A Month in Marrakesh by Andy Harris – review

It’s obvious that those visiting my site love food. Mostly Food and Travel Journal gives a clue with its name that the bias will be in the direction of meals, recipes and ingredients; but the ‘Mostly’ opens the door to other possibilities, and it’s travel that is standing on that literary threshold.

cookbook review A Month in Marrakesh People who love to travel also tend to enjoy food. Folks who have a passion for food will want to see exotic dishes made in situ, and will seek out spice markets just to drink in the perfume and vibrancy. A Month in Marrakesh – A food journey to the heart of Morocco offers everything visitors to my site would crave – recipes and roaming.

I knew I would be impressed by this volume before I even opened the cover: terracotta and earthy colours and subtle design. Some tempting shots of food and a very ethnic water-seller decorated the back, and the inside pages offered me hours of enthralling page-turning.

A Month in Marrakesh is a dreamy book. That is to say that it leads one to dream of a trip to Marrakesh but also to dream of making those recipes. OK, so that’s not quite so much a dream as an exercise in meal planning and grocery-list penning. But you get the picture.

I am a lover of the traditional British fried breakfast. I enjoy it for the very fact that it’s traditional, but when I travel I want to indulge in a breakfast that is truly of that region. It’s my favourite meal of the day. It sets me off on the right gastronomic foot when I am away from home. Food is mostly the reason I am visiting any particular country, and there is nothing more disappointing than being presented with the “continental buffet” when one just wants a spread of something indigenous. I am so pleased that the author Andy Harris has a chapter on breakfast.

Beghrir with Honey is the perfect light summer breakfast – nothing spicy to offend the timid early-morning palate. Pancakes with the distinctive holes are a popular start to the day. Those delicate craters are just waiting to be drizzled with honey and melted butter. Very sweet and a perfect foil for some fresh seasonal fruit and some hot tea.

Briks are the North African equivalent of Indian samosas or a Cornish Cornish Pasty. They are made with strikingly thin Warkha pastry that is ubiquitous in French supermarkets. Seek out your nearest Middle Eastern deli for a packet, or use filo pastry.

These savouries can have almost anything as a filling. Andy offers recipes for a selection of the more common flavours including the celebrated Tuna and Egg Brik which is also a staple in Tunisia. A more substantial alternative is Chicken and Tomato Brik with the typical Moroccan spices – cumin, ginger and cinnamon. These pastries are what you will likely seek out for a light lunch after haunting the food markets all morning.

A traveller cannot live by briks alone and neither can the home chef. You’ll want to cook the more substantial dishes here and equally important, you will want to share the fruits of your labours with friends and family. Dinner in Morocco is a convivial affair and Chicken Mefenned with Parsley Omelettes will turn any gathering into a gastronomic event. The chicken is cooked with some of the aforementioned spices and then served with a pile of omelettes on top, like a droopy bonnet. Diners tear off pieces of meat and wrap them in a little omelette and then dip the bundle into the reduced sauce in which the chicken was originally cooked. A dish ideal for those who want a taste of exotica but are fearful of heating spices. Moroccan food is aromatic for the most part rather than fiery.

A Month in Marrakesh – A food journey to the heart of Morocco is a must-have for any food traveller or even the armchair fantasist. The photography by the great David Loftus never disappoints, and he has worked his magic again here. I congratulate Andy Harris for presenting a delectable cookbook and guide to the food capital of Morocco.

Cookbook review: A Month in Marrakesh – A food journey to the heart of Morocco
Author: Andy Harris
Published by: Hardie Grant
Price: £20.00
ISBN: 978-1-74066-961-0

 

Travel and food book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018