I’ve been waiting for a day off work to finally get a moment to finalize and post this unreal Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Spiced Apricots & Prunes recipe, well the day has finally arrived and I’m going to spoil you with this recipe! If you acquainted yourself with my last post, (sorry it was long, I had so much to rant about!), you’ll know I took a cooking class while in Fes, Morocco, and I was fortunate enough to inherit the chef’s passed down recipes from generations in her family. We created a heavenly Chicken Tagine recipe, I am gong to keep it fairly raw and original to its form, with only a few tweaks of my own, because it’s just so damn tasty and it would be a sin to fool around with the flavors too much. Oh and don’t you worry, you don’t need a tagine to make this masterpiece, I’ll tell you how to make it with an everyday french oven/slow cooker!
I have had a lot of people ask me what a tagine is, a tagine is a traditional Moroccan two piece clay pot in which most Moroccan dishes are made and served in, the peaked top allows for rising steam to stay within the pot while cooking, this makes the dishes tender and full of flavor. I did haul one back home from Morocco, I couldn’t leave without one, not this time around! I’m guessing a tagine wasn’t on your to buy list for kitchen pots… so I’ve tested this recipe in my french oven as well as my slow cooker and both turned out magnificent, so don’t panic, you’re not missing out if you don’t have a tagine, you’ll get full tenderness and flavor with a good ol french oven or slow cooker, even a pressure cooker!
When you think of Moroccan food, you think of heavily spiced, fragrant, rich and protein heavy foods, but I was taken aback during my cooking class in Morocco on the simplicity of the spices used and letting the simple flavors meld together to make one scrumptious dish in the end. Let the ingredients do the work and shine on your plate in this recipe, sometimes less is better! With only a few spices, fresh chicken, savory onion and those delicious dried apricots & prunes infused with a little cinnamon, you’ll be making this over and over because it’s irresistible. I’ve made this for M and I at least four times since getting back, we never get sick of it!
So with this Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe, I bought an organic fresh whole chicken and cut it into its varied pieces, I love white meat and M loves dark meat, a perfect blend of both! Now this spice blend for the chicken does call for a lot of cilantro, I know cilantro is an acquired taste for many but I am telling you now, with the slow cooking and blend of other spices, it does not have that earthy cilantro taste in the end! My husband hates cilantro and he scarfed down the whole dish before I could even tell him it was a cilantro based spice mix! If you are adamant on wanting to try this recipe (why wouldn’t you, straight from the medinas of Fes!) but dislike cilantro that much, use parsley, but just give the original cilantro spice blend a try! Typically this dish is eaten with a giant piece of wood fired oven bread which is seen and baked all over morocco and the smell of freshly baked bread wafts up your nose everywhere you turn, but as I don’t eat gluten, I have tried this recipe with brown rice, chickpea pita, steamed kale and once I even threw in carrots and butternut squash into the recipe which was equally as delicious and I got my serving of veggies as well!
Alright let’s get cooking, the recipes comes together in just minutes, the secret to the layers of sophisticated flavors and tender fall off the bone chicken is from the length of the cooking time, I know we all don’t have time to wait two hours for dinner, but I promise you, this is worth the time if you get a moment on the weekend or have everything ready in the pot the night before and throw it in the oven/slow cooker to cook while you settle down after a long day!
Finally, here is the recipe I’ve been wanting to share since I got back!
1 fresh organic chicken – your favorite cuts of chicken, no skin (I use a whole chicken cut into pieces)
1 large red onion – peeled and thinly sliced
1 heaping cup of cilantro – finely diced
8 cloves of garlic – finely diced/crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried ginger
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon – divided
1/3 cup water
10 dried apricots
10 dried prunes
Heat oven to 315 degrees Fahrenheit.
In your french oven add your sliced red onion and fill with enough water to just barely cover the onions, place on high heat and boil for 10 minutes while you are prepping the rest of your dish.
In a large bowl add your finely diced cilantro, the rest of your spices, oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup of water, mix well until mixed thoroughly. add chicken pieces to your marinade and toss in marinade until well covered.
Take your onion & water mixture off the heat, half of your water should be left, add your marinated chicken and the spice marinade to the onions and water, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours. Let the aroma fill your house!
If you are using a slow cooker, add all your raw onions to the pot, add 1 cup of water, add marinated chicken and spice marinade and slow cook on low for 4-5 hours.
When you have 30 minutes left on the chicken, add your apricots and prunes to a small pot with 1.5 cups of water, a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon, bring to a boil and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed and the apricots and prunes are re-hydrated and slightly caramelised.
Top your delicious chicken with the apricots and prunes, serve with your choice of side, salad, mop up the sauce with bread, or steamed veggies!
You’ll be craving this recipe all the time, it’s amazing and coming straight from the tables of Moroccans to your home! I hope you guys love this recipe as much and we do, let me know what you think! Thanks as always for following and reading along, I love sharing the amazing food our worldly cultures have to offer as much as the Moroccans love sharing their food with others! XOXO
A Moroccan Proverb: Amrek ma tkoul ndemt dima koul t3alemt. “Never say I regret, always say I learned.”
Food is the center of all in Morocco, food is love, it’s family, it’s gathering, it is celebrated and artfully prepared. Flavors are melded together to create masterpieces and dishes are unveiled before your eyes in those stunning tagines. Food is a way of life. I set out to learn more and share with you, The Food of Fes and a Smokey Aubergine & Pepper Salad recipe! I signed up for a cooking class in Fes which was the highlight of my stay and highly recommended! I will share with you the knowledge I obtained during the class, as well as some local recipes and a couple of my favorite spots to grab a meal where you won’t be disappointed! I will continue to share over the next few weeks the many types of Moroccan meals I tried, recipes with my twist of course! I really can’t wait to share these with you guys and I know I need to get on it because you guys keep asking for them!
