Friends Provide The Spice of Life

12 Feb

I have some very lovely friends who often help me out with kitchen tips and ideas.

Creative cook Claire made me up a beautiful parcel of exciting foodie items to help me out recently and I’ve enjoyed trying out various things such as pomegranate molasses, vanilla sticks and harissa. As a big fan of flavours from around the world she also packed in two lovely new spice packs I had no idea even existed! Sumac (or Somaq) and Za’atar:

photo 1Claire gave me some ideas of what to do with them and because I love North African and Middle Eastern food plumped for a chicken and chickpea tagine. (Normally I would buy a paste or a packet marked with the words TAGINE or CURRY or SHEPHERDS PIE so there could be no mistake as to what I was attempting).

I hoped my new flavoursome additions would raise the basic taste of that lovely bird into something all together meatier. And indeed it did! I happily threw my spices around with wild abandon – you know me – and ended up with this gorgeous looking dish:

photo 2The Sumac added the citrusy tang of lemons and the romantic sounding Za’atar provided the spicy, warm depths.

See – It’s not all doom and gloom in my house when it comes to cooking. Sometimes I can spice things up a bit (with a little help of course). Thanks Claire!


5 Responses to “Friends Provide The Spice of Life”

  1. Claire 12/02/2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Alice, this tagine looks delicious. If you keep making things like this you’ll have to rename your blog. xxx

    • Alice Can't Cook 12/02/2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Ha ha – imagine, a rebranding exercise?
      Well this one is all down to you so thanks – am still having fun using up my items – the molasses is actually a winner that goes in everything! 🙂

  2. Jenny Eatwell 12/02/2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Brilliant! Love both sumac and za’atar. If you’re getting to grips with these sorts of spices, you’d love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes, I’d bet. 🙂 Well worth asking Uncle Google to pull you out some of his recipes for the Guardian and indeed there are loads on his website too. 🙂

    • Alice Can't Cook 12/02/2014 at 2:22 pm #

      I would love to eat them Jenny, not sure I could cook them. But yes he really does look like my kind of cook, I love these spices. xxx

      • Jenny Eatwell 12/02/2014 at 2:25 pm #

        You SO could. Yotam’s recipes aren’t difficult or complicated and both he and Sami Tamimi are total genuises about what goes with what. If you follow the recipes to the letter, they can provide you with such a good education on matching flavours and being brave. 🙂

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