Happy Friday! Here we are at the end of another week! Today I’ve got an amazing guest post for you from the lovely Debra who runs the blog The Saffron Girl. I first came across Debra’s work on Instagram and was immediately attracted to her food and… I haven’t told her this before… but as soon as I saw her blog name I thought NICE! Saffron is one of my favourite spices and is a staple in Persian cooking :). I also love the fact that she lives right here in England, it’s always great to connect with like-minded people, especially when they live close by! I hope we can meet up in person one of these days!
When it comes to sharing guest posts here with you, I want to introduce you to people who have love and passion for food and health, and Debra has both! The recipes my guest post contributors share may all be paleo/primal friendly but they are all unique in their own right and show that eating this way is a pleasurable experience.
Today Debra shares with us a delightful dish from Morocco… I’ve never had tagine before but Debra makes me want to have it NOW! I would love to travel to Morocco one day… who knows now that I live in Europe getting to Morocco isn’t too difficult!
I’ll leave you with Debra now to tell you more about this dish and herself…
Hi there! I’m The Saffron Girl, a paleo foodie, who loves traveling, discovering new cultures and learning in the process. I also have a passion for all things creative and artistic. I think that’s why I love being in the kitchen so much!
For me, cooking and baking are an art form; and experimenting with new techniques, different cuisines or simply trying a new ingredient makes me a very happy person. From the initial conception of a dish or recipe to the preparation, creation and photographing of it all, my passion is fueled on a daily basis through the challenges I set upon myself.
Naz and I have become virtual buddies and we follow each other’s musings through our pictures on Instagram and posts on Facebook. We have discovered that we have a number of things in common, including our love of food, our dedication to the paleo lifestyle, spreading the knowledge about our healthy ways that we acquire along the way and inspiring others to do the same. Naz also has a great heart… she is constantly highlighting recipes from other bloggers for her readers and sharing helpful information with fellow bloggers. Being part of this virtual world that can be quiet competitive, it’s beautiful and heart-warming to come across people such as Naz, who are caring and add positivity around them.
Another thing we have in common is that we are both expats in England. I’m a bit of a mutt, being half-American and half-Spanish, but my home and heart are in Spain, where I grew up, whilst Naz is Australian (but you know that right?!) ;).
So, when Naz asked me to guest post on her blog I was both thrilled and honoured. She originally requested that I provide a touch of Spain; however as the Moroccan cuisine is also dear to my heart and both of us have a love for lamb, we thought that a traditional lamb tagine would be fitting to share. I’ve been buying and collecting Moroccan cookery books for years, and on my last trip to Spain this summer, I discovered one which has served as an inspiration for many dishes, much more than the others I own. The dish I share with you today is inspired by one of the recipes in Ghillie Basan’s ‘Cocina Marroqui’.
The lamb tagine is somewhat of a street food in Morocco and can be served for lunch or dinner. Crack some eggs into the tagine and you can serve it for breakfast! It’s a versatile dish that will take your taste buds on a delectable trip to the Maghreb.
Lamb Kefta Tagine with Zucchini
Ingredients for the meatballs/kefta:
- 500g ground lamb.
- 2 small red onions, finely chop 1 1/2 of the onions; julienne the remaining 1/2 onion.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced.
- 10-12 fresh mint leaves, chopped.
- 2 tsp Ras-el Hanout.*
- 1/2 tsp chili powder.
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt.
- 3 cups filtered water.
Ingredients for the vegetables:
- 2 medium zucchini, roughly peeled and chopped.
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced.
- 1 medium aubergine, roughly peeled and chopped.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil.
Ingredients for the tagine:
- 1 Tbsp ghee.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil.
- 1/2 small red onion, julienne style.
- 1 tsp cumin seeds.
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water from cooking the meatballs.
- Coarse sea salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp coarse sea salt).
- Fresh mint leaves, chopped for garnishing.
- *For the Ras-el Hanout, you can make you own spice mix by checking out my recipe here.
Mix the ground lamb with the onion, garlic, mint leaves, Ras-el Hanout, chili powder and the sea salt. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
Scoop out balls with a measuring tablespoon and with your hands create meatballs. Set them aside on a platter or clean surface.
In a deep, but wide pan, place about 3 cups of filtered water over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, carefully add the meatballs.
Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they cook on all sides and do not stick to the pan or together (I stir, moving from the bottom of the pot so I don’t break the meatballs).
With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the water and place on a plate or in a bowl. Set the water aside.
In a large saucepan, over low heat add the zucchini, olive oil and garlic. Poach uncovered for about 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently.
Add the aubergine and cook an addition 7-8minutes. Stir frequently.
In the mean time, in a tagine (ceramic pot or another saucepan), sauté over low heat the 1/2 julienned onion and cumin seeds in the ghee and olive oil, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the 1 1/2 cups of water from cooking the meatballs. Add the remaining water only if necessary.
Place the meatballs/kefta inside the tagine, along with the poached vegetables. Stir well.
Add coarse sea salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp).
Cook covered for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then cook uncovered for an additional 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is partially reduced.
Sprinkle with fresh, chopped mint as garnish.
Debra is the author, recipe developer and photographer behind The Saffron Girl blog. With the encouragement of friends, she started blogging just over a year ago, intending to share travel stories and recipes from around the world. However, after reading Wheat Belly, Pandora’s Seed and The Primal Blueprint, she quickly discovered the world of paleo eating and decided this lifestyle was the one she wanted to follow. Going paleo was quiet an easy task for Debra, as she was already gluten and grain free; but she does see how it can be daunting for others. Her own husband is not 100% on-board. Through The Saffron Girl, which has become a passion for Debra, she hopes to inspire others to cook for themselves and see how easy it is to adapt the paleo diet. She also shares information on her Facebook page on health issues and other topics, which are pertinent to leading a healthier and happier life. After a year of being paleo about 90% of the time (100% at home), and still thriving to be better at daily exercise, sun exposure and attaining quality sleep, Debra has experienced the following improvements in her health: faster growing and stronger nails and hair, more energy, better concentration, regular bowel movements, no colds or infections, no low-blood sugar or anxiety before meals and no food cravings. You can also find Debra on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.