I knew I wanted to do a cooking class prior to getting there and I researched endlessly on where to take the class, they are offered quite readily throughout Fes, all with pretty good reviews. I stumbled upon raving review of a restaurant called Café Clock, located in the medina. The reviews across the board were phenomenal for the restaurant food as well as the cooking class. I decided before I booked I would try the food out, what better way to know what you’re getting yourself into than to test it out. Well, I was blown away by my meal of cous cous chicken and vegetables with caramelized onions and raisins so beautifully draped over the perfectly cooked piece of chicken, after my meal I marched downstairs and booked the class for a day later (these classes are popular and in high season you have to book much further in advance!) Not only was the food crazy good but the restaurant is a tantalizing 4 leveled restaurant with patios strewn across levels and views over the medina. I sat in the sun with a smile on my face as I cleared my plate.
The other memorable meal I had at, The Ruined Garden, another restaurant lost in the maze of the medina, it was worth searching for! This is a modernized tapas style Moroccan food concept of fresh and local ingredients landing on your table that hit your taste buds in every direction. When I read tapas style, I jumped to the get 2-3 plates that should be small in size “tapas”, should have known, they were Moroccan sized tapas and it kept me full for a day and half! I ordered a bowl of zucchini soup, the rice and mixed pepper salad as well as the vegetable tagine. The soup was thick, creamy and a balance of spices that were so flavorsome but yet highlighted the zucchini perfectly. The salad almost reminded me of a paella, a little bit smokey and so yummy, then came the grand entrance of the tagine, slowly braised vegetables that were perfection. The setting here is a relaxing garden with laced white chairs and quirky Moroccan pieces. I decided to sit in the back of the restaurant cozied up beside the wood burning fireplace, you can easily spend 2 hours here without even knowing it!
You want me to get on to the recipes… I know! I’ll be sharing many with you over the next few weeks as well as the tips and tricks on the Moroccan cuisine that I picked up!
My cooking class started at 1000 and I had an enthusiastic couple from California join me which was a blast! We started our day by taking our wicker shopping basket into the medina to start picking out our fresh ingredients and our chef Souad to guide the way and educate us on the food in Morocco and shopping etiquette! We weaved through the crowds, the shopping banter, wheelbarrow whizzing past us and we met an array of smells at every turn. Every shop unique and specializing in a certain product, from fresh local fruits and vegetables, to butchers, chicken shops, spice vendors, dates and prunes, beauty supplies…. The list goes on, but what was so incredible was they were all selling products local to Morocco, every last item! With a perfect climate year round and soil rich in nutrients they are able to grow everything they need, sustainable and local products all year round!
We made our way to the local bread shop where loaves were rising and a variety of breads were available all while right next door a sheep’s head was steaming in a giant pot… how intriguing. Next stop, the chicken coup. A sense of guilt overcame me as I stared into the little guys eyes I have to say, but this is the circle of life and that chicken was going to nourish our bodies! Chicken doesn’t get any fresher then this, in 2 hours it would be on my plate. Now that’s farm to table! We then learnt about some of the vegetables indigenous to Morocco that I’d never heard of and also watched some Argan oil being freshly pressed!
After shopping we headed back to the restaurant to our own private gorgeous kitchen in which we had chosen 3 dishes to prepare! Our 3 course meal began with an aubergine pepper salad, our main course was a chicken tagine with prunes and apricots and we ended with a delicate orange blossom coconut macaroon! Souad went over every detail of the cooking process as well as how she creates certain flavors, as well as some tricks I had never thought of! Let’s start cooking! Below I will share our first recipe we created and a step by step guide, everything was AMAZING! Stay tuned for more Moroccan recipes coming your way that I’m just perfecting!
Now, I want to start you all with a recipe that I am keeping pretty untouched that I acquired during my cooking class! It is such a healthy and flavor bursting salad that I ate many times in a variety of forms. It’s great if you love eggplant and you just don’t know what to do with it! Here is the recipe for you all!
Smokey Aubergine Mixed Pepper Salad:
– 1 large eggplant
– 2 large peppers (red/orange)
– 1 large handful cilantro – diced (if you don’t like cilantro, I made it with parsley and just as good!)
– 1 small clove of garlic – finely dice
– 1 tsp olive oil
– half a lemon juiced
– 1 tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp paprika (I use smokey paprika)
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– pinch of salt & pepper to taste
How to Make:
– Place peppers & eggplant over open gas stove flame or in your oven under high broil, watching closely, when skin starts to get charred well, flip until all sides of vegetables are well charred and remove. Place peppers in a sealed plastic bag to sweat, set eggplant aside.
– While your peppers & eggplant are roasting, chop up your cilantro and garlic, add to a medium bowl with the rest of your spices.
– Once your peppers have sweat in the bag for 5-10 minutes, pull out and with a spoon scrape the charred skin of the pepper, leaving some for that smokey taste! Peel your eggplant as well, leaving some charred skin.
– Chop your peppers & eggplant into bite sized pieces, add to your bowl and add lemon juice & vinegar, mix well and refrigerate until chilled, this salad can also be eaten as a warm side dish which is yummy on rice!
There you have it! Your first Moroccan inspired recipe, I know you will love it, the smokey char comes through and the sweet peppers and earthy eggplant are so delicious! I will be posting a chicken tagine recipe next, with a little o my twist on ingredients, I can’t wait to share! Thanks for reading and hope everyone’s week is amazing! XOXO
HI! I am back on Canadian soil after my trip to the magical country of Morocco, I’m beyond excited to share some of the highlights from my trip exploring Fes, Morocco, with all of you and explore everything from where to stay and what to buy! I have been to Morocco previously, and a local explained to me this trip, your first time in Morocco is for looking, your second time in Morocco is for immersing yourself and your third time in Morocco, well you are there to stay! I was certainly able to immerse myself in the culture and cuisine more readily as I knew what to expect, from the rich history, to the hussle and bustle of the medina, some of the best shopping around, the array of smells, the vibrant colors of the freshest of fresh ingredients and enough food to feed a village in one setting… it is a place of wonder! Get ready for an experience of a lifetime.
