Food for Friends : Moroccan

the menu (Moroccan Food)

starter  prepared by Martina and Philip

spicy aubergine and tomato salad                                         griddled courgette with garlic and mint                                  toasted almonds                                                                                     flatbreads                                                                                                      

main course   prepared by Elisabeth and Charlie

lamb tagine with prune and apricot                                      Moroccan ratatouille with dates                                             Berber lentils with coriander                                                        couscous

dessert prepared by Isabella and Gabriel

m’hanncha with orange, cardomom, dates and pistachio


  red and white from Moroccan vineyards


 Recipes :  the starters

zalouk   (Spicy Aubergine and Tomato Salad)


3 aubergines                                                                                                                           6 tomatoes (remove skins and chop into small pieces)                                 1 heaped teaspoon harissa                                                                                125ml virgin olive oil                                                                                                          3 garlic cloves (crushed)                                                                                                   juice of 1 lemon                                                                                                                     1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped                                                                       1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped                                                          salt and pepper to taste                                                                                        sprinkle with a handful of cumin seeds to serve


1  Pre-heat oven to gas mark 6/ 200°C.

2  Place the aubergines on a baking tray and the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish. Pour half the olive oil over the tomatoes. Place both in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. The aubergines should be soft when you press them – if not continue cooking them for a few minutes more.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Cut the aubergines in half (you will need a sharp knife for this) and scoop out the flesh. Chop it to a pulp. Remove the skins from the tomatoes, cut them in half to scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh to a pulp.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and fry  over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the tomato pulp and harissa for 5-6 minutes. The mixture should be thick and pulpy. Turn off the heat and add the aubergine, coriander and parsley.  Stir in the lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper.

Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the roasted cumin. It can be served warm or at room temperature.


Griddled Courgette with Garlic and Mint


4courgettes                                                                                                                              1 clove of garlic                                                                                                                    1 handful of fresh mint                                                                                                      freshly ground black pepper                                                                                          sea salt                                                                                                                                         extra virgin olive oil                                                                                                           1 squeeze of lemon juice


Slice the courgettes crosswise  thinly. Grill on a red-hot griddle  until lightly charred on each side.                                                                             2  Place on a large dish or plate ( avoid overlapping to prevent the courgettes from going limp). Before they cool down completely sprinkle them with the salt and pepper.
Finely chop the garlic and scatter over the courgettes.
4 Scatter with the chopped mint and drizzle with the olive oil. Add  a squeeze of lemon and serve.



 Ingredients for the basic dough:

500g strong, white bread flour
10g salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter , chopped into small cubes
300ml water


 1   Put the flour in a large, warm mixing bowl with the salt and the dried yeast.  Add the butter and most of the water, then mix together using your hands.  Add the rest of the water until all the flour is mixed in well to form a dough.                                                                     2  Put the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8-10 minutes. When the dough feels smooth return it to the mixing bowl.                                                                                                                                          3  Cover  with a warm tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.                       4  Put the dough on to a lightly floured surface and keep  folding to remove all the air.  Tear into 12 equal pieces then roll each piece into a ball (put 6 balls to one side – these are to be stuffed).                     5  Flatten each ball with a rolling pin then leave the flattened balls on a baking sheet in a warm place for 15 minutes.                                         6 Heat  a very small amount of olive oil in a frying pan then cook the flatbreads 3-4 minutes on each side (alternatively rub a little olive oil on the flatbreads prior to cooking).  Once they start to darken and blister they are done.


 Stuffed flatbreads

for the tapenade stuffing you need –

100 g  black olives – pitted                                                                                             1  clove of garlic, pressed or very finely chopped                                          1 tablespoon of lemon juice                                                                                         1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley                                                                                        4 tbsps olive oil                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon harissa

to make the tapenade –

chop the olives as finely as you can (by hand or pulse in  a food processor) until the olives are almost a paste.

Mix the remaining ingredients in with the chopped olives (by hand or pulse in a food processor ).

to make the stuffed flatbread

1  Fetch the 6 dough balls you have  set aside.                                                2 Make a  hole in the centre of each ball of dough then add the stuffing mixture. Pinch the dough over to seal the bread.                        3 Gently roll out the stuffed dough.  The stuffed dough will not be as flat as the non-stuffed dough.                                                                                        4 Leave to rest for 15 minutes.                                                                                  5 Then fry gently in a tiny amount of olive oil , approximately 4 minutes on each side.

flatbread with tapenade stuffing
flatbread with tapenade stuffing

Recipes : the Main Course

Lamb Tagine with prune and apricot


3 tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                  600g  diced lamb                                                                                                                 1 large onion, chopped                                                                                                     2 large carrots,  cut into chunks                                                                                  2 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                                                                      2 tbsp ras-el-hanout (mixed spices)                                                                          400g tin chickpeas                                                                                                         400g tin chopped tomatoes                                                                                 200g dried apricots                                                                                                    100g prunes                                                                                                                              700ml chicken stock                                                                                                      salt and pepper

 sprinkle with

2 large handfuls chopped coriander

serve with



  1.    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2.    On hob, heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb.          Remove lamb using slotted spoon and put on a plate.                            Add the onion and carrots to the dish and cook for 4-5 mins.           Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  3.  Stir in the spices and tomatoes then season before adding the browned lamb with the chickpeas, apricots and prunes.
  4.  Stir in the stock  and bring to a simmer.
  5.  Cover the casserole dish and cook in the oven for 1 hr, checking occasionally to make sure the tagine does not dry out.  Add a little water if necessary. If the lamb is still not tender extend cooking time by 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and rest for several minutes before serving scattered with roughly chopped coriander. Serve with couscous.

