I came back from Morocco a few days ago and this blog post couldn’t be better timed! Because, I have to tell you, this trip reminded me how beautiful my country is and I don’t think I mention it enough on this blog.
We started our trip in Fes where I showed Z the old medina and introduced him to the maze-like streets I used to walk in as a child. I also showed him my grand parents’ Riad and my grandfather's shop in the souk. Oh and we also visited the University of Al Quaraouiyine, one of the oldest universities in the world! It was emotionally beautiful in many, many, ways. I really can’t wait to go back.
After Fez, we stopped by my parents' in Rabat for a day before driving to Tangier and Chefchaouen in the North of Morocco. I hadn’t been to Chefchaouen in many years and it really felt like I was discovering it all over again. This little “coin de paradis” made it to our top 5 destinations in the world, can you even imagine? Naturally, I took about a million pictures of our trip in Chefchaouen and hike in Akchour, which I will share with you as soon as I can!
Now, these “ghriba bahla”! “ghriba” are a kind of very popular cracked cookies we eat all over Morocco and “bahla” means silly in Moroccan Arabic. I still don’t know why we call these cookies “silly” but let’s assume for now that it’s because they are so easy to make, it would be silly not to make them.
Traditionally they are flavoured with a dash of cinnamon but I decided to use my favourite flavour combination while making them and the result was so tasty, the recipe became a blog post! I always loved the combination of orange and cardamom and now, I love it even more.
In other news, my very first supper club happened just a few days before we went to Morocco and it went amazingly well, it made me SO happy (pictures below). I have to say it was quite stressful cooking for 50 people on my own but I loved every minute of it and every smile and “mmm” made it all worth it! I loved it so much I am doing my next supper club in a few weeks, on 2nd of May. Tickets will be available for purchase this weekend, so save the date friends!
p.s: I forgot to mention, my debut cookbook Casablanca is out in three weeks! Is this even real? Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered their copy so far, you don’t know how happy you make me!
Orange and cardamom ghriba bahla
Makes 15 cookies
- 200 gr plain flour
- 80 gr caster sugar
- 40 gr sesame seeds toasted and ground
- Zest of 2 oranges
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 70 gr unsalted butter, softened
- 70 ml flavourless oil such as sunflower or canola oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• Preheat oven to 170 C ( 335F).
• In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, ground sesame seeds, orange zest, cardamom, baking powder and salt). In an another bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients (butter, oil and vanilla extract) until smooth. Transfer the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until you've reached a dough consistency. Knead the dough on a worktop for 5 minutes until soft and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
• Divide the dough into 15 balls (about the size of a golf ball), place them on a lined baking sheet and lightly flatten them with the palm of your hand. Leave some room between the ghriba when placing them on the tray because they will get slightly bigger while baking. Transfer in the oven and bake for 17 to 20 minutes until golden.
• Leave the cookies inside the pan until they have completely cooled down before removing them from the pan (they might break if you handle them while they are still warm). Enjoy the ghriba at room temperature.
Supper club images by Ahmed Elabd.