What initially brought me to Morocco was a medical mission trip with Operation Smile, in Casablanca on a Orthognathic & Cleft Lip/Palate correction nursing volunteer trip, it was incredibly successful and during this time I was able to understand the Moroccan way of life first hand. Their kindness and compassion towards me was immediately felt as I was embraced and lightly kissed on the cheeks with every meeting and parting. I felt like I was at home, there is a certain beauty to their hospitality and a kindness difficult to put into words. I was able to partake in their lives during a time where their children would undergo life altering surgeries, most definitely a stressful undertaking, yet all I was surrounded by were enormous smiles, hugs, thankful phrases, whispers of their prayer and their comforting touch on my shoulder as I took care of their little ones. This particular mission also allowed me to care for an older female patient population and my heart bonded with these beautiful girls whom were faced with medical tribulations since birth and they had the courage and trust in us to undergo these difficult surgeries. Their ability to support one another in these times was immensely moving, they bonded like family and helped one another through it all, I stood back and watched in amazement and wondered what our world would be like if everyone could create a community like this. I am so grateful for this experience as I was able to experience the Moroccan culture through another looking-glass, something I’ll never forget.
After completing the mission in Casablanca I decided to head to where it all started, Fes, the oldest Imperial city in Morocco, bursting with charm, history, an endless medina and rolling hills. I felt an immediate connection with the city as my train pulled into this historical city. I took the local train as my choice of transportation, a clean and fairly quick way of getting around. The trip from Casablanca to Fes was approximately 4 hours, cost me 174 Dirham ($23) and I was able to take in the stunning countryside through my first class window side seat on the train, they also serve refreshments and snacks at a cost if needed! My train came to a stop and the excitement set in!
Where to Stay:
In Morocco I would recommend always staying at a riad, it is a traditional Moroccan traditional house in which the rooms encircle a grand courtyard, they once used to be the homes of wealthy citizens and are now being restored to their former glory as hotels, they typically have multiple rooms fit for royalty and many of which are a couple hundred years old! It is certainly a sight to see when you travel down tight cobble stone streets through the loud busy medina streets and cannot be sure that there is a peaceful getaway in the middle of it all, but there is!
I chose a lovely riad in Fes by the name of Dar Victoria, I was greeted by the manager and navigated towards what would be my home for the next 5 days, riad’s can be difficult to find the first time, but once you memorize your left’s and rights through the streets, you’re set! We came upon a grand wooden carved door and as I stepped through it, the breathtaking view of bright and meticulously placed tiles poured into sight , then a grand courtyard with tables, lanterns, plants and astounding pounded copper topped tables filled my view. The walls throughout the entire riad courtyard are chiseled in perfect design and painted with colors only found in nature such as saffron, indigo and agave plants, it’s simply impossible to truly take it all in on the first day. Oh and not to mention a lovely rooftop patio to watch the sunset from! After a must have welcome mint tea sit down with the riad manager, Muhammad, he graciously led me to my room, a quaint and rustic Moroccan getaway decorated with colorful Moroccan rugs, framed pictures of mysteriously beautiful Berber women and of course more artfully laid tiles. I felt at home!
Shopping in Morocco:
My intent on this mini vacay was to delve into the history, eat like the Moroccans eat and clearly the glaringly obvious thing to do… SHOP! Now I believe the secret to getting the full experience of a city is getting lost and going where your heart and feet take you. That was exactly my plan on that first day, getting lost in the walled medina, until I read that there were over 9,500 intricate streets in this medina.. . So perhaps I should take some mental notes on what streets I was on and a plan to reach the main artery of the medina if needed! I downloaded an offline map just as a backup means!
It can be EXTREMELY tempting to start buying all the mesmerizing Moroccan goods the second you lay eyes on them, just wait! Take note of what you see, where it was and your ability to take it home and truly enjoy it at home. I made the mistake on my last trip to Morocco of buying everything in sight that caught my eye immediately and regretted after all the things I wished I had actually brought back. There are hundreds of shops with hidden treasures, search and you’ll know when you come upon something that is calling to come home with you.
Now some shopping 101 in Morocco, be kind, be patient, never pay the asking price (I paid about a quarter/third of their initial asking price on everything), haggle to your hearts desire, set a price in your mind on the items worth to you and stick to it and try to stay away from the shops on the main road ways, find the hidden gems with less foot traffic. Haggling is a way of life, friendly back and forth haggling banter with a smile on your face is truly exhilarating, just be sure to be well fed and rested before tackling a day of shopping! Alright here is my three-step guide to getting that item you want at the price you want!
How to Haggle Like a Pro:
Step 1: Build rapport and stay calm! You see that plate that is calling your name from across the store, you’re tempted to run over, examine it and ask for a price, restrain yourself! Walk in, greet the store owner, in my broken Arabic, I always exchange names and proudly exclaim I’m Canadian and while doing so, I show interest in all the items they have for sale, don’t show excitement or attachment to that one item alone.
Step 2: Examine many items, tire them out. These are the recommendations from a local Moroccan, he told me to tire them out! Ask about many items, scour through, dig in the corners, you will hear over and over, make yourself at home, this is also your home, so do it! They will soon be confused on exactly what you came for and get a little exhausted with you rifling through and asking about each item, then behold, you’ve reached that plate that you’ve had your eye on the entire time, casually ask about it and it’s price. By this time they are usually just going to throw out a decent price as you’ve asked several times before, but this time it’s coming home!
Step 3: Set a price and haggle haggle. You have to face it that you’ll never get local pricing, you are a tourist, but this doesn’t mean you can’t leave with a hell of a deal! They will throw at you an absurd number to begin with, I throw them a look of disbelief and a huge grin with a HOW MUCH?! Counter them back, in fact, what do you have to lose in it all?! They start crazy high, I start crazy low, cut the price in quarter if not more, then let the games begin. Patience and having fun is key, you will go back and forth on a price and eventually when you reach your intended price of worth, say that’s my best price and make it known that you really want to buy from them and what a great store they have.
Thank them for their time and hospitality and say that’s your best price, 90% of the time with some more jokes and smiles they will begin to wrap the item for you in newspaper and tape it up without actually agreeing, this is my sign when I set the price and offer a handshake to seal the deal!
