Categories
Food Morocco

Looking back on our time in Marrakech

Looking back on our time in Marrakech. What a great camping spot we had in our own little quiet corner in the centre of the city. Here are some thoughts.

The Immam is SOOOO much better than Aourir. It is like waking up to an angel at 5 in the morning. I like this guy. I was talking to Karim about the responsibilities of the Immam. I think he has it rougher than the Christian priests and pastors. He does his big call to prayer 5 times a day. Yeah, think about it 5 times a day. He is hanging with a friend. Ooops, time to go. He wants to have a bit of a lie in. Oooops, time to get up. He does this every day of the week AND the call to prayer is just beginning. After the bit on the loudspeaker he goes downstairs and prays with people and does a bit of teaching. I think the Immam works hard.

So, the souks. Yeah, easy to get lost. At day you can wander through the souks. Well, wander is the wrong word. Because every stallkeeper wants you to come in. Now, I think we are getting a bit better at this but we still need to get better. Alana and Abi got lots of attention from the young men. They complained, of course, but they kept getting dressed up and going back in and well, 2 plus 2 equals… The hard time with the souks is if you have a particular place you want to be in them. By the end I found what I was looking for and had a greaat time walking around with the kids. We looked into lots of stalls that showed people working on the different stages of making shoes by hand. Saw a man soldering with a little heated hammer instead of a soldering iron. A man demonstrated how to make rounded discs of metal. We saw several people punching designs out of metal. Lots of smoke, lots of noise, lots of creative people. Loved it.

In the evenings to eat a couple of times as food to cook your own meals with in the centre is hard to come by and we figure when we go back into Europe we won’t be eating out much as it is much less expensive down here. There is this souk of prepared food that pops up in the evenings at the fna area. All these little swirly metal boxes surrounded by table and tarps come in to join the orange juice and dried fruit stalls. Every evening this village is created and stays up til about 4 in the morning. A note about eating out. You go to a normal western style restaurant, even one with moroccan food you will pay big. If you go and get pizza or other exotic foods and you will pay big. A rule for every country is that if you want to get better local food for cheaper prices go to where the locals eat. Sometimes you need to insist. One time me and the girls went into the non-touristy part of the souk. As we were leaving a man told us we were going out of the area we were wanting to be in. We said we were looking for Moroccan food. He directed us back to the tourist restaurants. No! We want to eat moroccan food where Moroccans eat it. We were directed into a tiny little restaurant with thin white-tile counters against the wall, little plastic stools and about 5 guys grilling lots of food next to us. All this in a stall about the size of our truck. We loved it! Back to the pop-up prepared food souk. We went out for Harrira (moroccan soup) one night with a desert, well. It was swirly and sweet and you eat it with your fingers. Karim said there is a legend about this sweet of a great battle between a japanese warrior and a moroccan warrior. Of course, the moroccan warrior won and this dessert is in the shape of a Japanese swear word.

I would like to finish off with a warning from Alana and Abi about their time in Marrakesh.

Beware of the Henna ladies – they are evil.

We are now in the Cascades. We have met up with the German family again and they told us of this German future campground in the Cascades on the way to Fez. Sounded good so here we are. They will arrive tomorrow.

Categories
Food Morocco

My day in Essaouira

I LOVE ESSAOUIRA! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

oh, by the way! My name is Alana ,I’ve been traveling with the Jones family for about…….uhm……5 months I think πŸ™‚ I’ve known them for about 4/5 years,

I’ve lived most of my life in italy and two years in Portugal, and right when I was sick of school and planning to go off and travel the world…(but having no money or drivers licence or car or anything haha) they came to visit and invited me to come along πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Aaaaaaaanyway…..Last night when the rest of the family went walking around in town I was sick (for the 5th time in 5 months….aaaa!) so I decided to stay in the truck and rest for a bit, buuuuuut this morning Abi,Debbie and I went for a walk……and I must say Essaouira is my favourite Moroccan town! it is simply stunning πŸ˜›

since its a old town there are a lot of old narrow streets! and I LOVE old and narrow streets πŸ˜€ the only problem was at a certain point we found ourselves in the middle of a tourist group!!!! I have no idea how we got there but it was pretty scary…..and the street kept getting narrower and narrower and a old man turned around and took a picture of Abi and I! (with a really bright FLASH)

