Moroccan and Lebanese Cooking Class - Alphabet Dating Idea

Alphabet Dating – M is for Moroccan Cooking Class

Moroccan and Lebanese Cooking Class

Although the blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to other parts of my life right now, hubby and I are still managing to carry on with our Alphabet Dating, even if it is a little haphazard (much like this blog really!).

April was our ‘M’ date which saw us attend a Moroccan cooking class. Ok… well to be honest, it was mostly Lebanese but we had already done our ‘L’ date so I’m calling it Moroccan!

Based in Surrey, our cooking class was held by a lovely Lebanese-born lady named Mona – the founder and owner of Samara Cuisine, a Lebanese and Moroccan catering company. When we arrived at her house, we were greeted with mint tea and delicious spicy smells emanating from the kitchen. We sat at her large dining table and waited for the other guests to arrive. There were 10 of us, plus Mona, and we were to be making four dishes that day.

Samara Cuisine - Moroccan and Lebanese cooking class

The Moroccan and Lebanese cooking class began with Mona showing us how to make Bistilla, which is a Moroccan chicken pie using filo pastry and an assortment of spices.

Bistilla - Moroccan chicken pie
Bistilla – Moroccan chicken pie

We also made muhamara – a pepper and walnut dip not too dissimilar to hummus and batata harrah aka hot potato salad using lots of tasty ingredients such as garlic and paprika. The last dish was called sfouf, a type of cake using semolina.

Muhamara and flatbread
Muhamara and flatbread
Batata Harrah
Batata Harrah

Although the class was mostly demonstration based, we did get involved in laying out the pastry and chopping peppers, and other people were hands on measuring out ingredients.

Of course, at the end of the class we got to eat what we had made and it was delicious! We had some flatbreads to go with the muhamara and we helped ourselves to the batata harrah. The bistilla was amazing and had a sweetness to it where it had been dusted in icing sugar and cinnamon. I think the only dish I probably wouldn’t make again is the sfouf as it was quite thick and I prefer something a little lighter, sweeter and creamier!

Sfouf - Lebanese cake
Sfouf – Lebanese cake

We had a lovely few hours, our fellow chefs were very chatty and friendly, and Mona gave us all a parting gift of some baklava. I would definitely recommend if you’re looking for something a little different!

Our class was the last class of the year due to wedding season etc, but Samara Cuisine’s classes will be back next year. Click here to book your own Moroccan and Lebanese cooking class, or click here for more alphabet dating adventures!

For an alphabet dating idea why not try a cooking class?
Bon Appetit!

Cats around the world

Today is Good Deeds Day and as you know, my good deed for 2016 is my volunteer work at my local cat rescue centre. It’s only cleaning pens, monitoring and socialising the cats for a couple of hours a week but I like to think it makes a small difference to the cats’ well being and also helps the awesome, hardworking staff out a bit too.

So as a bit of a tenuous link I thought I would post some photos of cats around the world that I have met…

Tabby cat asleep on a green chair in Lanzarote, Spain

This kitty cat was sleeping on the bizarre green chair outside the shop at the Monumento al Campesino (farmers monument) on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. I was drawn to him/her because this sweetie looks alot like the cat I had growing up.

3 little kitties outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco

This adorable trio were among several other cats hanging around outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco. I just wanted to bundle them all up and take them home with me because I felt sorry for them, I just hope someone at the palace is looking after them!

Grey and white cat in Morocco

Special mention to this cat who I met en route to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The guides wanted us tourists to stop and buy pottery and trinkets from the shop but I was more interested in making friends with this cutie.

Cat hiding in a box at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

This pretty kitty was one of the pampered felines at the Cat Cafe I visited in Tokyo, Japan. There were lots of lovely cats there but I chose to feature this one here as it was the only cat who sat on my lap and took treats from me, the rest were too busy snoozing!

Cat poking its tongue out while sleeping at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Although shout out to this cheeky kitty, who although slept the entire time we were at the Cat Cafe, looked so adorable poking its tongue out!

Pickles the Hobbiton cat lives at The Green Dragon Inn at The Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand

This beauty is Pickles the Hobbiton cat. After a rough start in life, Pickles soon found a wonderful new home – at The Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. We went to get a drink in The Green Dragon Inn after our tour of the set and found Pickles curled up on a chair infront of the fireplace. It was a hot day so I really didn’t need to sit infront of a blazing fire, but the lure of petting a snoozing kitty was just too much to resist!

Cat sitting on a giant chess board in Alice Springs, Australia

This sweet creature was one of the resident cats at the hostel we stayed at in Alice Springs, Australia. I think the owner said her name is Tink and she’s an impressive 21 years old! We didn’t see much of the other (much younger cat) at the hostel as she was out exploring but Tink could often be found chilling out in the kitchen or garden.

