An easy mid-week dinner

So, finally I have gotten round to making a food blog! It’s taken me long enough!

Thinking of what recipe to post first proved very difficult! I toyed with maybe a fish pie recipe or some kind of dessert, but finally made up my mind with one of my favourite dishes, a lovely hearty tagine!

A tagine is traditionally a North African dish consisting of vegetables and/or meat with plenty of spices cooked low and slow in a large clay pot called a tagine. The smell of a tagine cooking must be on of the nicest smells on the planet. When cooking, it fills your home with aromas of beautifully warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin and coriander, which definitely makes your mouth water! Sometimes it’s difficult to let it cook all day with all of those smells floating around without constantly having a little taste!

Most tagine recipes I’ve come across use lamb, which is one of my favourite meats, but as I only had beef in at the time, my tagine was a beef tagine! Also I cooked my tagine in my slow cooker, instead of the traditional tagine pot. A slow cooker is a definite must have for someone that works full time like me! You can put the ingredients in, in the morning, get about your day, and at the end of the evening have a delicious meal with hardly any effort!

So, to make my tagine I used
• 450g of good quality diced beef or lamb
• about 150g of dried apricots
• 2 tablespoons of honey
• a tin of chopped tomatoes
• 2 diced white onions
• 1 stock cube (lamb, beef or vegetable)
• 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
• 2 teaspoons of Schwartz mixed spice *(ground cinnamon, ground coriander, caraway, nutmeg, ginger & cloves)
• 2 minced cloves of garlic
• a 2cm piece of ginger, minced
• a good amount of salt and black pepper
• a dash of water

Although a tagine does has a lot of different ingredients and spices, it is so simple to make! Do don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients!

To begin brown off the meat in a frying pan, if you have a good quality non stick pan, you only have to use little or no oil which makes this a very healthy dish! As soon as the meat colours on the outside take it out from the pan, add a dash of oil and the onions, garlic and ginger. As soon as they begin to colour (making sure they don’t burn) add all the ground spices and fry off for a couple of minutes. When softened, add a dash of water to the pan (to make sure none of the lovely spice mix is left in the pan) and put straight into the slow cooker. Put the meat back into the slower cooker and add the tomatoes, honey, salt & pepper. I add my apricots at this point too, but they tend to cook down a lot, so If you want apricots with a bit more body, add them about half way through the cooking process.

Once everything is added, turn the slow cooker on low and leave it for 8 hours. It may seem a long time but it’s definitely worth it (great to do if you’re out of the house all day!). Serve with rice or cous cous 🙂

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I apologise for the poor photo but it was so tasty I almost forgot to take one!

* another good spice mix to use is Barts Baharat spice mix

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