AND LOOK! I found a small blue door!!!!!!! it was so cute!!!!! even little me would have to crouch down to get inside it πŸ˜€ I wish I could live in a house with a small blue door…..

another thing I really like about this little town is the colour and cats everywhere !!!!! and those of you who know me know I am a very colourful person,(and I love cats) the only problem with the people here liking colour so much is that I got a lot of unwanted attention from moroccan men 😐 every 2 minutes or so some guy would yell after me “Rasta!!!!” or “Wow! colourful!” or “Where are you from?” one man took my hand and started stroking it telling debbie that he would give her his address for me and at some point this one guy who was selling shoes wanted to give me free shoes…..people often want to give me shoes because I tend to walk around barefoot…..anyway, Abi was quite happy with me getting all the attention because the night before she was the one getting all the harassment .

last, but not least, Essaouira is a really artsy town.

There were a lot of places that made animals and people out of scraps of metal, bike chains, teapots,spoons and all kinds of things! places where they sold a lot of fabric, I took a zip-up hoodie with a broken zipper in one place wanting to buy a new zipper and the guy there tried to fix it! wich I found really cool because in Europe they wouldnt think of fixing it they would just hand you a zipper and send you on your way.

So, When we were done being tourists we went back to the truck and AbiΒ  and I made a smoothie out of all the fruit and veggies we could find, such as strawberries,avocados,beat-root,ginger,lemon juice and zest,orange,carrots,flax seeds,some delicious orange fruit and other things….

ANYWAY

I should go because everyone is waiting for me to go get italian style ice-cream…..IN MOROCCO! isnt that crazy?

abi keeps biting me……she is now telling me not to be rude and say good bye……….

good bye

Categories
Food

How to Make Really Good Moroccan Tea

Mint tea in Morocco is great!!! It is idyllic to share a pot of mint tea at a small table on the side of the road. It is a ceremonial bonding experience in a private home. Moroccan mint tea at my truck is a bitter brew. I blamed the tea, then the lack of sugar, then my poor elephant teapot. I then asked Karim to show me how after another perfect cup of ceremonially prepared brew. I learned alot and can now serve a cup not bitter moroccan mint tea to you if ever you should come to call.

The first thing to do is put your metal or enamelled teapot right on a medium gas or coal flame. The teapot will need to be about a third full of water. No your teapot will not live through the experience without some black marks. After about 5 minutes put about 1 1/2 – 2 heaping tablespoons of gunpowder green tea in. After the tea has come to a boil pour the liquid out of the pot into an awaiting large cup or glass while swirling the tea in the pot occasionally. Discard this tea. Yeah! seriously. This is called “rinsing the tea”. Fill the teapot again with water. This time most the way to the top. Your tea leaves should still be in the pot. Bring to a boil.

After boiling you need to add 4 sprigs of rinsed mint and about 1/2 cup of chunks of sugar broken off from a small mountain shaped hunk of sugar. Normally the sugar is kept in a small tin chest with a rock or a brass sugar breaker inside as well. Like a treasure chest. Karim demonstrated breaking chunks off of mount sugar into the tin chest with a sharp stone.

You do this by adding the mint and sugar to the teapot. You mix the tea by pouring from a great height into the small glasses at least 3 times. Hopefully creating a small foam at the top of each. Serve. Typically Moroccan tea has at least twice as much sugar as this. I have given you the low sugar alternative. Another key is time. Dont hurry the process like I did. The tea turns bitter if you heat up the water or tea too fast. The tea pours out of the lid of the teapot if you try to pour it out of the pot into the miniscule little cups too fast. I have yet to learn to slow down the process enough and have good enough aim to avoid spilling some tea on the tray yet. Practice. Practice. Time and patience. Enjoy!

