Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Have you wondered how to get juice and pulp out of a passion fruit relatively cleanly? Well – I’ve got one answer! I use the juicing attachment of my food processor - Fig 1, although you can do it (more slowly) with an ordinary juicer or a spoon.

Fig 1 - the juicing attachment of my food processor.

With the passion fruit stable - Fig 2, cut it in half – you will lose relatively little juice - Fig 3.

Fig 2 - passionfruit layed out before they are cut into halves.

Fig 3 - passionfruit divided into halves.

Then apply the passionfruit halves - Fig 4, to the rotating juicer, and hey presto – you are left with three things.

Fig 4 - passionfruit half applied to the rotating juicer.

There are the empty shells Fig 5,

Fig 5 - the empty shells.

there are the seeds - Fig 6,

Fig 6 - the seeds of the passionfruit.

and there is the juice relatively free of seeds - Fig 7.

Fig 7 - the juice of the passionfruit.

If you are not completely happy with the clarity of the juice – a quick pass through a strainer will do it! Normally, 10 passionfruit provides between 180 ml and 200 ml of juice - Fig 8.

Fig 8 - the juice of the passionfruit in a storage container.

You will have enough seeds to do most things with - Fig 9 – I normally discard half of the seeds that are collected.

Fig 9 - the seeds of the passionfruit.

Now that is a very simple way to obtain passion fruit juice. Passion fruits are in season now and are relatively cheap. Juice as many as you can and store the juice in the freezer.

Monday, December 21, 2009


This is a simple dessert but it looks SO effective – people will think that you have gone to a lot of trouble but YOU know better!

Step 1

2 punnets strawberries
2 egg whites
½ cup of caster sugar - Fig 1

Fig 1 - the caster sugar, eggs and strawberries.

Step 1
Take the cores out of the strawberries and cut them into halves. Put the strawberries directly into the bowl of a food processor - Figs 2 and 3. Add the two egg whites and the caster sugar, and process on medium speed for 12 minutes - Fig 4.

Fig 2 - halved strawberries, sugar and egg white put in the food processer.

Fig 3 - during the course of processing.

Fig 4 - processed for 12 minutes - note the large increase in 'bulk'.

Step 2
The strawberry ‘foam’ or mousse thus formed is tipped into a bowl, and the bowl then refrigerated for about 2 hours - Fig 5, until ready for serving. It can be refrigerated up to a day.

Fig 5 - the mousse is tipped into a bowl which is then refrigerated.

Serve the strawberry mousse in small bowls - Fig 6 with a strawberry on top.

Fig 6 - strawberry mousse in a bowl for ready for serving.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


While this blog is principally related to simple cooking ideas and recipes, I have included my recent trip to Morocco, both because it contains matters related to food and because I think that you would find it of interest! I am going to tell the tale of our trip in a number of parts - so keep looking!

Part 1 - Marrakesh.
Aviva (my wonderful daughter), James (my wonderful son-in-law) and myself left bitterly cold, wintery Luton Airport in London at 6.00am one Friday morning in November and, after a rough journey accross France and Spain, landed at Marrakesh in Morocco at 9.00am. Travelling from 2C in London to 25C at Marrakesh was quite a pleasant shock!

We were picked up by 'Atlas Amazing Tours', the tour company we had hired for our trip, and an attempt was made to take us directly to our Riad*(Dar One) (*explained shortly) but there was massive activity as a result of filming 'Sex and the City - 2'. We eventually got to our Riad via a back route. It was a beautiful Riad - so peaceful with its water fountain containing swirling roses as you walked in the front door! - Fig 1

Fig 1 - the swirling roses in the water fountain gave a very peaceful effect.

*The average Riad containing several bedrooms and a sitting room, is built in a square around a central open space which extends from the ground floor to the roof. Light is thus let in and available to all rooms.

We were placed in a first floor bedroom. There are two floors and on the top floor/roof, which was open to the sun, we had our breakfasts - Fig 2.

Fig 2 - James and I having breakfast on the roof.

