Category Archives: Travelling to Morocco?

March 2014:

From time to time, I will post items of interest for travelers to Morocco.
Remember, you can book me for a phone conversation to review your itinerary, or to chat about what to expect in Morocco.
I am not a travel agent, but I certainly know Morocco.

Simply go to Travelling to Morocco page, and click on the Paypal icon. I will receive an email, get back to you to schedule a mutually convenient time to chat. USD100 for 60 mns. USD50 for 30 mns.

Destinations:
List of museums in Morocco:
http://www.aufaitmaroc.com/actualites/culture/2014/2/5/les-14-musees-du-maroc-desormais-sous-sa-tutelle_217924.html?utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=e-mail&utm_campaign=aufait_newsletter#.UvP9OihvDuo

Summer 2016 Morocco news

News of Morocco and beyond:

In Casablanca in May 2016?

The Fondation ONA, Morocco’s leading cultural foundation, is sponsoring a retrospective of the works of my friend Abderrahman Rahoule, one of Morocco’s leading modern artists and director of the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Casablanca, from May 12 to June 30, 2016, at Villa des Arts (built in 1934, an outstanding example of the city’s Art Deco architecture), 30 Boulevard Brahim Roudani, Casablanca. http://www.fondationona.ma

Note that these veils reflect the taste (and dress codes) of Middle Eastern women, NOT necessarily those of Muslim women from North Africa.

What’s That You’re Wearing? A Guide to Muslim Veils

By RUSSELL GOLDMAN Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://nyti.ms/26O7w3v

MUST WATCH: A genius speaks.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2joni8_audition-de-idriss-aberkane-chercheur-ambassadeur-de-l-unitwin-unesco-cese_news?start=10

Audition de Idriss ABERKANE (chercheur, Ambassadeur de l’Unitwin/unesco) – cese

http://gu.com/p/4gdqb/sbl

My interview on Pink Pangea

This lovely travel site bills itself as a travel site for women.

Very interesting and informative, and they published an interview about Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Published on Pink Pangea on December 31, 2015 at this link:

The Kasbah Chronicles November 2015

Musings:

 Clkshp 4

Chef David Thorne of Elysian restaurant in Glendale, CA

THANKSGIVING at THE KASBAH:

In need of “comfort food” I broke my tradition of basting a turkey inside and out with PRESERVED LEMON PULP to prepare a TURKEY COUSCOUS from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan Memories (page 221, CH 22). Couscous= a balm for the soul.

And then came Paris. We remained glued to the television, as was the rest of the world. To paraphrase my French friends and relatives: “We must go on as usual, or we allow THEM to win. “ The world’s response to the catastrophe reached San Diego, where Susan McBeth of Aventures by the Book (adventuresbythebook.com) put together a Je Suis Paris benefit event in barely 6 days, and raised over $5,000 for the Croix Rouge Française. Merci Susan, and merci, author Jen Coburn (www.jennifercoburn.com), for co-organizing.

In honor of the victims, hold on to your hankies and listen to this: http://www.lefigaro.fr/musique/2015/11/27/03006-20151127ARTFIG00251-hommage-national-natalie-dessay-fait-l-unanimite.php

     I got a break from mulling over current events with an invitation to “chat” at Kan Ya Ma Kan, a dinner organized by Clockshop (www.clockshop.org) to celebrate the food, culture, and music of Morocco’s Sephardic Jews. Chef David Thorne, who heads the adjoining Elysian restaurant (www.elysianla.com) shares the airy space with Clockshop in a former warehouse nestled among ancient buildings perched on the banks of the LA River in Glendale, CA. I licked my own chops with Chef David’s rendition of my Tagine of Duck with Prunes and Caramelized Persimmons in honey sauce!

News from Morocco: An ancient DATE crop is making a comeback:

Figuig: A troubled home for, AZIZA, Morocco’s rarest date variety.Very interesting paper written by a young intern at the High Atlas Foundation, an organization of Morocco Peace Corps returnees.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/

 Incroyable mais vrai! Morocco is thinking about BANNING the use of plastic shopping bags.