I’ve tested this method over and over and I’d say I got some pretty darn good prices on some high quality souvenirs! Don’t get upset, aggressive, or ignorant, this will not get you anywhere, I also don’t recommend the turn and walk away method and hope they call you back, they usually don’t in my experience.
What to Buy and How Much Should You Pay?
I now buy items that I know I’ll use and appreciate when back at home. Being such a foodie I regretted not bringing back a tagine (a Moroccan clay cooking oven) during my last visit, I knew this was coming home with me this time, despite its weight being similar to a small donkey… it did just fine on my carry on. I’ll be able to recreate Moroccan dishes in a traditional oven, nothing beats that. There are two types of tagines, ones that are elaborately painted and ceramic, these are only used to serve food in, NOT to cook in. The other are the full red/brown clay tagines that are oven cured and glazed for use in high temperatures and cooking, decide what you want your tagine for and buy accordingly. Beware, I have heard of some tagines being painted in lead paint, although when I asked if the cooking tagines were painted they stated never cook with a painted tagine… clay only. I haggled a medium-sized (holds enough for 2-3 people) red clay tagine for about 80 dirhams ($11 dollars), the smaller ones you can get for cheaper.
I wanted some items to accent my home and bring that Moroccan flare. I adore the Berber rug I bought last time and it’s certainly a conversation starter that is so unique. A rug is something that will last a long long time and you can’t get anything like it here. The rug buying experience is also something it itself, tea ceremonies and rugs flying at you from every which direction is most amusing. Rug prices vary greatly based on size, material and intricacy of the stitching, we managed to bring back a berber rug about 5×3 ft for $90, I still think we could have haggled harder for this one!
This time around I bought some unbelievable pillow covers that are made from agave plant silk, the patterns and styles are endless, this shopping trip took me two hours in the store alone, the styles are endless! They are top quality and hand stitched, I bargained hard and got 3 large pillow covers for 125 dirham ($17) each.
If you want dishes, Fes is the place to get them. You can’t miss the white and blue enticing dishes that dance across the medina shops, hand crafted and ornate. I managed to grab 4 lovely bowls to enjoy at home and they also faired just fine, well wrapped, on my carry on! The options are endless, plates of all sizes, bowls, platters, spice holders, serving tagines etc. Very difficult to restrain yourself! I got the bowls at 40 dirham ($5) a pop!
This time I couldn’t walk away without buying a leather pouf for my living room, they are the growing trend and bring so much character to a space! I bought a cream-colored tall pouf with a simple designed stamped on top for myself and the same in brown for my mom! Make sure you take your time looking at these in different shops, some feel brittle and thin, I searched until I found tall, thick and sturdy camel hide poufs. I haggled hard for over an hour for these beauties but it was well with my time, I walked away with two for 300 dirham, only $20 bucks a pouf!
It would be a sin not to buy spices from the land of spice, especially ras el hanout , a Moroccan spice blend containing cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, coriander, chili powder, cumin, turmeric and pepper, it’s used for many dishes such as cous cous, tagines, meats and vegetables. The other must buy is saffron! We pay an arm and a leg for these threads of beauty, I got a gram for 35 dirham ($4), steal of a deal! Most spices go for 30-35 dirham per 100 gram and saffron is usually 35-40 dirham per gram.
If you are into beauty products, don’t leave without pure Argan oil, it is a skin and hair reviving goddess! Ensure you go to a shop that actually sells pure Argan oil, many places sell a knock off product with only 20% being Argan, either buy from a pharmacy or ask your local riad/hotel for any recommendations, better yet, I found a store that was pressing the Argan nuts in front of me and I watched the oil be pressed out, doesn’t get any more real than that! Also, the Moroccans swear by their rose-water, used for skin rejuvenation, aromatherapy, perfume and “keeping their mother in-laws happy” by bringing and spraying them in the stuff on visits! Last but not least the Moroccan clay is used for face masks, body wraps and exfoliates! The Argan oil is usually 100 dirham ($13) for a small bottle and the rose-water half that price for a similar size.
These are some of my top picks for shopping, of course all based on my individual tastes and uses at home! Go out and see what catches your eye and remember the three steps of successful haggling! But most of all, soak it all in and enjoy yourself.
Stay tuned for the second half of my Fes experience, this time all be covering what food you have to try, where to eat and my favorite part, the Moroccan cooking class! I will share with you some recipes that I was able to create during my cooking class!
Bbrrrrrrr, happy freezing cold Saturday! I’m trying to stay warm, bright and cheery in this blanket of snow and arctic deep freeze… not easy as I dream of sunny days and bronzed skin… then end is in sight you guys! The new year promises warmer weather, YES! Until then stay huddled, warm and eat yummy food, hmmm maybe my Holiday Spiced Cranberry Pineapple Chutney is in store?! Perfect for a New Years appy or for snacking purposes with Netflix on, giant fluffy warm socks and game night! So a friend recently asked me for a chutney recipe he could whip up for a holiday gathering and I immediately jumped on the challenge, flavors and fruit combos went running through my head! I knew I wanted to conjure up a healthier chutney for the holidays, one that wasn’t half sugar… but of course still delicious! I tried a few combos and this Holiday Spiced Cranberry Pineapple Chutney was the winner at all my holiday festivities and with my husband.
So chutnies originated in Indian, coming from the Hindi word “chatni”. Chutnies are typically a relish made from fresh fruit and spices and can be used in a multitude of ways! I love any sort of sauce, relish or side dish that highlights and improves simple ingredients, that’s exactly what this chutney does! While I was trialing fruit combos I was dreaming of being back in warm Hawaii and then it occurrd to me, why not throw a little Hawaaiin heat into the chutney? So in went the pineapple and jalapeno, then the magic happened! It turned out sweet with a little heat and tang, a perfect balance! I actually didn’t even realize how simple chutnies are to make and how much flavor gets packed into a small spoonful, it was a hit forsure!
