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Moroccan Magic : Full Of Spice And Flavour (part 1) - Moroccan tuna Niçoise with roasted tomatoes

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Embark on a culinary adventure by trying your hand at these Moroccan dishes, full of spice and flavour

A Month in Marrakesh; recipes from the heart of Morocco, by Andy Harris (Hardie Grant, $26.34), is both a travel guide and a cookery book. Having spent 10 summers exploring the colourful food markets and souks of Marrakesh, Harris, the editor of Jamie Oliver’s magazine, Jamie, is something of an expert when it comes to this vibrant cuisine.

Moroccan Food

Moroccan Food

During his travels, Harris has picked up the secrets to creating sumptuous Moroccan dishes, and built up a collection of authentic earthenware tagines from his favourite shops and stalls in the souks – a tagine is a traditional north African Berber dish named after the special earthenware pot in which it’s cooked.

This book covers everything from breakfasts through to desserts, with the obligatory chapter on tagines – although he does include refreshingly unusual recipes, including Fish and Fennel Tagine and Baby Octopus and Green Olive Tagine. These pots of food are traditionally placed in the middle of the table for everyone to share, so make a fantastic dinner party idea. Imagine your friends’ appreciative grins as they tuck into the steaming food.

The book is punctuated with mouth-watering imagery from talented food and lifestyle photographer David Loftus. With every turn of the page, you’re taken on a tour of Harris’ foody haunts. With evocative images of market life, you can almost smell the freshly brewed mint tea, taste the cinnamon and cumin and hear the hubbub.

A Street Foods section includes offerings such as Stuffed Potato Croquettes, Fish Kefta, Spicy Squid with Harissa Yoghurt and Lamb Brochettes. There’s also a handy glossary of essential herbs and spices that Harris uses in abundance.

Moroccan cooking, with its African and Mediterranean, inspiration is very healthy – most recipes contain a protein source such as chicken, lamb or fish with lots of vegetables, plus a host of health-promoting herbs and spices. Couscous, pulses and lentils are used to bulk up dishes or provide a nutritious carbohydrate accompaniment to rich recipes.

Quick Tip

Preserved lemons are a storecupboard essential for Moroccan dishes. Simply soak one lemon in a jar with one part salt to one part water for two months.

Moroccan tuna Niçoise with roasted tomatoes

Moroccan tuna Niçoise with roasted tomatoes

Serves: 4; Cooking time: 45 minutes

Per serving:

464 calories, 26g protein, 35g fat (6g saturated fat),11g carbohydrates, 10g sugar, 7g fibre, 0.9g salt

·         8 ripe tomatoes

·         8 garlic cloves, crushed

·         2 tbsp capers, drained

·         ¼ tbsp ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)

·         2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

·         3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

·         Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

·         250g green beans, trimmed and blanched

·         250g canned tuna, drained

·         3 boiled eggs, halved, peeled and thinly sliced

·         100g mixed olives, drained then crushed

Dressing

·         2 small red onions, finely sliced Juice of 1 lemon

·         6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

·         2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

·         Sea salt

·         Freshly ground black pepper

Instruction

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/gas mark 4. Cut four tomatoes in half and the rest into quarters, and place in a roasting tin. Add the garlic, capers, ras el hanout, parsley and oil. Season.

2.    Combine well then roast for 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked. Remove from the oven and cool.

3.    Meanwhile, combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

4.    To assemble, place the tomatoes on a platter, add the beans, flaked tuna, boiled eggs and olives. Drizzle over the dressing and serve with flatbread.

Chef’s tip:

For an authentic lunch, serve with toasted or grilled arab-style flatbread

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