This week we decided on a good , dead easy standby—zoomed up to our taste—roast vegetables with Moroccan spice. The recipe is from Robert Carrier’s classic cook book Taste of Morocco heavily altered to my taste.

 

For starters there are many variations on Moroccan spices but the main ones we work with are Ras El Hanout, Zaatar, both ground, and Harissa Paste. These days they are available all over the place but Woollies is a good place to start. Which you use will give you different results of course but my advice is not to use too much of any before you become acquainted with what they do. Also do NOT combine them—not a GOOD IDEA.

Briefly this is what they are—the ingredients will give you a good idea of what they are going to taste like.

 Harissa Paste. The ingredients for harissa paste are pretty simple- red chilies, garlic, oil, an acid like vinegar & lemon juice, and various spices. Think pungent with a kick. Like Moroccan Tabasco.

The mixture for Ras El Hanout usually consists of over a dozen spices, in different proportions. Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Think fragrant and aromatic –delicious.

 Zataar is generally a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram (woodsy and floral), with sumac (tangy and acidic) and toasted sesame seeds. Think roast nuts, warm and fragrant.

VEGETABLES.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Use whatever you have handy—potatoes, sweet and ordinary, butternut, pumpkin, peppers, whole heads of garlic, onions, carrots, beetroot , broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, aubergine, courgettes.

Make sure they are all cut more or less the same size.

Use the best olive oil you can afford—avoid those in plastic bottles—the acids in the olive oil react with the plastic—unpleasant.

Do not overcrowd the baking pan, the idea is they should not touch or they will steam and not roast.

Use enough oil to coat the pieces—not too much—use your hands, or put them in a bag and shake but better in the hands so nothing gets wasted.

Place in pan and lightly salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Moroccan spice of choice. I suggest to start with Ras El Hanout.

Bake uncovered for about 50 minutes till some charring starts to happen—very desirable.

Don’t be afraid to check as you go along as size of the veg will matter.

We serve with a meat sugo for guests who want something with the veggies but they are PERFECT on their own. Serve with lemon wedges for those who want them

SERVE WITH A SMOOTH RED WINE LIKE THE STEENBERG MERLOT.—YOU WILL LOVE IT