The Bookclub Blog

So, last night was my turn to host “Bookclub”. Why the inverted commas you ask? Well, because it has now officially got to the stage where we meet under the guise “Bookclub”….and yes, even with a few books in our bags (as well as wine) – BUT, it’s really all about stealing a few hours away from babies, kids, husbands, work etcetera to be with the big girls….and plenty of wine, and usually a little nosh too. By the time we have actually eaten and drank all the wine in the house…someone usually musters up an ounce of integrity to utter “Shall we do books now?”…and we gingerly retreat to the lounge with our piles of books. We now whizz through the ‘book part’ so quickly, during which time someone has inevitably found another bottle of wine somewhere, or put on the coffee, and bought out the chocolate and strawberries – and the books, well….

We know our “Bookclub” defies convention, and honestly it is the reason why it has been going for so long, and maybe, just maybe….we get a few good reads out of it as well (for all the spare time we have on our hands to kick back and read a book). Bookclub….gotta love it!


Now, somewhere in the mix of mommy madness, I managed to throw together a half decent meal to feed my ladies last night. Seeing as our group includes: meat-eaters, vegetarians, those that are Banting, and those that are not….selecting what to cook was a journey all on its own. Dotted down the table were pinch pots of various salts of origin which led to much experimentation, tasting and claimed favourites. Besides the essential seasoning on the table, they definitely added a talking point.

And so, seeing as I have already received the email firmly requesting the recipe, thickness and all – I am obliging with a sly and underhanded plot to increase blog traffic in the process. This one is for my fellow Book-clubbers, a fine bunch of ladies indeed!


Nans Chicken Che-wah-wah Moroccan Tagine (serves 8-10)

  • 1 pack free range chicken thighs (deboned)
  • 1 pack free range chicken breasts (deboned)
  • 2 large onions (one white and one red), diced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • A few fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, chopped (try to avoid the lazy kind)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • The juice of a fresh lime
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • Dollop butter
  • 5 eggs
  • art Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Ground black peppercorns

Heat the oil in a large, thick based skillet, add the onions, and sweat….then add the chicken to brown lightly. Then, add the garlic and ginger, a healthy dollop of butter (for the Banting crowd), three quarters of the chopped coriander, mint and parsley, and the cinnamon…give it a good stir before seasoning to taste and squeezing in the lime. Cover and cook on low for 40 minutes. Stir now and then.

Once ready, place the above into a deep tagine and cover with a mixture of well-whisked egg and the remaining coriander, mint and parsley, and place into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the egg is cooked to firm. Serve in the tagine.

(Oh, the original recipe does call for the addition of Saffron Threads, so do add them if you are lucky enough to keep stock.)


Because I am part of the Banting crowd I negated the usual cous-cous style tagine meal accompaniment and served this dish rather with a crisp green salad of: assorted pretty leaves, cucumber, avo, cherry tomatoes, feta and some grated parmesan, pomegranate rubies, red onion and a few seeds. I made a very basic dressing for drizzling including: olive oil, balsamic, Hawaiian Black Lava Salt and cracked black pepper with a dollop of hot English mustard and a squeeze of fresh lime juice – all well mixed together.


Of course, no dinner table is complete without an assortment of Exotic Salts…and as I am lucky enough to keep a good stock of these…the girls (including the MD of herself) were not short-changed in the salt department.

And there you have it….let’s just hope none of our partners reads this, because then our cover is blown!

Oh, and happy spring everyone…have you re-planted your herb garden in anticipation yet?

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.


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