Financiers with Almonds and Argan Oil

Thanks to a nasty throat infection I spent most of last week in bed with a temperature close to 40 degrees Celsius. Prior to last week, I had not taken any real time off work for being sick since a hernia surgery back in 2012. While surgery is never pleasurable, I remember I quite enjoyed being off sick at the time. I had my surgery in Germany and stayed with my parents for the 2 weeks afterwards. Despite my initially somewhat limited mobility my recovery proved to be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my parents over long conversations, something my quick weekend trips back home don’t leave enough room for. In some twisted way, lately I had begun thinking that it might actually be quite nice to be off sick again some time, naively thinking it could be a nice opportunity to catch up on some sleep and trashy TV. Little did I know that I would spend most of

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Moroccan-inspired Cubeb Pepper Mince Pies

As promised, here is the link to the second recipe I developed for the Peppermongers – a recipe for Moroccan-inspired mincemeat using Cubeb Pepper.  I am clearly a fan of giving mincemeat my own unique twist and this version is inspired by Moroccan Tagines that I so adore and that often include dried fruits like prunes or dried apricots. The mincemeat gets a bit of kick from a generous pinch of cubeb pepper – a key ingredient in Morocco’s famous Ras el hanout spice mix and whose woody ‘Christmas tree’ aroma lends wonderful warmth to the mincemeat.  For our first batch of mince pies this year, I made a rich almond and orange zest pastry filled with this spicy mincemeat and served it with a dollop of crème fraiche flavoured which I had flavoured with orange blossom water.  This is also the mincemeat which made its way into copious batches of mincemeat scones, another delicious way of using up a glut of

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Moroccan Orange-scented Almond Macaroons

The first trip to IKEA (and hopefully the only one for a long long time) is done, the boxes are unpacked and I no longer need a map to find my way to work and home again. It would be wrong to say I already feel at home in Rome but, slowly at least, Alessandro and I are finding a rhythm for this new life we are sharing in Rome. This weekend then involved our first trip to the market in Testaccio for our weekly foodshop (and my first, rather timid, conversation with the vegetable guy over what type of onion I should be using for a Soffritto – ‘le cipolle gialle’ (the yellow onions) it turns out), and, most importantly, to buy the various ingredients I needed for Sunday’s lunch. We had invited some friends over and I was keen to finally make use of the Tagine I bought in Safi on our trip to Morocco in September and

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Back from Morocco

Alessandro and I got back from our whistlestop tour through Morocco just under a week ago. My bags are unpacked but the mountains of laundry staring into my face every time I step into my room remain untouched. And don’t get me started on the photos we took. Let’s just say I got a little excited with my new camera and ended up taking over 1500 photos during our 2 week trip. But I am hoping to find some quiet time on one of the next weekends to sort through them so I can share some pictures with you of our beautiful trip. And beautiful it really was, from the bustling souks in the old Medinas of imperial cities such as Fez and Meknes to waiting for the fishermen to bring in their morning catch in Essaouira on the Atlantic coast to watching the stars while sleeping in the desert close to the Algerian border, this trip had it all.

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