sebha del hdaree (Moroccan Ratatouille with Dates)

The Ingredients

5 tablespoons olive oil                                                                                                       1 onion halved then slices                                                                                               2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped                                                                                1 red pepper, halved then sliced crossways                                                         1 aubergine, halved then sliced crossways                                                          2 courgettes, sliced                                                                                                   200g stoned dates, halved lengthways                                                                  2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes                                                                           2 tsps ras-el-hanout                                                                                                           1 tsp sugar                                                                                                                                 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped                                                                             salt                                                                                                                                             black pepper


1   Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan or casserole.  Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften.                                    2  Add the aubergine, courgette and pepper and cook for an                  additional 4-5 minutes.                                                                                                     3  Add the ras-el-hanout, the sugar,  dates and tomatoes and mix thoroughly.                                                                                                                             4  Cover with a lid and cook for approximately 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.                                                                                                       5  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Serve hot.


Berber Adas (Berber Lentils with Coriander)


2 tbsps olive oil                                                                                                                      1 knob butter                                                                                                                         1 onion, finely chopped                                                                                                    2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped                                                                         2-3 tsps ras-el-hanout                                                                                                    1 tsp sugar                                                                                                                                 220g brown or green lentils                                                                                          600ml water                                                                                                                            1 bunch coriander, chopped                                                                                     salt and black pepper


1 heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 3-4 minutes.                                                                                       2 stir in the ras-el-hanout, sugar and lentils and coat them in the mixture.                                                                                                                                    3 pour in the water, mix thoroughly and bring to the boil.                       4 simmer for 35 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed (but check frequently to make sure that the lentils don’t dry out. Add more water if this looks likely to happen.)                                                            5 Season well with salt and black pepper and scatter the chopped coriander over the top.

Serve warm

 Recipes : the Dessert

 M’hanncha  (‘the snake’) with dates, cardomom and pistachio

Usually one large coiled ‘snake’ this dessert has been split into 6 baby ones


 one pack of ready-rolled filo pastry ( 6 sheets – approximately 270g)
For the filling

10oz butter                                                                                                                    10oz icing sugar                                                                                                                    2 free-range eggs                                                                                                          10oz finely ground almonds                                                                                           3 cardomom pods, crushed                                                                                           2 unwaxed oranges ( for zest and 4 tbsp juice)                                            50g dates, stones removed, chopped                      

To serve

 dust with icing sugar    and sprinkle with 40g flaked almonds and 5-6 crushed pistachios.

  •  method

    1. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and place one sheet of filo on it.
    2. To make  the filling, cream the butter and icing sugar together. Mix in the eggs gradually. Add the ground almonds and mix in.
    3. Pour the juice of the oranges into a small pan and add the crushed cardomom pods.  Simmer for several minutes then leave to cool.
    4. Discard the cardamom pods and add the juice to the filling mixture. Add  flaked almonds, the chopped dates and three quarters of the orange zest. Mix well.
    5. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
    6. Put one filo sheet on the work surface.
    7. Spoon the filling in a straight line approximately 1cm from the edge of the filo sheet ( lengthways). Dust your hands with icing sugar to stop the filling from sticking to them. Then roll up the pastry to form a  thin mixture-filled filo tube. Coil round to create a snake-shaped pastry (m’hanncha).
    8. Repeat this process 5 more times.
    9. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown in colour.
    10. To serve, dust with sifted icing sugar and scatter with flaked almonds, the remaining orange zest and the crushed pistachios.


    If making these wonderful dishes isn’t challenge enough, try getting your hands on some Moroccan music to add atmosphere to your Moroccan meal.


    And if you want to take it even further you could even make your dress code Moroccan



    harissa – a hot chili pepper paste popular in North African cuisine made from roasted red peppers, dried red chilies, salt, garlic, coriander, caraway seed and olive oil.

    ras-el-hanout – a fragrant mixture of spices. Consists of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardomom,  peppercorns and a pinch of saffron.

    Find the Moroccan wines which accompanied this meal at



    Moroccan music

    YouTube has examples of key musical traditions –

    Moroccan-Andalusian                                                                                  Berber                                                                                                                            Sufi                                                                                                                                  The Master Musicians of Joujouka

    Try Moroccan-Andalusian music with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at-

    or the Master Musicians of Joujouka with its pan pipes at –

    Or if they don’t do it for you you can always go for Moroccan references in western music. Try –                                                                           ‘Rock the Casbah’ by The Clash, ‘The Road to Morocco’ by Bing Crosby and ‘The Marrakech Express’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

    Traditional Moroccan Dress

    The traditional dress for men and women, the djellaba, is a loose, long garment with a hood and full  sleeves. However, women often wear kaftans and men do wear the fez both of which might be easier to locate!




3 thoughts on “Food for Friends : Moroccan”

  1. I love this. I was searching for moroccan recipes for a dinner party and when I found this it was perfect. I’ve followed the zalouk, tagine and even attempted the snake dessert and they all worked. My friends are still raving about it so a big thank you for sharing. You’ve only got moroccan. Any others in the pipeline? also the recipes aren’t presented well. Typing problems? Detracts from your recipes. But thanks for sharing. I even played some of the music. Great idea for a moroccan experience.

  2. Dear Izzy,

    Thank you for this amazing recipe. Perfect for a dinner party I would say – absolutely full of flavour!

    Keep em coming!


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