And the sweet secret of
Where two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams
All their love
We celebrated their anniversary with home cooked dishes, good wine and adorable performances from the kiddos. The kitchen was abuzz with activity as Julio serenaded us from the porch. Rusty cheekily tried to steal food from the table. It was a picture from my childhood, except this time we were in the kitchen while an entirely new generation chased each other around the house.
My brother and his family were in town over the weekend so we chose to have our dinner on Sunday instead of Thursday.
For starters we brought out some salchichon & cheese with crackers and slices of french bread, while we continued to work in the kitchen. My sister brought mechado (Filipino beef stew) and made an Oriental salad while my mom cooked her delicious fabada and steamed a nice fresh fish. I, on the other hand, was busy with my Moroccan Lamb & Apricot Tajine with couscous.
As you may have noticed, because the decision to have the dinner at home instead of going out to a restaurant was made at the last minute, we didn't coordinate the menu to the detail. We just basically assigned each other (my sister, mom and I) a dish or two each. So the buffet was a hodge-podge of Spanish, Filipino, Oriental and Moroccan, yet somehow everything seemed to come together very well.
I am a big fan of all things Moroccan, especially Moroccan food, and lamb tajine is a favorite. This dish is traditionally cooked in a clay pot also called a tajine (ahem ahem, anyone still looking for my gift, you are welcome to give me a nice tajine, I'll be happy with a Le Creuset. heehee. No I'm kidding! Seriously, it doesnt' have to branded ;) ). It comes in 2 pieces - a shallow clay casserole for the bottom, and a conical lid which fits snugly into the other piece. It's such a wonderful dish because it can go from stove-top to oven to table.
This is adapted from a recipe my friend ripped out of a magazine .
Moroccan Lamb & Apricot Tajine
2 tbsp olive oil
600 g lamb shoulder or neck (3m cubes)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 red chillies
½ tsp cumin
227 g can plum tomatoes (not drained)
300 ml lamb stock (or beef)
400g can chickpeas
100g dried apricots, cut
1 small handful fresh coriander, chopped
Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the lamb in small batches, set aside.
Fry the onion until soft, then add garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, chilies, cumin, black pepper and rose petals (if available). Fry for another minute. Then add tomatoes and stock.
Bring to the boil and return the lamb to the casserole. Season and bake in the oven with the lid on for 1 hour. Add the chickpeas and apricots and stir. Then cook for another hour until tender.
Remove from the oven and stir through the chopped coriander.
The original recipe calls for 2 tsp dried rose petals but I had to leave this out because I didn't have any. I like to serve it together with the couscous and some apricot jam on the side for those who prefer it a little sweeter.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!! I love you! :)