Friday, 10 December 2010

Morocco

So here it is. A snippet from our little trip to Morocco. Only a 35 minute journey on the ferry from the Spanish coast it's hard to believe within 15 minutes your half the way to Africa. It was so warm and sunny for a winter's day and our hotel Tangerina was simply beautiful. It is ownede by a Spanish lady and her German husband and every detail of the hotel thought out http://www.latangerina.com/ in case you go!


Our first of many mint teas of the trip.


Cakes out the back of a van - now there's an idea!
The most exquisite lamb and prune tagine I have ever had (better than mine) and with boiled eggs which I have always dismissed but actually work really well.
Cute guy in the spice shop! I bought Moroccon Saffron which I was told was ten times better than Spanish. Actually you can tell it is from the hit you get when offered a sniff! I bought various other goodies like real cinnamon bark that made the same spices I had at home smell like dust and then... an incredible blend that the guy did for me in a spice grinder which had all sorts in it from rose petals to dried ginger, have used that one lots already!


As an olive enthusiast I was greeted with olive heaven as I descended the stairs down into the underground market, oh my. Note the little tiled in dish for sampling, yes please.


Someone needs to have a word with this butcher about how to look friendly and approachable to customers!



Fresh goats cheese, strained in palm leaves.. couldn't believe my luck and for what must have been 80p too.
I have never seen preserved lemons this large! Look out for a recipe soon for when I use mine.








The thinnest and tartest Moroccan lemon tart, quite delicious.

Brekkie - even I couldn't stomach the cake at this time in the morning!

This last photograph is of the roses outside our room in the hotel. I have posted it because they were beautiful and also because if you like my posts sweet 'n' rosey perhaps you should end your viewing here today because some of you may not like what's coming next.

Ok. So you are still reading. Well I can't express what it felt like when in the morning we woke to the families of Tangier slaughtering sheep in their front gardens!I just googled it and found this quote explains its origins well.
"Eid-al-adha represents the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and their hardships and trials that they faced in order to prove their love of God, they went through all the other tests and succeeded but the final and most challenging and extreme task for any human, for him to prove his devotion, was to sacrifice his own son, the beloved Ismaa’il, and that they chose to be blindfolded as they could not bear the sight of what was to happen, but once they lifted the blindfold they saw that in his place a goat was slaughtered instead and there stood Ismaa’il, smiling back up at his father.

 
The Hajj (pilgrimage) represent’s the above, which comes to a close, the night before Eid, with each person sacrificing an animal, a goat, sheep, lamb, cow and sharing the meat with the poor. The Sacrifice (Qurbaani) is obligatory upon every-able bodied adult, though I’m not sure if its obligatory every year upon the same individual? Its all about how much you can afford."
Miki Moore http://cafecrem.wordpress.com/

Had we not been informed of what was going to happen that morning we would have been in for quite a shock with many a boy walking down the street with bloody jeans a scary looking knives but we were prepared and it was actually quite intriguing. There was a real sense of community and family closeness and pride in the boys outside preparing the sheep for the women inside preparing the meals to be had. The First day they eat the head with couscous and hang the sheep over the next couple of days. Then typically tagines are made and you don't return to work until the whole sheep is eaten. It was tough to watch and later I will upload a video but if you eat meat and enjoy lamb I think it is important you see these things.
My brother Cameron took this picture (quite a few of the above too!) and it must have been like looking in a mirror, for those that know him is this not his Moroccan look-a-like?!




Goodbye Morocco, another time soon I hope. If only for the ruby pomegranates and juciest olives!