Sunday, 20 May 2007

Kitchen Travels - Little Foodies Morocco

The boys are really excited about trying different foods and learning about other countries. I chose Morocco to start because we regularly eat tagine type food and I know the boys love it. Isn't that missing the point I hear some of you say? Maybe, but for our first go and to keep them keen I couldn't risk giving them food they might not like and then expect them to have an interest in learning about the country it comes from. So Morocco it was... Remember this is aimed at two fairly small children, so don't expect anything high brow. Also it's me writing, so definitely don't expect anything high brow!! I decided against finding out about children as you type that into google and some pretty unpleasant things come up... We'll just stick with learning about the food and the countries and if anybody has any interesting information or ideas then we'd love to hear them.

Before we'd even finished breakfast the boys had learned that Morocco's official language is Arabic. It's part of Africa but is the only African country not to be part of the African Union. It's just opposite Spain. We also learned some Arabic words (from a great website that had sound). We can now say, hello, goodbye, my name is..., please, thank you, yes and no in Arabic. Actually the website wasn't that great as it had loads of pop up adverts so I wont recommend it.

We made lamb tagine with apricots from an old recipe that my mother-in-law gave me (I'll post it soon). We served this with cous cous and a nice fresh undressed salad. The boys wanted theirs layered, a layer of cous cous, a layer of tagine and a layer of salad.

We also made almond pastries in honey syrup (Birwat Bi Loz) from Claudia Roden's book Arabesque. I've had this book since it came out but the only things I've ever made from it have been the almond pastries. Having read through it a lot yesterday I'm going to try a few more things this week.

As most people with families will agree - it's one big juggling act. So with balls in the air we've been to Morocco and back again as Little has gone off to a birthday party. We'll visit again, either later today but most cerainly during the week. For a start we have a fridge full of ingredients conducive to Moroccan cuisine, including rose harissa which I was addicted to while I was pregnant, both times. Today was really good fun. It's raised all sorts of questions even from Small who when looking at the map of the world asked where England was, for a child under 3 I thought that was quite good... He was missing the point as we were talking about Morocco but at least he was showing an interest... I'm encouraged.


Marie said...

I love Moroccan Food, although I have never been to Morocco. Perhaps one day. I love harissa paste and often toss some of it with my potatoes and some olive oil before I roast them. Quite delicious! I think those dessert pastries look wonderful. I can't wait to see where you are headed next!

Culinary Cowgirl said...

Great start! Can't wait to follow your "travels"...

Cottage Smallholder said...

This is a great idea. My mother used to have a foreign student house in Cambridge years ago, when I was a child. Every now and then the Italian students would cook.

It was always spaghetti bolognaise. Using the spaghetti that came in the ultra long packs. Pasta was a strange and mysterious world to me back then. It was the 1950’s after all.

They showed us how to twiddle our forks to actually easily eat this wonderful dish. Handling long spaghetti has been second nature since the age of five and Italian food. Pasta is still comfort food for me.

You are planning a fabulous culinary life for your children. The palate has to be exposed to different tastes to develop. As far as I can remember, only Italian students wanted to cook in my mother’s house.

If only the Japanese, Arab and French had volunteered I now would have a multi cultural heritage (cooking wise).

Unfortunately I don't have children but sometimes the Min Pins amaze us. This evening Dr Quito was hoovering up organic watercress that had dropped to the floor. He was not exposed to this as a pup. He will also jump through hoops for slices of cucumber. Judging from the response of the other Min Pins, this appears to be a delicacy.

Truffle said...

This sounds like such a wonderful idea and I'm sure it will be such an enriching experience for the boys. I wouldn't be surprised if they grow up to be little globetrotters! At the very least they'll never be scared to embrace new cuisines and cultures. I must say those pastries look absolutely delicious! Will send you an email tonight :)

Little Foodie said...

Hi Marie, Culinary Cowgirl, Cottage Smallholder, Truffle,

Thank you for your lovely and encouraging comments.


p.s. Culinary Cowgirl, I know my boys would love to have some recipes from a real ranch. For really big countries we might have to cover a few areas... A ranch night would be great fun!

Culinary Cowgirl said...

No problem Amanda. I can definitely through some ranch recipes your way! Send me an email ( we will come up with a few.

Little Foodie said...

Excellent, thank you Culinary Cowgirl, I'll e-mail you.

Kelly-Jane said...

Both your tagine and those lovely partries look wonderful :)

I have Arabesque too, and every now and then I think of it, and think I must try something soon!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Your children are so beautiful! They are little foodies, indeed! :)

tash said...

Sounds heavenly - I really recommend the Caldicott's book 'World Food Café', it takes you everywhere, from Peru to Africa, Morocco - a globetrotting delight.

joey said...

What you are doing is brilliant! What a creative way to "travel", get your kids learning about other cultures, and eating delicious food all throughout! :) What a great mommy you are :) And your little foodies are so cute!

I like Moroccan food too so I do hope you post your mom-in-law's recipe :)

christine said...

Oh the boys are gorgeous!! I love Moroccan food too, especially tsgines. How lucky your boys are to have a mother who'll be taking them on "culinary trips". :) I can't wait to read more.

Little Foodie said...

Patricia, Thank you, you're very sweet!
Tash, I'll be sure to check that book out, thank you
Joey & Christine, Thank you, that's really kind. I just want them to have fun and to learn about the world and all the lovely different cultures out there.
Thanks again all of you,


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