Chutnies literally go with almost anything, I served my Holiday Spiced Cranberry Pineapple Chutney up as an appetizer on Christmas Eve dinner on a fancy lil charcuterie platter with an arrangement of crackers, cheese, assorted Italian meats, nuts, cucumber slices and dried fruit. I enjoyed it on everything from fresh veggies, roasted chicken, roasted veggies, crackers, eggs to putting it on my husbands meat & cheese sandwich melts, wraps and fruit cheese mid afternoon snack platters! Everyone that tried it loved it, I wish I made a bigger batch! I think it’s definitely a recipe to ring in the New Year with!
Here is what you will need:
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup yellow sweet onion – diced finely
1 jalapeno – diced finely
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
6 dried dates – pitted and diced
3/4 cup fresh pineapple – chopped
2 tbsp of pineapple juice (optional, but if you have some leftover juice from your pineapple use it!)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup apple/cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Here’s how to make your own chutney!
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium low heat.
Add your onion, jalapeno, ginger and dates. Sure and allow onions to soften, approximately 5-8 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Add the remainder of your ingredients, stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Half way through cooking I grabbed my muddler (you can use a potato masher etc) and broke down the bigger pieces of fruit, mashing it down to desired consistency. I like it a bit smoother but if you like a chunky chutney, then don’t break it down as much!
When it’s thickened it’s ready! Let it cool then add to a jar of your choice and seal!
Serve chilled with your choice of assorted crackers, meats, cheese, veggies, as a spread on sandwiches, great on eggs as well.
It’s easy and delicious, it makes a great little gift as well. Wishing all of you an incredibly Happy New Year, may 2018 be full of love, health, new opportunities, growth and happiness! Until next year! Xoxo
Ps: I love seeing my recipes on your table! Tag me on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram
Well hello hello! The official countdown is on to Christmas and I’m making you a Christmas Morning Herb Mushroom & Onion Quiche with a Sweet Potato Crust! I still am in disbelief that it is that time of year again… I feel like it snuck up on me as M and I just got back from Kauai last week! It was my big 3 0 birthday trip filled with sunshine, beaches, humid hikes and more tropical fruit than I have had in a year stuffed into a week. I have to say, there was something so odd about a palm tree speckled with Christmas ornaments and Christmas lights strung across bushes with beautiful Hawaiian flowers peaking through lush greens, I just feel like without the fluffy snowy peaks, a hot cup of cocoa in front of a fireplace and decorated tree it doesn’t quite feel like the Christmas I know! None the less, it was an incredible way to spend my birthday and when I returned I was spoiled rotten by my family & friends! My parents seriously went over the top on my gift and got me a stunning cherry Le Creuset French Oven that I could only dream about before and a perfect Le Creuset pie dish for a quiche, I still don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a gift, I’m in LOVE (they sit out on my counter so I can admire them :)! Since returning I’ve been running around like a mad woman getting gifts together and planning my contributions to the many feasts that bring us all together with the ones we love during this special holiday.
One of my favorite meals, hands down, is breakfast! There is something about waking up, having a hot coffee with a nutritious breakfast to fuel my day, so I thought, why not create a scrumptious Christmas breakfast recipe for Christmas morning to start such a beautiful day off right! I created a Christmas Morning Herb Mushroom & Onion Kale with a Sweet Potato Crust. Now that’s what I’m talking about, relishing a bite of your slice of savory layered quiche, having sips of hot coffee (spiked with your fav happy juice), your loved ones surrounding you and perhaps a gift or two under the tree calling your name 😊 The best part, you don’t have to do an ounce of cooking Christmas morning, quiche warms up very well the next day and usually tastes even better! So make it the day before, pop her in the oven Christmas morning and absorb all the holiday love, whatever that may be for you!
There is something to say for Christmas traditions, we all have them and have our own unique customs that we grew up with and they continue to live on as we grow older and maybe even pass them on. My family has always celebrated on Christmas Eve, starting with an ornate delicious feast that my mom works so hard all day on, then as children we would get a story read to us by my mom as we all anxiously awaited the gifts to magically appear under that real Christmas tree… I never clued in that my dad was never part of story time… :O Then my dad always passed our gifts to us one after another, he now tries to pawn this duty off to my brother these days! I love how traditions live on! Then when I met my husband I took on his families traditions as well, celebrating Christmas morning with a bountiful breakfast and gift opening! This year perhaps we can all start a new quiche tradition by bringing over my Christmas Morning Herb Mushroom & Onion Quiche with a Sweet Potato Crust!
I have to say, this quiche is so delectable, you may not want to open gifts until this quiche pan is licked clean! The sweet potato crust has hints of sweet creaminess and crunch on the outside, your caramelized onions and mushrooms infused with rosemary are layered between egg and kale, then its all topped off with a little salty feta to seal the quiche! Make it the day before then re-heat in the oven Christmas morning for all to enjoy! More time to sit back, relax and take Christmas in.
Here is my recipe!
1 small sweet potato – washed & sliced into think circles to layer for the crust
1/2 sweet yellow onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – crushed
6-8 brown mushrooms – washed & finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary – diced (1 tbsp dried)
1 tsp onion powder
3 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
Large handful of kale chopped
2 tbsp fresh feta crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Optional: pinch of red chili flakes for a slight heat if you want
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray pie/quiche dish (mine is 9″) with non stick spray then layer your sweet potato rounds on the bottom and up the sides, spray with non stick spray again and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt, pepper & rosemary, put in oven for 15-20 minutes.
While your sweet potato crust is baking, add your onions, garlic and rosemary into a saute pan over medium heat, saute for 5-8 minutes until onions soften, add mushrooms, onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, saute until mushrooms soft. Add in your red chili flakes here if wanted!
Whisk 3 eggs, 3 egg whites and 1/3 cup almond milk in a bowl with your remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
When your crust is done baking, layer your kale, onion mushroom mixture on the bottom then pour your eggs over top, finish with sprinkling your feta on top!
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set, allow it to cool slightly then dig in!
