What's For Dinner #40 - 12/2018 - The Hearth and Home Edition



Talking about Morocco, my MIL has spent her childhood in Rabat, her cooking has strong influence from Spain and Morocco and of course France, since Morocco has been a French protectorate.

We were eating Frita for lunch, and it is a typical dish that originated from Spain and were popular with the French living in Algeria or Morocco. Very similar to Piperade, the version from the family is red/green bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Some version includes onion, but omit the garlic, each region has a different version.

We ate with chicken for lunch and will eat with merguez for dinner.

For aperitif with more champagne…

Edited to add the merguez.


Meal yesterday.

Oysters, remaining from the Christmas meal.

Wild smoked salmon with onion confit

Pork chop grilled with herbs

Omelette with mushrooms (cèpes)


Leaving home tomorrow… 6 hours of train. Cat will be sad, he loves staying here with the house cat here and I suspect he prefers the lively atmosphere here than back at home.


Here too, I would like to visit the country one day, but it is a place who doesn’t inspired husband…maybe he heard too many stories from his mother, doesn’t sound exotic to him anymore. I guess we need some discussions on this topic some time soon.


Your wanton looked so good!


Your fish cakes were wonderful.

I can’t see the Fotolia Wahoo photo. Would you mind posting the link again (so I can fix the post?) Thx.


Hmmmm. Well, it wasn’t my picture, and not sure exactly how I found it. Maybe here?

Most Popular Fish In Turkish Cuisine (Number 5)


The broken picture was fixed (in your original post).

(John Hartley) #676

I’m most familiar with the frito from Mallorca, which includes lambs liver. It’s one of those dishes where everyone has their own slightly different recipe but, basically, it’s a fry of the liver, potatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper, fennel fronds as this recipe - http://inmyshoestravel.com/frito-mallorquin/

The first time I ate it was at the house of my brother in laws parents. There was something unpleasantly chewy in it. We didnt find out till later it was lamb lung.

( :@)) :@)) ) #677

You have probably gotten about the world more than I. Morocco is my 40th country thus far (plus both ends of this amazing planet). We don’t do christmas and always make our “escape”, literally, at this time of year. Our travels are only for pleasure.

So far I have only seen merguez eaten stuffed into flatbread or part of a (mixed) grill. Your sausages sound nice, perhaps try using them in some middle eastern slow-cooked type of meal so that the juices are contained. The broth I got alongside couscous tagine and slow-cooked chicken is used to douse the couscous with. If you prefer, crusty bread would also be nice to mop up the juices with.

Grilled meat and sausages are stuff into flatbread like this. No sauce and greens like how Turks like theirs. Moroccans eat salad and olives on the side.

Owner of grill shop was on her break and let me make these photos. She even broke off a piece of chicken so I could try it but I was already full.

The pit.

There are many tiny grilled meat shops like this within the medina (old city). This kind of food is most popular in the country but in the medina where space is tight tourists must change their attitude and do it like the locals if they want the experience. The space is about 2m across, a small communal table with 3 benches round it, all surfaces are a bit dirty, questionable hygiene everywhere you look, smoke from the grill fills the space. But the locals don’t hassle you here, though once you step outside it’s another story (more about that below). Every time we eat at this kind of place we can’t count how many tourists stop, look, keep on walking. They are afraid of several things: hygiene, language barrier, sitting so close to locals. It was our luck the man sitting next to me is a teacher and can speak English well. We had a nice conversation. He shared half of his olives with us. You are allowed to bring your own olives and salad to eat with your order.

This is the size of a typical grill shop in the medina. The telly is always blaring.

Yes, I had been following that news item the same week I was leaving for Morocco. Owner of my lodging reassured me it was deep in the mountain near Marakech and it is a rare thing to happen. Everything is business as usual elsewhere in the country.

Anyone thinking of visiting this country I have some observations for you.

