Aubergine & Apricot curry (serves 2, price average per person: £2)
Based on the spices and method I use for a traditional Indian vegetable curry, I’ve given this a Moroccan twist. Moroccan recipes use vegetables such as aubergine and butternut squash extensively, so I’ve decided to use aubergine as the only vegetable in this dish. Moroccan cuisine loves the vegetable/meat and fruit combination; I’ve opted for apricots and sultanas as I’ve used these dried fruits in my tagines and it is divine.
- 1 red onion
- 1 aubergine
- 10 dried apricots
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp ginger
- Drop of honey
- 80g red lentils
- 2 tbsp mild curry powder
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- Coriander (optional)
- Roughly chop the red onion. Halve the aubergine and slice into thick pieces. In a deep saucepan, soften the aubergine and onion in 3 tbsp of olive oil. It’s best to be generous with the oil when cooking aubergine, otherwise it’ll have a bitter taste.
- Add in the red lentils; these will cook thoroughly once the tomatoes and water is added.
- After approximately 8 minutes on the heat, add finely sliced garlic and grate in some ginger (I used ginger puree because it’s cheaper and has a longer shelf-life). Add in the apricots and a little honey (and sultanas if you want) at this stage to ensure the fruity flavour infiltrates the curry – it works I promise, just trust me.
- Add the curry powder and fry for two minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes and 100ml water.
- Leave to simmer for 25-30 minutes. To ensure the lentils cook well, check the saucepan regularly and add more water if needs be.
- Season and add the garam masala to taste. I finished the dish off with ripped coriander and natural yoghurt- although this isn’t necessary.
This will keep in the fridge for a good few days; alternatively you could be savvy with you savings and make double and freeze the servings.
Chilli and halloumi flatbreads (serves 1)
I practically live off these. The recipe is so easy to learn off by heart that it’ll be a dish accompaniment you can whip up in a flash. I usually serve it with a mezze of hummus, falafel and grilled vegetables.
- 75g self-raising flour
- 75g Greek yoghurt
- 1tsp crushed dried chilli flakes
- 30g halloumi in small pieces
- In a bowl, season the flour with a little salt. Add the yoghurt, chilli flakes and mix thoroughly until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Disperse the crumbled halloumi into the dough and then divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll out the dough neatly with a rolling pin.
- Fry on a medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.
Review of Al-Farid, Moroccan mezze bar & restaurant
Cutely snuck away in the cathedral quarter, Al-Farid has the both the perfect location and interior. It’s got almost 5 star reviews all round on trip advisor, for its authenticity of taste and dining experience.
I decided to be bold and went for the Fensenjan; slow cooked duck in pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts, but I replaced the saffron rice with couscous.
It was so rich and fruity it made me feel a little sick. Having been a vegetarian up until the age of 15, it was one of those dishes where I’m very much reminded of where the meat has come from, and made me want to quit this meat-eater lifestyle altogether. It was well cooked, I just wasn’t prepared for the immensely overpowering and vomit-inducing aromatic flavour. So I stole my boyfriend’s instead. Much better.
He (well, I, in the end) had a beef tagine, because he said, ‘you can’t go wrong with a tagine’. I mocked him and his unadventurous ways, and I was punished by the arrival of the pomegranatey duck yuck.
His (mine) was delicious; it had a lovely warming flavour, and the beef was tender, and of course the saffron rice was better than the couscous.
We stared in envy at the couple next to us; they had ordered a gorgeous and generous six-dish meze and a bottle of house wine for £40. It looked amazing, and as tears fell into the pomegranate crap, my boyfriend said ‘I told you we should have gone for the meze.’
I’m being really negative because I didn’t enjoy my meal, but Al-Farid is genuinely a great restaurant and I’ll definitely go again. But I’ll order the meze. And it’ll have to be post-student-loan-instalment. (It’s quite pricey and I’m not happy I spent £14 on a meal that I wanted out of my body).
Also, word of advice- never use the ‘told you so’ rhetoric to someone deeply passionate about food in relation to their order choice. It makes them angry.