Recipe

The Moroccan Table

Moroccan Feast

So I’ve been sitting here for the last 27 minutes staring blankly at this screen, the smell of freshly ground coffee fills the airwaves as it cools to the perfect temperature. My mind wonders as it gets lost within its own preconceived thoughts of Morocco. Having never been to this part of the world, all I have is the thoughts imprinted on my brain thanks to movies, pictures, written words… and of course the episode of “Jamie Does” when he goes to Marrakesh. I picture Morocco as a not so forgotten time capsule filled with a sea of culture beaming with good music, great food and beautifully designed buildings, yet untouched by the modern world. I picture vast open deserts, red dirt and heat waves rippling in the distance. As you walk down the street I imagine donkeys, street markets and hessian bags filled with spices with people everywhere. I see the Moroccan way of life heavily based around food and feasting with family and friends. I could be wrong, but for the moment this is how I picture Morocco.

Last year I attended the Eat Drink Blog conference, after the conference I walked out with a wealth of new knowledge and formed friendships with fellow food lovers. We decided late last year that we must plan a catch up, and what better way to do it than with a themed dinner party? Jemima of Feed Your Soul Perth, kindly offered the use of her kitchen and home for the evening. We decided to keep this one small to see how it went. On the guest list we had, Jemima, Lexi (Jemima’s sister), Laura from Laura’s Mess and her husband Aaron (the creative mind behind my cool new Inspired Food Dude) and of course I was there. Themes were discussed and the winner was a Moroccan inspired feast.

Morrocan table

As we were welcomed into Jemma’s home we spotted a beautifully laid table outside which fitted in perfect with the Moroccan theme. Once everyone arrived we jumped straight in. Laura kindly offered to make some dips and dessert for the evening… well actually I think Jemima and I snapped up the option to cook the mains before Laura had a chance. This didn’t seem to bother Laura at all, when she arrived I spotted what looked to be amazingly fresh flat bread rolled up in a towel, I could tell this was going to be the start of something wonderful. I wasn’t disappointed, the towel was slowly removed and a beautiful homemade Khobz (Moroccan Flat bread) was revealed… yum. Of course you can’t just eat the bread on it’s own (well some people can), so it was served with a split pea bessara dip and burnt eggplant, tahini and pomegranate dip. This combination of flavours transported me right into my mind’s eye of Morocco.  As Laura plated these up, you could just tell by watching her and the way she moved that her eye for detail is amazing. The bread was positioned on the board to look just right, a slight adjustment here and there and we were left with a dish that looked like it belonged in a cookbook. After tasting both dips I could instantly tell that Laura’s attention to detail translates into her cooking as well. The balance of flavour was perfect.

Split pea bessara dip

After sufficiently stuffing our faces with breads and dips, it was time for Jemima and I to step up and cook/serve our mains. Jemima opted for a Moroccan spiced quinoa salad and a chicken and date tagine. The Moroccan spiced quinoa salad was outstanding and is definitely a salad I’ll be adding to my arsenal. The combination of pumpkin, pomegranate, olives and goats cheese  (as well as an array of other ingredients) is enough to win anyone over. Then came time for the Chicken and date tagine. With my first spoonful of this dish I was instantly transported back to my childhood and the combination of date and chicken triggered my memory of apricot chicken as a child. I think when fruit is added to a savoury main, there’s a certain sweetness it brings, and it’s a winner in my book. The chicken tagine was laced with Moroccan spices and once again everything was perfectly balanced. The smell of cinnamon when this was getting cooked was again a reminder of my vision of Morocco. Both these ladies sure know how to cook and have outstanding palates.

Chicken and date tagine

I was serving my mains alongside with Jemima, and to be honest I was beyond nervous… I get nervous just from people watching me cook, let alone cooking for people with a strongly developed sense of taste. That and the fact I was using a yet untested recipe… well let’s just say I’m glad I had a few beers to calm the nerves. My two dishes were a Moroccan lamb meatball stew and an orange and olive Moroccan salad. As nervous as I was, both dishes turned out pretty well. I’ve made a few post taste adjustments to the recipe so you guys won’t have any issues when you make these dishes. 🙂

Moroccan table feast

Once we had finished our mains, we took a long break to make room for everybody’s favourite course… dessert. Laura was on dessert duties and made a spectacular za’atar pistachio and rose ice- cream, cardamom and orange blossom ice-cream with an almond pistachio shortbread. I think this was the dish of the night for just about everyone sitting at the table. The ice-cream was deliciously creamy with the shortbread adding great texture. The flavours are present but not too in your face, again everything balanced perfectly.

