A Mediterranean Holiday Series – 1. Chefchaouen, Morocco
We are bringing you a four part December series taking you to some idyllic vacation spots that I’ve been to. I hope you will enjoy the journey via the images and try out the products I’ve used to create the recipes, to take you on your own wondrous travels, from the comfort of your home.
Our first stop is to one of my very favourite Moroccan towns, Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City, in the North of Morocco and part of the Mediterranean cluster close to Tangier, the port city at the very north.
I wrote this comprehensive (and might I add, rather fun) guide to visiting Chefchaouen – what to eat, where to stay, the infamous hashish and more. In this post I will be sharing just an excerpt from my guide to whet your food travel appetite.
Chefchaouen – The Blue Jewel
Chefchaouen, close to the popular port of Tangier is named as such because a mountain range above the city that looks like two chaouen or goat’s ‘horns’. The city lies between the horns. Chefchaouen was built by Spanish exiles as a fortress against in Portuguese in 1471, who were as you will know still ruthless, powerful kings of the sea at the time.
With its pale blue houses and buildings ( painted as such as a result of a pact we were told, between Arab- white and Jew- dark blue, the buildings are painted in this hue twice a year), Andalusian style red terracotta roof tiles and rugged mountainous landscapes Chefchaouen is unique, more than it is typical. Perhaps it’s the Moroccan city as we see depicted in Disney animations and in our dreams. It’s more than pretty. It’s perfect, in fact.
Because you can see the expanse of the city when you hike up the nearby hills or from various steep-sloped streets, you get the feeling of knowing and understanding the breadth of it, more easily. Opposed to say, Fes or flat as a straight-hair-on-a-limp-day Marrakech where the medina is a labyrinth and you can not see beyond one narrow alley at a time and certainly have no readily available vantage point to scope out the extent of the city.
Sitting by a brook, sipping the ubiquitous Moroccan mint tea, I smiled at my husband who was dressed in shorts (and not feeling like a pesky tourist, as many locals dressed in the same manner) and I knew what he would say when asked “Is this your favourite?”
Caramelised Onion & Beef Phyllo Pastry Tart with Green Olives
I used the following Mediterranean Delicacies products: phyllo pastry, caramelised onion dip and green olives to make this quick and delicious tart. Cumin and coriander give a hint of the scent of Moroccan spice souks or markets. This tart is perfect for using left over roast meat – chicken, lamb or beef. I has some rib eye steak left over from dinner and sliced it up to add to the tart.
I used a 28 x 20 cm rectangular fluted pie/tart tin. Thaw phyllo pastry overnight in the refrigerator.
2 extra large eggs
3 x 190g tubs Mediterranean Delicacies caramelised onion dip (substitute: 570-600 g other suitable dip)
1/2 t ground cumin (more if you prefer)
1 t coriander seeds, pounded lightly
100 ml fresh cream
5 sheets of Mediterranean Delicacies phyllo pastry
150 g roast beef, chicken or lamb, sliced thinly (meat should be cooked, rare beef or lamb is fine)
8 Mediterranean Delicacies green olives, de-pitted and sliced
salt, to taste
80 ml butter, melted
1. In a bowl beat eggs lightly. Add caramelised onion dip, cream, spices and salt (the dip is sweetish so be a little generous with the salt), and mix well.
2. Grease the pie tin and pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Unwrap the thawed phyllo, and cover with a damp tea towel between brushings. Brush a sheet of phyllo with butter. Cover other phyllo sheets. Place prepared phyllo, butter side up over the tart tin, centering it. Repeat for remaining phyllo sheets. Scrunch overhanging phyllo into the tart tin and along the inside of the fluted ends to make roughly formed pleats.
3. Pour the caramelised onion mixture into the pie tin. Arrange the cooked beef slices and olives over. Bake for 20 minutes or until set.
4. Serve with flat leaf parsley and slices of preserved lemon. I have an awesome recipe for Instant Preserved Lemons here.
This post forms part of the series of recipes I am preparing for Mediterranean Delicacies. It is a Food and the Fabulous Endorsed project and I will be remunerated for it.