Friday, 5 May 2017

A Toddler Friendly Tagine

I was thinking about what to cook for this week's Alpha Supper when I came across Anna Jones' recipe for a Toddler Friendly Tagine. Not that we have any toddlers in the Alpha group, but it seemed a manageable recipe. I like having big bowls of grub on the table so people can help themselves - and have seconds if they like it. That makes it easier when you do not really know the tastes of your guests, and is better than serving them with a full plate of food they may not enjoy.
Anna used wholewheat 'giant' couscous, I just used regular plain stuff. And I swapped out her spices for a good spoonful of ras-el-hanout.
The meal went down well, and two guests asked for the recipe*. I would say that her recipe is for "Two adults and two hungry kids" I doubled it to serve 8, and there was more than enough tagine, although the amounts of smash and couscous were just right.
I sprinkled mint on the couscous, for added contrast. 
The tagine I cooked in two casseroles but combined everything in my largest Le Creuset to serve.
Yes it was a remarkably good recipe to follow.
My only near disaster was retrieving the pomegranate seeds. I did that thing where you hold half a fruit over a bowl and wallop it enthusiastically with a spoon. Juice and seeds did travel rather, making the kitchen look like something out of a CSI Crime Scene.
I forgot to take a picture of my herb smash. Here is Anna's which looks just the same.
It was wonderfully fresh and green, and the preserved lemons added to the flavour.
[see the recipe for these here]
All in all the meal worked well.
Here is my take on Anna's recipe
For the tagine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ras el hanout
3 sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
2 carrots, cut into bite-size chunks
400g tinned chickpeas
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
100g apricots
Flaky sea salt
For the couscous
200g couscous
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
For the herb smash 
A small bunch of fresh coriander
A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled
A handful of green olives, pitted
1 preserved lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish. Add the onion, and cook until it has turned translucent. Add the garlic and spices, and stir until you can really smell their aroma, then throw in the sweet potatoes and carrots.
2 Stir to coat the root vegetables in the spices, then tip in the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, apricots and add up to 400ml of water – enough just to coat the vegetables. Season with salt to taste, if you like, and cook until the root vegetables are just tender, which takes around 25 minutes.
3 While the tagine is cooking, prepare the herb smash. Finely chop the herbs and garlic (you could use a food processor if you like). Roughly chop the olives and preserved lemon and add to the herb mix. Add the olive oil and taste: you may like to add a little salt, but go carefully as the olives and preserved lemon will be quite salty.
4 When you’re nearly ready to eat, cook the couscous. Boil a kettle and pour over the grains, covering them with 1cm liquid. Cover, and leave for 8 minutes. Fluff up with a fork . Drizzle with a little olive oil. Stir through the pomegranate seeds, scatter mint leaves on top. Serve the tagine on a pile of pomegranate couscous with a dollop of herb smash  
And huge thanks to Carole, who brought a stunning strawberry and mascarpone cheesecake for dessert. 

*Bob thought I was quite daring, serving a vegan dish!


  1. That looks just delicious and the cheese cake I could almost taste!

  2. I cooked for Alpha one year in France, for 20 people amongst whom were a family of large rugby players! I really had to think hard to vary things. The favourite was a huge meat pie!

  3. That dinner looks delicious! I'm glad everyone enjoyed it.

  4. Anna Jones' recipes are amazing!! We have both her cook books and the Sweet potato, red lentils and switch dhal with coconut chutney is our dinner party favourite (also vegan and special diet friendly). We had guests who are firm meat eaters love it so much that they cooked it 3 times in 2 weeks after coming to us!!
    This one looks equally fab. I did the Sticky tomato and onion bake last week!

  5. Kezzie, I did not know Anna Jones recipes at all till I read this one. I must check out the library for her cookbooks


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