Fig 3 - looking down to the floor - it was extremely serene inside the Riad

When night time came, looking upwards gave the feeling of looking into a void. The two pieces of canvas are used to shade the inside of the Riad from the direct sun Fig 4 a and b.

Fig 4a - Aviva looking out from the roof - note the two pieces of canvas.

looked as they were an 'interloper' at night.

Fig 4 b - looking up into the void.

Marrakesh consists of a Medina - a walled off part of the city - as well as the area outside the Medina. The Medina is constucted with only very narrow pathways between houses Fig 5a and b;

Fig 5a - Aviva in the narrow pathways between houses.

5b - the narrowness creates warmth in Winter and a coolness in Summer.

the house being walled off from the pathways but having an open inside to let the light in. These Medinas were made intentionally in this manner to keep the heat out in the summer and the warmth in during winter.

In Marrakesh we visited the Palace of Bahia, the beautiuful gardens of Jardin Majorelle that was established by Yves St Laurent - wonderful tranquil gardens with lots of colour Fig 6,

Fig 6 - the Jardin Majorelle

and tiny tortoises in the water Fig 7.

Fig 7 - tiny tortoises lying in the water and in the sun.

In the Saadian tombs, the Kings 'companions' are buried according to their importance - the lesser favored Queens had flat tombs, the more favored Queens had slight projections at the surface of their tombs Fig 8.

Fig 8 - the less favored 'companions' are buried in the back of this picture; the more favored are buried in the front!

The Koutoubia Mosque Fig 9.

Fig 9 - the Koutoubia Mosque with a 'hangmans pole' at the top! It really points towards Mecca.

We thought that the 'hangmans pole' at the top of the Mosque was to hang people on - but no, it points in the direction of Mecca!

We ate lunch in the French area of Marrakesh - Fig 10 and because it was Friday, we ate a Tagine of couscous and vegetables - Fig 11. It was just delicious, and the chicken Bestila was divine as well! A Bestila is traditionally a combination of pigeon meat, almonds and sugar all wrapped in a filo like pastry - Fig 12.

Fig 10 - the French area of Marrakesh

Fig 11 - couscous and vegetables - yum!

Fig 12 - a chicken Bestila

As far as food stores were concerned, the spices were all amazing; there was just pile after pile of bakery items Fig 13;

Fig 13 - bakery items galore!

and mounds of beans and olives Fig 14.

Fig 14 - beans and olives galore!

The dried fruit stalls were stunning as well. There were four different types of dates with the Medjool date being the most expensive Fig 15.

Fig 15 - piles and piles of dried fruit!

Part 2 - Marrakesh

As night time approached, we went to the market square - Djemma el Fna - Fig 1.

Fig 1 - the famous market square Djemma el Fna.

It was just packed with people with all sorts of activities taking place. There were snake charmers - Fig 2 and 3,

Fig 2 - snake charmers.

Fig 3 - snake charmers.

little monkeys on ropes; all sorts of games to play - Fig 4;

Fig 4 - trying to get a small ring on a bottle top using a fishing line - it is nearly impossible to do!

and all types of different foods to eat - including snails, sheeps head - Fig 5,

Fig 5 - people sitting around waiting for their sheeps head to be served!

a 'chocolate' like cake and wonderful tea made out of many different spices - Fig 6 and 7.

Fig 6 - some of the many spices used to make the tea drink.

Fig 7 - Barry sampling some of the tea.

and wonderful fresh juice to buy - Fig 8.

Fig 8 - Aviva drinking some of the red grapefruit drink - really yum!

And, ofcourse, there was 'Coca Cola' - Fig 9.

Fig 9 - Coca Cola is everywhere!

A was really a world of variety and wonderment.

Fig 10 - Beghir being made - a type of fried pancake.

In the morning we were treated to a true Moroccan breakfast. We started off by having a mixture of orange and grapefruit drink. Then there were a number of different breads. One type, called Beghir - Fig 10, was like a fried pancake.

Fig 11 - a bubbly pikelet (top) and a fried flat bread (bottom).