Anyone who has traveled in Morocco, or other developing countries (and, for that matter, parts of the California desert) bemoans the unsightly trash that makes these areas “bloom.” My husband and I refer to the fields littered with ubiquitous black plastic bags, “fields of flowers,” when we encounter them along Moroccan roads.

How ironic that this is a prevalent sight in countries that produce such wonderful artisanal straw baskets.

Irony 1: I have used the SAME Moroccan baskets for over 30 years!

Irony 2: WE end up purchasing these same imported straw goods at US farmer’s markets.

SACS PLASTIQUES – Interdiction par le parlement marocain

La Chambre des représentants a adopté à l’unanimité, le projet de loi n° 77-15 portant sur l’interdiction de la fabrication, l’importation, l’exportation, la commercialisation et l’utilisation des sacs en plastique.

MORE good news from Morocco:

It is among the safest countries to visit, says the British Foreign Office. Let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed.

Le Maroc parmi les pays les plus sûrs au monde, selon le Foreign Office. (“Morocco among the safest countries in the world,” according to the Foreign Office.) The British government encourages its citizens to visit.

“Le Maroc figure en bonne place dans le classement 2015 des pays les plus sûrs au monde établi par le Foreign Office, aux côtés de pays européens et d’Amérique du Nord, rapporte “Le360“. La Grande-Bretagne déconseille à ses citoyens le voyage dans pas moins de 60 pays, principalement ceux de la Région du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique du Nord, dont la Tunisie frappée l’été dernier par une vague d’attentats terroristes . . . Seule exception de la Région MENA, le Maroc est classé par le Foreign-Office parmi les pays les plus sûrs au monde. «Toutes les régions du royaume sont sûres», assure le Foreign Office, conseillant les ressortissants britanniques de s’y rendre sans s’inquiéter le moins du monde. MarocZone

New FRANGLAIS word for you to ponder:

” le startuppeur de l’année” en Afrique et au Maroc . . . Les projets primés recevront le label Startuppeur de l’année 2015 . . .

Question: Are you acquainted with any startappeurs?

July at the Kasbah

A quick recipe for  a summer dinner!

Tunisian Egg Briks

Briks are deep-fried filo turnovers, very popular in Morocco. Now that I have the time, and that Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion is at the publisher’s (December 2014 pub date!), I am rediscovering my “old” books, and favorite tested recipes. So much work goes into developing a good one, why reinvent the wheel???

Here is one I particularly like, even though it calls for action at the last minute. Frying the brik and serving it piping hot is part of the fun. So is eating it with your fingers and having a little egg yolk dribble down your chin! ! Briks are usually filled with an egg, a little diced onion, and chopped parsley and cilantro to taste.   I sometimes opt for a savory mix of mashed potato and tuna. Let your imagination run wild!

1 package frozen filo dough

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the filling:

1 cup onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley per brik

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro per brik

12 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

wedges of lemon

Thaw the filo overnight in the refrigerator, or two hours at room temperature.  Unfold filo. Using an 8-inch bowl or plate as a template, cut filo rounds with a sharp knife.  Each sheet of filo should yield two rounds.  Place the rounds on a plate, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Use two filo rounds per brik.  Rewrap and refreeze any leftover filo for future use. Stack the rounds you are going to use.

Pour 1 inch of oil in a large skillet, and heat until a piece of phyllo sizzles.

Break one egg in a bowl.  The yolk must not break.

Have the chopped herbs, the chopped onion, and the spices ready.  Separate two rounds. Gently place them in the skillet, half in, and half hanging over the side.

Carefully place the egg on the half inside the pan, sprinkle with cilantro, onion, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Quickly fold over the other half of filo to form a turnover, and hold the edges sealed with a fork.

