Thursday 6 March 2014

Beef, pear and candied orange tagine. Marrakesh, Morocco

The men in Marrakesh are not afraid to show you their romantic side. They might chisel your intials onto a tile and then shape the tile into a heart, or propose to you in the middle of a market and buy you a rose, or wink from a butchers window and make you feel even more uncomfortable than you were already feeling, (having seen squawking chickens slaughtered to order). Let's pretend the M stands for Marrakesh. I really do love it. I love the people.
Enough silliness!
Mum and I travelled from Malaga to Morocco. We made the 30 minute ferry trip from Spain to the North Tip of Africa and then the not so speedy journey down to Marrakesh by train. It was, the most interesting journey, eyes glued to the window taking in the ever changing scenery. One minute, the hustle and bustle of a small town, the next mountains, then lakes with flamingos! We stopped at places where there were no signs of a station or shelter, but 'taxis' waiting for passengers.
It was a long, tiring trip. This was party because we had been working almost 3 weeks straight before the day we set off, but mostly due to the train breaking down and a very long wait in the middle of nowhere. One more train, got there in the end and met up with family in a beautiful Riad.
I wont bore you with what we did everyday, but here are some pics and I'll share a wonderful tagine recipe at the end.
 I've switched off for brekkie on the balcony..
Mum takes a little longer to switch off. Put the emails down!!
Shopkeeper coffee
Entranced, watching these boys make feuilles de brick pastry. The dough is slapped onto the hot plate until there is a thin layer cooked, ready to be scraped off and put on the pile.

We tore ourselves away from the Souks to visit a spice farm and have a little cookery lesson at Faim D'Epices
Tagine of beef, pears and candied oranges
Serves 4
800g beef shank
165g onion
1kg pears
1kg oranges
30g caster sugar
50ml extra virgin olive oil
5/6 strands of saffron
1 cinnamon stick
3g cinnamon powder
4g ginger
2g Ras el Hanout
1 tbsp orange flower water
4g salt
4g pepper
120ml water

Chop or grate the onion
Peel oranges and cut skin into thin stiprs and blanch to remove bitterness
Make juice out of orange
peel the pears and put them in half the orange juice
Preheat tagein to high heat
Add the grated onion, oil, spices.
Season and stir 
Add meat and simmer
Add water and cook for one hour
Place pears onto of the meat and cook for 15 minutes
Add candied oranges 
After blanching the strips of orange, place them in a pan with the juice, some sugar, cinnamon and orange flower water and cook until candied.
Add orange strips to tagine and serve.