Thursday, 25 October 2012

My new Tagine and how I used it.

I've always wanted to own a tagine. I know I can make fragrant, spicy stews without one, and frequently do (I'm typing this with great wafts of the aroma of a chickpea and butternut squash curry floating in from the kitchen), but I love my kitchen bits and pieces and really, really wanted a tagine!

A few years ago I bought an electric tagine, but is was MASSIVE. Not only was it too big to fit in any of my kitchen cupboards, so it ended up living out its short life on the bedroom floor, but it was far too big to cook a meal for just the two of us or even four or six when we had visitors. To fill it enough to stop things drying out would have needed at least eight generous portions. Within a few short weeks it was rehomed - I hope the new owners were happier with it.

Then last month I won a £30 Groupon voucher. I went to the website, planning to treat myself to a facial, and the first thing I spotted was a special offer on tagines. They had a nice small 1-litre one, suitable to use on an open gas flame, for just under £30. Perfect! So now I am the owner of a rather lovely tagine.

For its first airing, I made use of part of another prize, a tin of Bart Spices Ras-el-Hanout and made the recipe off the side of the tin, a lamb tagine with baby plum tomatoes. It seemed rather strange using a shallow ceramic dish on the hob, rather like cooking on a plate, but once the high pointed lid was in place to trap and condense the steam, the dish needed very little stirring which meant the tomatoes kept their shape and the finished dish looked really attractive because of this.

Because we like loads of veg with our meals, I also made a seven-vegetable stew, as taught to me by a Senegalese friend at university many years ago

And finally I served the whole thing with couscous.

I'm delighted with my new toy and I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of it on Onions and Paper in the future.

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