If you follow me on Twitter you probably have a fairly good idea of my love for good foods and when I say “good” I mean healthy ❇and❇ tasty.
I am always eating these days and being 5ft and a healthy size 6/8 for my athletic frame many of my friends are amazed to see that I can eat more than some large men! This is because I have a very high metabolism aided by all of the dancing and other things I do and because it takes a larger amount of calories to sustain the high ratio of muscle mass to body mass I have. Basically the more muscle and less body fat you have the more calories your body needs to burn just to stay that way. It’s crazy really when you think about it! The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) back this up. Here’s a good little piece on Metabolic rate.. http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ACSM_News_Releases&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=12541
Lots of ladies have asked me recently about the foods traditionally prepared and eaten in “Bellydancing countries” Well they vary in style from country to country, though generally speaking the things that dishes from around the Middle East, Morocco and the Mediterranean have in common is their use of combined delicate, floral and sweet spices, lots of fresh local meats, fruits and vegetables. Visually, ingredients creating vibrant colours. A staple to accompany dishes is cous cous. Incredibly light yet satisfying, keeping you going for longer than you’d imagine and best of all it’s really easy to make. A variety of flatbreads and mezes (think tapas) are also defining characteristics. Food is a big deal in most of these countries, not in the Debrett’s correct etiquette sort of a way but in the preparation of it, in the way that people take the time out to enjoy it together often in large groups and in the just plain appreciation of it. The food does the talking.
I am one of those cooks who is like “Mmm.. just needs a little.. Ah-ha that’s it perfect!” I tend not to follow a recipe, actually I hardly ever do but often I take a recognisable dish and tweak it to my tastes.
Here is a recipe you can either follow or use the way I do as inspiration. (This recipe was given to me by Ange at one of my Bakehouse shows some 2 years ago!)
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
1 large onion, chopped
900g chicken, pieces
salt & pepper
½tsp ground turmeric
½tsp ground cumin
½tsp ground black pepper
½tsp ground cinnamon
100g dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
100g blanches almonds
dash of olive oil
- Melt butter, fry onion until soft (3-5min) then add chicken, salt and pepper and spices
- Add enough water to cover chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour
- Remove chicken and keep warm in a suitable pan
- Add fruit and lemon juice to sauce and simmer for 15 mins
- Add honey, stir until sauce thickens
- Fry almonds lightly in olive oil, add to sauce and return the warm chicken
This recipe uses large quantities and you don’t need to rush out and buy a tagine pot or a slow cooker you can use a big old regular cooking pot! I’d try maybe half the quantity for 2 hungry bellies and see how you go. As a vegetarian option you could substitute the chicken with cubed butternut squash and potato and reduce the cooking time by about half before removing and returning to the thickened sauce.
If you have any recipes you’d like to share just send me them in an email and I’ll pop them up!