Moroccan cuisine Recipes from Zayane Restaurant London

London’s Most Sumptuous Eid Feast

We’ve made it – Eid is finally here! Despite Ramadan being an absolutely brilliant time of the year – a month ideal for moving closer to God, quiet contemplation and reflection, spending quality time with family and friends and (as my bloghas gone to great pains to point out) eating some of Morocco’s best dishes – the truth is that many of us had to practically ‘crawl’ over the ‘finish line’. Yes, Ramadan is special, but it isn’t always easy, particularly when our non-Muslim friends and colleagues are obliviously chowing down on luscious lunches, guzzling refreshing drinks and munching on a seemingly endless supply of mouth-watering snacks. But it’s all been worth it… because the best holiday of all is upon us – I’m talking of course about Eid (for the non-Muslim reader, think ‘Christmas on steroids’!).

‘Christmas on steroids’ isn’t necessarily the official definition of Eid. So what is this important Muslim celebration?

 If you’re Moroccan and/or Muslim you know exactly what Eid is, and you know that it is arguably ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

And yet, despite London being such a hotbed of diversity, many non-Muslims haven’t the slightest idea what this juggernaut holiday is.

First let’s get the basics right: there are several ‘Eids’ throughout the year, and the one we are currently celebrating is called ‘Eid al-Fitr’, and it both marks the end of Ramadan and ushers in the month of Shawwal with a massive foodie feast to end the period of fasting.

Eid al-Fitr is a bank holiday in Morocco (and I presume all other Muslim-majority countries) and it involves visiting the mosque and quite a bit of praying. But when the religious stuff is over, Eid’s all about getting together with your family and best friends to exchange presents… A bit like Christmas, right?

So what’s the ‘steroid’ bit, you might ask? Well, I can only speak for how we do things in Morocco, but instead of the waves of blandness that emanate from the British Christmas lunch, the Moroccan Eid al-Fitr feast is the scrumptious stuff of foodie legend. At Zayane we are bringing three of Morocco’s best celebratory dishes to the fore for Eid this year, beginning with our chicken bastilla. We often describe this dish as a ‘pie’ but it is nothing like the pies to which we are accustomed in Britain. It is a sweet and savoury crispy phyllo parcel filled with ginger- and cinnamon-infused, melt-in-your mouth chicken. It’s amazing, so much so that you’ll probably want a second. But better to leave room for the deliciousness that is to come!

Next on the Eid menu is lamb meshwi accompanied by vegetable couscous.

Don’t get me wrong – the lamb is a real treat as it is slow-roasted shoulder seasoned with Moroccan spices. The meat is tender, falling off the bone and will melt in your mouth… But it is the couscous that steals the show! During Ramadan we typically don’t eat this omnipresent Moroccan staple because it is surprisingly light and therefore doesn’t fill you up or sustain you for the next day’s fast. So when it’s Eid al-Fitr the first thing a Moroccan will crave is couscous… often with a side of succulent lamb!

 

Zayane’s Eid will culminate on the mother of all Moroccan dishes – a sumptuous chicken tagine.

Just when you thought you couldn’t eat anymore, the tagine lid is lifted and a fragrant and most-appetising aroma escapes and infiltrates your senses. Breathlessly, your brain tells you to throw caution to the wind and to dive into the exquisiteness in front of you. You oblige because Eid is all about celebrating through ridiculously amazing Moroccan food!

 

Now that you are officially stuffed, you can tap out with some cornes de gazelle, Morocco’s quintessential biscuit, without which Eid simply wouldn’t be Eid! But if you have some more room left in your belly, you might want to consider one of my favourite summer puddings that rounds the Eid al-Fitr feast off perfectly… a slice of ice cream cake!

 

If you fancy enjoying Eid al-Fitr out this year, I can assure you that no one will do it as well or as lavishly as Zayane. There isn’t a set menu, but for Eid al-Fitr each item will be available to order from our a la carte and specials’ menu.

 

Everyone is invited to share in the delights of a traditional Eid feast… we hope to see you all very soon!

 

Eid Mubarak!

 

 

Making Ramadan Even More Delicious – Zayane’s Recipe for Shakshouka

We’re in the thick of Ramadan 2018 and – so far – everyone is loving our special Ramadan menu. Observant Muslims join us to break their fast for iftar with London’s most gourmet, delicious and energising Ramadan spread. Moroccan expats have come in droves to re-immerse themselves in the flavours and aromas of their homeland through authentic favourites like hariraand msemen.

