Moroccan cuisine is so fresh, healthy, and flavorful, and always Instagram-gorgeous served in stunning hand-crafted pottery. However, I have never visualized myself actually preparing it. My amazing interior designer and travel friend Sandra Barron, of Sandra Barron Interiors, and I planned our Magical Morocco Girl Trip in February to include a half day cooking class with Amanda at Ourika Organic Kitchen & Jereca Farm near Marrakech.
Sandra and I had traveled to Morocco twice on painting adventures at Peacock Pavilions with Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio and Maison 28 Marrakech. It was Melanie who suggested that our group of seven ladies include Amanda’s class. And it surpassed all of our expectations!
I don’t know exactly what I expected at the venue on this 70-degree not-a-cloud-in-the-sky day. I do know that a clear-blue pool, a contented sleeping doggie, and huge, inviting pool lounges were not in my mind’s eye.
The large 4-bedroom bed and breakfast home is nestled among olive trees and an organic farm, and our cooking class was held on chef and host Amanda’s cool terrace by the pool.
Amanda had set up a large preparation table with stations for each of us to man for chopping and peeling and laughing as she taught us her techniques. Nearby was a small table set with spices, tools and oil, and another table with four simple earthenware burners where we would eventually place our vegetable and meat tagines and pans to cook. In all, with Amanda’s artful instruction, we prepared several Moroccan cuisine dishes to savor for our lunch using her organic vegetables.
While everything was cooking, with heavenly smells wafting from this tiny table, the ladies in our group meandered around the property. I stepped through the giant doors to discover not at all what I anticipated, a totally dramatic interior full of fantastic huge photos, and artful furnishings.
Finally, our taste buds were rewarded in the most dreamy setting at the pool. Amanda had adorned an outdoor patio table for seven with lovely blossoms, several tiny dishes of olives, and wine.
Nearby, Amanda unveiled the fruits of our morning’s labor. Can you just image the flavors! We made Aubergine Caviar, Carrot Zalouk, Chachouka, Charmoula, Chicken Tagine, Courgette Zalouk, Fish Tagine, Quail Pastille, and a Vegetable Tagine! Is your mouth watering yet?
The ladies helped themselves, using pretty green Tamegroute Moroccan pottery plates, and found a cozy spot in the sunshine at the table. Amanda kept us all well-served with our new favorite Moroccan lunch wine, Domaine du Sahari. We weren’t driving, right?
A sweet benefit of taking Amanda’s class is that, after we arrived home, she sent us all of the recipes!
Our cooking class was the first of many adventures during our eight days with the Magical Morocco ladies. We had arrived in Marrakech the day before, on February 8, 2020, (knowing little at the time about the pandemic soon to descend upon the globe). So, after lunch, unaware of the impending virus, our driver whisked us off to a very long afternoon and evening of … shopping! Stay tuned!
Douar Ait Bounit, Sidi Abdellah Ghiate, Ourika 40000 Morocco
Did you miss my previous post about our Moroccan desert tenting and camel-riding trip? Read it here!