  • There is safety in numbers. Go with a party of at least 3. Or join a packaged tour like most people.
  • Be sensible and vigilant as you should be anywhere. They say Egypt is a lot worse. If you survived Egypt then Morocco is “easier”.
  • Much energy is spent on fighting off (verbally abusive) touts.
  • You are treated as a walking wallet, who must have unimaginable wealth.
  • Dress conservatively, do not flaunt your camera and gadgets. Women should cover their hair with a scarf. Tuck your locks under it.
  • Unemployment rate here is high, many young men hang around everywhere. They take a really good look at you, especially when you are in a quieter part of the medina or area.
  • Morocco is not a rich country but it is rich in history, architecture, culinary traditions, and nature to name a few.
  • There are a few bad apples and intensely annoying touts but never use that to smear the entire nation. Most people are not like that. In fact, they are respectful and will not hesitate to help you with something.
  • You will likely pay at least twice as much for food at a local place. But think of the experience and memory you may gain if you just change your attitude. (taxi rides can be around 10x more)
  • It’s like 1001 Arabian Nights here, almost. I might not make it to other Arab countries so Morocco is my childhood dream of 1001 Arabian Nights come true (1 of my favourite books as a child).

My own experience: already on the second day we almost got mugged whilst getting a bit lost in a quiet neighbourhood in the medina. A teenager accosted us (you are accosted all the time) and offered “help” to find the way out. We said no thanks and kept on walking. He followed us for a minute and started getting verbally and physically aggressive. We resisted but it got worse and then he started to touch and threaten my partner demanding money and “some thing” (meaning one of our things we have on us). At this point I made a quick assessment to see if he had any sharp object (only his phone, he wore sport clothes with no jacket). I made a move so quick he didn’t see it coming. I grabbed him by the collar and twisted it tightly, then I spoke to him firmly staring at him dead in the eyes. He cursed and ran away. Fortunately, we found the way out after that. I think he got scared not seeing it coming from me.

It was an unpleasant experience but it’s also part of travelling in a poor country. We are just glad nothing worse happened and will be more vigilant.

Amazing that so many tourists walk round with cameras, looking at phones instead of paying attention to their surroundings, dress and act like they are still at home. I think they book the holiday and come here without doing any research.


Haven’t tried but I think those would be good substitutes. I used the wonton part of this recipe for the wontons, it’s quite simple.


She made it earlier in the day (another batch!!) so i can bring as a gift to dear friends in nyc that are big fans ;))

(John Hartley) #680

Presunto - many thanks for the detailed response. I see merguez wraps in the near future. Or possibly merguez tagine

And the tourist info all makes sense. I speak as someone who has twice been a victim of pickpockets (Paris and Tenerife). Actually the partner was the actual victim both times but it was unpleasant for both of us. By the by, your countries visted score is more than twice ours, which stands at 18.


I would love to read more about this. I plan to visit Morroco, but right now my son is in Istanbul. The hubs shared US travel advisory but son wasn’t having it. (He says he gets warnings right here. Which is why he is probably not the most vulnerable looking guy.)

I have a feeling there might be similarities (to Morocco; not US.) Is there a better forum?

( :@)) :@)) ) #682

Try TripAvisor and Lonely Planet discussion forums.

( :@)) :@)) ) #683

If we don’t keep going back to the same countries and places the total number would be twice as high. You also go back to the same places and countries all the time.


Isn’t duck considered as red meat? Can you eat that?


Of course!

Something I found on TripAdvisor , but can’t seem to link. Not all relevant of course, but touches on some of my concerns.

" Posted on June 3, 2017 by akuas

I’ll be completely honest, I was afraid to travel to Morocco. Call it irrational, call it ignorance, call it “American media syndrome”, etc. I didn’t know how an Islamic country (even in Africa) would receive me – an African-American, Christian, Female. I had a very uncomfortable experience on a crowded train in Istanbul and was haggled and hassled way more than anyone would want on that 8-hour layover and automatically associated Islamic culture with that experience. I was absolutely blown away by how incorrect my assumptions were – the people were hospitable, good-spirited and friendly, welcoming us with open arms, the crowded medinas didn’t make me feel any more unsafe than the NYC subway during rush hour, and the country itself was beautifully filled with color and texture and warmth. I will 110% travel back to Morocco for more."

