Having worked for us in the capacity of campsite courier and maintenance assistant as well as enjoying a fair few camping holidays with Canvas, our good friend Karen Wright from 2018’s Great British Bake Off knows a thing or two about our destinations. She also knows a fair amount about serving up delicious dishes and yummy bakes, so has all the ingredients needed to rustle up a brilliant blog about her favourite dishes and the destinations they come from.
South Of France
The south of France from Marseille right along the Cote D’Azur has an abundance of Moroccan restaurants. Also, potteries, so colourful with displays on the roadside. Many of the pots on sale are Tagines. Tagines are delightful things and I keep mine on display at my home in Yorkshire. It takes me back to the times ten years ago when I was looking after this area when I worked for Canvas Holidays.
What is a tagine then? It is two things, firstly it is a cooking vessel with a shallow base to put the food you are cooking and it has a tall cone shaped lid which has a small hole at the top to let some of the steam escape as the dish cooks. The conical lid lets lots of steam drip back down onto the food and keeps it moist and succulent. The second thing a tagine is, is type of stew that is cooked in a tagine pot. From North Africa originally but due to being geographically close to the south of France its influence is found all along this part of the Mediterranean.
A Tagine is a type slow cooker and if you don’t have an actual Tagine an electric slow cooker is perfect. What makes the dish then? Usually meat, beef, lamb or chicken with onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, root vegetables, something sweet like honey, apricots or raisins and then spices. The spices tend to be cumin, coriander, and lots of cinnamon.
So, a Tagine is a Moroccan stew found in many places in the South of France too. I made this one at the weekend, this is what I did.
In a bit of oil, I browned the stew beef cubes and then placed them in a slow cooker. I then softened a chopped an onion and a couple of sticks of celery in the oil. Then I place those in the slow cooker pot. I peeled and cubed half a butternut squash and placed that in the pot too. Then into the pot went a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, the spices mentioned above, garlic, a squeeze of honey, a squeeze of date syrup, some chopped apricots a can of drained chickpeas and a splash of balsamic vinegar. All this cooked on low for about six hours. It was delicious. As you can see it is a very flexible dish as stews often are, just remember the spices and the sweetness and you can’t go wrong! I scattered flaked almonds and chopped parsley on the top to serve!
This area of France has its own very special vibe. There are so many places to go to see but also it is in many places somewhere to sit and be seen too. The climate is hot and sunny and during my season I think we ate our evening meal outside every day. Canvas holidays have lots of sites to choose from, in fact you will be spoilt for choice!