Black cat sitting on decking in Fiji

This fur baby was probably my favourite. Her name is Friday and she lives on Robinson Crusoe Island in Fiji. We found her chilling on the decking outside our bure one morning and she kept on coming back for a fuss. We more or less made her our island cat and she even came to say goodbye to us when we left.

This purrfect post is dedicated to all the Crazy Cat Ladies and Gentlemen out there x

An oasis in Marrakech

Jardin Majorelle

 

jardin-majorelle-marrakech

Away from the mayhem of Marrakech is one of the most visited attractions in Morocco – The Jardin Majorelle. A tranquil oasis of vibrant colour and exotic plants. It was designed in the 1920s-1930s by French artist Jacques Majorelle and was opened to the public in 1947.

The garden also has a famous connection to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who together with his partner Pierre Berge, bought Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and lovingly restored it in order to prevent it from being turned into a hotel.

When Yves Saint Laurent passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the garden and a memorial was built bearing his name.

yves-saint-laurent-memorial

Although I’m not much of a green-fingered type, I do love a garden! And I love colour, which Majorelle Garden has in abundance. There are stand-out pops of bold yellow and vibrant blue, known as Majorelle Blue, dotted between the lush greenery throughout the garden.

blue-fountains-in-jardin-majorelle

vibrant-colours-at-the-majorelle-garden-marrakech

villa-at-majorelle-garden-marrakech

villa-and-cacti-at-jardin-majorelle

ornate-moroccan-window-majorelle-blue

We didn’t pick the warmest time of year to visit Morocco, so after a gentle stroll spotting birds and admiring the plants and the fish in the pond, we stopped in the on-site cafe for a hot, sweet, mint tea. I actually developed a bit of an addiction to mint tea while I was in Marrakech!

morccan-mint-tea

bird-in-the-garden-in-marrakech

majorelle-garden-marrakech

pond-at-majorelle-garden

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Jardin Majorelle if you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, and although my photos aren’t the greatest I would say that the gardens are a photographer’s or instagram addict’s dream!

The garden can be found on Rue Yves Saint Laurent and is open every day of the year.


You can keep up to date with my blogging adventures at Follow

Moroccan special – Weekly photo challenge: On the way

As my Morocco posts seem to be quite popular and as I enjoy participating in the odd WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, this week I thought I would combine the two!

This week’s theme is On The Way – sharing photos taken on the way to something else.

Firstly, a view from the aeroplane on the way from London to Marrakech…

view-from-the-plane

An intriguing and intricate door on the way around the souks…

moroccan-doorway

And the sun bouncing off of the 4×4 on the way to the Atlas Mountains…

jeep-to-atlas-mountains

What do you think?

For more photography, check out the WWPC.

Travel and Treasure

So I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for the past week or so but things have still been ticking away in the background. I’ve contributed to a guest post about beauty on the road over at Heels In My Backpack – so go check it out (after you’ve read this post of course!).

And I’ve been gaining some inspiration from the world around me, so please feel free to follow me on twitter and pinterest – let me know you found me through my blog and I will follow you back!

In my last post I mentioned this gorgeous necklace I bought while on honeymoon in the Maldives. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows I love a good souvenir, so I thought I would showcase a few of my travel gems.

This necklace, being a honeymoon memento means alot to me, so I try not to wear it too often because I’m scared of breaking it or losing it, but when I do wear it, it does attract a lot of attention.

quirky-necklace-from-the-maldives

Although there isn’t a particularly fascinating story behind it, other than I happened upon it while in the island gift shop, I thought I would share it as it’s so unique and reminds me of that special time.

jewellery-from-the-maldives

I’m normally one for quirky costume jewellery rather than expensive jewellery that I will probably break, and while I don’t stroll down the street jingling like Mr T, I am a typical female when it comes to jewellery shops – stood agaze at all the sparkly pretty things around me. I’m like it in shops at home and I was like it in the souks of Marrakech.

It sounds completely cliché to refer to the souks as ‘Aladdin’s cave’ but that is pretty much what they were! A labyrinth of small stores packed to the brim with tea sets, jewellery, pashminas, spices, leather, shoes… so much colour and chaos it is easy to become distracted. I ended up buying 3 bracelets in Marrakech.

moroccan-bangles

The multi-coloured one came from a fixed price store at the entrance of the souks, but for around £5 GBP who could argue! The pink one was a hasty purchase to use up some dirham, but what makes it interesting is the hand symbol on it is the Hand of Fatima –  which is said to bring protection and good fortune.

moroccan-jewellery

My favourite of the three bracelets is the silver one. This is one I haggled for in true Moroccan style. Although I don’t think I’m ever taken very seriously as a customer, with the help of hubby (who is from the school of ‘don’t ask, don’t get’) managed to get a decent price for it that both I and the seller were happy with.

We didn’t stop at bangles, we took home a tagine and a couple of pashminas too (some were gifts)! All in all I had fun in the souks and urge all you jetsetting magpies to not miss them when in Marrakech!