This might be the link

Whenintravel- Morocco



Completely different dish. Frita is a pied noir dish. More information here: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frita
(The page only exists in French, but I remember you have mentioned you read French.)

Not sure if I like lamb lung, I think I have tried pork lung in soup, not something memorable or particularly good.

Victim in Amsterdam, nearly victim in Rome and Paris (2 times, items were in the thieves’ hands but fought back). I guess need to be careful in big cities or touristic areas.


Alpha Gal syndrome only pertains to red meat from 4 legged animals with hoofs ( excluding monkeys) and that would be pork, beef, lamb, venison, elk, goat, rabbit, reindeers and other four legged animals with hoofs as they have complex alpha galactose carbohydrate which are not found in birds, duck, turkey chicken as well as human beings, so when a lone star tick bites a 4 legged animal with hoofs, their saliva would have the complex carbohydrate alpha galactose which is transferred to a human being like me when they bite me. That complex carbohydrate get injected into my body as an allergen, and I will react by producing antibody, clinically will and can have delayed anaphylaxis called alpha gal syndrome. Patients are told not to eat any red meat from these animals and to avoid milk, ice cream cheese gelatin if their numbers are h high. Initially, I was told to avoid milk but can eat cheese, However, I had some almond float ( made with gelatin twice) and I did react very severely. After af ew weeks, I am allowed to use regular milk in my coffee and I do eat cheese.

However, I have a very complex body in that I suffered from hives, bronchospasm ( asthmatic attacks) when exposed to certain allergen thruout my life. I react to all kinds of insects, grass, fragrance, cats etc etc and cannot eat raw carrots, peaches unless canned, cooked, watermelon, cantaloupe etc.

Last year , a test became available for laboratories and allergist( under study for years) which can show whether one’s chronic urticaria ( hives) is allergic or the so called non allergic urticaria. When the test result is very high like mine,(10 being top normal, beyond 10, it is considered autoimmune. Mine is 25) they consider it as autoimmune disease in which our normal immune system, instead of protecting our body against invading microorganism such as virus or bacteria, which under normal conditions cannot be triggered to produce antibody that attack our own body cells, made a mistake and attack the very cells they are meant to protect. There are many varied autoimmune disease. of which my current type 2 diabetes is one ( I have never been a pre diabetic, do not have the physique or the lifestyle of a diabetic, was 100 lbs soaking wet) , yet I developed type 2 diabetes when under stress 4 years ago. Gluten enteropathy is a type of autoimmune disease.

My test shows that I not only have very high alpa gal result ( not seen by my allergist) but I also have positive antibodies against pork, beef lamb. So, whether I am reacting bec of alpha gal or auto immune disease against the last 2 meals of a small bowl of almond float made with gelatin - (6tablespoon spoon of gelatin , sugar and 24 ounce of eval milk was my recipe), my allergist cannot tell. Of course, I had a bowl yesterday but had dinner in a restaurant and cannot be 100% sure that my food was not contaminated.

During my husband’s lifetime, I was very careful in not contaminating his food with gluten. I often had separate utensils and cookware which are difficult to clean ( pasta cooker, waffle makers, etc) .

I am lucky that my poms cannot suffer from alpha gal.

Hope this in the simple layman’s term explains to whoever is interested in the topic.


Rummaging through the freezer yielded half a bag of speckled butter beans and a few links of semi-dry sausage. Set them to simmer with water for a few hours. Made a pan of corn bread. Perfect!

Leftover bean broth and sausage will be used to flavor my New Years Day greens.