SECRET SPICE NUMBER 32
THE EXOTIC FLAVOURS OF NORTHERN AFRICA SIMMER IN WONDERFUL SPICE BLENDS RICH IN VARIETY AND TASTE
Magical Morocco, who else has travelled there? In the ’80s I took a ferry across to Tangier from Gibraltar. A single woman with blonde hair travelling alone in a foreign country. Yeah, you get the picture...i was poked, prodded and hassled, which naturally I didn’t enjoy very much.
I visited several times again in the early ’90s and I just couldn’t get enough of the place. Eating my first tagine (I think it was lamb or goat), I just couldn’t get over the flavours – a very euphoric experience. Curiosity got the better of me and off I marched to the kitchen to ask the chef where the flavours were coming from. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak very good French but I got the gist of it. It all came down to the spice – he used 32 spices in the tagine...32!
Then I discovered ‘ras el hanout’ spice. This translates to ‘top of the shop’ meaning that it’s the best spice blend that a spice merchant has to offer. It can contain as few as 15 or as many as 100 spices to make a wonderful, exotic spice blend.
Here’s an easy chicken tagine recipe that I teach at my cooking school.