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Aromatic Sunday lunch

Moroccan dining table

Aromatic Sunday lunch


1 Occasion

2 Menu

3 Wine notes

4 Planning ahead

5 Setting the scene

6 Recipes



Sunday roast, I believe, should be a relaxed affair.  They often involve a cross section of generations and they should hopefully be delightful celebrations of family life.

In my unusual take on a roast chicken, accentuating the delicate flavour of the chicken rather than swamping it, the subtle notes of saffron, cumin and velvety lemon lift the chicken and create the juices for a wonderful gravy.


Saffron and preserved lemon-infused roast chicken

Curly cabbage with cumin

Buttered carrots with fresh coriander

Roast potatoes


Honey and cinnamon cheesecake


Wine notes

I have listed below some of the wines I personally feel would match the food.

  • Main - A smooth Pinot Noir, New Zealand or French.  I think chicken is quite subtle and the lighter style red sets the tone.

Planning ahead

Ideally the cheesecake should be made the day before.

Setting the scene

Bring a dash of Moroccan sunshine to your table with some of our brightly coloured traditional serving plates and bowls, in cheerful yellow, bold turquoise and dazzling blue.  They add an instant touch of Morocco to your table.

Moroccan roast chicken with preserved lemons and saffron

A Moroccan friend advised me that once you start using preserved lemons you use them in everything.  I'm not there yet, but this adds a great twist on the traditional roast chicken: Anglo-Moorish fusion cooking

1 medium free range chicken
2 small preserved lemons, quartered
pinch of saffron, lightly crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml (1/2pt) of chicken stock
flour to thicken gravy
salt and pepper

1. Wash the chicken and wipe away excess water. Place the quartered lemons in the cavity of the chicken.  Put in a medium sized roasting tin.

2. Rub the skin with the crushed saffron and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the oil over the chicken rubbing well into the skin and the saffron.

3. Roast for 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes (45 minutes per kilo plus 20 minutes).  Basting every 1/2 hour.

4. When cooked, remove the chicken from the oven, wrap in tin foil and place on a warmed plate, make sure all the juices from the chicken are left in the roasting tin to flavour the gravy.  Leave the wrapped chicken to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

5. Skim any excess fat from the roasting tin, leaving about 1/2 tablespoon behind to mix with the flour.  Add the flour to the tin mixing well to form a paste.  Place tin over a hot plate and slowly add the chicken stock to make the gravy.  Season to taste.

6. Carve rested chicken and serve with the saffron and lemon flavoured gravy.

Oven at 200C, gas mark 4.  Serves 4.

Curly cabbage with cumin

A great vegetable dish that is firm favorate in our house.  Aromatic, fresh tasting and so easy.

Curley cabbage, sliced across and split into bits and washed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seed

1. Heat the oil in a large sauspan or a wok and add the cumin seeds.

2. Add the cabbage and stir well, it can spit a bit.

3. Stir fry until the cabbage is just al dente.  Add a little water to the pan if it loks too dry.

4. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serves 4

Buttered carrots with fresh coriander

500g carrots, cut into sticks
generous knob of butter
1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

1. Boil carrots in salted water until just cooked.

2. Strain and return to the pan.  Add the butter and stir in the fresh coriander.

3. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serves 4

Honey and cinnamon cheesecake

125g butter
350g ginger biscuits, finely crushed
350g cream cheese
2 eggs separated
50g honey
15g powdered gelatine dissolved in 3 tablesoons boiling water
142ml double cream, whipped
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon

1. Melt the butter and mix with the biscuit crumbs until well mixed.

2. Spread this mixture into the base of a 30cm loose based cake tin and press down well to form the base of the cheesecake.

3. Beat the cheese, egg yolks, honey and cinnamon together until smooth, then beat in the dissolved gelatine.

4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the cheese mixture along with the whipped cream.

5. Pour the mixture into the tin and chill until set.

6. Carefully remove from the tin and place on a serving plate.  You can dust the top with a small amount of cinnamon if you wish, but only a little or it will be too strong.

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