Where some culture's gastronomies are more visual and others rely strongly on taste, Moroccan cuisine is all about the nose. Walk around Marrakesh with its hidden riads or small palaces and all you get are the smells of lamb tagines, a sort of light stew, of harira, a chickpea and lentil soup and of mint tea. Moroccan food is sweet and colourful with a lot of spices. They use dried fruits and nuts to great effect and introduce a fresh and acidic note in some dishes by using preserved lemons in salt. Chicken Bâstilla, a meat pie, is a royal dish from the courts of Al-Andalus, the Arab kingdom in Southern Spain. Sweet and salty meat is wrapped in a delicate pastry called werka (we will use phyllo) and baked. Moroccan salads are delicious and varied and make the sweltering heat a little more palatable. We will finish the evening with a glass of sweet mint tea.
About Your Host
Blanca Valencia is originally from Bilbao in Northern Spain and trained at theÂ Cordon BleuÂ in London with a Diploma in Pastry and Cooking.Â She has worked at cook schools in Madrid, Chicago and London and has lived and worked across Latin America, China and Europe, exploring their cuisines and food cultures in depth. She has also worked with leading food producers and has written about food for magazines and periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic. Her speciality and real love is reserved for Spanish and Latin American cooking (think Mexican, Peruvian and Argentinian). She regularly hosts workshops at the Cervantes Institute. She now lives in Dublin with her husband and two girls.Â
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