food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘moroccan food

two desserts in one

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Lovingly prepared by Cindy after a Moroccan meal, this dessert combines Baclava-style nuts with a simple strawberry yoghurt. Morocco has it’s version of Baclava and strawberries and yoghurt are a no-brainer as Morocco is the 5th-largest exporter of strawberries in the world.

For the nuts, combine 2 cups of roughly chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts (or just one or two types if you prefer) and toast them a little in a dry pan or in the oven. Place them in a bowl with some cinnamon to taste. Now make a honey syrup with ½ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of honey, ½ a cup of water and 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat until boiling and then simmer for 5 minutes or so until thickening. Add the syrup to the nuts and stir to combine. Allow to cool. For the yoghurt, slice 1-2 cups of fresh strawberries and sprinkle them with a little sugar. Let them macerate for a while then add them to thick Greek-style yoghurt. Flavour the yoghurt with the seeds from a vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water if you prefer. Serve together garnished with fresh mint.


Written by michelle picker

April 18, 2018 at 12:08 am

lamb tagine with prunes and raisins

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Adapted by David from an Emeril Lagasse recipe, this tagine has a wonderful balance and depth of flavour.


Using lamb on the bone imparts much more flavour to this dish but you can also use diced boneless lamb. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan or tagine and brown approximately 1 kg (2 lbs) of lamb over high heat in batches, removing the browned meat to a plate. Return all the lamb to the pot and add 1½ cups diced onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, a pinch of crushed saffron and a bunch of coriander (cilantro) and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is tender. Meanwhile pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of pitted prunes and ½ a cup of golden raisins. Let them soften for 20 minutes then strain them and set aside. When the lamb is nearly tender add the fruit, ½ a thinly sliced onion, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous and a fresh salad.

Written by michelle picker

March 24, 2017 at 6:17 am

Posted in meat

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orange spiced salmon

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Inspired by Moroccan food, these flavours are strong and sweet but don’t overpower the salmon.


Toast some flaked almonds for the garnish and set aside. In a mortar and pestle combine 1 clove of garlic, an equal amount of ginger, a pinch of 5 spice powder and some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Grind to a paste and add 2 teaspoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of orange marmalade, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, the juice of 1 orange and 2 teaspoons of chilli paste (either sambal oelek or Vietnamese chilli paste is good for this). Heat a little olive oil in a wide pan and place the fish skin side down. Cook for 2 minutes then turn the fish over and add the sauce. Allow the sauce to boil for 1 minute then reduce the heat to very low and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the fish is just cooked. Turn the fish over to serve and garnish with a generous amount of flaked almonds. Serve over couscous – this is good with some fresh coriander (cilantro) stirred through. A fresh green salad will complete this meal.

Written by michelle picker

October 1, 2016 at 5:51 am

Posted in fish & seafood

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almond honey spread

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Moroccan amlou is a spread (much like peanut butter) made of almonds, honey and argan oil which is generally eaten on bread for breakfast.


Argan oil, which is apparently quite nutty in flavour, is endemic to Morocco and, I discovered, hard to find and very expensive in Australia! I opted for a version without it. If you love friands, almond criossants, frangipane or marzipan then this is for you. Combine 1 cup of finely ground almonds (with or without skins), 1 tablespoon of good fragrant honey, a few drops of bitter almond oil or essence and 2 tablespoons of oil. I used grape seed oil (which has very little flavour) and added a little more bitter almond to taste. Other nut oils such as macadamia or walnut would work too. Mix well and add enough extra oil to make a good spreadable consistency.

Written by michelle picker

February 15, 2016 at 6:03 am

Posted in breakfast

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lamb meatballs with lemon and herbs

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Having bought a mincer attachment for my stand mixer, I decided on this meatball tagine to try it out. The meatballs were wonderfully soft and delicious.


