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This was given to me as a gift by somebody who knows how much I like to experiment with ethnic foods. I had never used a tagine in a kitchen before (I have used one over a fire with a bunch of hippies on a beach though) but had seen them used on cookery progs and in cookbooks. The problem for me was that so many recipes for the tagine are based around meat and we are staunch veggies. Eventually I found a couple of recipes online and once I had got the hang of those I made a few up. I have never been somebody who measures or weighs anything when cooking, it is all done by eye and guess work, so making it up as I go along came naturally to me... This tagine is sold by Lakeland who are a well known company specialising in products for the home. It is an attractive two part ceramic pot which is glazed in terracotta and an olive green stripe pattern. So what is a tagine? A tajine or tagine is traditionally a North African dish which is named after the traditional earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Tagine pots are traditionally made from clay and are usually in two parts comprising a base pot which is shallow and large and the top part which is usually dome or cone shaped. This "lid" sits on the base during cooking and is designed to keep the condensation in the pot. When the food is cooked the lid is removed and the base is usually used to serve the food from. Tagines are used to slow-cook stews and vegetable dishes. The design of the pot means that very little liquid is needed to cook with. Traditionally the tagine would be placed over hot coals and this could be used outdoors on charcoal for summer cooking. If using coals or charcoal then raise the tagine up from the coals using either a diffuser of a small grate because you want the food to cook slowly and the tagine itself not to crack. The Lakeland tagine: This is a beautiful pot with very attractive colouring and a glossy glaze. The handmade terracotta ceramic is thick and good quality and the piece measures 28cm diameter and 22cm in height. This size is enough for two people or three when accompanied by a side dish. I have used mine for an array of veggie dishes involving ginger, honey and garlic. It seems to cope well with all different vegetables including ones with different density and water content. The finished product is butter soft and well cooked due to condensation effect, and the flavours of the herbs and spices are well infused into the food. Chickpeas cook well in a tagine and one of our favourite dishes is to mix the tagine cooked chickpeas and veggies into couscous with lime,honey and fresh coriander. This pot is oven safe up to 200°C and can be used on a hob as well as inside the oven. As stated above, use a diffuser of some sort if using it on the hob. The tagine washes well and is sturdy. I have not managed to chip it yet and it cooks food beautifully. Most tagines seem to be in the £40 upwards price range so this one is an absolute steal. Not suitable for halogen, induction or ceramic hobs. The Lakeland tagine is priced at £19.99 on Amazon and is also available from their website. Lakeland have sold over 100,000 of these and at this price I can see why. They also sell a heat diffuser for hobs and a starter kit so have a look on the website: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/7184/Traditional-Tagine Summary: An excellent quality tagine from Lakeland which is an equally excellent price. Attractive and compact. Arrives very well packaged with a small recipe sheet.
I was given this tagine by my sister as a Christmas present. I am always experimenting in the kitchen and was delighted to receive such an unusual present and one that I probably wouldn't have bought myself. So here is how I have got on with it. A tagine is a traditional Morrocan coking pot, originally it was used by nomads in north Africa as portable ovens for making stews and casseroles slowly over charcoal fires. The pot comes in two halves, a bottom dish and a large conical lid. The design of the tagine ensures your dishes stay really moist, as the steam from the cooking goes up and then comes back down into the food again. The tagine is handmade with terracotta which has been painted in a lovely traditional orange and green design and then glazed. It looks really nice out on the worktop which is handy as it is quite big to store in a cupboard. You can use the tagine in the oven up to temperatures of 200 degrees, you can also use it on the hob for a more authentic way of cooking, to do this though you need to use a heat diffuser to stop the tagine from cracking. You can buy them in Lakeland for £10.99 or I am sure I have seen them in Wilkinsons for less than that. You can't use it on the hob if you have a ceramic, induction or halogen oven. I nearly always use my tagine in the oven rather than on the hob, mainly because I feel I don't have to keep watching it. I just bung all the ingredients in and pop it in the oven. Most dishes I make I slow cook for about 3 hours, but as it's really hard to overcook it doesn't matter if it's in the oven for four or more, the meat is still juicy, tender and full of flavour. What is also good is that you can take it from the oven to the table and it looks great. I usually put it in the middle and we all just help ourselves. It is the perfect size for my family 2 adults and 2 children, but I think as the childrens appetites get bigger my tagine will have to upsize too. I don't think it would be big enough for more than 2-3 adults. The tagine is really easy to clean, just wipe it over and it is ready to go again, it can even go in the dishwasher if you have one. I use my tagine about twice a week, it makes really healthy meals and as it is just one pot it means hardly any washing up. There are so many recipes available on various websites you could cook a different meal every day for years but our family favourite by far is 'Anthony Worral Thompsons Moroccan lamb tagine' it is so delicious. This tagine is available at Lakeland it costs £19.99, which I think is amazing value for money. The answer to my title is most certainly Tagine.
Isn't it always the case that if you buy someone a gift it is pretty safe to say that it's because you would like one yourself? Well I am definitely one of these people. I bought a Traditional Tagine from Lakeland for my Sister and Brother in Law and when I saw their reaction to it on Christmas Day I decided that I wanted one. A few months later my husband and I ordered one online from Lakeland. Ever since it was delivered we have used it at least once a week to make wonderful meals. My favourite is beef or lamb meatballs and cous cous. This Tagine is made from glazed terracotta and can be used in the oven or on the hob with a heat diffuser (available separately). It is easy to clean but can also go in the dishwasher. Due to the unique design of a Tagine whatever meat you decide to cook will end up moist and succulent as well as tasting delicious and it doesn't take as long as a slow cooker. As far as I'm concerned there is only one downside to using a Tagine and that is if you want to feed more than two people you would probably need more than one Tagine. They are just not big enough! Of course there is also the possibility that my husband and I have stupidly large portions! Even when it's not in use my Tagine still grabs attention in the kitchen and is a great conversation starter.