We have also been delighted by the fact that we have attract so many non-Muslims iftar diners, who are keen both to learn more about the holy month of Ramadanand its traditions, but also to try a range of Moroccan dishes that you simply won’t get anywhere outside of Morocco or a real-life Moroccan’s kitchen.

Our Ramadan menu is delicious and – for the most part – traditional. And yet, there is one dish that might surprise the Moroccan food connoisseurs among us. It may surprise them… but it surely won’t disappoint them!

 

This ‘wild card’ dish to which I am referring is none other than my homemade shakshouka. To describe this dish renders a fairly banal sounding item. But don’t be dismayed – like many Moroccan recipes, simple and humble equals buckets of flavour. Moroccan shakshouka – a delicious and subtlety spiced tomato sauce with a perfectly poached egg on top – must be tasted to be properly savoured and appreciated.

 

Shakshouka is amazing for breakfast and is a veritable revelation of iftar. Though despite being very popular in my hometown of Casablanca, it isn’t necessarily a dish that is commonly enjoyed throughout Morocco.

I guess you could say it is one of our more closely guarded secrets! Our shakshouka is different to the one available in other parts of the Middle East. For instance, in Turkey their shakshouka is excellent (though clearly not as good as ours!) and they make it with cheese. In Jerusalem they make it with sausage. Ours seems comparatively basic – a poached egg atop a bed of tomato sauce. And yet, Zayane’s Moroccan shakshouka will do cartwheels on your palate. We serve it all year round for brunch and our customers absolutely love it.

 

I am passionate about shakshouka both because it represents the heights of flavour that one could find in any cuisine around the world, but also because it has played an important role in my own family’s history. When my kids were young we used to travel to a little Moroccan village by the Mediterranean Sea during the summer holidays. Our nuclear family would be joined by most of my extended family and we would do what most Moroccans do together – eat and drink a lot. It was great! The meal we would all look forward to the most was breakfast. When we woke up the ladies of the house would have put together a splendid range of everything one could imagine to properly prepare us for the day on the beach ahead – fruit, pastries and a spread of Moroccan breakfast favourites. There was one dish that made sure that everyone arrived at breakfast on time – the shakshouka, of course, which would disappear very quickly each morning!

 

When we would return home to London, my family would clamour for me to make the dish it missed most from Morocco – shakshouka.

Despite being so simple, it took me years to master making the tomato sauce properly. I would eventually learn how to balance the spices correctly and the right cooking time. Now making shakshouka is routine and I want to share the wonders of this delectable dish with you. Let me personally invite you to savour our shakshouka for any iftar for the duration of Ramadan – if you somehow miss out, you can join us for brunch year-round.

 

Oh – before I forget – I have another Eid present for you… my personal recipe for shakshouka! If you are Muslim, try this dish for iftar and let me know what you think. If you are not Muslim, still try it because amazing food doesn’t care what your religion is or, indeed, if you have one at all!

 

If you have any questions about my special recipe, just let me know by contacting me on Instagramor Twitter(or even while you’re dining at Zayane!).

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

 

As ever, Ramadan Mubarak!

Zayane’s Recipe for Shakshouka

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 free range eggs per person

 

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottommed pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook just before its edges turn golden.
  3. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent – about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cumin, paprika and ginger and cook for a couple minutes to release the flavours.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar and parsley and cook over low heat for 40 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and add more sugar if needed.
  7. In a small heat proof tagine place 2 tbsp of the sauce, crack two eggs on top, cover and cook until the egg whites are cooked.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

 

Ramadan Recipe – Moroccan Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad

If you are Muslim and/or you keep the Ramadan fast, the Zayane iftar menuis a ‘can’t miss’ culinary experience (and that’s probably also the case even if you aren’t Muslim!).

We will let you break your fastin the most delectable fashion – our spicy and fragrant harira soup, dates (of course!), authentic msemenand beghrir and boiled eggs all washed down with some soothing Moroccan mint tea.

After this delicious and nutrient rich iftar meal, you can go to the nearby mosque (a couple minutes’ walk away, at most) for prayers, and then return for our Moroccan Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad for one final treat for your palate and to make sure you’ve given your body the protein, nutrients and energy it will need to have another successful day of joy and contemplation starting the next morning.

 

And yet, Joe and I recognise that not all of us are able to dine out during Ramadan, for one reason or another.

As a result, we’ve prepared for you an early Eid present… the recipe for our Moroccan London Chicken and Couscous Salad so you can enjoy it at home!