Another type was like a bubbly pikelet - Fig 11, and a third was like fried flat bread - Fig 11. There was also French toast made out of thick cake like bread. All these were served with either honey (a favorite of Morocco), fig or strawberry jam, and tea and coffee. At some breakfasts, later on in our trip, we had a semi soft-boiled egg with cumin seeds on it; the egg was absolutely delicious!

Fig 12 - the domed, ornate entrance to the Marrakesh Medina, with the Moroccan flags either side.

The entrance to the Marrakesh Medina - Fig 12.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the souk in the Medina. The pathways are quite narrow and getting lost is relatively easy to do!

Part 3 - to Ouarzazate and the northern Sahara.

The next day we set off in an south easterly direction toward Ouarzazate, over the High Atlas Mountains - Fig 1.

Fig 1 - the road tracking across the High Atlas Mountains.

with a stop at Alt Benhaddou - Fig 2 and 3 - one of the great Kasbahs left in Morocco (a Kasbah has four lookout - one at each corner - which were used as the forts of the various tribes that lived in or invaded Morocco. The great Kasbah at Alt Benhaddou was used to film 'The Gladiator', 'Laurence of Arabia' etc., and is quite imposing.

Fig 2 - the great Kasbah of Alt Benhaddou

Fig 3 - the enormous expanse visible from the top of the Kasbah.

We stayed overnight at Dar Daif. As night was falling we drank mint tea and ate almond biscuits in the serene setting sun outside our room. Dinner was accompanyed by a man playing a lute - a mixture between as oud and a banjo - Fig 4 - who sang simple Moroccan songs that were really catchy. It was just wonderful.

Fig 4 - a Moroccan man playing the 'oud'/banjo.

We began our dinner with a red grapefruit drink with dates and olives or Zitoun. Then we had Harira soup - Fig 5 - chickpea and mutton soup - yum!

Fig 5 - Harira soup.

Then we had couscous tagine with chicken - Fig 6, and then a mixture of fresh fruit and Mouhallabiya - a milk pudding. It was a really delightful meal. Alcoholic beverages are not really permitted in Morocco although some restaurants serve them under their 'secret menu'!

Fig 6 - couscous with chicken.

We passed valleys with palm tree groves producing dates

Fig 7 - lots and lots of dates!

on our way to the Todra gorges. Some of the gorges were up to 600 feet high - it was really impressive - Fig 8 and 9.

Fig 8 - very high gorges.

Fig 9 - the gorges are used in the summer for rock climbing.

Then on to Efroud where a four wheel vehicle drove us far into the desert. It took approximately one hour. Towards evening we ended in a place called Zagora where we jumped onto camels. Actually, they were dromedaries - Fig 10: they have one hump where camels have two humps.

Fig 10 - Aviva, James and I set trail on our Dromedaries.

These dromedaries took us further into the dessert where we saw the sun setting - a most beautiful sight! The desert (the north part of the Sahara desert) is a desolate place with only a very occasional tufts of grass; the occasional Berber tent and its folks - Fig 11

Fig 11 - a Berber man in his tribal dress, dispensing water for us.

and unending sand dunes - Fig 12.

Fig 12 - the unending sand dunes of the Sahara desert.

Fig 13 - the sun setting on the Sahara desert.

It was really quite strange - some of the Berber tents have solar panels now!

Fig 14 - the 'three musketeers' on the top of endless sand dunes.

We came back from our dromedary ride at night time and we slept in a Berber tent at Auberge Dunes d'Or. It was really quite warm in the desert but it got a little but chilly at about 4.00am. Thank goodness we were under Berber blankets - Fig 15 - they are SO warm!

Fig 15 - Barry under a Berber blanket.

Fig 16 - our little fire could be seen for kilometers in the empty desert.

When the outside fire went out and we were alone in the desert, it was totally dark except for the bright stars - just wonderful! Zagora is about 30 kilometers from the Algerian border, and at present, Morocco has a very poor relationship indeed with Algeria.

Early the next morning, we settrack in the 4 WD once again across the nothingness Fig 17 - the Sahara desert, and went back to Erfoud and our car once again.

Fig 17 - the complete 'nothingness' which makes up the bulk of the Sahara desert.