Using two spatulas, turn the brik over gently to fry the other side until golden brown.  Remove immediately, drain well on paper towel, decorate, and place on serving plate with a wedge of lemon.

Variation: Try a little Mexican salsa over the egg, instead of the herbs.
From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books 1998) by Kitty Morse.

PS: While I am at it:

 

I had had several requests for information about tours to Morocco lately. I am happy to share the name of the travel agent who handled 18 of my 24 tours. Just send me an e-mail.

 

FYI:

You can consuult the  Travelling to Morocco page on this website, and sign up for a phone consultation. I do not recommend latest hotels and eateries (there are dozens and dozens) but I can suggest what to do and not to do in the cities you visit. My fee is USD100 an hour, payable by Paypal.

Estebanico/Al Zemmouri, “our” hero, the man from Azemmour

 

I realized recently that I have never posted anything about this fascinating figure who hails from AZEMMOUR, where our riad, Dar Zitoun, is located. Not only that, but the story of Estebanico/Al Zemmouri’s  extraordinary achievements reach the shores of the Gulf of California. His name is inscribed at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego (CA) as one of the earliest explorers of the American southwest. Better yet, how could it be that this man, a Berber from Azemmour, was killed by a Zuni arrow just outside the pueblo of Hawikuh?

Bronze bust by sculptor John Houser/The Twelve Travellers

I talk briefly about our local hero in a chapter of Mint Tea and Minarets, but my husband and I wrote an in-depth story several years ago for Saudi Aramco World magazine (a magazine on Muslim culture, free for the asking.) The nine year odyssey of this extraordinary Berber, a forced convert to Christianity, and that of  his fellow  “travellers”, three Spanish conquistadores who walked from Florida to the Sea of Cortez, is what makes La Relacion  by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, one of Al Zemmouri’s companions, a book difficult to put down.

In early 2002, my husband and I retraced Al Zemmouri’s steps by taking a trip to Hawikuh, near the Zuni pueblo in northwestern New Mexico. Our hero’s exploits will soon be immortalized in El Paso (TX) with a bronze sculpture by sculptor John Houser who has been commissioned  by the city to create larger than life renditions of the twelve most notable explorers of the American Southwest.

Our story appears here:
Vol. 53, #2

www.saudiaramcoworld.com/index/BackIssues2010.aspx

Saudi Aramco World : Esteban of Azemmour and His New World …
www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200202/esteban.of…

Esteban of Azemmour and His New World Adventures
March/April 2002

“From famine-stricken Morocco under Portuguese military occupation, a young Muslim man was sold into Spanish slavery, given the name Esteban and taken with his master on a disastrous expedition to the New World. With a handful of others, he survived for years, was enslaved again by local Indians, won fame and respect as a healer, learned six languages, escaped, guided …”

So begins our story:

“In the spring of the year 1539, a tall black man lay mortally wounded by Zuni arrows in the village of Hawikuh, in what is today northwestern New Mexico. If he prayed in his last breaths, he surely addressed God
as “Allah.” How did a Muslim come to visit—and die in— New Mexico in the early 16th century? I had never come across such a figure during my university history studies
in the United States, nor had I read of him in French history books at the lycée in Casablanca, Morocco, where I grew up. I heard of him only quite recently, by accident. . .

. . .whom we know today thanks to the lengthy, detailed memoir of conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, which carries the title La relación y comentarios del governador Alvar nuñez cabeça de vaca, de lo acaescido en las dos jornadas que hizo a las Indias (The Account and Commentaries of Governor Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, of What Occurred on the Two Journeys That He Made to the Indies).
Al-Zemmouri’s town derives its name from a Berber word for “wild olive tree.”

The story of this Zemmouri inspired us so much that we wrote a screenplay . . .

 THE MAN FROM MOROCCO

 

WGA Registration Number: 1507267

 

Any producer interested in reading the screenplay, please get in touch! Hope springs eternal!