If you are making it the day before, allow it to cool completely then store it in fridge, re-heat in oven on 350 for 10 minutes or so and enjoy your Christmas morning!
I have to show off my gifts… aren’t they beautiful! They are a dream come true!
I hope I’ve inspired your Christmas morning breakfast menu this year, may the holidays be filled with love, laughter, yummy food, great company, gratitude and a gift here or there. Stay warm and I’m sending you all so much love! I’ll leave you with a heart warming Christmas picture of our sweet pup Nara opening her Christmas Bark Box, XOXO! Merry Christmas!
Good morning all! I really can’t believe November is coming to a close and a month of festivities is waiting just around the corner! With this lovely week of warm weather I have found it even harder to fathom that Christmas is only 26 days away… yikes! I recently had a cozy get away at a friends cabin for a little girls Christmas gathering and it sparked my holiday cheer and craving for festive homey, comforting and healthy food. We put together a pretty incredible roasted chicken dish that night which sparked my creativity and ingenuity for my next recipe, I think it is perfect for either a family dinner or a special gathering for sure. Get your roasting pan out for this next recipe, my Citrus & Dill Roasted Chicken on Veggies, it has layers of winter vegetables, sweet potatoes all basted in a citrus, dill, garlic sauce and of course the chicken steals the show here… beautifully browned and roasted, juicy and delicious!
I hadn’t made a full chicken in quite some time, with only two people in the house, its slight over kill with a whole chicky… but with Christmas a coming which usually indicates more gatherings with friends and family, I knew I wanted to make a dish that is pretty quick to throw together, feeds the masses and looks darn perty on the table to impress the guests! In my recent SPUD delivery box of groceries I received some golden and red beets, nothing beats roasted beets, then I came across massive bulbs of fennel at the market, I knew this combo was a match made in food heaven. Knowing me, I can’t ever keep things two ingredient simple, so I threw in onions, I get really excited about roasted onions and how they caramelize and add flavors like no other! Since I was this deep into my roasting pan plan I thought well heck, let’s put some sweet potatoes in there as well to have a full meal deal all in one!
So a lot of people ask me how I come up with recipes, a lot of the time it stems from cravings, meals eaten while travelling that I want to re-create, whats in my fridge/pantry, but usually it all hits me when I’m at the market or grocery store and I come across produce that are simply irresistible… this week they were a glimmering meyer lemon, a bundle of fresh fragrant dill and massive russian garlic cloves, that’s when I decided this chicken was gonna have a rub down in citrus, garlic and herbs with a shake of paprika! Love it when flavors fall into my shopping bag like that 🙂
Layering all the veggies down into the pan is so satisfying, being overly type A this means it has to be coordinated and patterned when I do it… no just tossing it all in… that results in slight anxiety for me! The beets and sweet potato I used my mandolin to slice them up into circles, not too thick so they roast and layered the bottom of the pan, then added onion and fennel slices. I had to take a moment to stand back and admire all those colors!
Alright, let’s get to the recipe!
1 whole chicken – giblets removed, rinsed
1 small sweet potato – sliced
1 large golden beet – peeled & sliced
1 large red beet – peeled & sliced
1 head of fennel – ends trimmed & cut into slices
1/2 medium yellow onion – cut into slices
For the rub:
1/2 cup fresh dill – chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
2 cloves garlic – crushed
3 sprigs of rosemary – diced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each lemon & orange zest
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Time to cook:
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add your rub ingredients together in a bowl (except 1 tsp salt & 1/4 cup dill) and mix well.
In a roasting pan layer your sweet potato, then beets and finish with onions & fennel.
Add half of your sauce to your vegetable mix and coat evenly.
Rinse your chicken, trim any fat and place on top of vegetables.
Salt & pepper chicken in and out, stuff the inside of your chicken with 1/4 cup dill and I placed 3-4 lemon rings in there as well, then rub your chicken in the rest of the rub.
I tossed any extra dill & zest on top!
Put chicken in oven for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then turn down to 400 and roast for another 40-45 minutes or so until done through, juices clear.
Let it rest a few minutes while everyone is getting seated and then dish out!
It’s an easy, lovely, healthy, minimal clean up kinda dish and really yummy dinner idea, I’m sure your family and guests will love it! Another reminder that if you wanted to try out a delivered to your doorstep grocery experience, SPUD.ca provides to your doorstep delivery of local, organic products as well as an entire online grocery store of amazing produce and other products such as whole organic chicken! Use PROMO code: PINCH to receive $20.00 of your first order of $60.00! No sign up or memberships, just shop once to check it out, it is amazing! Let me know what you think of this recipe as well as SPUD.ca f you try it out, thank you for reading and your support everyone. Have a lovely rest of your week and weekend! XOXO
Forgive me for the tardy new recipe post… it’ been a whirlwind kind of month with lots of work, new puppy life and all the in between! Not to mention the official gear up towards… dare I say it… Christmas! I told myself this year I was going to be vigilant and on top of Christmas gifts and to do lists. No, I have not bought a single gift nor have I made my house appear like Santa’s workshop, just give me a few more days… hopefully 🙂 With life buzzing by, it’s easy to get lost in it all and I catch myself hurrying and forgetting the mantra of “live in the moment”, so what can I do to create more time and make the time I do have count? Simple, create a meal where it takes 5 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to bake which = more time with the hubs and pups! So here is a one dish dinner – Baked Salsa Chicken on rice. Easy, simple, minimal ingredients, healthy, delicious and best of all, a time saver!
This recipe came about as I was late for something, probably work and needed to have dinner for my shift and I suppose I’ll leave the husband some food as well. The fridge was bare bones but I had some chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, one bell pepper and I always have some brown rice in the pantry for emergencies. I was feeling slightly lazy and felt that making rice in that moment was too difficult, so I decided to trial a one dish kinda meal, throw it all in and hope for the best! Best friggin idea I’ve had in a while, it all baked together beautifully. The rice soaked up the juice from the salsa and chicken, such a flavor filled meal with such minimal effort, this is happiness! You can make this Baked Salsa Chicken in a giant dish to feed the whole fam or have left overs for a couple of days. Win win!
