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Monday, July 21, 2014

These little cookies must get their name from the “runner” chickens also called fekkas, for they are tough little things with a good taste. They are very popular for tea dunking, doubtless because they can stand the heat.

Working time: 40 minutes
Rising time: 1½ to 2 hours
Baking time: 30 minutes

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 to 3¼ cups pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup sweet butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 scant tablespoon aniseed
  • 1 scant tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted, optional)
  • ¼ cup orange flower water
  1. The day before, soak the yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water until bubbly.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, 1¼ cups sugar, the bubbling yeast, cooled melted butter and spices in the large mixing bowl. Stir in the orange flower water and then enough lukewarm water to form a firm dough. 
  3. Knead well until smooth, then turn out onto a board dusted with more confectioners’ sugar. 
  4. Break into 4 portions. 
  5. Roll each into a ball and cover.
  6. Take one of the balls and shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick cylinder by rolling back and forth with some force. 
  7. The dough will be sticky at first, but after some strong, firm rolling with palms down it will start to stretch as you slide your palms toward the ends to lengthen the mass. 
  8. Stretch and roll the dough until you have a 10-to 12-inch cylinder of even thickness. 
  9. Repeat with the remaining balls. 
  10. Place on the baking sheets, cover with towels, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. 
  11. When doubled, prick each tube with a fork to deflate.
  12. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  13. Bake the tubes 20 minutes, or until barely golden. (They should not be cooked through.) 
  14. Remove from the oven and let cool on racks overnight.
  15. The following day, slice the cylinders crosswise into very thin cookies and arrange flat on ungreased baking sheets. 
  16. Bake in a 350° oven until pale golden brown and dry, about 10 minutes. 
  17. When cool, store in airtight tins.
Ghoriba cookies are based on semolina flour (hard wheat), which has its own marvelous taste and texture. These are lovely light cookies, sugar-dipped, the size of half-dollars.

Working time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 15 to 18 minutes
Makes: 3½ dozen cookies

  • Sweet butter
  • ¼ cup salad oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 22/3 cups semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1.  Heat 1/4 cup of butter in the oil. When melted, remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the eggs and 12/3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar together until soft and fluffy. 
  3. Add the butter-oil mixture and beat a few seconds longer. 
  4. Using the spatula, fold in the semolina flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. 
  5. Blend well.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  7. Prepare the baking sheets by smearing with dabs of sweet butter. 
  8. Place the remaining 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar in a flat dish. 
  9. Form the cookies by pinching off walnut-sized balls of dough and rolling between your palms until a perfect sphere is formed. (Since the dough is very sticky, it’s a good idea to moisten your hands from time to time.) 
  10. Flatten the sphere slightly, dip one side into powdered sugar, and arrange on a buttered baking sheet.
  11. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes. 
  12. When they are done, the cookies will have expanded and crisscross breaks will appear on their tops. 
  13. Allow to cool and crisp before storing.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This is a Moroccan spice mixture to add to coffee.

Makes: 1/3 cup

  • 2 whole nutmegs (about 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg) 
  • 4 blades cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon) 
  • 6 to 8 dried rosebuds 
  • 12 whole cloves (about 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves) 
  • 1/8 teaspoon gum arabic 
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger 
  • 2 pieces of galingale* (about 1/2 teaspoon ground galingale) 
  • 2 allspice berries (about 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice) 
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • 3 blades mace (about 1/2 teaspoon ground mace) 
  • 15 white or green cardamom pods 
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 
  1. Combine the spices in an electric spice grinder or blender. 
  2. Sieve and bottle carefully to preserve the freshness.

Serves: 4
Prep. Time: 10 min

  • ½ pound whole blanched almonds 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • Orange blossom water or rosewater 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 cup water
  1. Blend the almonds with the sugar, a dash of perfumed water, and 1 cup water until smooth. 
  2. Pour through a strainer, pressing down hard with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. 
  3. Stir in 1 more cup water and the milk. 
  4. Chill and serve in small glasses.

Widely sold as streed food with Maroccan bread, these spicy lamb kebas are also often served as a little dish. The meat is cut intoo small cubes and marinated before being threaded onto bamboo or metal skewers and grilled.

