Cooking Course: Moroccan Veggie

October 18, 2007

About two weeks ago, I received a surprise parcel at work. It was these two beautifully wrapped gifts from Peters of Kensington (a kitchen shop in Sydney). It had the message “Do not open before the 15th October”  inscribed on one of the pressies. I just LOVE surprises.

Lisa and Nathan with matching apronsThis was all the clever concoction of my wonderfully innovative boyfriend. On Monday (15th Oct) I got to finally open my pressies. They were matching Nigella Lawson aprons (blue stripes – very professional chef-like). We would be using them for a cooking course that Nathan had booked at this place called Accountrement in Mosman in Northern Beaches Sydney.

Lisa and NadineThe theme of the course was Moroccan vegetarian and the chef was a woman called Nadine (pronounced Na – dene NOT Nay-dene) Abenseur. She isn’t very well known in Aussie (which she seemed a little put out about) but as the author of the very well known book: The Cranks Bible in the UK, she’s actually pretty famous in the food world.

She was born in Casablanca and this was enough to make her cooking course really authentic. There were eight recipes altogether and each couple made one dish. The great thing about the course was that the recipes were very simple so the course didn’t drag on for hours. As soon as one dish was ready, we would all gather around and taste. We tried a number of variations of Moroccan Salad with roasted veggies and delicious haloumi.

NathanNath and I made two variations of Basteya (Moroccan pies). The one filling was spinach and feta, the other grilled eggplant and gruyere cheese. We made our own very oily pastry which was easy to make and baked into a melt in the mouth, golden delicacy. Yum!

Lisa and the datesThe highlight for me was the rose water marzipan paste which was stuffed into Medjool dates and then dipped into chocolate. I’m not even a big date person but believe me, this is the most scrumptious dessert. Perfect with a strong cup of coffee, I would imagine.

The course ended just before 9pm – which was well timed as I’ve been on similar courses that run on till past 11pm and people are exhausted by the time they leave.

Nadine was a fascinating person and a really good host of the night. She regaled us with stories of her new art venture in Byron Bay (where she lives). She also told us how she had been a staunch vegetarian since she was 19 and then woke up four months ago and just craved meat and now devours hamburgers.

On the way out, I bought her latest veggie book (it sounded as if she is moving away from cooking so it’s probably her last book for a while) and a wooden rolling pin.

I can’t wait to try out our new recipes at home.