When I think of Morocco now my mind is flooded with sandy and burnt reds, browns and yellows, I feel the warmth of the dry sun on my face, I hear a faint buzzing of motorbikes and intertwined Arabic and French, my nose is filled with hipnotic aromas and the tastes of 17 spices hit my tongue.

Ait Ben Haddou

I had been in Morocco for an entire hour and already felt the end of the trip arriving, wanting to stay longer, much longer.

Marrakech was a feast for the eyes and mouth. Amongst its palette of earthy reds and yellows burst richly coloured gems and twinkles of silver and bronze. My eyes were hungry to explore every tiny street, every hidden corner of the Medina (the Old City). It had so much to offer and discover.

Driving for hours out to the desert at Zagora I watched the Berber villagers blur past my window, children playing ball and women collecting water. The snow capped Atlas mountains flew high above me before we descended into an endless view of sand studded with palm trees and crumbling buildings.

Figs, dates, apricots by the wagonload. My mouth watered as I wandered past the stalls of heaping dried fruits and nuts. We spent much of our time exploring the Souks, gazing at the delicately detailed textiles, and speaking with the locals.


We enjoyed a variety of tajines but the one that left the longest lasting taste in my mouth and memory was the chicken tajine that I cooked myself. Lemons soaked in oil water for a month, a handful of spices, fresh vegetables and chicken all came together and cooked slowly over a fire in a rustic, ceramic pot. 

Mint Tea

I couldn't tell you how many cups of this stuff I drank while I was in Morocco, but it was a lot. With my extreme (and somewhat childish) aversion to mint I forced myself to drink my first cup. I was surprised when I didn't immediately gag after the first sip. It was very, very sweet and the mint is a lot less pronounced than I thought it would be. I became less and less irritated by the mint flavour as the days went on, and found myself reaching for my third and fourth cup in the chilly desert morning.

A turning point in my life? Has Morocco cured me?

Harissa soup

Whether it was with the locals in the center of the Djemaa El-fna for 3 DHM, at a rooftop terrace where I danced with the waiter, or cupping my hands around a warm bowl in the desert and scraping every last bit from it's sandy bottom, I really enjoyed this traditional tomato soup.

You can't go to Morocco and not eat couscous! I definitely got my fix, especially with this mountain of seven vegetable couscous, which was one of the nicest I had while I was there.

We ate at the night markets in Djemaa El-fna almost everynight. The food was just so good, and quite cheap too. There were tons of stalls all competing with each other for customers and selling the most hilarious sales pitches. Among the rows and rows we managed to find our favourite stall, where we became regulars.

I tried the pastilla more than once: a savoury, but slightly sweetened, pastry that includes nuts and chicken in its filling.

Moroccan pastries are heavenly. Countless varieties filled with crushed nuts, dried fruits and sweet syrups, I did my best to try as many as I could.

One night we stall-hopped a bit for our dinner courses. At one particularly busy one we squeezed ourselves amongst the locals and asked for a plate of lemon lamb. Just as we took our first bites we were surprised by another plate. What was on it? Brain, pieces of goat's head, and something else I'm still not entirely sure of what it was. We tried it all (...when in Morocco!). Let's just say it wasn't my favourite dish of the trip... though the memory will certainly always stick with me.

The end of this dream came suddenly and I was whisked away back to France. Now I'm home in the mountains and falling back into routine.

I'll remember Morocco and how rich it is.

 Rich in culture, art and tastes; magically parfumed and so brilliantly coloured.


Anna Muffins

This post makes me smile

I have here another original recipe sent from the one and only Anna, back at home.

Anna likes to make muffins. Anna likes to improvise.

Anna doesn't like to follow recipes.

So I find it funny to call this an actual recipe, because I know she would never make these exact muffins again. She would feel compelled to change an ingredient or two, sub in some dried fruits, or try another variety of yogurt. When it comes to muffins, the possibilities are endless!

Anna's muffins are never the same.

Anna likes natural and healthy ingredients and you will see here she has used practically everything in her kitchen. But don't worry if you don't have everything on the list, the recipe demands experimentation and allows for much substitution. Just use what you have and have fun with it!

The only thing I don't like about these muffins is I never got to taste them! I was given the luxury of drueling over the pictures. She also made a previous version (version 1, if you will), which were made with carrots, pumpkin and autumnal spices. These I am also dying to taste... maybe I'll be sent that recipe to post sometime soon too?

