I can’t believe its not PASSATA

September 8, 2023

Yet another dinner made from leftovers and more cheating to make a unique, satisfying & extremely “Slimming World’ friendly dish. I enjoy recipes from around the globe and have a passion for Middle Eastern inspired dishes. Whether Spanish, Portuguese, Greek or Italian, – many dishes have their origins in the East.

I was fortunate to travel to North Africa and sample authentic Moroccan cooking before COVID. I was amazed by the simplicity of the ingredients, the richness of the flavours, and how non-labour intensive was the cooking process.

As I have written before, the dish ‘tagine’ takes its name from the pot with the conical lid that is used to make the dish. Similarly a Tandoori dish is prepared in the ‘tandoor’ – an earthenware cylindrical oven. Many other dishes take their name from the method of cooking for example, kebab; literally meaning ‘skewered’ and or the Greek word ‘Souvlaki’

My LatestSupper was inspired by the aforesaid ‘tagine’. I also mentioned earlier that I was working with leftovers. If you would like to make a tagine from scratch and know more of the vegetables and spices used, please goto this article (http://thelatestsupper.uk/recipe/the-spice-of-life/).

Allow me first to describe the leftovers. From (http://thelatestsupper.uk/recipe/dining/mastered-chef/) I had a medium portion of the steamed accompanying vegetables. In the fridge was a large portion of a rice based salad I made as a lunch consisting of brown rice, peppers, celery, onions, tomatoes and chicken.

Additionally, I mentioned earlier the cheating nature of this dish and in particular the use of supermarket pre-prepared pasta sauces. Aldi “Everyday Essentials” Tomato & Herb Pasta Sauce (440g) counts as 1.5 SYNs. Other makes and come with 4-5 times more so it is not the case of any old pasta sauce. The alternative is to make your own by use of plum tomatoes, tomato purée, seasoning and then reduction, a very laborious and time consuming venture that may not yield the sought after result. Similarly, herbs and spices. Moroccan spice mix (check for any nasty additives) can be a SYN free alternative to mixing your own.

When it came to the cooking process the was a complete cheat. It was less cooking and more warming. Even the pot was a cheat-stick! Instead of the classic tagine I used my multi cooker and set it to the ‘gentle cook’ or simmer setting, closing the lid allowed the flavoursome steam to fall back into the dish (which is how a tagine works). I added the leftovers, poured over the pasta sauce, and measured about a tablespoon and a half (22g approx) of Moroccan spice mix.

The pot gently simmered for an hour or so whilst I waited for the commuter to commute. Traditional tagine is served with couscous. It literally takes 5 minutes to prepare. There are many flavoured instant pouches on the supermarket shelves as well as bags of the stuff for the same money. Either version needs hot liquid and time. If cooking from scratch one takes the excess liquid from the tagine and uses this to make the couscous, fusing the flavours from the pot.

Because there was rice in my pot I went with a British classic; ladling my lovely tagine over a ‘proper’ baked potato. Another “CA” mark (can Come Again) and dinner was barely a SYN.

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