Our recipe makes this dish easy to prepare for your family and friends and it is absolutely delicious. In fact, a recent guest said this dish has ‘mind-blowing flavours’, which I presume is a good thing!

At this point I’d like to echo a something important that I mention in previous Ramadan blogs. This holy month is all about inclusivity – therefore everyone is welcome to Zayane to savour our Ramadan menu, including Muslims who keep the fast, Muslims who choose not to, as well as non-Muslims who are interested in trying something new… and special. Lastly, I hope it is obvious that I have been giving away a Ramadan recipe every week. I hope this goes some way to giving you the chance to have the perfect delicious and authentic Moroccan iftar within the comfort of your own home!

 

Here’s our recipe – if you have any questions about it, just let me know by contacting me on Instagramor Twitter(or even while you’re dining at Zayane!).

 

Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my Ramadan menu, here it is!

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

 

Moroccan Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad

Recipe for Moroccan Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad

 

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Mix all above and pour over chicken. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (ideally longer!).

 

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 small cup cooked couscous
  • 1/4 cucumber diced very small
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 small cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • Dressing: Lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper

 

  1. Grill the chicken.
  2. Add some more lemon juice over the chicken and add a pinch of salt (to your tastes).
  3. In a large to medium bowl, add the lemon juice and whisk in the cumin, salt and pepper. Once mixed, slowly pour in the olive oil whilst whisking until combined.
  4. Add salad ingredients to this bowl and toss until combined.
  5. Cut the grilled chicken into thin slices and place over couscous salad.
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Waste Not, Want Not – A Delicious Way to Feast on Ramadan Leftovers!

In recent blogs   I’ve gone to great ends to convey the there’s a lot more to Ramadan than fasting… Contrary to the Western imagination there’s actually quite a lot of eating that goes on, too. After sunset it is time for iftar, a foodie feast of the most extravagant variety (at least it is for us Moroccans!). However, as it is for most cultures, the naturally result of such a food intensive celebration is cooking far more than one can actually consume. As it is with the British Christmas and the American Thanksgiving, leftovers are the by-product of Ramadan’s iftar feast.

There remain a couple of extra layers imposed on the Ramadan leftover situation that aren’t typically present in Western foodie extravaganzas.

Firstly, despite the fact that all Moroccans can’t wait to get their salivating palates on the tasty iftar treats in store after sundown, the truth is that fasting shrinks your belly and you simply can’t consume as much as you would like. Indeed, the maxim ‘our eyes are bigger than our bellies’ is particularly relevant during this period. Beyond this fact, Moroccan hospitality is all about the grand spectacle of excess, meaning that even when it isn’t Ramadan we put far more food on the table than we actually require! Therefore, a Moroccan Ramadan creates loads of leftovers!

This is convoluted by one further element – throwing food away is ‘haram’. Muslims will know well what this Arabic term means – but for the non-Muslims among us, ‘haram’ means it is forbidden under Islamic law. As a result, this puts extra impetus into the Moroccan’s desire to make the most of her/his leftovers! Besides which, isn’t it just really bad to waste food? Bad for the Earth? A waste of money? Just bad? Everybody, regardless of their religious and/or political views should – hopefully – be able to agree on that!

 

Well, if general ‘good-will’ doesn’t convince you that leftovers are preferred to food wastage, maybe this will: Moroccan food tastes even better the next day as time in the fridge lets all the spices further penetrate the meat/potato/veg they are seasoning to make them even more scrumptious!

Given the multitude of reasons to embrace leftovers, Zayane would be remiss in its duty as a leading light on Moroccan cuisine in London if it didn’t teach its customers how to make the most of their Ramadan leftovers.

 

Joe and I would like to share with you one of our simplest – if most delicious – recipes: Iftar Leftover Sandwiches! We always have some leftover roast chicken – or other meat – during Ramadan and I always have some sautéed onions, garlic and peppers to hand, too. I simply deep-fry some aubergine discs and throw all the ingredients into some pita bread and – voila – iftar is sorted! If you celebrate Ramadan this will become your go-to iftar dish when you have copious leftovers or just don’t feel like whipping up a huge meal after a day of fasting. If you are not Muslim, this is just a delicious simple dish!

 

If you have any questions about this recipe, just let me know by contacting me on Instagramor Twitter(or even while you’re dining at Zayane!). If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the leftover meat with a fried egg or leftover potatoes.

 

 

Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my Ramadan menu, please do so… it is amazing and customers love it!

