Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whisking Away the Winter Blues

Mid-February, and it's still miserably, brutally cold.

Maybe everything seems greyer after our return from Marrakech two weeks ago. We bathed in sunshine there, our limbs lengthening, our skin shimmering, our eyes blinking, disbelieving - like puppies tipped out of a box, I believe is the expression. We lapped up our five days there. The feeling of shedding a layer of chapped winter skin, stripping to our sandals and short sleeves, was so welcome; like the faintest whiff of summer, the briefest whisper of days to come. We basked every morning in that glow, at breakfast if we could. We swam. We got pink noses. We marvelled at having to buy suncream. In February! How decadent!

Coming back to London, we hissed at the pilot who announced it would be 4 degrees when we landed. 'Damn and blast it all to hell', we cried. 'We're out of here. No more than another two winters here. It's bloody awful. How does anyone do it?' etc, etc. You get the idea. We started to look for jobs in the Cayman Islands and plot our escape.

To get over the shock of the return, we did what any shell-shocked and depressed couple would do: we ate. We tried to relive some of the holiday, recreating dishes similar to those we had eaten in Morocco. This was our first attempt, the day after we unpacked:

Moroccan Harcha (semolina flatbreads)


2 cups semolina flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt

1. Mix together the semolina, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and blend well with your hands.

2. Add the milk, and mix until a moist dough takes shape.

3. Shape the dough into balls and leave to rest a few minutes.

4. Preheat frying pan. Roll, then flatten the balls into saucer-sized circles.

5 .Cook over a low heat, about 7 to 10 minutes on each side, until they become golden . Turn only once, and check regularly that the heat is not too high, so they have time to cook all the way through.

These Moroccan crumpety-biscuit type things were made by the Mister's fair hand, and were a warm treat for our first cold morning back, which was mostly spent cosying up to the radiators and catching up with our laundry. They were sunny little things, light and fluffy and great with butter melting on their doughy insides and jam or cheese jazzing them right up. We served ours with some typically Moroccan sliced oranges with orange flower water, cinnamon, icing sugar and as I didn't have strawberries, some reduced cherries from the Co-op.

Yum. After a few of these we were just about coming to terms with the winter again.

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