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Moroccan Recipes

23 January 2008

Open Sesame!


I've never been to Morocco, but it's somewhere I've always wanted to go. My desire to experience Morocco first-hand has increased ever since I bought myself a Moroccan cook book and started cooking Moroccan dishes.

Food is often a reflection of the people who make it and the place it's made. Even though I have no direct knowledge of the people or the place, these cookies seem to me to reflect the images of Morocco that I exist in my imagination.

I can imagine these sand-coloured cookies being baked by the sun in that desert land. The cookies are crunchy and dry. I imagine them sitting alongside the crumbling spine of the Atlas Mountains. They're not indulgent - there is no serving of buttered guilt or chocolate-chip shame here. But they're certainly not dreary and lifeless, either. The delicious flavour of roasted sesame seeds seems to me to be quintessentially Moroccan. And the sweet scent of orange blossom water is colorful and exotic.

Until I travel there - and I undoubtedly will - I'm happy with the little pieces of Morocco that tumble out of my oven.


Moroccan Sesame Cookie Recipe
(Makes 24)

1.5 cups of white sesame seeds, plus about 1/4 of a cup extra
1 cup of unbleached organic flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1.5 tsp of baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbs of orange blossom water
1tps of orange zest


  1. Set the oven temperature at 180C.
  2. Roast the sesame seeds in a pan over a medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, place the seeds into a blender and blend until a powder is formed.
  3. Heat the flour in the same pan over a medium heat stirring constantly until the flour browns just slightly. Make sure you don't burn the flour though. Place it into the blender with the ground sesame seeds. Add the sugar, orange zest and baking powder to the blender and blend mixture thoroughly.
  4. Place the sesame mixture in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and orange blossom water. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon and then and then knead it and roll into a ball.
  5. Have the extra sesame seeds ready on a plate. Line a baking tray with baking paper and grease it with butter.
  6. Break off walnut-sized pieces of the dough and roll it into balls. Press the balls into the sesame seeds and flatten slightly. Place the cookies on the baking tray with the sesame seeds facing up. Allow for about 5 cm between each cookie and bake for about 15 minutes. Leave the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. 

18 January 2008

Moroccan Shrimp Salad


Over the past month we have had a house guest stay with us: Nic's sister Liz. And although a month is a long time to have another body in our small, one bedroom apartment, we are all still, happily, the best of friends.

Now cooking for three is hardly more challenging than cooking for two. However, Liz has developed some dietry sensitivities from a spending a year traveling throughout South America. Cooking for someone on a strict diet can certainly test your creativity.

Continue reading "Moroccan Shrimp Salad" »

27 July 2007

Taste of Morocco - Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine


This is a recipe adapted from the Cooking Moroccan cookbook. We had originally given the book to some friends as a birthday present and when they cooked us some dishes from it, I promptly raced out and bought one myself.

A Tagine is a stewed dish that is cooked in a heavy based shallow clay pot with a conical lid. The lid is cleverly crafted so that the condensation returns back into the bottom of the pot. Hours of slow cooking at low temperatures result in tender fall off the bone meat and fragrant vegetables.

If you don't have a Tagine, then a large saucepan or soup pot with a cover will work just fine. For this recipe I also added water as I like a bit more sauce to mix in with the accompanying couscous.

Continue reading "Taste of Morocco - Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine" »

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