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Peter’s FoodCycle Hacks and Tips

Practical Peter from FoodCycle Finsbury Park loves a good hack. Whether it is making delicious meals using food surplus, using simple methods to clean difficult stains or thinking up non-traditional cooking methods, Peter is your man. In this monthly blog, he will be sharing all his favourite FoodCycley knowledge with you, so you can get a bit of the Peter magic each month.

When we did a survey of our guests as to what they would like for meals they suggested it would be nice too have some themed meals.  Therefore, I thought for this month’s blog I would  highlight one of my favourite cuisines, Moroccan! It dovetails very easily with what we regularly get donated and is quick and easy to prepare.

A few basic supplies

I use these to make a tangy vinaigrette which makes a great dressing for the orange, carrot and date salad.

Raj al Hanout spice mix (Just Ingredients do a good and cheap mix)

Rose water or orange blossom (most supermarkets stock them)

Pomegranate molasses (again most supermarkets stock it)

Starter

Date, carrot and orange salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette  

This is a simple starter I have made many times. It is made up of basically three ingredients: carrot, orange and dates,

  • Julienne or grate your carrots
  • Stone your dates and quarter
  • Segment your oranges, or if using grated carrots, cut the orange into small pieces

When I do it at home, I serve on a bed of web lettuce and garnish with toasted flaked almonds and pomegranate seed. You have to admit from the picture that the colour combination is amazing.

I also make a simple dressing with the pomegranate molasses, white wine vinegar and a little rapeseed oil. I add a little sugar to cut the sharpness of the pomegranate molasses but this dressing really lifts it into something special.

Main

Vegetable Tagine with dried fruit served with couscous

When I do the classic tagine at home I like to layer the dried fruit and vegetables with a good vegetable stock, preserved lemons and at the end some honey, so it doesn’t burn. The beauty of this dish is that you can use any seasonal vegetables – great for FoodCycle when you don’t know what you’ll get!

A tin of chickpeas and whichever dried fruit you have available, such as apricots, dates, figs, raisins, prunes etc. When doing it the classical way you slow cook in the tagine with Raj al Hanout and a good veg stock. I add  honey and pine nuts at the end.

When cooking for FoodCycle Finsbury Park, we don’t have the luxury of time, so this is a quick, FoodCycle friendly recipe.

  • Par boil the hard veg, such as sweet potato, squash or carrot for ten minutes in boiling water.
  • Drain and add courgettes, onions and aubergines on the hob
  • Sprinkle with oil and raj al hanout and pan roast
  • Add the dried fruit (which you can pre soak for speed)
  • Soak the couscous in a small amount of boiling water and stir in some oil or butter
  • Serve the vegetables on top of the couscous

I like to garnish this with pomegranate seeds, coriander and lemon zest.

Dessert

I suggest is a simple fruit salad dressed with a rosewater syrup. Mint tea has also proved very popular with our guests at Finsbury Park and would complete the Moroccan theme.

Happy cooking!

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