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

 

 

Recipe for Ramadan Leftovers Sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • Leftover meat, potatoes and or fried egg
  • Sautéed onions, garlic and peppers
  • Harissa sauce
  • Pita bread or msemen

 

Method

  1. Sautee the meat with the onion, garlic and pepper mix.
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Add Harissa to the pita or msemen bread
  4. Add sautéed meat, onion, garlic and pepper mix to the bread
  5. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Ramadan is for eating utterly delicious food. At least that’s my view – and one shared by many Moroccans. Of course, many of us fast, but to concentrate only on this important aspect of Ramadan would be to ignore all that goes on after sunset and prayers, including the zealous consumption of Moroccan cuisine’s best dishes, socialising and fun with family and friends!

In this blog post, Joe and I would like to share with you one of our favourite Moroccan Ramadan staples, msemen,

and to give you a recipe that you can make at home to try it for yourself. If you celebrate Ramadan in any capacity, cooking msemen will kick your iftar up several notches – if you don’t celebrate Ramadan, my exquisite recipe will give you some keen insight into this most holy month for Muslims… insight of the most delicious variety!

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Msemen isn’t the kind of dish one typically finds at a restaurant, so unless you are Moroccan or if you ever celebrated iftar with a Moroccan family, it’s probably new to you. Msemen is a tasty flat bread that we dip in butter and honey, often after prayers during Ramadan, as a luxurious way to recalibrate our blood sugar and palates after a day of fasting. The plain msemen is the most common variety that is enjoyed throughout Morocco, but it is a bread that comes in many variations. Much in the same spirit as pizza – or a calzone, as it were – msemen can be filled with virtually anything to add another dimension or two. Two of my favourites are spiced minced lamb or merguez sausages. Pretty much if there’s a cheese, meat, vegetable or combination thereof that you fancy, you can stuff it in your msemen and it will be delicious.

The recipe I am sharing with you here is my personal one for msemen filled with onions and herbs. Not only is it suitable for vegan and vegetarians… it is taste fantastic! My onion and herb msemen will raise your Ramadan up another scrumptious level – and if you don’t celebrate, it is lovely to eat on its own or as an accompaniment to your favourite tagine!

 

To try a Moroccan classic that isn’t widely available outside of Morocco and the homes of Moroccans, cook my amazing msemen recipe.

But if you want to dip your toe in the proverbial water before doing so, join us at Zayane during Ramadan to try our special iftar menu, where you can enjoy our personal take on some of Morocco’s most spectacular dishes including msemen. To get the full story about our Ramadan menu, click hereto check out our blog, ‘Ramadan is Abundance, Not Lack’.

 

If you have any questions about this recipe or if you’d like to share with me what you think of my msemen recipe, please get in touch on Instagramor Twitter! And if you have any special requests for future recipes, Ramadan or otherwise, just let me know!

 

As ever – Ramadan Mubarak!

 

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

 

Zayane’s Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

 

  • Bread dough
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander, finally chopped
  • 2 red chillis, finely chopped
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Sweat the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add chilli, herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Once done, let cool.
  3. Cut the dough into small balls
  4. Oil your working surface and spread the dough until it is so thin it is nearly translucent.
  5. Put 1 tbsp of the onion mix in the middle of the dough and spread it into a square.
  6. Fold the dough over the onion mix by bringing two opposite sides first to cover the onions then the other sides to cover the first fold making an envelope.
  7. Oil your first msemen and repeat the same process with the rest of the dough.
  8. Pan fry but do not use too much oil – just enough so the msemen doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. Serve hot.

 

 

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Chicken Briwats

A pessimist would say that Ramadan is about not eating. As a loud and proud optimist, I would say it is all about indulging in your favourite foods!

Yes, traditionally Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan as a way to clear one’s mind and body to attempt to move closer to God… but after the fast it is a foodie paradise!

When we break our fast with iftar, we savour luxurious dates, delectable harira soup, tasty classic Moroccan specialities like fried dough and pancakes that we dip in fragrant honey and much, much more. These are some of our best dishes and we typically only unveil them for Ramadan, which makes this holy month something that all Moroccans eagerly await, the arduousness of the fast, notwithstanding.

Yet, one could say – as per the maxim ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ – that the fast actually makes our Ramadan delicacies taste even better when we can finally feast on them after sundown!

 

This is particularly the case with the dish without which Ramadan simply wouldn’t be Ramadan: my delicate and succulent chicken briwats!

