Last week I wrote about the delights of staying at my parents’ for a while: exploiting them and making them pay for my ridiculous ingredients. Well, it doesn’t stop there. In addition to ingredients I don’t usually buy myself, I can also use all of my mum’s outlandish kitchen utensils that she accumulated over years and years of birthdays and anniversaries.
I go mental with all the awesome stuff my mum owns. The silicone pastry brush. The giant creuset casserole. The heavy duty, French cast-iron frying pan. And the tajine!
A tajine is an earthenware cooking pot from the north of Africa in which you can leave a bunch of ingredients to simmer slowly. Normally I’d stuff it with lamb and dried fruits, what with me staying at my folks and them paying for free-range lamb shoulder anyway. But I invited my best mate from high school over and she’s a sneaky vegetarian (of the kind that doesn’t flaunt it so you only remember at the very last minute) so I had to come up with something else. Thankfully I did and it was nice. Sweet vegetarian carrot tajine.
For four people you will need the following:
- 4 decent sized carrots
- 2 tins of chick peas
- an onion
- a couple of loves of garlic
- some ground cumin
- some cayenne pepper
- some ground coriander
- some ground turmeric
- some cinnamon
- some honey
- fresh coriander, to serve
First, in a frying pan, heat some oil. Gently fry the onion and the garlic, chopped into bits, then add the spices. I’d say about a heaped teaspoon of each, but you might want to add more or less or any one – I tend to exaggerate with the cumin because it’s my favourite.
Now chuck it all into the tajine, which you put on low to medium heat. Sprinkle over a couple of tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt. Add the carrots and some water, enough to cover the base of the tajine but not so much that it’s all full. Drain the chickpeas and chuck them in as well. Put the lid on and leave to simmer for about half an hour. If you can be bothered you can stir the whole concoction halfway through to see if all cooks properly, but it’s a pretty low-maintenance way of cooking and all should really be fine.
Top the dish with a good handful of fresh chopped coriander. Serve with some simple couscous or with some tangy tabbouleh, and with some yoghurt on the side.