Tag Archives: BBC Good Food

A Moroccan Feast

Thank you, Easter, for providing us with a long weekend (Friday and Monday are Bank Holidays here in the UK). F and I wanted to enjoy some lamb as an ode to spring, so we invited friends to join us for a pre-Easter dinner on Friday. We could’ve done a traditional roast with the usual carrots and new potatoes, but in a fit of experimentation (and knowing we’d have the whole day to prepare — thank you again, Bank Holiday), F suggested we make Moroccan-style lamb. I suggested that we might as well go all-out and make Moroccan sides, too.

Needless to say, Googling commenced. I went straight to NYT Cooking, the New York Times‘ great hub for all the recipes they publish in their Food and other sections. I searched “Moroccan” and loads of vibrant, delicious looking dishes appeared. I was drawn to the Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad; Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style; and this couscous. Meanwhile, F found a recipe for Moroccan Lamp with Apricots, Almonds & Mint from BBC Good Food; it is a stew rather than a roast, which made it more attractive as it required less cooking time.

Here is how the meal turned out:

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Perhaps it is a bit monochrome, but boy was it delicious. The stew had such depth of flavor, thanks to cinnamon, apricots, and orange, and the ground almonds gave it a deceptively “creamy” texture. The carrot salad — dressed with lemon juice, spiced with cumin and garlic, and balanced with olives — turned out beautifully. We really liked the pearl couscous laced with cumin, golden raisins, and sautéed onions. The orange salad packed a bit of heat from cayenne, although I left out the garlic, parsley, and olives, as those were already present in the carrot salad.

All in all, a great and delicious success. Will we make these recipes again? Definitely. I’m already looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch.

Do you like Moroccan food? Ever cooked any of it? Post your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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Recipe: Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

**updated 25 Jan 2015 — now includes beet cream cheese frosting!**

Yes, I’m behind on the Valentine’s Day dessert bandwagon. But F and I are neutral on the holiday — why do you have to wait for a special day to celebrate each other and those you love? So I didn’t actually make this cake because it was Valentine’s weekend. But Sarah had given me extra beets that she wasn’t going to use before traveling, which made this a great opportunity to try her recipe for chocolate beet cake (originally from BBC Good Food). Plus, S & I were coming for dinner, and it’s always better to have more people to help devour dangerously delicious baked goods! IMG_5297 You might be thinking, “Beets? In cake?” I was skeptical, too, but Sarah assured me that you don’t taste the beets at all, and she was right. They add sweetness and keep the cake moist (and help you pretend it’s sort of healthy). S & I seemed to enjoy it, and F gave it an “amazing!” rating.

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This cake is so chocolatey and delicious.  I used a little less sugar than Sarah’s recipe called for and it didn’t seem to make a difference. I’d recommend erring towards the shorter cooking time, as the cake may get dry if you leave it in for the full time. The pink cream cheese frosting, from Joy the Baker, is completely optional but if you choose to go for it you won’t be disappointed.

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (cake adapted from Sarah & frosting adapted from Joy the Baker; serves 7-9)

Ingredients

  • Cake:
    • 185-200g beet(root) (~3 small beets), cooked, peeled, & roughly chopped
    • 200g plain flour
    • 100g cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 240g golden caster sugar (I’m sure granulated sugar would work just as well)
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 200ml sunflower oil
    • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Frosting (optional):
    • 115g (1/2 cup or 4oz) unsalted butter, softened
    • 115g (1/2 cup or 4oz) cream cheese, softened
    • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted/whisked
    • 2 tbsp cooked beets, finely grated & mashed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • .5-1 tsp milk (more for thinner consistency)
    • small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
    • pinch of salt

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 170C (fan).
  • Put the beets in a food processor and blend until they’re finely chopped.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Add the chopped beets, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and whisk to break up the eggs. Pour in the sunflower oil and stir vigorously until fully mixed. The batter will be thick and fudgy.
  • Stir the chopped chocolate into the batter, then pour everything into a loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (OR use a round cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes— you make need to cover the cake with foil partway through baking if it gets too dark on top. (If the cake seems underdone when you take it out, bear in mind that it will set as it cools.)
  • While the cake is cooling, make frosting (optional): put cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or until soft and smooth. Add the butter and beat for 30 seconds or until well combined. Add the beets and beat for another few seconds. Pour in the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, lemon juice, and salt, then beat on medium until the frosting is smooth. Let the frosting chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before frosting the cake.

Enjoy!