Some of my fondest memories as a girl back in Morocco include me – during the Ramadan fast – in the kitchen with the other women working throughout the day to prepare chicken and prawn briwats. It is exhausting business, particularly when one is fasting – but it is all worth it in the end as the reward is amazing!

 

Of course Zayane customers know all about briwats after having tried them at our award winning restaurant and reading about them on one of our recent blogs. As such, my son and co-Head Chef Joe and I would like to give thanks for your loyalty by showing you how to make another classic Moroccan briwat recipe at home – our recipe for chicken briwats. Of course, if you have somehow never tried a briwats, stop whatever you are doing now, make this recipe and enjoy its wonder-inducing deliciousness. If you celebrate Ramadan, my recipe for chicken briwats will go a long way to spice up your own iftar with friends and family, particularly when paired with my recipe for harira soup!

 

So here it is – my recipe for light and delicious chicken briwats.

I have another gift for you: my recipe for my prawn briwats. But if you want to get your hands on it, you’ll have to get in touch with me on Instagramor Twitter!

 

Best of luck creating your very own briwats in your own kitchens, and if you have any questions, reach out to me at Zayane or on social media.

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

 

Recipe for Chicken Briwats

 

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped 
  • garlic as desired finely chopped 
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander finely chopped
  • lemon juice as desired
  • 1 tbsp freshly ginger grated
  • saffron (put in hot water before use) or
  • turmeric if saffron is not available 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 preserved lemons (use skin only)
  • olives red or green as desired
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • spring roll pastry
  • 1beaten egg

 

  1. Before cooking, marinate chicken in the spices and garlic for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place onions, chicken, marinade juices and herbs in the tagine (or pan) and add olives, preserved lemons and 1 cup of water.
  3. Cook on low heat for one hour.
  4. Once cooked, shred the chicken off the bone and reserve the sauce for later.
  5. Take one spring roll sheet and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Cut into
    three rectangles. Use one at the time and cover the other two as they dry
    quickly.
  6. Put one tbsp of the shredded chicken with a bit of the reserved sauce to moisten the chicken in one corner of the pastryand fold the pastry over it (to make a triangle) keep rolling and tuckingand then glue the end with the egg wash. You will end up with a samosashape. You could also shape it as a spring roll.
  7. Deep fry until golden brown or bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-
    10 minutes.

 

Humble, Delicious Food

One of my favourite restaurants in the world is La Merendain Nice, France – a simple little hole-in-the-wall whose internationally celebrated reputation is based on it signature dish: tagliatelle au pistou. Tagliatelleis merely French for the famous Italian pasta tagliatellepistouis a basil-based sauce that looks similar to a traditional Genovese pesto, but doesn’t include pine nuts and it more heavy-handed on the garlic.

Tagliatelle au pistouis humble, delicious food – and after a day on Nice’s rocky beach, it is a bowl of heaven when paired with some Côtes de Provence Rosé.

This is a dish that requires about five ingredients, and yet it is the personification of the deliciousness and abundance of Provenacal cuisine, to the extent that La Merenda’s proprietorDominique Le Stanc abandoned his long career as a renowned Michelin-starred chef to dedicate himself to mastering tagliatelle au pistou.

 

Last time I enjoyed the signature dish at La Merenda, I wondered what is the tagliatelle au pistou of Moroccan cuisine for me was. Which dish did I enjoy in my youth in Casablanca that was as delicious as it was simple? Which dish – its humbleness notwithstanding – utterly evaded my ability to master it? Which dish did I long for when I was homesick for Morocco? The answer was clear – crevettes marinieres.

Crevettes marinieres is simply king prawns cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and I would frequently enjoy it at this small, quaint restaurant in Casablanca over 30 years ago. This simple eatery sold only prawns, calamari, grilled sardines and chips – despite its limited offering, its quality was such that there would be a queue around the block nearly at all times of the day. Their simple, humble food was made fresh and with love and – as a result – tasted beyond amazing.

 

When I finally moved to Britain, whenever I longed for Morocco, I would attempt to make crevettes marinieres at home.

While what I made was tasty… it wasn’t the same. I kept trying… and trying… but as if I were stuck in culinary quick sand, the more ferocious my attempts to recreate the dish, the further removed the flavour was from the original version. I was cursed to live a life in which I was separated by miles and miles from my favourite comfort food.

And then I had an epiphany, a brazenly obvious one. Two years ago I went back to Casablanca to visit family and friends. One of the first things I did was visit my favourite hole-in-the-wall to dive headlong into a portion of crevettes marinieres. After practically licking the plate clean, I did the unthinkable – I went up to kind man behind the counter and asked him for the recipe. He obliged!

