After the excitement of the Royal Nuptials, the enforced extra-long weekend was spent gardening (ugh) and decorating (double ugh). In between these activities, I was continually called upon by the rest of my family to provide sustenance: drinks, snacks, meals, for the workers. Every time I tried to slope off to do some much-needed piano practice, I would hear "MUM!!!" from upstairs, which put me in mind of put-upon mum Lois from 'Family Guy' (see end of post).

I fancied fish for supper on Bank Holiday Monday, and purchased some nice thick salmon steaks in anticipation of this. Then I remembered a rather flavoursome, yet easy-to-make fish tagine, which I haven't cooked for ages. I thought the recipe was in one of the Moro cookbooks, but no amount of searching could produce it, so I made it from memory - which is how I do most of my cooking anyway.....

This dish is simple to put together and can be made in advance. The sauce is 'charmoula' (or 'chermoula'), a Moroccan sauce which lends a lovely, garlicky piquancy. It goes well with grilled meat as well as fish, and I sometimes put it on a wrap with avocado and Emmental slices, which I then toast on my cast-iron ridged griddle pan. The rest of the ingredients turn this into one of those neat one-pot meals: it needs nothing else, not even a salad. Any firm fish will do: I usually use salmon, but monkfish or cod would work equally well.

Start with the Charmoula (this recipe is from Casa Moro - the second Moro cookbook)

2 garlic cloves
2 tsps cumin seeds, freshly ground, or 2 tsps ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp sweet paprika
Small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

Being purists, the authors of Casa Moro suggest making Charmoula in a pestle and mortar. I prefer to whizz it in the Magmix. When done, set it aside and turn your attention to the rest of the dish.

2 fish steaks (salmon, monkfish or similar)
2 red peppers
2 garlic cloves, slivered
approx 250g baby new potatoes
approx 20 baby plum or cherry tomatoes
generous handful of good black olives

Oven 200C

This should, of course, be made in a tagine. Failing that, use a Le Creuset type casserole.

First, prepare the peppers by blackening their skin over a flame and then placing the blackened peppers in a plastic bag or covered bowl. This is Jamie's clever trick to get the skin off easily - the steam eases it off. After about 10 mins, rub the skin off or rinse away under a tap. Remove the stalk and seeds and thinly slice. Add to the tagine. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir in a couple of tablespoons of Charmoula.

Cut the fish into chunks and use the rest of the charmoula as a marinade. Put the tagine in the oven (without the fish) and cook until the potatoes are soft. If using a casserole dish, check intermittently to make sure it does not dry out - you can add some water if it is getting dry. About 10 mins before the end of cooking, add the fish pieces and return to the oven until the fish is cooked.

'Family Guy' - Mom Mom Mummy


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