Sticky Moroccan chicken with aubergine and saffron and cardamom rice
We recently took a Tarty trip to Marrakech – on the hunt for tiles for our new restaurant, it couldn’t have gone better. Not only did we find the tiles that we were looking for we found everything from beautiful hand painted coffee cups, serving platters, salad bowls, candle sticks, plates, vases, hand-blown turquoise glasses, wooden boards, soup spoons and utensils made from Lemon Wood, silk rugs in every colour, it is just magical there. We got up early to potter around in the medina before it got too busy, winding through the souks coming across the Spice market, up to the textiles and turning the corner being met by the most dazzling site – the light market, thousands of sparkling lights – in silver, gold or brass. Jemima bought a hanging silver star lantern for her daughter (a little bit tricky bringing home!) as well as other fun bits and bobs. Food was very much on our minds while we were there and kindly got given many great recommendations. If you are planning a trip to Marrakech we highly recommend Nomad, Grand Café de la Poste, KechMara and El Fenn. El Fenn is also a hotel which although we didn’t stay there imagine colour and luxury on a sumptuous scale as well as housing one of the most important collections of contemporary art in Morocco! We did manage to get a reservation for supper one night where we sat in the courtyard under a canopy of palms, bougainvillea and banana trees next to a crackling fire and a plunge pool, the restaurant upstairs looks out to the snow topped Atlas mountains, can you think of anything more wonderful. The supper that night was a set menu scribbled down on a black board, starting with an array of colourful mezze dishes followed by lamb tagine and a mouth watering chicken dish. As we sat there trying to decipher what we thought had gone into the sauce the head chef came out to chat to guests so we got to ask the oracle himself – the secret is in the spices, he uses the freshest he can find, grounds them himself – in this dish he used Ras al Hanout which is the most sublime mix of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, allspice and rose! Luckily its easy to pick up in most stores or online.