Categories
Food Morocco

Avocado Shakes

Whilst staying At the mechaniques we found a patiserie across the street that sold fantastic avocado milk shakes, here is the rough recipe,

1 avocado take the pit out and skin off

1 table spoon of sugar

about 4 almonds

milk (not quite sure how much but roughly as much as you need to fill your cup)

And blend it all up

Here is the place.

 

Categories
Food Portugal

Hannah’s Birthday

 

Today was Hannah’s 12th birthday. It was a day filled with joy, happiness and drifting with tasty smells of chicken and banana cake. The Jones family tradition consists of the birthday person getting to choose the food that they want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Hannah chose English Breakfast, tuna sandwiches, banana and chocolate milkshakes, Lemon and Thyme chicken, passionfruit Sumol and Banana cake with chocolate fudge frosting. What she didnt ask for is the special candles that kept relighting themselves. She got lots of great gifts including a nano, rain poncho, a very cool bag that Edna made, and a plastic teaset from Paulo that the boys were also enjoying.

Categories
Food

Rainsticks and Food

Over the weekend Alana’s family brought her back after getting her visa renewed. They also brought Steff with them. We had a great weekend together.Β  We were 19 all together. Lots of cooking and talking and laughing. We had some great food together. Of course, the Hurst family came laden with all sorts of good food including a banana cake, homemade bread and pasta. Once again, the Hurst family loving great food almost as much as sharing it. Abigail made some great puddings for Sunday (Wacky cake and a Portuguese Cookie cake). The cookie cake tasted great but didnt hold its shape too well – we’ll need to try that one again. Apparently it is the first cake that young portuguese girls learn to make …. hmmmm. Of course, we also had “Paulo’s Drunken Chicken”. Andrew was quite proud of his chicken and the fact that he could cook 4 chickens at the same time. Portuguese chicken is so great. They arent nearly as big as other countries but the taste of those little yellow flesh chickens, mmmmm. Anyways, when they left they took Peter (from Germany) with them. We have had such a good time with Peter. Peter, our multi-talented friend.

 

While gathering sticks for making Didgeridoos he found a smaller stick and used it to teach Lizzy how to make a rainstick. He taught “circular breathing” to Sam and Donald so they could play didgeridoo.

He had an impressive collection of Freakstock wristbands. He went up to Lisbon with the Hursts and then will go up to Porto to Paulo’s other tattoo parlor.

We will miss Peter and his gentle heart, wise words and good teaching and and and.

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Categories
Food

Paulo’s Drunken Chicken

Yesterday I cooked 4 chickens on beer cans at Paulo’s house. We called it Paulos Drunken Chicken. I adapted a recipe from the BBQ Bible for this. The BBQ rub was 5 equal parts of salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika and brown sugar. I cut the top off each can of beer and left half the beer in the can. I also added two spoons of my BBQ rub mix to the beer so it would flavor and steam the chicken from the inside.

It turned out pretty well. I might add some cayenne pepper next time to give it more of a kick. Its a great way to cook 4 chickens in a small oven and it looks fun also.

Categories
Food

Canoeing, Feasting and After Eights for Christmas

Well, tried to post this up and lost everything. Here it goes again.

How are we doing? Soggy, soggy, soggy. We are so soggy. Did I say we were soggy? It is still raining, and raining.

Was not so sure how this Christmas would be. You see, we were supposed to be in Morrocco! Spending Christmas with our dear friends the Carters. We were kinda bummed. However, this Christmas turned out to be wonderful indeed.

The river bed that was empty when we first arrived was full and fast and ready for white, oops brown, water rafting for Christmas Eve and the sun even came out for a few moments to celebrate. I must confess I wimped out on all the fun. It may not look it but it was seriously COLD but the kids didnt seem to notice. If you look close you can see that where the small waterfall is behind Andrew is supposed to be a bridge. Now, a few days later, the water has gone up so high that you cant see the bridge at all.

porcewwradi.jpg

Categories
Food Portugal

Thanksgiving

The biggest Thanksgiving turkey we ever had was 33 pounds (15 kilos) which just squeezed into our double oven. We served 45 people that day, in our home in Portland, Oregon. I was the chef, of course, which means that I took all the credit for the entire meal which was, to be honest, composed of many other food items that my wife had made – sweet potato souffle with marshmellow, jello salads, pumpkin pie – but he who cooks and carves the turkey wears the crown. Just the way it is.

