Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Maison Arabe

After an invigorating week of yoga and surfing, I was ready to enjoy my newly relaxed head space & body and finish off the holiday being pampered in return for my good behaviour :)

I booked myself into the Maison Arabe for my last 2 days in Marrakech. The location is perfect for wandering in the souks, being on the edge of the medina. There is a hamman spa, a restaurant, pool and most importantly to me: a cookery school!

Maison Arabe itself used to be a private residence, until 1946 when it was opened as a the first restaurant within the medina of Marrakech & was frequented by people like Winston Churchill & Queen Ingrid of Denmark.

I spent a lot of time lazing round the pool watching old movies and eating the fantastic food they serve here.

I saved my last day to spend at the cookery school, I met my fellow 'chefs' by the pool, and our guide began by discussing the origins and influences on tradition and modern moroocon cookery.

We were then led over to one of the Dadas (Moroccon chef) to see how M'esemen are made and offered both a plain and savoury one stuffed with olives, carrots and cheese to try. I had had these earlier in the week stuffed with bananas and amalou (Argan oil & roast almonds) for breakfast, I cant choose which I preferred!

We headed to our very snazzy kitchen and began by mixing and kneading our own bread in the morrocon style. Its a staple in morrocon diets, usualy ate with every meal & used almost as a utensil to mop everything up. A quick cup of some refreshing mint tea was laid out for us before we were shwon the local bakery.

Behind an innocuous looking doorway is one of the hearts of the city. For a few dirhams, people can bring their dough to the master baker to be baked in his wood fired oven and collect it later. Apparently he master baker used to be a master match maker in the old days too! By looking at the quality of the flour used and the number of loaves made for each family, they could spot you a village romeo at 50 paces :)

We had a quick peek around a shop selling every spice under the sun, having a sniff of all of the most commonly used in Moroccan cuisine.

Cooking commenced again with the creation of Zaalouk which is a cooked aubergine salad and Salad mechouia made from roasted peppers and tomato.
Note the AMAZING rose decorations they taught me to make out of tomato skin! So pretty!

And on to the main event; Chicken & lemon tagine!
Surprisingly simple and easy to make, the recipe is as follows:

Serves 2
400g Chicken thighs
1/2 preserved lemon
1/2 red onion
1tbsp of finely chopped parsley
1tbsp of finely chopped coriander
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2tsp powdered ginger
1 heaped tsp tumeric 
pinch of saffron
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp ghee
4tbsp water
Handful of olives

-Cut the preserved lemon in half and seperate the flesh from the peel. Pop the peel to one side for later and chop the flesh.
-Put the chopped lemon in a tagine (Dutch oven or Creuset would work here too) add in finely chopped garlic, parsley and coriander and all of the spices.
-Place the chicken in the tagine and stir around until fully covered in the marinade.
-Add in the finely chopped onion & mix in.
-Either cook on the hob or in the oven on a medium heat. Keep an eye on it and add water if the sauce starts to look dry.
- Scatter over the olives and place the preserved lemon on top of the chicken and serve!

After toiling over the stove for a few hours, it was time to sit down by the pool and enjoy the fruits of our labour- its a hard life sometimes :)

A lovely surprise at the end too! My very own tagine to take home and practice with and little certificate for my kitchen pinboard :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Glastonbury time!

This time next week, I will be in a sunny field (no mud please!) sipping cider and listening to amazing music!
For this week however, I am stuck with panic buying on ASOS for what to wear to my first Glasto! Fringes, flower garlands and hunters ahoy! Here is my pick of what to pack :)

1. Eastpack rollout holdall £35 ASOS
Got to have something to chuck everything in first right!

2. Hunter Original gloss green wellington £85 ASOS
Because the harder I pray for sun, the harder it will probably rain- and I need puddle jumping protection!

3. A warm hoody: Bit of a selection here as this always becomes my staple wear!

Killstar Go to hell sweatshirt £38 ASOS

Boy London hoodie £65 ASOS

Comme Des f down hoodie £60 ASOS

4. Snazzy leggings- black just wont cut it!

90's Tie dye leggings, £16 ASOS

Purple Nebula leggings £38 ASOS

5. Tassels & Flowers.
Festival staple, enough said :)

Warehouse simple festival bag £32 ASOS

Johnny Loves Rosie £15 ASOS

6. Rave dress. £33 ASOS
 Loving this psychedelic Freak of Nature dress

And finally, don't forget your wine or your tent!

Wine handbag £29.99 Firebox

Picnic perfect tent £495 Cuckooland

See you at the Jagger off guys!!!

Surf Maroc

So last week I spent 2 days in gorgeous & scorching Marrakech before heading out to the coast for a surf and yoga retreat with Surf Maroc.

Villa Mandala

Pool at the villa

Hand on heart this is one of the best holidays I have ever had!

The instructors for yoga and surfing were brilliant, the food was amazing and the people I met there were all awesome :)

So many beautiful beaches!!!

So much great food!

Our Yoga shala:

Such a gorgeous peaceful view :)

Atlas mountains

Paradise Valley

Tropical OJ cafe in a stream-what else?!

Wetsuit yoga!

The kitty that melted everyones hearts!

VIP crew :)

In house frog orchestra...

Planking on the villa!

Tai Chi bonus class!

Roomy :)

I miss everyone and everything about this place! 

I am back on the lunch time yoga at home now, surf practice may have to wait until I am by the sea next :(, Moroccan vegetarian cook book by the chef ordered for recreating the delish dishes we had every day and Twinkle time drinks with the Londoners on the cards!

Check out Surf Maroc here: http://www.surfmaroc.co.uk

I really can't recommend them enough, I will definitely be going back!