SE­CRET SPICE NUM­BER 32

THE EX­OTIC FLAVOURS OF NORTH­ERN AFRICA SIM­MER IN WON­DER­FUL SPICE BLENDS RICH IN VA­RI­ETY AND TASTE

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | TASTE - WORDS: VICKI TAY­LOR

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.

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