1. Your money goes twice as far there as it would in Europe. We had an amazing suite in a riad, with its own roof terrace and plunge pool and a houseboy to bring us copious booze(most of which was included in the price). All for around £140 per night, which would get you a very average hotel room in Italy or France
2. Their food is amazing
While we were there we ate in some of the best restaurants and had fantastic food every day. One of the best meals I have ever eaten was in a restaurant called Tobsil, we had a main course of chicken wrapped in pancakes, which sounds unremarkable but was unbelievably good. However there was also a cook at the riad who was outstanding. She made fabulous tagines and the best tomato salad in the entirety of the world ever.
Upon our return we bought a tagine (and were given two more in a bizarre day I call ‘The day with 3 tagines’) and I have had a lot of success in my experimentations. Moroccan food is perfect for entertaining as they tend to serve a lot of salads, most of which can be prepared in advance, and slow cooked meat. My sort of food.
So yesterday we were going to be out all afternoon at a picnic/birthday party and I wanted a proper meal for when we got back. So I shoved a happy chicken in my tagine in its entirety. I rubbed in a Morccan spice blend of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and harissa (or you can just use one of those premixed blends) and shoved a couple of preserved lemons up its backside. Splash of water in the bottom, lid on and into the oven for a couple of hours at 180. While it was cooking I made my two favourite Moroccan salads/accompaniments.
Sweet tomato jam
Fab served with chicken or lamb. Once made you can keep it in the fridge, in a clean jam jar, with a layer of oil over the top, for a couple of weeks.
2 small onions, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins plum/chopped tomatoes
Tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion in a little oil until soft
Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger and sugar
Simmer for about an hour, until the mixture becomes thick and jam-like
Add the honey and seasoning
Leave to cool
Moroccan carrot salad
4 large carrots, grated
Juice 1 lemon
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all together and leave for an hour or more before serving
So while we were out the chicken rested, the carrot salad infused and upon our return all I had to do was make a green salad with red onion, slice few chunks of baguette, pour out a bowl of yogurt and plonk the chicken, jam and carrots on the table. It was fab and very reminiscent of our honeymoon, apart from the over-tired toddler spitting bread at us and seeing how dizzy he could make himself by shaking his head back and forwards as fast as he could. Oh, and after dinner I mopped the floors instead of retiring to my roof terrace. But overall, it was a bit similar, sort of.