Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Saturday 24 October 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - HUMPHREY BOGART

Tonight, Zelda will be cooking dinner for one of her favourite ever actors: the great Humphrey Bogart who had a spectacular Hollywood career, playing both the 'good guy' and the 'bad guy'. He was as interesting off screen as on and was the originator of 'The Rat Pack', later made more famous by his acolyte, Frank Sinatra.

Bogart started acting on Broadway and moved into films, with his menacing portrayal of Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest garnering acclaim and leading to roles in many of the most famous crime films of the 1930s, culminating in the gangster classic The Roaring Twenties. A year later, High Sierra moved him further towards commercial success and he perfectly captured the persona of the jaded detective in a series of 'hard boiled' films such as The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.

His two most famous performances capitalise on his reputation (and talent) for being able to play the flawed hero. One of them is The African Queen. The other is Casablanca, which Zelda will be celebrating in her choice of meal.
Casablanca is special. It was a wartime film with a heartrending love story; a patriotic, tragic, romantic epic which is still beloved of many. 

It is set in French Morocco during World War Two and centres around the events at this place:

There is more drinking than eating in the film, but Zelda thinks that this traditional Moroccan dish (made vegetarian, of course) would make a suitable meal.


1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1tbsp paprika
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp turmeric
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp cumin 
1tsp rose harissa paste
300g quorn chicken-style pieces, defrosted if frozen
olive oil
500ml vegetable stock
can chopped tomatoes
1tbsp clear honey
salt and black pepper
splash of lemon juice
100g dried apricots

250g couscous
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp fresh coriander leaves
1tbsp fresh mint leaves
black pepper
dash of lemon juice 
500ml vegetable stock

This dish is named after the pot it is traditionally cooked in. I decided to use the tagine for serving, rather than cooking and used a crock pot for the 'dirty work'. 

Place onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and blitz until minced. 
Blend the paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin. 
Mix in the rose harissa paste. 
Add to the quorn pieces and stir until well coated. 
Heat oil in a large heavy-based pan and pour in all the spiced quorn. Cook gently until slightly browned.
Remove from the pan. Add a bit more oil to the spice mixture left in the pan and pour in the onion mixture.
Allow to soften over a low heat. 
Return the quorn to the pan and mix all together. 
Add the stock, tomatoes, honey, lemon juice and apricots.
Stir well to combine and bring to the boil. 
Season, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

To make the couscous
Mix the oil and lemon juice in a bowl.
Add the couscous and stir to cover. 
Add the stock and a generous amount of black pepper
Set aside. 
Chop the herbs together.
When all the liquid has been absorbed, add the chopped herbs.

Fluff up with a fork.
Serve in a tagine with a separate bowl of couscous.

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