When I say 5 minutes of prep time, I actually mean it. ALL you have to do for this dish is pour rice, chop cilantro and peppers, season chicken and pour salsa over it all. Pop your masterpiece in the oven and go spend your precious time with those that matter to you!
So now that I have left overs and don’ have to cook constantly, time to hit up all the Christmas Markets around Calgary! I’m hoping to get the my favorite Spruce Meadows Christmas Market (does sipping on mulled wine while you shop at the coziest market around sound AMAZING to anyone?!) Yes, obviously! The other market that I’ve never actually been too, but I frequent it a lot in the summers, is the Saskatoon Berry Farm Christmas Market, I’ll let you know what I think of it! Can’t wait for yummy eats, locally made gifts, stocking stuffers and the spirit of Christmas to hit me square in the face. What are your favorite Christmas Markets around Calgary, let me know!
Alright back to this Baked Salsa Chicken! Here is what you’ll need:
2 chicken breasts (chicken thighs work great as well)
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1 Orange bell pepper – cut into strips
1/2 cup brown rice or rice of your choice (if you are using brown rice, I recommend the quick cook brown rice)
3/4 cup chicken stock or water
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp chili powder
Fresh ground black pepper
Like I said before… Easy peezy to make!
How to Make:
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour your rice into a baking dish, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, green onion, add minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
Add chicken breasts on top of rice, season chicken with salt, chili powder and pepper.
Throw strips of bell pepper around chicken, pour water/chicken stock into dish then top off the dish with salsa.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until rice is soft and chicken is baked through.
So there you have it, A Baked Salsa Chicken recipe that I’ve created for you to perhaps free up some of your time to either relax, spend with loved ones or who am I kidding… get something else done that I am behind on… Christmas shopping and decorating here I come! Hope you enjoy this quick and delicious one dish recipe! Enjoy the last couple weeks of November everyone! Xoxo
Hola everyone! So I was staring in my fridge today wondering what I could possibly make to warm me up after a long walk in the chilly outdoors with the new pup. I was slightly hangry, but I knew I was craving that bowl of warmth and nothing else would suffice, so a quick curry was in order! With my recent SPUD delivery, I ordered the Best of Fall Box and received some gorgeous local sweet carrots, local tomatoes and onion, I thought this could be a great base for a Quick Veggie Chickpea Curry! This turned out insanely delicious, I was actually impressed with the layers of flavor I was able to attain in less than 30 minutes, YUM!
I’m recently focusing on quick, filling meals that are nourishing, satisfying and are also wonderful left over food for work. This Quick Veggie Chickpea Curry hits all those check marks, filled to the brim with veggies and your chickpeas are a wonderful protein source for those of you that don’t care for meat. I usually tend to have a lot of these ingredients on hand, hopefully you guys do too so you can make a batch of this scrumptious curry ASAP! I will also continue to rave about SPUD.ca, many of you know I recently became an affiliate for SPUD.ca, a highly recommended company that provides local, organic groceries to your doorstep. Just hop on SPUD.ca, shop online and you’ll have your groceries at your door on your delivery date, this saves so much time and the produce is local and tasty AF! I will also give you a PROMO CODE so you can get $20 off your first order of $60, the CODE: PINCH gets you this discount at checkout, hooray!
Alright, so a tasty quick meal in under 30 minutes is what we all dream of, am I right?! Let’s keep it real, in and out of the kitchen, more time for whatever your vice is (mine currently is Outlander on Netflix) and get food in our bellies ASAP! I always find if I start by prepping all of my ingredients, get my spices measured out and ready, cooking goes much more smoothly and a lot of time is saved. You’re also not running like a chicken with your head cut off through the kitchen, that always restores the faith your family has in your cooking skills while they watch you cook… just saying.
Hopefully you have these ingredients lying around!
1 tsp avocado oil/coconut oil
1/2 medium yellow onion – thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp fresh grated turmeric (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 medium carrot – very thinly sliced into circles
2 large tomatoes – chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 can (540ml) drained and rinsed chickpeas
1 large handful of spinach
Here we go:
Place a medium pot over medium heat & heat oil.
Add your onions and all of your spices, saute until fragrant and onions softening, approximately 5 minutes.
Add your thinly sliced carrots, saute another 5 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas, allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Stir in your spinach at the end until just wilted.
Scoop into your favorite bowl, top of with goodies, kick back, watch Netflix and dig in!
Hope this Quick Veggie Curry Bowl keeps you warm this weekend and hits the spot! Tag me in any of your A Pinch of Nurse creations on Instagram @apinchofnurse or Facebook, or I do love getting all your messages as well! Almost a long weekend for most of us, let’s take a moment to remember on Saturday as well! Thanks for reading and all your support everyone, XOXO.
You guys, I have some very exciting news! I am thrilled to announce my new partnership with SPUD.ca, a grocery delivery company here in Calgary that I support wholeheartedly, let me introduce you to SPUD.ca, an initiative that delivers local and organic groceries to your doorstep! I even have a Promo code for you guys to try out with your first order, $20.00 off your order of $60.00 or more, keep reading! SPUD works directly and closely with local farmers to bring to you local, organic and sustainable groceries, pretty awesome right!? Imagine the time saved if you don’t have to grocery shop!
So how does it work? You simply head over to SPUD.ca and start shopping, no sign up, no memberships, just shop and on your communities delivery date, you will get your groceries on your front step by a friendly SPUD employee. You can check out when the SPUD truck will be delivering in your area by clicking on the “delivery areas” tab in the top right hand of their website. The selection and quality of their produce and grocery items are substantial, they also have flash sales, new seasonal produce boxes you can choose from or pick all your items individually. I order regularly from SPUD as it saves me time from having to visit 2 -3 stores around Calgary and enables me to eat local, organic and sustainable food/products with a busy schedule. I don’t think I need to explain the immeasurable benefits of eating/supporting local and organic, but here are some benefits!
the produce is fresher and bursting with flavor as it can be picked when ripe and in transit for a much shorter period to get to your doorstep
supporting local farmers keeps jobs and our local farms plentiful and healthy
helps boost our economy
allows our communities to stay connected and value our farmer’s hard work and produce
The best part of receiving a SPUD delivery, it feels like Christmas every time you get that blue container full of goodies!