Serves: 4
Prep. Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 10 min

  • 750 gram boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon paprika poeder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
Harissa and tomato sauce
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ½ onion, grated to give 2 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for 2 hours, or use metal skewers.
  2. Do not trim the fat from the lamb.
  3. Cut the meat into 3 cm cubes and put in a bowl.
  4. Add onion, paprika, cumin, parsley, olive oil and generous grind of black peper.
  5. Toss well to coat, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  6. To make the harissa and tomato sauce, halve the tomatoes horizontally and squeeze out the seeds.
  7. Coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl down to the skin, discarding the skin.
  8. In a saucepan, cook the onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes, stir in the harissa or cayenne pepper, and add the grated tomatoes, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.
  9. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 4 minutes, or until the sauce reaches a thick, pouring consistency. Transfer to a bowl.
  10. Thread the lamb cubes onto the skewers, leaving a little space between the meat cubes.
  11. Heat the barbecue grill to high and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning and brushing with the marinade (Alternatively, cook in a chargrill pan or under the grill).
  12. Serve the kebas with the sauce.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

These cakes are sometimes called "gazelle horns" in English, but why that is remains a mystrey. In Arabic. kaab el ghozal mean "gazelle ankles". This recipee make 60 to 70 horns.

Makes: 60-70
Prep. Time: 20 min
Cooking Time:  10 min

Almond paste
  • 8 cups (1 kg) blanched and peeled almonds
  • 2 cups ( 500 g) superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 1 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4½ cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons orange flower water

  1. Mix the almonds and the sugar, grind in a food mill or a food processor and reduce to a fine powder. 
  2. Mix this powder with the orange flower water and melted butter. 
  3. Separate the mixture into pieces the size of a walnut and roll into batons about 3x1 cm.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the dough together until firm. 
  6. Roll the dough as thin as possible with a rolling pin. It should be almost transparent.
  7. Place the baton of almonds paste on the dough in a line with even spaces beteen each baton.
  8. Fold the dough over to cover all the pieces of almond paste.
  9. Seal by pressing slightly and separate with a pastry cutter.
  10. Bend each piece slightly to form a crescent.
  11. Prick each biscuit with a pin to allow the stream to escape during baking.
  12. Transfer to a baking sheet, brush with melted butter, then bake for approximately 10 minutes at  400 °F (200 °C). The horns should be barely golden.
  13. You can serve them plain or dusted with confectioners' (icing) sugar. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • ½ lb. (about 250 g) fresh or frozen peas 
  • ½ chicken (or 4 pieces of chicken), skin removed 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 lb. (about ½ kg) firm potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" thick slices 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger 
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric (or 1/8 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant) 
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper 
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper 
  • pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (optional) 
  • ½ cup chicken broth 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup water 

  1. In a bowl, mix the chicken with onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. 
  2. Be sure the seasoning is distributed evenly. 
  3.  Coat the base of a tagine with a little of the olive oil. 
  4. Distribute the onions across the bottom, then the peas. 
  5. Place the chicken (flesh-side down) in the center. 
  6.  Swirl the ½ cup of water in the bowl used for the chicken to "rinse" the spices from the side of the bowl, and add the water to the tagine. 
  7.  Arrange the potatoes slices around the chicken and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 
  8. Add the broth, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the chicken and vegetables. 
  9.  Close the tagine and place over medium-low heat. (A diffuser is recommended.) 
  10. Stay patient while the tagine reaches a simmer, it could take some time. 
  11. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat unless the tagine is not simmering after 20 minutes, and even so, increase the heat only very moderately. 
  12.  Once you hear the tagine simmering, leave the tagine to cook undisturbed for about 1 hour 15 minutes. 
  13.  After that time, open the tagine and turn over the chicken. 
  14. Taste the broth, and add salt and pepper if desired. 
  15. Add a little more water if you feel the vegetables have absorbed too much of the cooking liquid. 
  16. Continue cooking the tagine, covered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken and vegetables are very tender. 
  17.  Serve the dish right from the tagine, with crusty Moroccan bread for scooping up the chicken, vegetables and sauce.