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After a nice cup of tea, that was it, the night was over. We all ate far too much and enjoyed every mouthful. I highly recommend you do yourself a favour and take note of all our recipes from the night and organise your own Moroccan dinner party. You can find them here, on Inspired food, Feed Your Soul Perth and Laura’s Mess.. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. I can’t wait for our next feast… although I’ll need to bring my A game in order to keep up with Laura and Jemima!

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Moroccan Orange Salad

Moroccan Orange Salad

What you will need:
  • 4 oranges, peeled and sliced (keep as much juice as you can)
  • 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced (as thin as you can go without losing a finger!)
  • 1 handful of olives (remove the seeds)
  • 1 pomegranate (optional)
  • 1 small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a lemon, juice only
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 
Now what?
  1. Lay the oranges out on the platter, scatter the onions olives and pomegranate over the top.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon of the left over orange juice with the lemon juice and pour over the salad.
  3. Add the parsley and mint to the salad.
  4. Combine the spices in a bowl and sprinkle over the top of the salad (don’t be too heavy handed with this part).
  5. Serve and enjoy.
 
 

Moroccan Lamb Meatball Stew with Harissa Yogurt:

Moroccan lamb meatball stew

What you will need for the meatballs:
  • 500g lamb mince (get the good stuff from your local butcher)
  • 1/3 cup of coriander
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 good pinch of salt
 
What you will need for the harissa yogurt:
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt
 
What you will need for the stew:
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 capsicum, diced (try to keep them the same size as the onion)
  • 1 kg tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 handful coriander chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
 
Now what?
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Once combined shape into little golf sized balls.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over a medium high heat add a little olive oil and brown the balls on all sides (you don’t need them to be cooked through, you just want to add colour and tasty bits)
  3. Once all the meatballs are browned remove them from the saucepan reserving the oil.
  4. Use the oil to cook the onions, garlic and capsicum over a medium low heat until the onions soften.
 

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    A Moroccan Table – 3 foodies & a feast! | Feed Your Soul, Perth
    January 26, 2014 at 7:56 am

    […] can head of to Matt’s Moroccan Table wrap up HERE for his incredible dishes! While you’re there, make sure you check out his “Guide to […]

  • Reply
    Feed your Soul, Perth
    January 26, 2014 at 7:59 am

    LOVE IT MATT!!! Great photos as always! Can’t wait for the next one!!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Thanks Jemima 🙂 I’m also looking forward to it! Might be a good excuse to get another cookbook?

  • Reply
    www.kristyleigh.com
    January 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

    The dinner sounds amazing! Such a rich tapestry of dishes, I’m quite impressed at the selection. Beautiful photos really helped me travel through the experience. I think I’m going to have to have. Moroccan dinner party. You’ve Inspired me!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 6:54 am

      Thanks Kristy 🙂 I’m glad we’ve managed to inspire you to have your own Moroccan dinner party! 🙂

  • Reply
    The Moroccan Table « Laura's Mess
    January 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

    […] Spiced lamb meatball stew with harissa yoghurt […]

  • Reply
    laurasmess
    January 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Love this Matt! Amazing photos and such a generous, detailed write up of every course… you write so well, I felt like I relived the night all over again 🙂 You guys are immensely talented and definitely healthy competition for me to keep working on my A-game too! Can’t wait for the next event!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Thanks Laura! My writing is nowhere near as good as yours 🙂 I’m really excited for the next cook up!

  • Reply
    Amy Deering
    January 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Stunning photos and awesome post, love it!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Thank you Amy 🙂 We will have to hold a massive dinner party one day and get everyone along 🙂 Also I think we have both been promised a big Indian cook up? 😉

  • Reply
    foodisthebestshitever
    January 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Like I said to Laura, wish I was there. Looks like a cracking night!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Thanks mate! It certainly was 🙂

  • Reply
    apuginthekitchen
    January 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Matt, I just read Laura’s post about the meal. I love everything about it, what a wonderful time you all had and the food is spectacular, all of it! Going to try that lamb meatball stew, it sounds heavenly!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 7:00 am

      Thank you 🙂 I’m really glad that everyone can get an insight to a great night filled with awesome good and great company. Would love to hear what you think of the meatball stew when you give it a go 🙂

  • Reply
    saucygander
    January 27, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Can I come next time? 😉

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Absolutely, if we give you plenty of notice I’m sure you could get here 😉

      • Reply
        saucygander
        January 27, 2014 at 10:11 am

        It’s only a week to drive across the Nullabor, right? 😉

      • Reply
        laurasmess
        January 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        Yes, come! Come! There will be wine, food, good company… we’ll make it entirely worth it! 😉

      • Reply
        Matt
        January 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm

