What prunes to use

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What prunes to use

Postby foodlov » April 18th, 2010, 1:05 pm

Hi all

Just writing down a shopping list for next week, and am planning on doing a beef tagine, could anyone tell me which prunes I use for this dish?

Tescos do an assortmant of dried, wholefood, in syrup or in juice and I am a bit baffled on which ones to use.

Thanks in advance

Jacky
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby frenchcheesequeen » April 18th, 2010, 1:20 pm

I used dried stoned prunes and apricots for that sort of recipe Jacky. The tinned ones totally disappear - but do leave the flavour behind.
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby Suelle » April 18th, 2010, 1:21 pm

Either of the dried sort is what you need. 'Wholefood' only relates to the section of Tesco's you find them in - their 'wholefood' range is often dearer than the same things found in other sections. In this case basic dried prunes from the bakery section will be OK.
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby foodlov » April 18th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Thanks both for replying I can now get on with my list :D

Jacky
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby foodlov » April 23rd, 2010, 5:27 am

Morning all I am planning on doing this Jamie Oliver Beef Tagine today:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef ... eef-tagine

I bought the prunes yesterday and got dried Prunes , my question is do I need to soak them in water before I put them in the tagine?

Also OH is not a great lover of squash could I use a mixture of carrots and mushrooms or another vegetable instead, or shall I stick with the squash, he will eat it, (human dustbin), but just wondered whether I could vary it?

Thanks in advance :D

Be back on about 8

Thanks Jacky
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby Tatihou » April 23rd, 2010, 6:16 am

I wouldn't bother soaking the prunes. There's plenty of liquid in the dish and it is cooked for a goodly length of time after adding the prunes so they will plump up and begin to break down nicely.

Squash vs carrots / mushrooms... I'm not sure about the mushrooms as they don't seem very tagine-y to me... I might substitute aubergine... but squash has the sweetness that you get in tagines so personally I'd leave it but probably have smaller cubes of squash (5cms seems quite big to me) so that they'd break down into the dish more.

But others more experienced in tagines than me may have a different opinion on the squash.
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby frenchcheesequeen » April 23rd, 2010, 7:21 am

Good advice Tatihou.

Jacky - if cooking something for the first time I always follow the recipe to the letter. If you vary from the beginning you have not cooked the original dish, if there is something that you feel does not work for you then the next time try a variation. Jamie's food is pretty "blokey" anyway and your husband might turnto a squash lover after eating this!
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby ianinfrance » April 23rd, 2010, 9:48 am

frenchcheesequeen wrote:Jacky - if cooking something for the first time I always follow the recipe to the letter.
Well said. Couldn't agree with you more. When I put a recipe of mine up on the website, it is after very considerable work on it and after getting it as good as I know how. Drives me dotty when someone writes to say "don't think much of your xxxxxxx recipe the meat was SO tough " So when I write back to ask what cut of lamb they had used, they answer "Oh I didn't use lamb - neither of us like it, we did it with beef. " :evil: . Or, "your recipe isn't any good, it was far too salty. I didn't have any dark soy, so I used light.".

That said, now I'm very experienced, I might look at a recipe that uses an ingredient I really can't get on with, or can't find here, and so I'll substitute, but knowing very well what I'm doing, and accepting that it really won't be the same, and possibly adapting cooking times or seasoning to compensate.

--------
Jacky,

If your OH really doesn't enjoy squash - it's not my favourite vegetable either, so I have some sympathy - then you might possibly be able to use courgettes, for example as they are really quite similar, functionally. I've not seen many tagine recipes (real recipes from North Africa, anyway) that use squash as such. Courgettes & aubergines, certainly as Tatihou suggested. Actually beef isn't often the meat of choice in N. Africa, goat, lamb or chicken would be more commonly used and more typical of the region. Similarly dates are far more commonly seen in recipes than prunes - though that may only be the impression I get!
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby foodlov » April 23rd, 2010, 9:56 am

Thanks for the advice, I will do recipe as it says, just one more question I meant to ask, I suppose it would be okay to do this in the slow cooker?


Thanks again

Jacky
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby ianinfrance » April 23rd, 2010, 1:52 pm

Hi Jackie,
I've seen a number of recipes for a Tagine made in the Slow cooker by Googling "Tagine Slow cooker", so I imagine it can be done.
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby MariaKK » April 23rd, 2010, 9:47 pm

' evening Jacky,

In principle I agree with FCQ, Ian etc about following a recipe to the letter first time round, or forget it and go for something else. But if OH really doesn't like squash I think Ian's suggestion of courgettes is spot on.

Several comments
Squash /courgettes
What worries me about J.O's recipe is cooking squash for 1 1/2 hours - seems awfully long. Dug out my Moroccan cookery book (30 +recipes for tajines) and had a look and they all say : when the meat's done remove it and add the courgettes (not a single squash recipe) and cook. When done adjust flavours/ sauce - return meat to the pan to warm through again. Serve.

It's worth remembering that Moroccans - even in very fancy banquets - don't use cutlery; just thumb and 2 fingers of the right hand and a small piece of bread. So they want the various bits - meat, veg etc to keep their shape. This obviously determines cooking methods and how the dish is served.

Dried fruit - in this case prunes
In JO's recipe they go in early so, as said, do not soak.

In Moroccan recipes, however, they are usually used as a garnish. So, depending on recipe they may be presoaked and added for the last 15 minutes or so or even cooked in a seperate pan with honey, extra spices etc - any syrupy liquid will be stirred into the meat sauce and the fruit scattered over the top.

That said - I have been known to cheat and add 2 or 3 prunes /apricots whatever from the start so they disappear into te sauce and use the rest for garnish.

Slow cooker
If this is your first tagine, I'd do it on the hob at the barest simmer (use heat difuser if you have a gas hob) or once everything's in for stage one, put it in a low oven. You have greater control of what's going on. A tagine is NOT a casserole!

If you get into Moroccan /North African food and want genuine well researched recipes might be worth seeing if you can borrow one of Paula Wolfert's books from your local library.

Hope this hasn't just added to the confusion! Enjoy the tagine - and OH had better like it after all the trouble you've gone to !! Let us know how it goes.

ATB

Marja
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby foodlov » April 23rd, 2010, 9:54 pm

Hi all


Thanks for all the replies, the tagine was lovely and tasty, I think personally the squash was overcooked, your advice Marja on putting on the hob seems a better idea, it did come out like a casserole, think I will try a lamb one next.

Thanks for the replieas and advice again, and OH didnt moan about squash, but the meal was what he would call average(at that stage he nearly got the slowcooker over the head) :evil:

It always amazes me that he still manages to eat everything on his plate and then ask for seconds :lol:

Thanks again

Jacky
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Re: What prunes to use

Postby Tatihou » April 24th, 2010, 4:37 am

What great information, Marja - thanks.
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