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A Moroccan Feast

I had the girls round for dinner the other night and cooked up a few Moroccan dishes for us all, so thought I'd share them. I always like to make a few things to allow for different tastes and it allows us all to be greedy too. We started with cherry bellinis (cherry juice, fresh cherries and fizz), then moved on to the main event.

I made a summery chicken tagine that morning in my slow cooker by chucking some bone-in chicken pieces in the crockpot with loads of green olives, dried apricots, saffron, stock, ras el hanout, honey, garlic and onion then left it to do its thing all day. 20-30 mins before serving I added 100g or so of cous cous, conscious that there wasn't a lot in the way of carbs planned (especially as I fogot the lavash).

Tagines are never very pretty :(

I love Moroccan food, and when I was in Marrakech years ago I tried their little pastries called pastillas. Over there they're usually filo type pastry filled with a curious but delicious mix of sweet and savoury flavours and a meat (often pigeon). I could't get hold of any pigeon but figured minced lamb would be a good substite, and cooked it down with onion, almonds, pomegranate molasses, parsley and dried cranberries then seasoned it heavily with cinnamon and nutmeg. I layered it all with the filo sheets and crimped the edges, using butter to stick them together a bit. Finally, I dusted with icing sugar and placed in the oven for about 30 mins. It went down an absolute treat. If you like the sound of it, you should get yourself over to Kings Cross Wed-Fri afternoons and buy one from the Moroccan stall there.

The sides to accompany were fattoush (parsley salad) which I've posted about before but again without the toasted bread; plus I did a fairly standard baby broad bean, pea, mint and feta salad. I'd seen a nice spiced carrot salad on Pinterest that I took inspiration from, then made a little carrot and chickpea side in a kind of vichy style (ie. cooked down in splash of water and oil not butter) seasoned with cumin, loads of olive oil, tahini and black Nigella seeds. A finishing blob of labneh and mint prettied it up and made for a nicely cooling contrast.

This is just a brief outline of the recipes, so if you want to know more you'll have to email / tweet me as it would be a mammoth post otherwise!

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