moroccan fruit tagine

When I run out of new ideas (and haven’t been shopping for ages) I turn back to my trusty friend Claudia Roden for dinner inspiration.

For example, yesterday I only had 2 onions, some chicken, a bunch of parsley and a bowl of fruit in my kitchen. Oh and some tomatoes and fennel – but I didn’t use those …

And a cupboard overflowing with spices …

What to cook?

I just leafed through ‘A New Book of Middle Eastern Food’ until I found a suitable recipe.

A few tweaks, and this is what I made.

Moroccan Fruit Tagine

3 chicken breasts (Claudia suggests a large roasting chicken, jointed, but I just had 3 chicken breasts …)
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper
500 grams peeled, cored and sliced fruit.  You can use apples, pears, quinces, fresh dates, raisins or prunes. I chose pears.

Put the chicken, onion and parsley in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the butter and ginger and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour. The sauce should be reduced and the onions disintegrated.


Here we are after nearly an hour with the chicken cooking and the sauce reducing. Nearly ready for the fruit.

Then add the sliced fruit and simmer until just tender.  Only about 5 minutes for the pears.

Serve with rice or cous cous or flatbread to dip in to the sauce.

Sounds good. Looks interesting.  Tastes great.

We ate it with rice.  

Oh, I love Claudia. I really do!


chicken pho recipe (and a chance to use my new kitchen gadget)

So, I know how to cook it but I don’t know how to pronounce it properly.  I asked Thao yesterday. She told me. I repeated exactly what I heard she said about 20 gazillion times and still got it wrong. She was laughing so much at me. My best approximation was when I said ‘faux’ like ‘faux pas’ in French.  I think I have a hearing/speaking disconnect …


Anyway, here’s how I made chicken pho.


  • 1 bag chicken bones
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • pho spices
  • salt
  • water
  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • beanshoots
  • rice noodles (soaked for 1 minute in boiling water and drained)
  • chopped fresh herbs (ie.coriander, mint, basil in any combination)
  • chilli (to serve)
  • lemon (to serve)

At the butcher I bought a bag of chicken bones. I combined these with 2 onions quartered and 2 teaspoons of salt and these pho spices which I bought at the big Asian grocers out the back of the Preston Market (I love this shop … and I bought the noodles here too).


I filled up my pot with water and simmered it all for 2 hours.  It sounds like I am super organised, but that really isn’t the case. I was hanging around making a big batch of bolognese so I just made this in the pot alongside. As I was at the stove keeping an eye on the bolognese, quartering two onions and adding the packet of spices to make the stock wasn’t too hard at all.

Then I strained the stock and put it in the fridge.  The next day I got out half the stock and reheated it, added about half again water and a bit more salt to taste. And I skimmed off the fat that had settled to the top when it was cold. Then I put one thinly sliced chicken breast in and cooked it very quickly.

In the serving bowls I put a handful of rice noodles that I soaked in boiling water for one minute, some thin strips of carrot that I made with my ‘new-to-me’ vegetable julienner* (I think this might be a new word?) and a handful of beanshoots as well. And some chopped herbs. Coriander, mint, basil. These are all good.

Then I spooned the boiling stock and chicken over the top. And served it with lemon wedges and chopped up chilli. The chilli wasn’t too hot and the kids had fun thinking it might be and adding it in to their pho without touching it and then taste testing the results.

Everyone ate dinner … happy days! It was a great meal for a hot day.  And I still have enough stock left for another night.  I put it in the freezer.

* I bought this at the op shop.  $2.  Not everything you buy at the op shop needs to be ‘vintage’.