Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Part III, dinner

Now where was I… oh yes, dinner!

First came the dates, baghrir (crepes) with butter and honey, milk, and chabakia (cookies), with juices of every ilk in crystal pitchers with a tray of glasses for each juice. These are the traditional foods with which to break the Ramadan fast. Everything was presented on lovely china set on silver trays; white embroidered linen napkins, and sterling silver in a Baroque design, which as odd as it sounds fit with the d├ęcor. And yes, they were indeed the King’s dates – oh my. The table was huge and with every course it was filled to the edges with food. The word banquet was fulfilled in its definition.

Next the harira, the traditional soup for Ramadan. I went over to Moroccan Kitchen (where for those of you who DO cook, the ladies have wonderful recipes) to get all the ingredients for you: chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, tiny cubes of beef, parsley, coriander, rice, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, saffron, and cinnamon. It was served of course with the wonderful bread of Morocco made in ovals, circles, braided, and tiny poufs.

Then the salads, the tiny bowls filled the table. The servers stood to the side and when we indicated what we wanted they filled the plates, and or bowls. There were more than I can remember but I’ll have a go: zaalouk with zucchini, cinnamon stewed carrots, the thick honey apple sauce they make here, humus, cabbage, eggplant, beets, stewed tomatoes in spices, Mediterranean white beans in a slightly tangy marinade, some boiled leafy greens that I don’t know the name for but that was really spicy, green, red, and black olives in various spices, and radishes boiled and something done to them that made me who hates radishes love them. On a large orange platter with an intricate black pattern were the bisteeya - pastry with shredded chicken topped with eggs in lemony sauce and dusted with powdered sugar and sweetened almonds. There was more but I don’t know the names for everything and there were so many bowls it was overwhelming; as well I was spending SOME of the time looking into those gorgeous eyes of Hassan and listening to his tales of his time in Saudi Arabia. I must determine some way of telling you some of the stories of the Saudi royal family without getting either of us into trouble – do remember where I am. I don’t think pseudonyms will do it, but I shall think of something.

After the salads came the main dishes – there was couscous with chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, turnips, cabbage, zucchini, and pumpkin; spiced with salt, pepper, saffron, chili, ginger, and olive oil. The tagines were presented in grand style. “I recognize that design. Aren’t those like the ones we saw that day at the hotel?” I asked.

He smiled. He does that a lot. “Yes, I remembered that you admired them and so I had some made for tonight,” he said smiling like the Cheshire cat and reaching for some bread. He sat there on his silk cushion looking easily like some sheik from 1625 in his glory. I could envision that swarthy complexion wrapped in the headdress of a Berber warrior and his well muscled arms holding a scimitar sword. Yes, we already know I have a vivid imagination all right! Back to the food.

There were several tagines (we could have fed twenty people); one of chicken with preserved lemons and red olives, and another of lamb with prunes. The meat was so tender it fell apart and the sauces were a delight. Another of lamb with honey, almonds and raisins, and then hare with paprika, tomatoes and onions. Then a huge tray of chicken-almond, lamb, and beef pastillas: the meat pies wrapped in the thin flakey pastry and coated with powdered sugar and cinnamon. There were two fish dishes: one a small white fish fried in olive oil and covered in some flour-spice concoction, as well as grilled salmon, which was done to perfection.

At this point I was thinking, “Why oh why did I wear the tight jeans?”

“Shall we take a walk on the beach while they prepare coffee, tea, and desert?” he asked standing and reaching for my hand.

One of the wonderful things I love about Morocco is that food is not wasted here. When I asked Hassan about the obvious amount of untouched food he said, “The servers will take it home to their families of course. This is Ramadan so they will also give part of it away to those they know less fortunate.” He seemed a little surprised at my asking. This is not a wealthy country you know that. I loved his answer.

Tomorrow I am off to Fez, and so you shall have to return of Friday for the last bit eh? I must go to the gym; I’m still working off that dinner, and preparing for the feast no doubt on Thursday night in Fez.

Ciao.

33 comments:

Kaycie said...

I'm in love with Hassan and I've never even met him. Cannot wait for the rest!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Yes, me too, and how about some photos of him.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I'm also in love with the food.

Annie said...

I'm sure you enjoyed every minute of it. How wonderful to be so spoiled! Send Hassan over to my husband when he's got a bit of spare time to give some lessons hee hee!

nutmeg said...

I wear the sweatpants. That's marriage for ya!

lady macleod said...

kaycle

He is tempting...

thank you for coming by.

Ellee Seymour said...

The bit I liked best was "He smiled"...so simple, yet so lovely and warming, like one of Sally's massage.

I think I would have preferred wearing a dress too, but you certainly look slim enough to wear jeans - and with great panache.

lady macleod said...

WUASTC

#1 - he is a member of the Royal Family (albeit way down the line); I am NOT a Muslim..
#2 - This is my blog, he doesn't mind the stories (I think he may like it a bit) but his privacy is important to me.
#3 - I don't want to give you and kaycle any more reason to give me competition as he is quite handsome (sigh).
#4 - I begin to FEAR the food - visions of me NEEDING the djellaba. yikes!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

annie

I will see what I can do..

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

nutmeg

"that's marriage.." Is that why I don't own any sweatpants then?

When Q was wee I did live in cotton shirts and jeans I will say..

thank you for coming by.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Wow! He's back and it's all on again! Grin!
Pigx

lady macleod said...

piggy

Indeed! :-)

thank you for coming by.

jmb said...

Wonderful story Lady Mac. As I said before like a dream world.

sally in norfolk said...

who say's i have all the fun.....

Mama Zen said...

OK, now I'm hungry AND jealous!

WHERE IN MOROCCO IS THAT? said...

LM,

When you are writing Arabic words in English, you often give them French orthography.

The sweet biscuit which you refer to as chabakia is better written as sh'bek'ee'a for English readers.

lady macleod said...

where in morocco

Thank you for the assistance. I will try to remember. Keep checking that I get it right will you? I appreciate it.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

mama zen

he he

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

sally

That's right kiddo, not just for Blondes! ;-)

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

jmb

Yes, sometimes it is.

thank you for coming by.

Mopsa said...

Surely this is too exotic to be real? And if it is real can I please have some of it? How utterly romantic.

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm impressed, a member of the royal family who is handsome and romantic, does he have a brother?

Sparx said...

Ah you know how to lead us on! I think I could taste that food from your description. Will there be a part IV?

mutleythedog said...

I think you made all this up - I bet you had Chicken McNuggets and chips ...

Briget said...

Oh myyyyy...I can see the scene, al-most taste the wonderful food! And a walk by the sea in the middle of such a romantic meal - perfect. I'm so glad the food was shared and nothing was wasted. I wondered about that as I was reading. Also, I went right over and put the Moroccan Kitchen site in my bookmarks. I love to cook and intend to try a few of their recipes. Thank you!

Omega Mum said...

I think the food has the edge at the moment, together with those rugs - but Hassan is coming up fast. More, please.

lady macleod said...

omega mum

I LOVE the way your mind works. More soon.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

briget

Oh I'm glad you like the Moroccan Kitchen site. I don't cook and I like it!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

mutleythedog

:-) shhhhhhh!

you are so cute.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

sparx

Yes love, as soon as I can.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

ellee

As I understand there are MANY cousins in the family. Should I chat one up for you?

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

mopsa

Real? Now I'm just having dinner and telling you the tale; you decide if it is real for you. Then we could discuss the nature of reality...

thank you for coming by.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Wow! And wow again! What a description! I wasn't hungry with my cold but I sure am now!