If your tastebuds are hankering after summer specialities but the weather still isn't quite right for that barbecue, a Moroccan menu could be the alternative summer feast you've been waiting for.

With influences from the East, Mediterranean and Africa, you'll be hard-pushed to find a cuisine so diverse in its flavours.

While you could treat yourself to a meal out at one of the many Moroccan restaurants springing up across the country, why not save your pennies and give it a go yourself?

Once the hard work is done, the meal can provide the perfect backdrop to a laid-back summer evening. In traditional Moroccan households the meal will span several hours.

And before you reach for the cutlery, in Moroccan culture it's traditional to eat with your right hand - although if this looks like it'll become a rather messy affair, a knife and fork should probably be kept on stand-by!

To help you get started, Ghillie shares a couple of her favourite recipes, Classic Lamb Tagine with Almonds, Prunes and Apricots, and Rose Flavoured Milk Pudding.


(Serves 4-6)

1-2tbsps olive oil

2tbsps blanched almonds

2 red onions, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

A pinch of saffron fronds

2 cinnamon sticks

1-2tsps coriander seeds, crushed

500g boned lamb, from the shoulder, leg or shanks, trimmed and cubed

About 12 stoned prunes and 6 dried apricots, soaked in cold water for 1 hour and drained

3-4 strips orange rind

1-2tbsps dark honey

A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bread or plain buttery couscous to serve

Heat the oil in the base of a tagine or a heavy-based casserole. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until they turn golden. Add the onions and garlic and saute until they begin to colour. Stir in the ginger, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Toss the lamb into the tagine and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring to make sure it is coated in the onion and spices.

Pour in enough water to just cover the meat then bring it to the boil.

Reduce the heat, put the lid on the tagine and simmer for 1 hour, until the meat is tender.

Add the prunes, apricots and orange rind, put the lid on the tagine again, and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes. Stir in the honey, season with salt and pepper, cover, and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot as you want the sauce to be syrupy and slightly caramelised, but not dry.

Stir in half of the fresh coriander, then serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining coriander and accompanied by chunks of crusty bread or a mound of plain, buttery couscous.


(Serves 4-6)

60g rice flour

1 litre whole or semi-skimmed milk

125g caster sugar

Rose water

1-2tbsps icing sugar

In a small bowl, mix the rice flour with a little of the milk to form a loose paste. Pour the rest of the milk into a heavy-based saucepan and stir in the caster sugar. Bring the milk to boiling point, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved.

Reduce the heat and stir a spoonful or two of the hot milk into the rice flour paste, then tip the mixture into the pan, stirring all the time to prevent the flour from forming lumps.

Bring the milk back to boiling point and stir in the rose water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture becomes quite thick and coats the back of the spoon.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl, or individual ones, and leave to cool, allowing a skin to form on top. Chill in the refrigerator and, just before serving, dust with icing sugar.


  • Be prepared for different flavours - in traditional Moroccan homes, people pass down recipes from generation to generation rather than use books, as such expect every Moroccan meal to taste different!
  • Keep your spice rack stocked up - from cinnamon to cumin, Moroccan meals are packed full of spices - look out for ras-el-hanout, it's a mix of 30-plus spices.
  • Before you serve, grab the coriander - whether it's for a salad, tagine, soup or roast, a sprinkling of coarsely chopped coriander completes many a Moroccan meal.
  • Keep a few tins of chick peas in the cupboard - not only are they great for you, but they're perfect for stews.
  • Try an after dinner mint. Drunk throughout the day and served after dinner to aid digestion, mint tea provides the perfect way to round off your meal.
  • Ditch the chips and go for couscous - it's practically a necessity in any Moroccan meal and it's cheap to buy too,
  • Get fruity - don't restrict fruit to your puddings, any tasty tagine is likely to include some fruit, whether that's apricots, prunes, lemons or dates.
  • Excuse you - don't be offended if at the end of the meal your guest burps, in Moroccan culture it's a sign of satisfaction and appreciation!
  • Use ginger - As well as aiding digestion, ginger is a great addition to Moroccan recipes.
  • Add water - Whether it's orange blossom or rose petal, flavoured waters are great for adding a distinctive taste to salads or desserts.