a 13 year old girl idolizing a short, middle aged, mumbling guy with a drinking problem… Even now I still think he was an amazing actor and Casablanca remains one of my favourite films I can watch over and over again. All famous one liners from the film have been used so many times that they became part of the popular culture, and I bet some people don’t even know where they came from any more.

There can’t be any other dish you can pair with a film like that then tagine. You should make it, otherwise you will regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day…

So here it is, let’s play it Sam, for old times’ sake…

vegetarian tagine

vegetarian tagine

Vegetarian Tagine

(adapted  from New Vegetarian Kitchen by Nicola Graimes)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, sliced

1 aubergine, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 courgettes, sliced

2 tbsp ras-el-hanout

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1-2 sweet potatoes, diced

600 chopped potatoes

1 tbsp honey

100g dried apricots

1 tin cheakpeas

handful of blanched, toasted almonds

salt and pepper

coriander leaves, chopped

cooked couscous to serve

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy (iron cast) pan. Add onion and saute over a medium heat. Add aubergine, garlic and courgettes. Cook till  the vegetables have softened.

2.Add ras-el-hanout and stir until vegetables are coated. Add chilli flakes, sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, honey and half a cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.

3. Simmer covered for 15 min, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in chickpeas and apricots, cover and cook for another 15 min. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with almonds and coriander, serve with couscous.

vegetarian tagine

vegetarian tagine

madrid an morroco 245

not Rick’s cafe but still very nice



About potatofaces

People who cook always go on about precious memories of childhood food one of their family members cooked, how daddy or nanny taught them the importance of cooking and eating together, and they still remember the comfort food they produced, amazing dishes whipped up by brilliant but humble cooks in their family. Well, let me tell you, it was totally different in my family. My mother’s family – totally useless as cooks, who could survive on bread and butter, cooked once a week a terrible, terrible meal, usually some kind of meat piece with lots of brown sauce. Also, they were never bothered about eating together. That’s maybe why most of them were depressed and suicidal. My mother followed that path and couldn’t really cook, and because I never wanted to eat meat, was warning me that ‘one day I will regret it’. Probably because my mother wasn’t into cooking my sister at the age of 12 took over and started producing amazing dinners and cakes. Well, luckily for me and her we weren’t that genetically doomed because apparently my father’s family were gifted in that compartment. I can only presume it was genes, as my father divorced my mother when my sis and me were little and he strongly believed that he also divorced us. So, we were growing up never having any contact with him and as a result, couldn’t learn how to cook from him. That’s why I believe the love of cooking ( and the ability) was just passed to us genetically. My father, short time before he died, unexpectedly felt an urge to contact us. First he gave my sister a mandolin (that’s another thing I know about him- he played a few instruments). My sister refused to talk to him, he then decided to contact me and wanted to spend some time with me. I didn’t want to, as he was a stranger to me (I was 11 or 12 at the time) but as I was promised I could leave whenever I wanted to, I went to the village he lived in. There I tried his mother’s cooking everyone was raving about. It was simple and amazing, I wish they were as family dedicated as they were at baking, cooking, making pastries, wine, tinctures, you name it. But I ate, drunk, and got bored of strangers who were my family and demanded to be let to go home. One of the last things my father said to me was that I should start learning English because I might need it one day, which I ignored for another 16 years… Because my sister was such a domestic goddess I wasn’t really bothered about cooking. I got hooked properly after my son was born and I wanted him to eat healthy and get everything he needed, especially that it wasn’t his choice to be a vegetarian (yet). And that is how the story begins…

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