To make this a one-pot wonder you can cook the butternut and potatoes in the stew, but this can take a while so we prefer to bake in the oven for 25 mins to make sure they're extra soft. Or parboil them for 5-8 mins if an oven isn't available.
Heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot that you have a lid for.
Add the chopped onion and fry on a low-medium heat until they turn almost translucent (8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped garlic. Keep frying gently until the garlic softens completely (about 5 minutes).
Stir in all of the ground spices as well as the fresh chilli, coriander and ginger. Fry them off on a low heat for a minute or two (stirring the whole time - if they burn they’ll taste bitter).
Add the fresh tomatoes and squeeze the slice of lemon over the mixture. after a few minutes stir in the chopped tomatoes & 2 tins worth of water, also throw in the cardamom pods, bay leaves, raisins and salt. Cover and simmer, until the tomato chunks fall apart and become part of the sauce (about 45 minutes).
Remove the lid and add the butternut, potato and chickpeas. Keep cooking the stew on low-medium heat to allow excess water to evaporate so that it thickens.
Once the sauce thickens, taste it and season with black pepper, more salt if needed and add the chopped dates/date syrup.
Chuck in the spinach and almond halves for the last 10 minutes and cover the pot with a lid to allow them to cook into the sauce.
Serve over cooked couscous (which we make with a good shake of cinnamon and left over coriander almonds and raisins.