an appetite for Morocco and lizards …

cous_cous_veg_0032Today, I rescued a lizard from drowning. Not once, but twice. This is unusual as I am normally the lizard pallbearer. Lemmings may have been cleared of suicidal tendencies, but the lizard’s tendency to ring down its own curtain has clearly been overlooked. I find their presence in the garden an unmistakeable sign of hot summer. The heat, today, is as perfect as it can be away from the seashore. Lizards hang lazily on the ochre walls which are painted with cleanly etched shadows created by the still branches of olive trees and oleanders. Muted laughter drifts towards us from our neighbour’s “cave” where, in the cool shade of the interior, he will be passing out tiny glasses of cool, crisp rosΓ© to family and friends. White butterflies dance over lavender heads, seemingly draining all the joy that they can from their short lives, whilst testing the patience of the bees whose work is never done. The barking of a distant dog and the quasi comical quack of a duck are vain attempts to penetrate the eternal hum of the pollen harvesters.

pestle_mortar_0042

Mme. Guinaudeau’s book on traditional Moroccan cooking was in my hand and is now in my mind. The transition from the hot, dusty hell of a side street market Β to the cool, pure light of a tiled riad in old Fez and the subsequent description of the feast served put me in the mood for middle eastern food.An aubergine, a sweet pepper, an onion, a tomato and some cloves of garlic were washed, sprinkled with olive oil and roasted until caramelised edges appeared. Cous cous grains were slaked with boiling vegetable stock. aubergine_salad_0036The half aubergine that remained was roasted in a separate tin to make an aubergine salad, from The Casa Moro Cookbook. Coriander Β and cumin seeds were crushed to be added to the creamy roasted aubergine flesh, together with chopped fresh tomatoes, lemon juice and roasted garlic. Some ingredients were missing but not the desire.aubergine_salad_pan_0046The flavours transport me. Food and imagination combine perfectly. Food and company may be the apogee of human intercourse, although procreation is good if you’re not hungry, but occasionally imagination and thoughts, without chatter, make food sing.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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42 Responses to an appetite for Morocco and lizards …

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I suspect the poor lizards fancy a swim but can’t get out, which reminds me of the slightly unpleasant tasting Chinese liquor containing two pickled lizards. I wonder if this could be adapted to one of the excellent Morro recipes:
    http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/1940s/1949/10/fried_lizard πŸ˜‰

  2. Eha says:

    Could we please just imagine the eggplant creation in all its glory without the lizards and the muted noises emanating from next door . . . ?

  3. Hmm! Great minds, and all that. I cooked up an ersatz Moroccan meal last night, a posting for which is in progress. Thanks for the lead on on the cookbook, one is missing from my library, I probably would have benefited from it. Great pictures, by the way.

  4. Tandy says:

    I so want to visit Morocco but these flavours will have to suffice for now πŸ™‚

  5. Love Moroccan food. I knew a guy once who was from there and his father made him marry a young girl. Poor thing didn’t know any English and she was plunked down in NH wondering what happened. But boy could she cook! Amazing dishes. We would try to communicate over games and share what items were in each language.

  6. abrooke65 says:

    This looks great. I just got a Morrocan cookbook! Beautiful photos.

  7. wow, what a vivid intro to your post! ” White butterflies dance over lavender heads, seemingly draining all the joy that they can from their short lives, whilst testing the patience of the bees whose work is never done. ” Nice!

  8. We don’t have very many lizards in my area. When I lived in the Carolinas, there were plenty. It never got old to sit and watch them run about my balcony.

    People often have a problem with the scent of cumin, but I’ve always enjoyed it. Middle Eastern food is a big favorite of mine.

  9. ambrosiana says:

    Brilliant writing Roger!! What a coincidence: yesterday I wanted to make some cous cous with eggplants, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. I was not sure if to roast or to stir fry the vegetables. It is so hot in Rome that I want to avoid using the oven..jajaja…Cool pics!

  10. I’m so jealous of your gorgeous ingredients. Few things taste the way they should in England despite the season.

  11. My French Heaven says:

    Stunning photos! I can almost taste the first one… πŸ™‚

  12. Carole says:

    Your photos and words are drool-worthy.
    We have lizards scurrying across the patio all day long. Occasionally, they stop and appear to be doing pushups.

  13. I’m putting that on a t-shirt, Roger. “Procreation is good if you’re not hungry….”

  14. Michelle says:

    The poor lizards. We rescued one (sans tail, which was still wiggling separately…ugh) from the cats a few weeks back. Perhaps we should start a Save The Lizards group.

  15. ChgoJohn says:

    Wonderful post, Roger. The images you create, whether by word or camera, are beautiful. Well, maybe not the lizard but he sure did choose the right pool for a baptism.

  16. ” Food sings” , that is my language….. and pictures talk to me….love the mood of your image…..Mr.Poetry !

  17. So, when’s the book coming out!? πŸ™‚

  18. Karen says:

    Hot weather and Moroccan food are a wonderful combination.

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