I’m spending a little time in the UK right now (sans tajine) and we were hankering for a taste of ‘home’ so I rustled up a vegetarian chickpea tajine. My recipe is based on one by Hilaire Walden from the book North African Cooking, but as I am almost pathologically unable to prepare a recipe exactly as it is written, it has a my own twist. Of course, I am not particularly good at sticking to precise measurements either, so give this a go and experiment to your own preferential level of spice! Continue reading
It’s hard to imagine that Essaouira (formerly known as Mogador) once had a larger Jewish population than Muslim and that there were once over 40 synagogues in the town. However, head out of the medina at Bab Doukkala and the two Jewish cemeteries just beyond the city walls give an impression of the significance of this community in the past. Today, less than a handful of Jews live permanently in Essaouira, but many of its Jewish sons and daughters visit their native city from time to time, recalling it as it once was.
Through my work with the High Atlas Foundation, I have been fortunate to meet a number of these Jewish Mogadorians. Intrigued about the influence of the Jewish community on the local cuisine, I asked a friend to teach me a couple of Moroccan Jewish recipes. This one, which I have called Mogador Lemon Chicken, has a sweet and sour taste which seems to originate further East than Morocco; although it uses familiar local ingredients, it tastes like no dish you will find in the dozens of restaurants offering so-called Moroccan cuisine. Yet, I am told, it is a typical Mogadorian recipe and one I would like to share.
On my recent return from Morocco, my case was too full of presents and requests for friends (more on those later) to allow any space for my usual consignment of pastries and biscuits. But it’s hardly the done thing not to take some local sweet delicacies into work after a trip, so I thought I’d better learn how to make them myself. The cornes de gazelle weren’t nearly as difficult as I’d feared (although I managed to turn my Moroccan macaroons into teeth-breaking pebbles! Oops !) Continue reading
The spice shelf in your average British supermarket has come a long way over the last 10 years, but there’s nothing like buying exotic spices in exotic countries (for a fraction of the price). Last time I was in Morocco, I brought back spices for festive baking and Christmas presents.