Now let’s get to the good part already so you can start shopping, PROMO CODE time! SPUD.ca has been generous enough to provide you with $20 off if you order $60 or more, how can you go wrong with $60 worth of groceries for $40 bucks! Just type in the code: PINCH at checkout in the promo bar and BAM, $20 bucks off your first order. It’s simple and easy shopping, no stress of finding a parking stall, dealing with pushy people, shopping carts or the worry of wondering where your food is coming from. Watch my video below for a sneak peek of my last delivery and a pretty neat break down of where your produce is coming from and how far it has traveled to get into your kitchen!
I have for you a quick squash recipe from my SPUD produce delivery! This week I ordered the Seasonal Fall Produce Box and in it were some gorgeous and fresh ingredients, some delicata squash, tomatoes and shallots, here is what I made with it!
Roasted Delicata Squash with Tomatoes, Shallots & Parmesan:
1 delicata squash – washed, cut into rings & de-seeded
1/2 tbsp olive oil/avocado oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 small shallot – thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme – diced or (1 tsp dried)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp shaved Parmesan
Fresh squeeze of lemon juice
How to Make:
Heat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit, take out a non stick baking sheet.
Toss your de-seeded squash rings with olive oil, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Add your tomatoes & onion to the mix and toss.
Add to your baking sheet & bake for 15 minutes, flip, bake another 15 minutes or until squash is soft.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with Parmesan right out of oven, dive in!
This recipe is simple but so tasty! You can even add a piece of chicken breast to the same pan while roasting and there you have it, your groceries waiting at your door for you and then dinner in under 35 minutes! I would LOVE to hear from you guys on your thoughts and any questions you might have about SPUD.ca. You won’t be disappointed with them and imagine the things you can get done when you don’t have to go grocery shopping! Don’t forget to use the PROMO code: PINCH, at checkout to get your discount. Have a wonderful week everyone!
Squash, squash, squash, so many types of squash out there right now, it can get overwhelming when picking through all the lumpy, bumpy, vibrant squashes! In the end you probably give up on them because you wonder what the heck you’re going to do with it anyways, am I right? You will no longer have to give up on the squash bin because I have trialed and tested 3 squash recipes and I am sharing my favorite baked squash recipe, my HoneySriracha Kabocha Squash bites are seriously off the charts. Sweet squash, heat from the sriracha and bakes to a beautiful honeyed caramelized bite, makes a mouth-watering mean side dish or snack!
I too am guilty of always grabbing the butternut squash or pumpkin to cook or bake with, so I wanted to shake things up and grab a different squash every time I hit the market. I tested this recipe on Acorn, Kobucha and Red Kuri Squash, flavor and texture wise I loved the Kabocha squash the most, the Red Kuri squash was a very near second! So in my recipe today I am featuring the lovely Kabocha squash, AKA, Japanese Pumpkin, which I think is butternut squashes better tasting & under rated sister, with half the calories & carbs, packed with Vitamins A & C, iron and fiber! It’s flavors similar to a cross between butternut and a sweet potato, with stunning orange flesh, if I haven’t sold you yet, another added bonus to the Kabocha squash is the skin is edible as well. No heavy-duty peeling is necessary! How do you pick the best of the bunch you ask? Always go with the most vibrant in color and heaviest for its size, as well as try stay local/organic. I plucked my beauty of a squash from the Calgary Farmer’s Market imported from B.C., sustainable and local, what else could you ask for.
With this recipe I opted to peel the skin off because I love how they baked into even little caramelized spicy bites that have a slight crispy outer layer and creamy sweet squash in the middle, but you certainly don’t have to. So, how in the world do you begin to even cut and clean your squash? First wash your squash well, then take a large vegetable knife and carefully cut the squash in half vertically, then take a large spoon and scoop out the seeds/string goop until all cleaned out. I find if you cut the squash into slices, it is easier to peel with a small knife or just lay each slice on its side and cut the skin off, these are my techniques that I find work rather dandy without losing a finger… or setting a not so fake Halloween scene in your kitchen… then chop the squash into bite sized pieces.
Now many of you may already know that we have a new family member that recently and very suddenly joined our family! We welcomed a very resilient, sweet and high energy rescue Husky puppy, meet Nara! She is always on the go, chewing on all that moves and loves any attention, so I needed a recipe that I could prep within 10 minutes and pop in the oven in order to get back to chasing this little one around! She loves to assist me in cooking, picture-taking and blogging… by assisting I mean she is a little vacuum on the kitchen floor, she keeps my feet warm by lying on my feet while in the kitchen, she curiously explores the different squash options I had displayed and she loves to grab and trot off with any photography props I’ve set up… what a helper… good thing is cute!
1.5 tbsp sriracha (decrease this amount if you don’t want it overly spicy)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
drizzle of sesame oil
Make & Bake:
Heat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix your sriracha, honey, lime juice and coconut oil together until mixed well, you can put it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so if your coconut oil & honey are solid.
Pour your honey mixture over your diced squash, then toss your squash with salt, pepper & onion powder.
Pour onto baking sheet, bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway.
Enjoy fresh out of the oven!
These Honey Sriracha Kabocha Squash bites are seriously addicting you guys, easy to make and I do love me something spicy! I had these for dinner last night with some garlic asparagus and a beautifully poached egg on top of these squash bites, divine! Now you know how to use up your squash and you can become an expert squash picker, is that a career path in your near future perhaps? 🙂 I love hearing from you all of you, thank you for stopping me at work, sending me a message, leaving a review on the website and tagging me in your recipe making, it makes me so grateful for all of your support, love and willingness to try out new recipes! I hope you all have a lovely rest of your week, XOXO!