It was time to return home to Paris. Quickly before we couldn’t fit into our jeans for the return flight. After an idyllic, lazy week in Agadir, I was virtually turning into a Moroccan Lamb Tagine by flocking to the hotel buffet three times a day and baking beautifully under the welcoming warm sunshine like a Moroccan prune.
It’s amazing we actually made it to Agadir with the right holiday gear; Antoine grabbed a suitcase filled with brioche flour and macaron ingredients – luckily I remembered its contents otherwise he would have been Monsieur In-the-Doghouse on arrival. Why macaron ingredients in a suitcase? Well if you remember our mouse friend recently, for such a wee thing she upturned our storage patterns big time. I thought we were clear and it would scarper with the scary ultrasound screechers but perhaps she was wearing ear-phones. On our return, this is what we discovered under the cooking chocolate box’s cover with a peeky hole…
Luckily that chocolate-loving sneaky mouse has finally left us. What a way to go. Death by Chocolate has a completely different meaning in our house after that episode.
Back to Morocco. Oh what fun it is to spy on the other European holidaymakers’ antics; especially when we’re branded with The Bracelet showing the wonderful chef and staff of the Hotel Riu Tikida Beach that we’re on an all-inclusive deal. As much as you can eat. As much as you can drink. Eye-spy-with-my-little-eye, who’s French, British or German just by watching their mannerisms from a distance? Who’s best at self control at the buffet? Who tends to lose control at the free bar? Who prefers to be in control of the best sunbeds by the pool?
Come on now, I don’t believe in stereotyping either but – and I say but – there is a remarkable correlation (I like that word: it’s to show off I learned something at University) with certain nationalities and behaviour in this kind of holiday situation.
Self restraint. Do you have it at buffets? Antoine is one of the French exceptions: he doesn’t have much restraint when faced with so many delicious choices and he’s proud to show off his plates piled high. Yes, plates was in the plural. Now he’s complaining he put on 3 kilos and I need to put him on a diet. Diets? I hate them and haven’t gone on one since I came to France – I even lost my excess weight from Scotland and have been stable since my 2 kids just by eating sensibly the French way. No snacking, moderation and taking the time to enjoy food and conversation at the table. So it’s out of the question of starting a diet now; he’s booked on the tennis court three times as much over the next few weeks.
I tasted so many of their tagines – particularly the fish ones, as we were on the coast. I love how the Moroccans serve dates with their traditional chorba soup as a starter. They also use the most deceiving looking, shrivelled prunes that are so surprisingly concentrated in flavour and lend that all important flavour to lamb tagines.
The ‘dangerous’ Moroccan pâtisseries were fabulous (moderation here!) but my favourite Moroccan dessert is the ever-so-simple but refreshing plate of sliced fragrant oranges served with a hint of orange blossom. Which leads me to think of these macarons on page 79 of the book: with that added touch of Armagnac for a naughty but nice French touch and thinking of our friends at the bar.