Growing up in England as a little girl, the news we were headed to Africa couldn't have been more exciting.
My grandfather had business to do in Tunisia, and lucky for us, we got to tag along.
Yes, I was young, and if I'm being honest my strongest memories of this trip were pistachio nuts, french crepes with bucketloads of lemon and sugar and being allowed to drink Fanta at dinner. But there's also a faint smell of cinammon, a memory of funny looking coloured pots and a spoonful (or a few) of a delicious stew my parents tucked into daily.
We're talking tagine.
Hailing from Northern African countries (or the Middle East, depends who you ask ;)), tagines are some of the heartiest, most delicious vegetarian meals going around.
Hero spices such as cinammon, allspice, dukkah & turmeric make stars out of the simplest of veggies.
And while using a fancy tagine works beautifully for instagram photography, it's by no means a requirement - a large pot on the stove will render very similar results - in terms of this recipe at least.
I recently made this for colleagues of mine at an International Lunch Day (and told the grandpa story as an excuse for not bringing English food. I still haven't mastered the gluten free scone, so what's a girl to do?!) and it earned the honorable badge of 'Dish of the Day'.
As such, I thought I'd share the recipe with my beautiful followers so you can recreate this flavoursome dish for yourselves, and perhaps experiment with some unfamiliar spices/combinations to make this surprisingly sweet, fragrant meal.
Hope you love it as much as me!
Pumpkin, chickpea and date tagine
Serves 4 - 6
Vegetarian, sweet and aromatic, this hearty meal is perfect for a cool evening or satisfying hungry bellies.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon allspice
1 heaped teaspoon dukkah
2 cinnamon sticks
600 grams pumpkin, cut into small chunks
1 cup water
400 grams tinned tomatoes
1/2 cup gluten free vegetable stock
400 grams tinned chickpeas
1 cup spinach leaves
40 grams dates, roughly chopped
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir until translucent then add the spices.
Add the pumpkin and spices, and stir until the chunks are well-coated.
Next, add the water, cinammon sticks and tomatoes, then cover with a lid for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced, stirring every couple of minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve with brown rice or paprika yoghurt and gluten free bread.