Chermoula

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Chermoula is extremely versatile; it may be used as a marinade or sauce.
You can pimp up any vegetable, fish or meat. I have used it here over roast zucchini.
Other herbs, spices or ingredients can be added or substituted, such as oregano, mint, ginger, chili, onion, turmeric or paprika.

5 saffron threads
1C parsley
1/2C coriander
1/4C olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 garlic cloves, crushed
1Tb cumin
Good pinch of salt & pepper

Soak saffron threads in 1Tb hot water. Blitz ingredients until combined (or mingle in a mortar and pestle) leave consistency a bit chunky, combine saffron. Use as a sauce or marinade.

Chermoula keeps covered in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Asparagus with fennel infused almond cream

Asparagus

1 fennel top, washed and roughly chopped
½ C boiling water
½ C blanched almonds
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ tsp sea salt
¼ C sunflower seeds, toasted
black pepper

Smash fennel in a mortar and pestle, reserving some leaves for garnish.
Place in boiling water and allow to infuse for ½ hour, stir occasionally.
Then strain and discard fennel pieces.

Place almonds, garlic and salt into food processor. Blend until granulated.
Add fennel water and mix until a smooth cream.
Plunge asparagus into boiling water for 4 min. Remove and drain on paper towel.
To serve lay asparagus in a dish, top with almond cream, sunflower seeds, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Garnish with fennel leaves.

Fact
Adding lemon or vinegar to cooked asparagus will cause skin to wrinkle and colour to fade.

Betel leaves topped with Thai tofu

Betel leaves topped with Thai tofu

18 betel leaves, remove stems, wash and dry (available from Asian grocers)
300 gm firm tofu, place on paper towel to absorb excess water
1 Tb coconut oil
1 carrot, grated
2 inch ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 spring onion, white end finely sliced
2 red chillies, slice, remove seeds unless you like it hot!
8 coriander sprigs, finely chop stems, pick leaves
1 tsp sea salt
¼ C mint leaves, chopped – optional
1 lime, cut into wedges
¼ C coconut chips or flakes, available preservative free from health food store

Heat coconut oil in a wok; add ginger, garlic, spring onion, chilli, coriander stems and salt. Stir fry for 1 min. Add carrot and tofu; break up tofu with a fork. Fry for 3 min. Remove from heat and stir in coriander and mint leaves.

Lay betel leaves on a platter shiny side up and place a small pile of tofu mix in the centre. Top with a squeeze of lime and coconut.

FACT
Betel leaves have a peppery fresh flavor. They can be eaten raw or cooked. In Ayurvedic medicine they are used as an aphrodisiac.