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Warming winter Moroccan dinner party for six

Dining scene

Warming winter Moroccan dinner party for six

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this article (includes all recipes, each on a separate page)

Occasion

It's a miserable February weekend, cold, dark, holidays are miles away.  Cheer yourself up and throw a Moroccan themed dinner party!

Persuade a few friends to unfurl themselves from their winter woollies, dig out some fancy clothes that haven't seen the light of day since December, and have yourself a party.

Menu

Winter fizz cocktail served with harissa olives and dukkah

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Warming pumpkin and cinnamon soup

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Beef tagine with peas and preserved lemons

Spiced carrots

Celery sauted with Zahtar

Minted couscous

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Winter fruits in ginger syrup with cardamom yoghurt

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Mint tea to finish

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Click here for a PDF version of this menu, for you to print and use on the day!

Recipes

The recipes are listed below, please click on each to bring up a printable version.

Wine notes

While traditionally in Morocco soft drinks are served with meals, I think wine works very well with Moroccan food.

I have listed below some of the wines I personally feel would match the food.  The advantage of having six for dinner is you can try several wines.

  • Fizz cocktail - A reasonable cava works well for this cocktail.
  • Soup - This delicate soup need a lighter wine that will not swamp it.  A French chardonnay would work well.
  • Main - The beef tagine with its strong robust flavours will take a well aged rioja, or a new world cabinet sauvignon.
  • Dessert - I'm rather partial to dessert wine, an orange flower muscat will complement the orange flower water well.

Planning ahead

A large part of this meal can be prepared ahead, leaving you time to enjoy the evening, no stressed hosts here please.

The olive can be marinated a few days before.  The dukkah is a great thing to serve, just put some of the dukkah into a couple of swallow bowls and some good olive oil in a couple of others and cut some bread up into small chucks.  Dip the bread first into the oil and then the dukkah, a great way the get people moving around and chatting.

The soup can be made in the day, just gently heated before serving and dusting with cinnamon.

The beef tagine can be done the day before and chilled up to the point of adding the peas and lemon.

The carrots are best left to marinate.

The fruits can be steeped in the syrup for several hours.  If you are going to make the cardamom yoghurt more than a couple of hours in advance, you may wish to reduce the amount of cardamom as it will get stronger the longer it sits.

Setting the scene

With a few little touches you can add an exotic Moroccan feel to your table.

Traditional ceramic in bold bright colours can add an instant vibrancy to your table.  A large platter to serve the couscous on or brightly coloured soup bowls to serve the pumpkin soup in.

You don't need a vast amount to create a theme.

Lighting - candles are a key point to a dinner party but it's important that you and your guest can see each other and what their eating as well.  Little table top lanterns with candles can give a myriad of patterns and create a lovely glow around your room or table.

Key ingredients

The ingredients listed below are available from Maroque.

Pomegranate Molasses (Ref. 70-10-030) [more...]
 

Pomegranate Molasses. This high quality molasses containes only pomegranates.

Qty: 26cl

Price: £5.95

Harissa spice blend (Ref. 70-10-003) [more...]
 

Harissa spice blend. Intensely powerful spiced chilli flavour. Simply mix with garlic and olive oil as required to make the traditional north African fiery condiment.

Qty: 27g

Price: £3.30

Roasted red pepper (Ref. 70-40-043) [more...]
 

Roasted red pepper in salt water with a little garlic

Qty: 400gm drained weight

Price: £3.30

Dukkah (Ref. 70-40-018) [more...]
 

This middle eastern mix of roasted nuts, seeds and spices. Simply pour into a bowl, dunk some bread into oil and then dip into the dukkah.

Qty: 90gm

Price: £4.75

Medium couscous Zakia 1kg (Ref. 70-60-010) [more...]
 

Medium couscous Zakia 1kg

Qty: 1kg

Price: £3.95

Limes dried whole (Ref. 70-20-036) [more...]
 

Limes dried whole

Qty: 75gm

Price: £2.50

Zahtar spice blend (Ref. 70-10-009) [more...]
 

Zahtar spice blend. Roasted sesame flavour with tart sumac and thyme notes. Traditionally used as an all-purpose middle eastern seasoning. Ingredients: toasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme.

Qty: 23g

Price: £3.30