It was hot in Marrakech. Oh, very hot. So she escaped
to that town on the Moroccan coast, Essaouira, her favorite Summertime (and
Now she was no longer a Spring chicken (sadly,
so sadly). And so she had stayed in quite a few guest houses and hotels
in her time. Some luxurious with down pillows and beautiful bath
products and some......well, not much better than sleeping on the floor
of the bus station (oh dear).
But had she ever stayed anywhere - anywhere at all - like Dar Beida? No never.
It was organic and Moroccan and African and modern and high/lo all at
the same time. This was the sort of place that you could imagine
yourself staying in, well, forever. This little house on four
floors was so lovely, that she promptly began thinking up all her best
arguments to get the British owners to sell it to her. (My, weren't
they tired of Morocco yet? What did they mean, No?)
It was all in the details, you see. Now she couldn't possibly share them all in one batch. But here's a few to start..........
A charming place to hang the house keys........Each key with a treasure from nature attached.
Two chairs in the entry where you could sit and gaze at.......
This darling little rustic steer display....The blogging girl was quite fond of cows, and this suited her to a tee.
There was an interior courtyard in the center of Dar Beida and
African art placed here and there. (The girl had her very own body
masks like the one in this image that she had collected in Tanzania,
South Africa, and Kenya.)
Oh yes, please do perch on this little
stool and read from the enormous trove of interior design magazines...........Heaven!
This vintage African chair was covered entirely with tiny beads. How very amazing.
The chair was in this charming little bedroom. The bed was covered with a fine wool vintage haik, worn by Moroccan women once upon a time. (The girl had several of these horded for her shop.)
Oh the view from the roof terrace......She could smell the sea. (And the girl had these very same mod chairs for the roof of Peacock Pavilions. Could it be that Dar Beida had everything she liked?)
girl sat and talked on the phone while checking her Blackberry. She
told everyone she might be staying in Essaouira for a good, long
time...........Could she be a stowaway at Dar Beida?
Dar Beida, Essaouira, rented only in its entirety (which is a good thing because you'll want it all for yourself...)
Sigh, she loved eating - her waistline was visible proof. And she
poured over cooking blogs.....dreaming, dreaming. One of her
favorites was Winos and Foodies, by the lovely Australian blogger, Barbara. So
she asked, Please Barbara....would you, could you do a guest blog for me on some Moroccan dishes?
And look what arrived on her blog doorstep! Mmmmmmm......
All recipes on Barbara's delicious blog, right here.......
If the blogging fairy came along and tapped you on the
shoulder and said "you can choose to spend the day with any blogger in
the world " - who would you choose? I'd choose to spend the day with
Maryam in Morocco.
We'd sip mint tea and eat stuffed dates while she showed me all the
pretty rugs and fabrics and glass jars she has collected on her travels.
Remove seed from fresh dates and
stuff with cheese and nuts of your choice. I like the salty feta cheese
against the sweet date with the crunch of a pistachio nut. A soft brie
with almonds also makes a tasty filling.
I'd ask Maryam to introduce me to her favourite couscous maker so I could I'd learn to make perfect couscous.
400 ml of warm water to 350grams of couscous and 1/2 a teaspoon of
salt. Rest for 10 minutes, then rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil into
couscous to break up lumps and aerate the grains. Place in an ovenproof
dish, dot with 20 grams butter, cover with foil and heat in 180C (350F)
oven until the couscous is heated through, about 15 minutes. I often
add brown flaked almonds. Pine nuts and dried fruits also go well with
Left over couscous is the perfect filling for stuffed vegetables.
Remove insides of tomatoes and
cook to reduce to a sauce with onions, spices and preserved lemon. Mix
with couscous and fill tomato cases. Bake in a 180C (350) for about 25
Naturally we'd spend the afternoon shopping. When
we returned to Peacock Pavilions we would enjoy a refreshing glass of
Put some ice in a glass, add a
dessert spoon of pomegranate syrup and top with soda water. For a
sweeter drink replace soda water with lemonade. I'm sure a shot of
vodka would work in this drink.
.................and some local olives.
Orange and Rosemary Olives
Crack olives with a meat mallet to split skins slightly. Marinade
olives overnight in orange zest, rosemary spikes and olive oil.
In the evening we'd sit under the olive trees and eat platters of
Remove skin and cube the watermelon. Sprinkle with freshly squeezed
orange juice and scatter mint leaves over the platter.
Then just before midnight the blogging fairy would re-appear and it
would be time to say goodbye to Maryam. I think I'd need some help to get all myshoppinghome.
See full recipes right here. And Shoukran, Barbara!