Chermoula Recipe – or, Moroccan Fish

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I might have to make this again, just to take a better photo!

Last week I asked Andy want he wanted for dinner and he had a think and announced ‘Middle Eastern’. I had a bit of a look on the internet and a bit of a look through my cookbooks and decided that ‘Moroccan’ was close enough.

Made in Morocco is a cookbook that, while it gets sporadic work outs, probably is somewhat underutilised. My mum bought it for me almost 10 years ago (and doesn’t that make me feel ancient) just before I headed off on a holiday to the said country. My break was less haute cuisine and more eating harira (a chickpea and noodle soup) around a campfire. But, you know, if you ever fancy a trip where your night time toilet breaks are outside and accompanied by sleet and braying donkeys, I guess I recommend a ‘winter sun’ trekking holiday*.

I originally thought I was going to make a simple fish tagine from the book, but when push came to shove, even that started to look like too much work, so I decided that actually, I’d just make the chermoula and that would do as a simple sauce/dressing for the fish.

Traditionally, chermoula is quite a wet spice mix which is used as a marinade. But really, it has tons of uses. By altering how much oil you use, you can make it firmer and more dip like, you can use it as a sauce or a marinade, and, in my case, I used left overs on pasta as a kind of pesto. You can use this with pretty much any protein and of course its robust flavour means it would be great with barbecued meat.

Very flexible and very tasty. And, of course, quick, easy and perfect for making ahead!

* This makes me sound a lot more hard core and adventurous in my holidays than I actually am. And I would actually genuinely recommend a trekking holiday in Morocco because the scenery is stunning.

Chermoula Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 red chilli (seeds removed, if you wish)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup of (good quality) olive oil

Instructions

  1. Process everything together, adding the oil slowly until you reach your desired consistency.
  2. If you are making the chermoula as a marinade, make it runnier and use a light olive oil. If you intend to use it as a dip, use a very good quality extra virgin olive oil and make it firmer (dipping consistency!).
https://eatingadelaide.com/chermoula-recipe-moroccan-fish/

Baked Moroccan Meatballs

Baked Moroccan Meatballs

I was just about to post a recipe for rocket pesto when I discovered that I’d done that way back in 2011. No point in telling you the same thing twice – and (depressingly) my more recent photo was actually worse too!

Fortunately, my back log of photos suggests that I write instead about some baked Moroccan meatballs that we had for an easy dinner before the latest lot of hot weather invaded.

If you can start this a little ahead, it’s worth it: allowing the meatballs some time to sit in the fridge, firm up and develop flavours is time well spent. But, if you’re in a rush – no matter, you can have this dinner on the table quickly.

This recipe should make enough meatballs for four for dinner.

Begin by taking 500g of lean beef mince. Mix in half a red onion, finely chopped, and a generous 2 tsp of ras el-hanout. If you don’t have that to hand, use some ground coriander and cumin. Add salt, pepper and additional chilli (use chilli powder for this, rather than flakes) to taste. Because my ras el-hanout had chilli in it, I just stuck to salt and pepper.

Ensure the seasoning and onion is mixed thoroughly through the mince, form into walnut sized meatballs, place on a plate and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

Heat some olive oil in a pan (a pan you can put in the oven), and brown the meatballs all over. When they’re browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Now use the same pan to make your sauce. Add some extra oil and heat, then add 1 brown onion, finely chopped, a clove or two of minced garlic and chilli (fresh or flakes, again, to taste and totally optional). Add a tin of chopped tomatoes (buy Australian!) and half a tin of water. Cook gently until the sauce begins to thicken and add half a chopped capsicum.

Heat your oven to 180°C. Tuck the meatballs into the sauce (I found I didn’t have space for all of them) and place in the oven to finish cooking. Depending on how thick your tomato sauce is (or becomes) you may need to cover the pan with a lid (or tin foil) to stop it thickening too much.

When the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is thickened, serve, garnished with fresh coriander, and any appropriately North African sides (yep – we had couscous!).

We had a few leftover meatballs and a bit of leftover sauce, so the next day I put the meatballs in a pie dish, poured over the sauce, topped generously with grated cheese (we had some mozzarella left over from pizzas) and reheated in the oven. A great way to use up leftovers!

Moroccan Couscous Salad

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My apologies for yet another really awful photograph! When this salad looked at its best I was too busy celebrating New Year to be photographing!

Disclaimer: San Remo sent me the wholemeal couscous.

Another couscous recipe. After the success of the 50-50 white/wholemeal couscous combination of my last effort, I decided that the salad I took along to a New Year’s Eve party could be 100% wholemeal couscous. I picked a recipe for a warm couscous salad from Jason Atherton’s book Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. This recipe was considerably less hassle to put together (despite having to rustle up the ras el hanout) and I certainly now have plenty of ideas for my own couscous salad creation (no doubt that recipe coming at some point … though this isn’t a blog about couscous so you might have to wait a little).

As usual, I had to make adjustments to Atherton’s recipe (it had raisins in it – I’m really not a fan of raisins in savoury food).

In a bowl, put 1 cup of couscous, a good pinch of salt, 2 tsp of ras el hanout, and a generous glug of good quality olive oil. Pour over 1 cup of boiling water, cover with cling film and leave to sit for 15 – 20 minutes.

With couscous – remember 1 cup of couscous, 1 cup of water or stock.

While the couscous is sitting, peel, core and then finely dice a Granny Smith apple. Finely chopping an apple is more difficult than it sounds (it’s not a shape that lends itself well to being chopped) so don’t get too hung up on size and evenness. Mix some lemon juice through the apple to stop it from discolouring (err on the side of more lemon juice, rather than less).

When the couscous has absorbed all the water, fork it through to fluff it up and then mix through the apple. Stir through some lemon juice (to taste – this depends a bit on how much you used on the apple), lemon rind, and some chopped coriander and rosemary.

I actually left out the coriander as we didn’t have any to hand, but I’d recommend using either that or parsley because, if nothing else, it will add some vibrant green to an otherwise somewhat yellow coloured salad!

This is a salad that you need to eat either the day you make it or the next as the rosemary flavour gets stronger and stronger and eventually dominates.

This couscous salad got a reasonable tick – I took it to a New Year’s Eve party and people who said they didn’t normally eat couscous politely said they enjoyed it. The quantities are much more reasonable here (it was served at a BBQ of 9 people and there was enough left overs for one meal for Andy and me). Andy and I decided that, while this too needs some tweaking, we’re on our way to the perfect couscous salad!