Using a pork loin roast in a tajine would be utter sacrilege in North Africa. Here in California, I can be creative. This tajine was not spiced as usual; I wanted to preserve the delicacy of the onions, pork and lemons.
I started, as always, with the sauteeing of onions (2 huge white) and garlic (many cloves very fresh) in virgin olive oil (the heavier the better for a tajine.) When the onions/garlic were soft, I removed them from the pan and browned the roast on all sides at high temperature.
The onion mixture went back in around the meat, which I left as an experiment in one whole piece instead of cutting into chunks. Sprigs of fresh rosemary pierce the roast. The lemons, which I preserved myself with salt, clove, bay leaf and cardamon, were scattered around. Rock salt and fresh ground black pepper came last.
To ensure there was plenty of sauce for my gravy-loving husband, I added one cup of white wine (also a big no-no in North Africa) with a dissolved heaping teaspoon of condensed chicken stock.
Put on the tajine lid and cook on low heat for a couple of hours. note: You can feel the top of the tajine lid to make sure it’s hot and all is cooking as it should.
The meat came out especially moist and tender. I think the center might still have been a bit frozen which turned out to be a plus.
Served with wholewheat coucous and a crisp Chardonnay.
I’ve had a joyful time putting vignettes from my Red Mirror Trilogy under one cover. This is the final of my goals that I set for myself when I started the Isis Odyssey four years ago.
First I wrote Isis, then Athena. Then I redacted Isis into Isis Erotica and Isis Beachread. Some people might not understand why I would recast the same story for different audiences. Let’s just call it a personal challenge to see if I could manipulate the characters, scenes and language, all the while keeping the essence. Maybe it is also a strong belief that the saga of Isis is one so compelling that it can be told in a variety of ways and still capture the adventure and mystery of a woman on the path to empowerment. A good, old-fashioned heroine’s journey.
The third novel in the series was to be titled Elektra but after several marketing sessions, we decided to re-title the three books as The Red Mirror, The Emerald Tablet and The Black Scroll with an eye to communicating the adventure slant of the trilogy.
This last step of creating Lovers of Isis Red Mirror Vignettes has been pure pleasure. I started out to grab all the sex scenes from the three books but found myself including other scenes of intense romantic and emotional impact that developed the characters of her lovers. I’ll freely admit that I adore all of these men for different reasons. When their reincarnations through three books and four lifetimes are telescoped in 300 pages, I believe it’s pretty clear why Isis loves them, too.
It’s June again, and with great joy I find once more the fresh-cut peonies at Trader Joe’s. The lush buds in white, pink or fuschia are here for a blink of the eye and then PUFF! gone again until next season.
Maybe it’s the meltdown in Libya that urged me on. The revolution in 2011 certainly inspired the book. Part One is set in Roman and modern Libya with explicit scenes from ancient Leptis Magna followed by Isis’ revisit in modern times where she comes face to face with the militias.
Completing my saga of Isis and her reincarnations in ancient Egypt, The Black Scroll is set in Roman North Africa during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. If you’re familiar with the other two books, you’ll know that the first novel, The Red Mirror, takes place in the days of the last Egyptian Pharaoh on the dawn of the Persian invasion. Book Two, The Emerald Tablet, explores Greek Egypt, especially Alexandria, under the rule of Ptolemy.
As always, the story of modern Isis continues through all three books. I confess to being easily bored; I hunger for travel and adventure. The Red Mirror Series is my chance to share my rich life experience of languages, food, art, religion and history. I’m excited to take you back to the past, but I’m equally thrilled to take you to Las Vegas, New York, Copenhagen, Malta and London – all places I know well and love.
My books don’t fit into one genre. They reflect my eclectic mind and life. Adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, mysticism, sex, time travel, history, thriller…these are all hastags I could use. You won’t be able to put the Red Mirror Series into a category. But I believe you’ll have a wild ride.