CGC-ThanksgivingAn2.gif

We invited a lot of international students who wanted a real American thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that I was a New Zealander. There were Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. We all went round in a large circle giving thanks for what God had done for us. It took a while. It was a big happy memorable day. Hope you have the same today. We are having a slow and kind Thanksgiving here in Portugal.

For those of you outside USA, who only know of Thanksgiving from old episodes of Happy Days, Bob Beltz has an informative article on the history of Thanksgiving. And thanks to CG Grant and Co for sending me a nice Thanksgiving letter and this animated GIF that I appropriated.

Categories
Food Portugal

Stinky Potatoes

People love, love, love this meal. I have cooked this meal twice in the last month for 12+ people. Serge and Jimmie swear it is the best meal they have ever had. Donald wants to cook it with me next time, “I dont cook”, he says, “but I want to learn how to make this because I want to have it over and over again”. Frankly, I dont understand all the fuss. It is based on a meal I have had all my life. Come to think of it, I think it was one of our favourite meals as kids. Well, I cant give you a recipe but I will give you a “story of preparation”. BTW, this recipe adapts well to a vegetarian meal, just leave off the porkchops and drizzle with olive oil instead. It is also great to cook for a crowd as it is one dish for meat, starch and veg. I like it also because I get to use all the leftover fresh veg laying about.

So, here goes. I get my chopping board out and a nice sharp knife. I know I will be doing alot of chopping. I normally do 2 large casserole dishes for 12+ people. So, I put my 2 casserole dishes just behind the cutting board. I take out a pile of potatoes, onions, carrots and whatever else I can find. A month ago I made it vegetarian and had courgettes (zucchini) and broccoli (including the stalks). Last nite I didnt have courgettes or broccoli but had a big bunch of some sort of strange portugeuse dark leafy thing that people say, “kinda like spinach, you just cook it longer”. I start slicing potatoes and then take turns withΒ  all the other things in piles surrounding me. I wash everything well and leave the skins on everything but the onions. I slice as thin as I can, especially the carrots as they take the longest to cook. My animated husband helps by entertaining me with stories within stories of all things internet and blog and what people are talking about in the blogesphere. So, gradually my casserole pans got fuller and fuller. Something beautiful to behold.Β  Look at how the colours play with each other.Β  Two whole pans full of the vivid colours of playful fresh veg. I look lovingly at my sliced veg and give it a bit of a toss. My mom only used potatoes and onion and left them neatly layered. Uh, sorry mom, I am a bit rebellious, no neat layers of fresh veg for me. I give them another little toss about so the colours and textures can play a bit. I see a bit more potatoes than anything else. After both casseroles are full. Andrew is hovering now, the blogesphere stories have stopped and he is peering suspiciously at this large pile of veg that will be his dinner. He asks about salt and pepper and I tell him he can do it. Abigail has grated a generous amount of cheese, just normal boring cheese, in Portugal they have “flamenco”, in Australia it would be “tasty”, in America and UK I guess it would be “mild cheddar”. The key is a generous amount. I looked in the fridge and found a little corner of Brie and added that too. I really like some grated parmesan on top so Paulo eagerly went to the store to get some. Saying as he went out the door, “I love any meal that has cheese in it”. After the cheese I put 1 small container of cream for each casserole. I prefer 2 for each so I poured some milk over instead. I layed the pork chops over the top. Oh wait! Andrew has stolen my pork chops! Dang, that husband of mine. He cant stand the thot of me putting raw pork chops on top. He is looking guilty at the stove while he sears the pork chops with a bit of gravy left over from Sundays meal. NOW the pork chops go on and it cooks in a moderate oven for 1 1/2 hours.