Add a touch of Eastern magic

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am


Tagine-style chicken

6 chicken thighs or 500g chopped chicken breast

1 onion, finely sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp ground ginger

juice and zest of 1 lemon

olive oil

200g dried apricots, halved

1 tin tomatoes

1 tin chick peas, drained and rinsed

chopped coriander, toasted sliced almonds to garnish (optional)

couscous to serve


1 Heat a large saucepan or casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, and dry-fry for 30 seconds. Carefully pour in 1 tbsp oil, and add the garlic and onions. Stir gently until they start to soften, then add the cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest. Cook for one minute.

2 Add the chicken, and cook until brown all over.

3 Pour over the tomatoes and one canful of hot water. Bring to the boil, add the apricots and lemon juice, stir. Reduce heat, put the lid on the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

4 Add the chick peas and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

5 Scatter over the coriander and almonds, if using, and serve with couscous.

Tangy salad

4 ripe apricots

a bag of mixed salad leaves (150g-200g)

a handful of walnuts

6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

150g blue or goat's cheese

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

black pepper


1 Quarter the apricots and remove the stone. Cut each quarter in half again.

2 Toss the salad leaves with the apricots, basil and walnuts. Crumble the cheese over the top.

3 Just before serving, drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add pepper to taste.

HINT: You can also grill or griddle the apricot quarters for a few minutes first. Leave them to cool slightly before adding to the salad leaves.

Apricots are believed to originate in Armenia, in Eastern Europe - a fact reflected in their Latin name Prunus armeniaca. The fruit has been around since ancient times.

Apricots are related to peaches, plums, cherries and almonds.

Apricots are rich in iron and vitamins A and C.

Even the kernel, or the seed, is valuable - it's used to make an alcohol called amaretto, and also to make a type of cooking oil.