When my son made the transition from formula to cow’s milk last year, I decided to keep all the plastic powder dispensers I’d accumulated. I wasn’t sure what for, but they seemed too useful to throw away. I was right. Those containers now form part of my spice store, an essential to any Solo Mum’s Emergency Pantry.
Spices are the base of so many meals, offering a huge variety of flavours. Without them, we often resort to packaged or bottled flavouring with a whole lot of goodness knows what added to them, and as well as being more expensive, they also almost never taste as good as the real deal.
‘But’, I hear you say, ‘My cupboard is filled with oodles of herb and spice bottles and I never use them, figuring out which ones to use makes my brain hurt and if I do try to use them, I’m always missing one that’s essential for the meal want to make!’.
And that’s where my formula containers come in handy. In my Solo Mum’s Emergency Pantry shelf, I have these containers lined up with portions of my favourite flavourings, pre-mixed at home. I take ten minutes or so to mix them every couple of months and then, with just three containers, I have the base of nine meals ready to go for those days when I just don’t want to think.
I’ve got a range I use, whether it be for tacos, chicken rubs, soups or casseroles, but today I’ll share one of my favourites… my Moroccan spice mix. You can use it in soups, as a chicken rub, steak seasoning or one I used the most… a tagine. So here it is, my Moroccan spice mix, complete with Moroccan tagine recipe. If you don’t have a tagine to cook with, you can just use a regular old pot.
500 grams chicken thigh or lamb, cut into bite sized pieces
2 onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, squashed
1 and a half cups of chicken stock
1 x 400g can of crushed tomatoes
1 x 400g can of chickpeas
1 cup of diced pumpkin or potato or carrot
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 tsp each of ground coriander, cumin, ginger and brown sugar
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder (I keep it pretty mild for my little one)
1 tbs plain flour
1. Coat the meat in your spice mix and fry on a medium heat until brown. Remove from pan.
2. Add onions to the pan and fry until soft. Add garlic, browned meat, stock, tomatoes and pumpkin/potato and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.
4. Add chickpeas and dates and cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid removed.
5. Serve with couscous, and as an optional extra, add a dollop of plain yoghurt or freshly torn coriander.
About the author
Naomi is the editor of Lift e-Magazine and single mum to 19 month old Jim. For the last 12 months she’s documented her journey of single motherhood in her award-winning daily blog ‘365 Days, a Diary of a Newly Single Mum’. When she’s not experimenting with new cookie recipes or planning her next trekking, climbing or snowboarding adventure, you can find her at her desk in the picturesque city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, weaving together solo mum stories… whether it be handy tips, triumphs, tragedies, exotic tales of travel or other tidbits to publish here. And before you ask, no, she doesn’t mind the freezing cold Tasmanian winters and yes, she had her second head removed years ago in an unfortunate accident involving a curtain rod and a drunk moose (and no, she’s not interested in hearing from anyone who doesn’t believe that drunk mooses exist in Tasmania… or those who may suppose that ‘mooses’ is not really a word).