Brunch moment

Isn’t brunch the most incredible idea? When you get up late, you don’t have to rush to work and you just know that somewhere, in a nice bar, a lovely meal halfway between breakfast and lunch is waiting for you. You sit still a little asleep, take a sip of coffee and eat cheese staring at flowers on your table and chat about your week.

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Hamburg, Germany 2016 @pandaonavespa

Since I moved to Hamburg, I have been craving for some little and romantic places and I finally found one: N. was in town and his family too, so we met at this stunning vegetarian/vegan café called Café Koppel and had a beautiful brunch. The location and the table setting were so gorgeous that I could not help but taking plenty of pictures while eating, enjoy! O, and those sugar crystals are so beautiful!

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Hamburg, Germany 2016 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2016 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2016 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2016 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Hamburg, Germany 2015 @pandaonavespa

(not so much) guilty pleasure

Do you ever feel like skipping a boring lunch for a sweet combination of sugar, cream and caffeine? No? You should try, o yes, you should! I mean, for me it’s kind of a regular thought and craving for sugar, but there is nothing better than this combination in a grey and cloudy day in Turin to keep the engine running: bon appétit!

Café Maure in Rabat, or how to find beauty in plenty of pastries and a nice view

That morning in Rabat was weird. 

I spent the night before reading live all about the attacks in Paris and I didn´t sleep much.

Johannes and I met to have breakfast and around us the air was weird: all the Western tourists we met had a weird look on their faces, these tired and sad eyes.

We walked here and there in those amazing little white and blue streets of the Kasbah until we arrived at the Café Maure.

This calm white and blue café with a big terrace facing Salé and the cliffs offers a great Moroccan mint tea and some -very yummy- typical pastries. The view is absolutely amazing, very relaxing and accompanied by the sound of small waves. It somehow feels like being in a mixture between southern Italy and Greece: so confusing!

Of course I could´t resist and I took one of each and… o gooosh! Let me just tell you that they are pure sugar and I love sugar. Johannes as well took some, but he is a polite and elegant young man, so he just took some (but tried mine…). Overall we had to pay 100 DH -10 euros- for my sugar craving, but it was worth it!

We had some problems with a local cat (o, yes: there are a lot of cats) who absolutely wanted to share our pastries and who decided to block the view sitting in front of us. But she was cute, so it´s ok.

I have been reading that in this bar women can go without problems, even if they are not accompanied by a man. So yay! Definitely go there! But watch-out: it looks like it´s closed during the Ramadan, and it always closes after the last prayer (the 5 pm one).

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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Rabat, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

Let´s -finally- talk about the real Moroccan couscous!

We all have had couscous one day or another. You know, that little yellow grains that  you put in boiling water for three minutes? Well, forget everything you know and get ready to discover the REAL Moroccan couscous!

As you know, preparing couscous is a long and hard work, reason why the cooking process has to be long enough to respect the preparation effort. 

What you might not know is that couscous is a Tamazight recipe and not an Arab one and that, in the Berber language, it´s called seksu. It is eaten on Friday, because it takes quite a long time to digest it and on Friday, after the big prayer, everyone can rest and let their body work the couscous. 

Here we are going to learn how to make the amazing seksu (please consider that here they usually prepare a huge amount of couscous, because they can keep it in fridge for a few days).

What you need:

  • the couscous-pot (you can use what you have at home, of course, but here they use that one)
  • a big pie dish

Ingredients for 4 people (I am writing the vegetarian recipe, but you can add the meat that you want)

  • couscous 500 gr
  • onions 2
  • carrots 2
  • potatoes 2 or 3
  • courgette 2
  • chickpeas 50 gr
  • raisin 50 gr
  • tomatoes 2 or 3
  • coriander
  • oil 3 spoons more or less
  • salt

What to do:

  • wash, chop (big parts) and peel the onions, potatoes carrots and chickpeas, put everything is the lower part of the pot and start simmering. Add some salt. If you want to use meat, it should be added here and now;
  • meanwhile you should moisten the couscous with some cold water and knead it with your hands: there must be no lumps;
  • put the couscous in the upper part of the pot (steam cooking) for 30 minutes;
  • take the couscous out of the pot and put it in a big pie dish, spray it with some cold water and work it again with your hands. Add salt and oil;
  • put your couscous again in the upper part of the pot adding the raisins, tomatoes, courgette and coriander. It should cook for another half an hour;
  • put everything together in a big dish. The couscous should be under the vegetables (and the vegetables should not me thrown there, but put radially. And, if there is an entire chicken added to the menu -see the picture below- it should be put on top of everything).
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

And one more thing: here everyone eats from the same big dish and they don´t use forks, spoons or knives: they eat using bread. I don´t do it because I lose everything contained in my little slice of bread “on the road” between the dish and my mouth.

My Moroccan al-ftour (breakfast) + a little dictionary

I am not at all a breakfast person: I would much rather sleep five minutes more and have a disgusting coffee on the go than waking up and making something to eat.

But, when someone makes breakfast for me… well, the situation is way different! Here in Morocco, for example, Fatima always prepares a great breakfast.  

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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

As you can see, there is everything! So this is how a real breakfast is here:

  • hard boiled eggs (there are chickens living on the roof)
  • orange juice (real orange juice!)
  • tea, of course. And if you want to know how to make a real Moroccan one, here is how 
  • home made cakes or pancakes
  • home made bread -> here is the recipe for Fatima´s bread
  • olive oil
  • olives (happy me)
  • butter (never touched it here: it looks so damn fat)
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

What I really like is that they have their little routines: some things are served in cute tajines and the bread is always protected by a cotton cloth. 

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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

And now let´s learn some breakfast-vocabulary! O, remember: these are darija and not tamazight words.

  • breakfast -> al-ftour
  • coffee -> ahwa
  • mint tea -> thé b´na na (easy to remember, because it sounds like “the banana”)
  • tea with milk -> thé wa hleb
  • with sugar -> wa sukur
  • without sugar -> bla sukur
  • orange juice -> asir limun (yes, I know: limun sounds like lemon…)
  • eggs -> bayd
  • bread -> khubz
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
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Aoufous, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

The new Food Menu: get ready for some kick-ass traditional recipes from everywhere

I decided to introduce a new menu for the blog: the – damdamdaaaam- FOOD menu!

I have been following the great Legal Nomads blog for quite a while now and I love the philosophy behind it: Jodi is a food traveler and she even published a book about it – congratulations!

Watching her videos and reading about her adventures, I realized that she is right giving so much importance to food, so I decided to add the “food menu” to my own little blog (I don´t want to copy her, let´s be clear about that).

Goulmima, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa
Goulmima, Morocco 2015 @pandaonavespa

What I hope to do is to share some local recipes and traditional food and drinks of my current Moroccan adventure and of many others yet to come. 

Food is a very important aspect of a culture and it might differ a lot from one country to the other, plus it´s so good! And, if you think about it, when you travel somewhere one of the things impacting you the most is what – and how – you eat. 

So, let´s see if the experiment is going to work! Meanwhile bon appetit and, if you have some traditional recipes from your Country or from a trip somewhere keep them ready: I will want to know them very soon!