Monthly Archives: February 2015

lamb ragout

Quince and Lamb Ragout or Marqat al-Sfarjel

 

The name of this recipe directly translates from Arabic into “broth of quince”. While many translations will tell you that marqa means broth or sauce, in practice it means a slow-cooked stew that has very little fat or liquid. Most Americans don’t know the word marqa, but they will recognize words that mean almost the same thing, such as tajin and ragout.

Stews like Marqat al-Sfarjel have a long history in northern Africa. Almost every region and culture in northern Africa has their own variations of stews based on local ingredients, cookware and spices. This recipe uses quince, an apple-like fruit that is commonly found in northern Africa and southern Europe.  While there is a sweet variety in North Africa, the quince available in the U.S. are inedible in their raw state. Also, cooks shouldn’t cut them up until needed because they discolor quickly. Quinces are available throughout the United States, but are at their best in the winter months, especially in November and December. Because quinces are a specialty item, your best chance to find them is at a speciality store. Of course, like most foods, they are also available year-round online.

 

(Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince)

You can personalize this recipe by choosing one of our speciality infused Tunisian olive oils, which can be found here. We’d love to see your finished Marqat al-Sfarjel plates! Send us your photos when you give this recipe a try via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

 

(Image Source: http://www.dartagnan.com)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean Drizzles garlic infused extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/2 pounds quince cored, peeled and cut into eighths

  • 3 to 4 cups water

  • 1-1/3 cups sugar

  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, toss raw lamb together with the cinnamon, rose petals or rose water, and salt.

  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized casserole pan on stove

  3. Add lamb mixture, browning the lamb, about two minutes

  4. Add quince, cover with water and bring to a boil

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, allowing the lamb and quince to cook uncovered for 1 hour

  6. Add sugar and stir

  7. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender and the quince soft, about another hour.

  8. Remove to a serving platter with a slotted spoon and serve over rice.

(recipe source: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Maraqat_al-Safarjal)

Why Olive Oil is the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s day is the time for couples to show their affection and love for each other. While mainstays like chocolates and flowers will undoubtedly be on the top of gift giving lists once again this year, the real maestros of love, and the ones willing to step outside of the box and deliver a unique gift from the heart, will be looking at olive oil.

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Olive oil’s reputation as an aphrodisiac started way back in ancient Greece. There are folklore stories about how newlyweds in Crete would eat olive oil soaked bread on the first of every year to increase fertility. Specifically, the fresh oil from olives harvested from wild trees was considered especially potent. Since then scientists have found that the abundance of vitamin E and healthy fats naturally found in olive oil are what boosts the libido.

The Perfect Appetizer for Valentine’s Day Love

Olive oil’s connection to love and Valentine’s Day is so historic that The Doctors, one of the highest rated daytime TV shows, specifically included it when talking about how to spice up your love life with food.  Here is their recipe for their Hallelujah Hummus which they claim will help you spice up your Valentine’s Day night, with some Mediterranean Drizzles flair.

Hallelujah Hummus

  • Mash 2 cups of chickpeas into a fine paste

  • Add 1 tbsp of garlic or lemon infused Mediterranean Drizzles olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 clove of crushed garlic, ½ tsp of salt

  • Mix well

  • Dip carrots or other delicious veggies, and enjoy!

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Health Benefits:

  • Chickpeas: The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, are packed with arginine, an amino acid that increases circulation and boosts internal lubrication.

  • Olive Oil: A good alternative to saturated fat, olive oil helps generate hormones, which are essential to your sex drive. It also further promotes internal lubrication.

Olive Oil: Not Just For Food

Food isn’t the only way to incorporate Tunisian olive oil into your Valentine’s Day plans. This year you can show your love how much you care by making and using your own homemade moisturizing lotion and massage oil. Not only will your significant other love the hands-on touch, but who doesn’t love a relaxing rub-down after a long week of work?

 

To make the moisturizing lotion, all you you’ll need is:

Instructions:

  1. Melt the wax in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, it’s really easy to make on your own. Fill a small pot with water and put it on the stove. Put the beeswax into a small metal bowl, and put it on top of the pot. The steam from the boiling water will heat the metal bowl, melting the wax.

  2. While the wax is melting, put the olive oil and water into blender. You can either use a stick blender with a bowl or a desktop blender, both will work. Add any essential oils such as lavender or coconut, depending on your personal taste. These aren’t necessary but make for a unique lotion.

  3. Once the wax is melted, put it into the container with the olive oil, water and essential pol and start blending.

After only a few seconds, you have your very own moisturizing massage lotion made out of olive oil, a perfect Valentine’s Day present. Don’t forget to personalize the label for your special someone this year. It is a sure fire way to make your Tunisian olive oil gift stand out, showing that you put thought into the gift and who you’re giving it to instead of just picking something up from the store. Mediterranean Drizzles allows you to customize your label with the style that will make your loved one’s eyes light up with joy