        Looks like you no longer have a choice! 🙂

  • Reply
    Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs
    January 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Wonderful post…. I couldn’t stop looking at the photos long enough to read a paragraph! They’re beautiful… Everything is perfect. The recipes sound amazing. I’m so glad you found me, so that I could find you! I love your blog…and look forward to going back to catch up on what I’ve missed, and look forward to what you’ll be sharing next.. 🙂

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 27, 2014 at 7:39 am

      A picture paints a thousand words apparently 🙂 Thank you for the kind words! I look forward to having a good read through your blog too 🙂

      • Reply
        Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs
        January 27, 2014 at 7:44 am

        Oh, a picture paints a thousand words, but your story filled in the gaps.. Sounds like it was a wonderful evening. You have me inspired to have a Moroccan party! Printing your recipes as I’m typing this.. 🙂

      • Reply
        Matt
        January 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Excellent! I hope to read all about it 🙂

  • Reply
    Dolly Rubiano
    January 27, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Beautiful photos! And those meatballs are amazing. I might try that with chicken when I find myself craving for meatballs cooked the Moroccan way.

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I’ve enjoyed looking through your blog! Can’t wait to see what is next.

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    January 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Lovely photos and now I’m feeling quite hungry!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Mission accomplished and thank you 🙂 I’m loving the look of your crispy hash browns!

  • Reply
    justagirlfromaamchimumbai
    January 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Oh my god Matt what a fabulous dinner this is. I would really love to be a part of something similar if you plan again. It would be fabulous meeting everyone and sharing and talking. Will get my Butter chicken 🙂

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      It really was (not to rub it in or anything 😛 ) It would be great to have a couple of massive blogger dinners throughout the year. 🙂 I’m really hanging to try your butter chicken! 🙂

      • Reply
        justagirlfromaamchimumbai
        January 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        Then lets plan something soon maybe early week of March, I am flat out in Feb. But would love to catch up with a few bloggers 🙂

      • Reply
        Matt
        January 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

        Lets! 🙂

  • Reply
    Moroccan Spiced Couscous Salad | Perth Food and Recipe Blog | Kristy Leigh's Food for Thought
    January 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    […] by the incredible Moroccan Table held by Inspired Food, Laura’s Mess and Feed Your Soul Perth, I set out on creating my very own taste of Morocco. […]

  • Reply
    dinnersforwinners
    January 28, 2014 at 5:56 am

    WANT those meatballs! Sounds like a great feast and wonderful company.

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I recommend regular feasting with wonderful company and plenty of meatballs!

  • Reply
    Ai-Ling@blueapocalypse
    January 28, 2014 at 9:50 am

    What a feast! A very colourful one too 🙂

    I didn’t know much about Moroccan food but after reading all your posts I’m learning about different dish combinations and flavours. This dinner has served an educational purpose for me!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      I loved reading up about Morocco before deciding on what to make, I even added two new cook books to the collection (whoops!). I think the learning aspect of cooking makes the experience all the more enjoyable. 🙂

  • Reply
    chef mimi
    January 30, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I wish I could have been invited to this lovely spread! Beautiful!

    • Reply
      Matt
      January 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      The more the merrier I say 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit
    February 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    This looks so fantastic, your dishes sound delicious, and that table setting is amazing!

    • Reply
      Matt
      February 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Sarah! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lan | morestomach
    February 4, 2014 at 2:37 am

    man, you have the best parties! and the theme: how completely inspiring. i love that you all embraced this culture and cuisine, though you’ve never been.

    i’m hosting my first ever dinner party this weekend and it was in part to your previous post. imma have guests sitting on the floor and hopefully it’ll be a ball!

    • Reply
      Matt
      February 6, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Thank you 🙂 I do believe all parties should be a celebration of food! I hope to read all about your dinner party on your blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Go on, Get Forked… | Inspired Food
    February 5, 2014 at 10:04 am

    […] had to use consisted of duck, pomegranate, pumpkin and chickpeas. After experiencing a fantastic Moroccan feast with some fellow food bloggers, and having just purchase “Colour of Maroc“ (this cook […]

  • Reply
    deliciouslynell
    February 6, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Your photography is just AMAZING! I was drooling over that delicious food!

    • Reply
      Matt
      February 6, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Thank you! I do hope nobody was watching while you were drooling 😉

  • Reply
    The Spanish Table | Inspired Food
    April 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    […] Alyssa and myself. The last time we got together we were all transported to the wonderful world of Morocco. We each decided on a number of dishes to make, shared good food, booze and amazing company. We […]

  • Reply
    naughty cakes london
    May 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Wonderful site. A lot of helpful info here.
    I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing
    in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your effort!

  • Reply
    chef mimi
    June 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Beautiful! And lovely photos!

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