Table with guests, table with (Moroccan) food. Part I; appetizers

We live in Italy now for almost 9 months. The life of an ex-pat is fascinating. It’s a choice, it’s a gift for your relationship, it’s a way to experience unique events. Italian people are really friendly, but It will probably take years to be integrated, if you ever get really integrated. Through contact with ex-pats working for an international company allows to more easily make friends  than you would probably do than when you meet them in your own country (so in fact not so different as what we experience in Italy).

Being the wife of somebody who works for an international company I must admit , I really look forward to meet new people. All with a different background, all scientifically trained, all with their own history. In the past meeting people, from Belgium or from abroad, I also had this hunger to listen to personal life stories and the emotional aspects connected. But now I also have more time to offer them a good reason to come to our place.

You know, what I just want to say is that at those occasions I do my very best to serve those friends a special dinner. Veerle , come to the point, what’s your menu?

Elodie’s request for this evening : tajine. Thus tonight I prepare a menu Moroccan style. As you probably already understood reading my blog, larger menus are often posted spread over different days (which allows me to have ‘rest-days’ on days where we explore the local restaurants).

Today: Moroccan starters to dip with bread or with Italian grissini (actually I stole these recipes from a Turkish cook book, but I thought it would be ok to combine :-))

  • For a carrot dip, chop 3 carrots and 2 garlic cloves. Fry in some olive oil. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. Fry until everything is soft. Add some salt and pepper. Cool down and mix in the blender or manualy. Mix with 1 cup of Greek yoghurt.
  • For the beetroot dip, roast 3 beets in the oven, wrapped up in aluminium foil and covered with some olive oil, or use preboiled beetroots. Mix the beetroot with 2 garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of Greek yoghurt.
  • Briouats with minced meat (normally lam, but chicken or mixture with chicken/pig is also tasty) but different of course). Fry 1 small chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves. Add 350 grams of minced meat, 2 teaspoons of grinded cumin, ½ teaspoon of ginger powder, ½ teaspoon of paprika powder, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of harissa (or more if you prefer), 4 table spoons of mixed chopped fresh parsley and coriander. Add pepper and salt. When the meat is ready, cool down. Mix with 1 egg. To prepare 12 small sigars you need 12 filo layers which you cut in two. Spread some melted butter on the filo. Put 1 table spoon of meat mixture and fold the filo dough to obtain a small sigar. Put the meat at one end and leave 5 cm under and 1.5 cm at both sides. Make your first turn to cover the meat, fold the sideparts and make a roll. Put the briouats on baking paper. Finish with some melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle some sesame seeds above. Bake in the oven at 180° for 15mins. Serve hot with some Greek yoghurt mixed with pepper, salt and fresh coriander.

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