Published: February 16th 2012February 16th 2012
Not hot or spicy, not bland or boring. Diverse, wholesome and scrumptious. Simple but beautifully presented. Mainly of French influence. Delicately flavoured with cinnamon, cumin, saffron or mild curry.
Memories of Moroccan food:-
OLIVES - served with every meal. Adored and platefuls consumed by Jamie and Natarsha; however just “salty little things” to me.
MINT TEA - at first wary, but then loved by myself if it wasn’t made too sweet. Always refreshing and always available. The hallmark of Moroccan hospitality, it was always served from a fancy teapot and poured as high above the glass as was possible.
ALCOHOL – or lack thereof. The drinking of alcohol is mostly frowned upon in Morocco, especially within the Medina’s. Beer and wine, rarely spirits, can sometimes be found in some restaurants frequented by westerners, if you asked quietly and was served out of sight indoors, on a terrace or as in one case, disguised in colourful mugs! Alcohol can never be consumed in sight of a mosque.
“DON’T OVER ORDER” – meals are very generous, to quite excessive portions. A simple order of orange juice and an omelette, meant a huge basket of fresh rolls (usually khoobz)
and the usual accompaniments of dips and oils as well as fresh olives (of course) and sometimes nuts. They are also quite lengthy fares.
KHOOBZ – a Moroccan style pita bread that is baked in a wood fired oven until it is crusty on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside. Khoobz is found in most corner shops on the counter as it sells so quickly.
TAJINE – a stew cooked over hot coals, in conical shaped earthenware pots to keep the food moist and tender. Usually only a few ingredients are used (mainly seasonal), such as pumpkin, potatoes, onions and carrots. We tried a tajine of lemon chicken with olives which was quite zesty and lamb with prunes and almonds, both tender and delicious. I would have loved to have bought a tajine pot to take home, however, a decent sized one was quite heavy.
BREAKFAST is rarely served before 9am unless requested otherwise. Fresh orange juice, yoghurt, olives, pancakes, pastries and freshly cooked bread rolls with fresh goat’s cheese, apricot jam and fresh seasonal fruit are always served. Then either omelette spiced with cumin or a very mild curry or a boiled egg.
Coffee is served but never tea at breakfast. I always had to request a pot of water to soak my lipton tea bag.
LUNCH is traditionally the main meal of the day and although we ate our lunch at the usual “Australian” time, Moroccan families usually don’t have their lunch until 2, but mainly 3pm when dad gets home from work and the kids home from school.
Lunch consists of the usual crusty, fresh rolls and olives; a salad; peeled and cooked with fresh, locally grown, seasonal vegetables. Soup, (usually lentil) and then a tajine or couscous. Sometimes a pizza may be served made with local herbs and olives.
DINNER is not served until very late by our standards, usually 9pm or 10pm. As tourists in a restaurant we would have a lunchtime menu. But in a typical Moroccan home, dinner would usually consist of an omelette with French fries, leftover lunch or something simple.
The most popular SNACKS were usually brought at the local patissiere – French style breads and pastries that were always rich and scrumptious. Pancakes and doughnuts. We crammed our necks to see what all the locals were crowding around buying at
one point – glasses of smoothies. They would stand there and drink the freshly made concoction and then put the glass back on the counter and walk off.
And of course at any time of the day (except breakfast it seemed), one could always drop into a cafe, restaurant, shop or your friends and have a mint tea and a chat.
The local souks were full with vendors with their carts piled high with local produce such as fresh fruit and vegetables, figs, dates, apricots, fava beans, egg plant, peppers, eggs (sometimes hard boiled ready to eat), dried fruit and nuts, (usually almonds) and always oranges and mandarins. The produce harvested by hand that day and brought directly to the souks by the farmers on their donkeys and carts to be sold to the store owners. The vendors yelling out as we watched the Moroccan women haggling with the vendors over the price.
There are more photos below