Anna Muffins (version 2)
3 tasses de "liquides": 
1 patate douce (sweet potato)  
1 tasse de yaourt nature 
Quelques cuillèrées de cottage cheese
1-2 tbsp syrop d`érable
1 tbsp huile végétale

2 tasses de "farine":
3/4 tasse de farine intégrale
1/4 tasse de farine blanche
1/4 tasse de graines de lins, moulues (ground flax seeds)
1/2 tasse de avoines (oats)
2 tsp bicarbonate de soude (baking soda)
1 tsp levure (baking powder)
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sel

3 oeufs
3/4 tasse (ou 1 tasse) de cassonade (brown sugar)
1/4 tasse de canneberges séchées
1/4 tasse de noix de pécane, coupées 
1 orange- le jus et le zeste
1/4 tasse de cognac


Préchauffer le four à 350 F

Submerger les canneberges avec le jus de l`orange et le cognac. Laisser de côté quelques minutes pour réhydrater les canneberges. 

Peler, et couper la patate douce en cubes. Bouillir jusqu`à tendre, puis purer. Laisser refroidir un peu. 

Mélanger les "farines" avec les levures et épices. Laisser de côté. 

Battre les oeufs avec la cassonade. Ajouter le zeste de l`orange.

Dans un autre bol, mélanger tous les éléments "liquides" (puré de patate douce, yaourt, cottage cheese,
huile, et syrop d`érable)

Ajouter les "liquides" aux oeufs/cassonade. 

Incorporer les "farines"

Finalement, ajouter les canneberges avec le liquide. 

Mettre dans des récipients de muffins (préviamment huilé) 

Sapoudrer avec les noix de pécane 

Cuisiner 15 (ish) minutes

et voilà!


Lemon Biscotti

What do I do on a snowday? Bake.

As the buses were canceled on Friday, and I had all of one student show up to class, I was dismissed for the day. What better place to spend my free afternoon than in the kitchen!

I made some delicious French Onion Soup for lunch mmmmm so comforting on a snowy day. Secret ingredient that makes this soup? Apple. Yep, I am really digging the apple and onion pairing right now. They make such a sweet couple :)

As I had a few leftover lemons in the fridge I decided to make some lemon biscotti for everyone to enjoy with their tea after skiing. This recipe is really simple and fast, and the cookies come out crisp and lemony fresh. Don't let the dough throw you off, it will be very sticky when forming the logs but just wet your hands with some cold water to make it easier.

This biscotti is really nice, and would be especially nice dipped in a little white chocolate.

So the school buses didn't run again today... and there is a strong chance that they won't come tomorrow either. Why don't we just cancel the whole week and start the holidays early? I'd be up for spending a few extra days in Spain before flying out to Marrakech on Saturday.

Oooohh I cannot wait for the sights, scents and tastes of Morocco!!

Lemon Biscotti

1/4 cup light olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking try with none-stick parchment paper.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.

In a large bowl, blend together the eggs and oil. Beat in the lemon juice, zest and then the eggs. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12x2 inches) on baking tray. Dough will be very sticky so we hands with cold water when handling it.
Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs just begin to brown lightly. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.

Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet and return to oven for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool. Store in an airtight container.


Snowed in

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to snow here. When you can walk outside in a thin sweater in the middle of January, there's something wrong.

Winter finally hit my village last weekend when the first snow pushed past the mountains and tumbled down onto my doorstep. As soon as I saw it start to fall Saturday evening, I threw on a coat and ran for the door to dance with the snowflakes.

Since then it has been snowing almost everyday. Thursday there was about 2 cm of snow on the ground and the world stopped. The buses were canceled, Friday was declared a snowday, drivers were scrambling to wrap chains around their tires and everyone else refused to step outside. The French just can't deal with the snow.

Yesterday I woke up to a winter wonderland. Overnight the village was covered in a soft, sparkly blanket. We received a massive dumping of fresh, fluffy snow in the morning, which ceased in the afternoon after reaching a comfortable 15 cm. This morning I opened my curtains to the same white landscape blurred by giant snowflakes. It's incredible - one day it's 10 C and the next it's transformed into a Canadian winter. If it keeps it up we're going to have another snowday tomorrow. I think I can deal with 4 day weekends.

Visibility conditions while skiing this week

While most people have barred themselves indoors, I spent most of yesterday outside making snowmen families with the neighbor's kids and hiking in the mountains. 

People, it's magical. Embrace it.

While the French are paranoid about leaving their homes, I am reveling in the beautiful silence of the white world beyond my window, spending much of my day gazing out at it.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a mug of hot chocolate in the kitchen with my name on it.