In a food processor combine ½ a brown onion and 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley and process until finely chopped. Add 2 torn slices of stale white bread without crusts and 1 egg and process briefly again. Add this to 500g (1lb 2oz) of minced lamb along with ½ a teaspoon each of ground cumin, paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Form the mixture into small meatballs and chill until needed. To make the sauce heat butter or oil (or both) in a saucepan and add ½ a finely chopped brown onion. Cook until soft then add ½ a teaspoon of paprika, ½ a teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1 finely diced red chilli and ¼ of a teaspoon of ground cumin and continue to cook for a minute or so. Add 1½ cups of chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves. Bring to the boil and add the meatballs, shaking the pan so that they settle. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes then add 2 tablespons of chopped flat-leaf parsley and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the rind of ½ a preserved lemon, cut into strips. Simmer for a further 2 minutes before serving.

*This recipe appears in THE FOOD OF MOROCCO by Tess Mallos.

Written by michelle picker

May 1, 2015 at 5:42 am

lamb tagine with dates + carrot salad

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Lamb and dates – what a heavenly combination. This recipes comes from THE FOOD OF MOROCCO a journey for food lovers by Tess Mallos.


Melt butter in a heavy casserole or tagine and gently cook 1 finely chopped onion until it is translucent. Add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and continue to cook for a minute or so. Increase the heat and add 1 kg (2¼ lbs) of diced lamb. Stir until the colour of the meat changes. Reduce the heat, add 1½ cups of water, 55g (2 oz) of pitted and chopped dates, a pinch of saffron and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours. Stir in 2 tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice and adjust the seasoning to taste. Place 10-15 whole dessert dates over the top, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile discard the pulp from ½ a preserved lemon, rinse the rind, pat dry and cut into thin strips. Melt a little butter in a small pan and fry ⅓ of a cup of slivered almonds until golden brown. If you are serving this in a different dish then remove the dates from the top before ladling it into the dish. Spread the dates over the top again and garnish with almonds and preserved lemon.

As a side dish try this Moroccan carrot salad from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty.


Peel and slice carrots then cook them in boiling water until just tender. Drain and leave to dry. Meanwhile, fry 1 finely chopped onion in some olive oil until soft and browning a little. Add 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 sliced green chillies, a finely sliced spring onion, a pinch of ground cloves, ¼ of a teaspoon of ground ginger, ½ a teaspoon of ground coriander, ¾ of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar, 1 tablespoon of finely diced preserved lemon rind and the carrots. Stir to combine, remove from the heat, season well with salt and leave to cool. When cool stir in a generous handful of finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro). Serve at room temperature with some chilled, salted greek yoghurt.

Written by michelle picker

February 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

Posted in meat, salad

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saffron fish balls + fresh lemon salad

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My husband David cooked these fish balls in a tomato sauce from a recipe by Tess Mallos in The Food of Morocco. They were light and moist and perfect served with crusty bread.


In a food processor place 500g (17 oz) of skinless and boneless firm white fish (we had Ling), 1 egg, 2 spring onions, 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parley, 2 tablespoons of coriander, 55g (2 oz) of fresh bread crumbs, a pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon of warm water for 5 minutes, ¾ teaspoons of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Process to a paste and with wet hands form into walnut-sized balls. Place on a tray and set aside in the fridge. For the sauce coarsely grate 1 brown onion and cook it in some olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of paprika, ½ a teaspoon of harissa and ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin. Stir and add a can of peeled and diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of  caster sugar, a little water if necessary and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fish balls, making sure they settle into the sauce. Cover and  simmer gently for 20 minutes before serving.

A lemon salad is perfect with fish. Be warned, this is a very tart salad and a little goes a long way.


Peel 6 lemons making sure that all the pith and membranes are removed. Remove any seeds then dice and put them into a bowl. Halve 1 small red onion and slice it thinly. Add to the lemons along with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar, a generous amount of flat-leaf parsley and salt to taste. Toss and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Written by michelle picker

June 21, 2013 at 7:33 am