Saturday, 23 March 2013


As, usual....I haven't posted on here for a while. I'm busy with refurbing and redecorating the bathroom, diningroom and kitchen - picking up from where I left off after the professionals came in to fit new suite and kitchen appliances a while back etc (if you follow my blog you'll have seen the photos and such). I'm on the home straight (I think!) and I'll be doing another update and blog post once it's all finished so hang'll be here soon I hope... the meantime, I'm just posting up a recipe for something I cooked up today. Really enjoyed was a big hit with the OH so I've decided to share on here.

We're in the middle of a snow storm again (it's nearly April for crying out loud...can we please have Spring now...all this white stuff and below freezing temps is becoming a joke!) so we've been hankering after comfort foods. I was watching an old Nigel Slater tv cookery show and he was making a lentil and pancetta stew and that kinda got my mouth watering...

...stew...mmmmmm...stew sounded goooood...

...but I didn't have any lentils (used up my last can a few days ago for a dahl curry) and I didn't have any pancetta....or bacon...or any other meats for that fact...

so a quick scout of the cupboard and armed with an onion, two small leeks, two large carrots, tinned tomatoes and a tin of butterbeans and the herbs and spice cupboard at the ready, I decided to try out moroccan style. I used an old tried and tested combo of spices (normally used for a meat tagine) but the rest was kinda winging it...thankfully it turned out rather good. With the absence of meat it's pretty quick one pot to cook up and serve within the hour...although I daresay, if left over night the flavours would develop even more.

Don't be put off by the long list of herbs and spices...looks a lot, but these really are needed for a good authentic moroccan flavour and are actually in small quantities.

Sorry...but no photos...we were too hungry to stand around prepping and making pretty for piccies!

Simple Moroccan style Bean and Veg stew (serves 4)

couple of tblspns of oil for frying (I used rapseed but olive or veg oil is fine)
1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped (about 1inch pieces)
1 large leek (or two small), washed and chopped (about 1 inch pieces)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
*1tsp cumin seeds
*half tsp ground cinnamon
*1tsp ground coriander
*half tsp tumeric powder
*half tsp fennel seeds
*1 tsp dried basil
*half tsp sea salt
*small pinch of cayenne
2 garlic cloves (crushed or very fine choped)
1 400g tin Tomatoes in juice
1pt chicken stock (or veg stock if making as a vegetarian meal)
1 400g tin Butter Beans, drained and rinsed
half tblsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
fresh chopped coriander or parsley to serve (optional)

Fry off the onion, leek and carrot in the oil for a couple of minutes, then stir in all the * marked herbs and spices and cook a further 2 mins, Add the garlic, gently cook another min the add in the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer about 25-30mins...stiring occasionaly and keeping an eye that it doesn't dry up...add extra water or more stock if needed (the tomatoes and long simmering will thicken the liquid but it's a stew so there needs to be ample juices). Add the Butterbeans and gently cook a further 10 mins then stir in the grated ginger (if using), turn off the heat, cover and let rest a few minutes.

Serve scattered with the chopped fresh herbs and with plain cous cous or some pitta bread to mop up the juices.