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Sunday, May 16, 2010

I heart Morocco
When the young man at the cafe along the Rue Bab Agnaou, a road just off the Djemaa el Fna square (for some reason, the place doesn't have a name) brought me my prawn panini and I traced its obvious outline with my fingers, he gave me a pat on the back and smiled quite affectionately. Not a come-on at all -- everyone's sandwich was plated the same way.

It's just one of the reasons I have fallen in love with Morocco.

I leave this country tomorrow. It's been an amazing visit to Casablanca and Marrakech, one filled with loads of wandering about and sight-seeing, quite a bit of shopping and copious amounts of eating (all of which I have documented!). When I get home, there will be more on Moroccan food to write about and many recipes to try. These are just a few of my culinary memories.

The Hanging Gardens
Hanging up fruit, nuts and vegetables from the rafters is a common way to store the items
Hanging up fruit, vegetables and bags of nuts from the rafters of is a common way to store the items. This picture was taken at the same cafe where I had the sandwich above. For some reason, the cafe doesn't have a name. Just look for the one on left as you stand in front of the doorway to Ryad Omar. The servers there are very sweet and the food -- quick kebabs, wraps and sandwiches -- is simple and very good. The prawn panini was simply some little prawns, or crevettes as they're called in French, and mayonnaise in a bun cooked in a panini grill. Delicious!

Finger Food
Good to eat with your fingers... or did these come off actual hands?
Merguez sausages contain lamb, sometimes also beef, and spices like paprika, harissa and red chilli paste which give its red colour. These fingerling sausages are eaten as a snack on their own, stuffed into a bread roll, or cooked together with couscous or in a stew. We had these sitting under the trees on the pavement outside a little shop that was obviously where locals ate -- no pretension or fancy decor. They were grilled by a sweet, soft-spoken young woman who had probably never had Asian customers before.

Do The Twist
Puff pastry twist, sprinkled with a lot of sugar
This pastry stick was slightly stale and looked sad along with two other pieces in the display cabinet at one of the cafes in Casablanca, but I couldn't resist getting it because it's so appealing. Look at it! Doesn't that just call to you?

Lend Me Your Ears
Corn with monster-sized kernels
These corn on the cob stopped me in my tracks. They were only about three to four inches long but the kernels were as big as hazelnuts! A vendor was boiling them in a large pot and when you asked for one -- or did as the locals and select the one you wanted yourself -- he would put it in a piece of paper and season it with lashings of coarse salt by actually throwing the salt at it. The taste and texture reminded me of corn from my childhood -- the kernels were sweet and firm on the outside but soft with a bite. Best jagung ever!

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