Beef tagine.BEEF TANGINE
800g prime beef fillet, cut into 2cm diceextra virgin olive oil1 red onion, cut into 6 pieces2 carrots, cut into 4cm pieces1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4cm pieces8 green beans12 almonds, skin removedsea salt2 tbsp honeyjuice of 1 lemon8 fresh dates, pitted1 small handful pitted black olives1/4 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped2 tbsp coriander leaves2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leavessteamed couscous, to serve
1 red onion, roughly chopped4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped1 heaped tsp sea salt1 tbsp ground cumin1 tbsp ground coriander1 1/2 tbsp chilli powder1 tbsp ground turmeric2 tsp sweet paprika1 1/2 tsp ras el hanout (see Hot Tips)3/4 cup extra virgin olive oiljuice of 1 lemon
To make the chermoula, place all the ingredients in a food processor, except the olive oil and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the oil to form a thick paste. Stir through the lemon juice. Set aside 1 cup for the tagine. (Makes 2 cups; store extra chermoula under oil for 1-2 weeks in the fridge.)
Combine 2 tbsp chermoula with the beef and set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
In a tagine or a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat a little extra virgin olive oil and the rest of the reserved chermoula. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, beans, almonds and a little salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add enough water to half-cover the vegetables, then add the honey and lemon juice and cover. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the ingredients carefully. Add the dates and olives. Cover the pan again and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Heat a frying pan until hot and add some olive oil. When smoking, add the beef (see Hot Tips) and quickly sauté to colour and seal on all sides.
Spoon the beef into the tagine and mix well. You can serve the dish in the tagine or saucepan, spooned onto a large platter or divided among plates. Just before serving, sprinkle with preserved lemon rind and fresh herbs. Serve with couscous.
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE TART
250g plain flour75g unsalted butter, cubedpinch sea salt90g icing sugar, sifted4 tbsp full-cream milk, plus 55ml2 egg yolks1 cup heavy cream200g dark bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces1 extra-large egg, beatencocoa powder (optional)
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, salt and icing sugar in a food processor and process for 20 seconds. Add 55ml milk and egg yolks and process for 30 seconds, or until a mass forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knead lightly for a few moments. Flatten it on the bench and form a ball. Wrap it in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and spray a 28cm tart tin with oil spray.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench until it is 2cm wider than the tart case. Roll the pastry over your rolling pin and gently ease it into the tart case, pushing the sides in gently. Rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Line the tart case with foil, add some rice and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the rice and foil, brush the tart shell with egg wash and cook for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 200°C.
To make the filling, place the cream and 4 tbsp milk in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated. Strain the egg into the warm chocolate mixture, and stir until absorbed.
Pour the warm filling into the cooked tart shell and smooth it with a spatula.
Turn off the oven, and bake the tart for 20 minutes or until just set. Allow the tart to cool, then sprinkle with cocoa powder, if using. (Do not refrigerate the tart.)
• You can also use a braising cut rather than prime beef fillet; just add more water and extend the cooking time to about 2 hours. However, I like the texture and the juiciness of using fresh-cooked meat served medium.
• Chermoula is a versatile addition to the fridge. For a great blackened and tasty piece of fish, smear a fillet with chermoula, then sear it in a pan.
• Ras el hanout is a North African spice mix. It is available at specialty food stores and spice suppliers.
• The chocolate tart is inspired by a recipe from French master Joël Robuchon. It is easy to make, with a great taste and texture.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Fortified grenacheThe 2008 Michel Chapoutier Banyuls ($25 for 500ml), a fortified grenache from the southern part of France, is perfect with chocolate. It handles the bitterness and bold flavours of the dessert with ease – and it’s a bargain.
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