 

Good things – sometimes – come to those who wait. I waited nearly 30 years for this recipe and now I can cook crevettes marinieres whenever I choose. I can do two more things, too – I can cook them for you, Zayane’s patrons, and I can also share this secret recipe with you, too.

 

This recipe is extremely special to me and it will give you the taste of Moroccan cuisine that is possibly even lost on a restaurant of Zayane’s quality.

This recipe for crevettes marinieres will give you the humble, delicious food that will take your palate on a trip to the street food of Casablanca, Morocco.

 

Please get in touch on Instagramor Twitterto tell me what you think of this recipe. Better yet, come to Zayane and tell me directly! If you have any questions or if you are running into trouble, get in touch, too!

 

Recipe for Crevettes Marinieres

 

  • 3 tbsp olives olive oil
  • 1 jar of chopped tomatoes or 1 kg fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 chopped fresh chilli
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 kg king prawns
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh bread to serve

 

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan add all ingredients but not the prawns. Cook for at least 20 minutes on low heat.
  2. Add the prawns just before serving and cook for 3 min (this sauce can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for two days).
  3. Adjust seasoning and served with fresh bread.

 

 

Ramadan is Abundance, Not Lack

In my – perhaps – limited view, the salient adjective that non-Muslims associate with the holy month of Ramadan is lack: the lack of food and water from which we are deprived for the fast that is needed to stay energised and hydrated to live both joyfully and zestfully. A common question that one might ask a Muslim friend or colleague is, ‘how do you do it?’ or, ‘is it really difficult?’ In truth, fasting for a whole day – particularly if Ramadan occurs during the long and somewhat warm days of British Summer – really can be difficult. And yet, to view Ramadan as anything other than a month of complete and utter abundance is to entirely miss the point.

Ramadan brings family together and it is a month of socialising and taking the time out to see your dearest friends.

Of course, Ramadan is to step into the infinite abundance that is God – but even if you takes a more secular or humanist view of such things, the energy of Ramadan is ideal for looking inward and taking pause to appreciate and respect the world and the souls, creatures and nature who occupy it.

 

The abundance of Ramadan is perhaps best symbolised by the iftar meal – a feast filled with some of Moroccan cuisine’s most delectable and special dishes.

Back in Morocco, much of the day is spent preparing the magnificent iftar meal, but frequently the pace of London life doesn’t give us the chance to dedicate ourselves to this to the desired extent. Due to a combination of popular demand and our wish to offer London an authentic Ramadan culinary experience, Zayane has brought back its iftar menu. Our aim is to reproduce last year’s magic – to welcome our guests into Zayane as members of our family and to create a vibrant and social environment in which friends and family can connect and enjoy some truly scrumptious, healthy and energising food. Lastly, while it is usually only Muslims who celebrate Ramadan – at Zayane all faiths and persuasions are invited to enjoy our authentic Moroccan iftar.

Zayane’s iftarmenu begins with our fragrant vegan harira soup  accompanied by madjoul dates and our homemade shebakia.

Dates occupy a special place for all Muslims’ iftar, as not only are they a rich source of fibre, potassium, calcium and energy, but also the Prophet Muhammad advised that they are the ideal way to break one’s fast. Shebakiais a Moroccan favourite – deep fried dough dipped in honey, which helps top up one’s blood sugar post-fast. Once the fast is broken by this first course, it is time to visit one of the nearby local mosques for prayers, and then to come back for the rest of the iftar feast (of course, if you choose not to go to prayers, you can carry on eating!).

Zayane Notting Hill

Next on the menu are two more Moroccan iftar classics: msemen– a flat Moroccan bread – and baghrir– a light and delicious pancake – that we serve with honey and homemade butter. This course is followed by a dish that I remember from the Ramadan celebrations from when I was a child – shakshouka. This dish isn’t necessarily one enjoyed by all families for iftar, but it is absolutely delicious so you’ll be happy I’m serving it! It is a delicious spiced tomato sauce served with a poached egg.

 

At this point in the meal you might be stuffed, but if you are among those fasting you should do your best to accumulate all the nutrients you can get for the fast the following day! For our final dish, we are serving organic chicken that is marinated in Moroccan spices and then cooked to perfection on an open flame grill. Even the greediest eaters will now be fully satisfied and energised for a busy and joyful tomorrow. The meal concludes with Moroccan mint tea to help digest, or coffee, milk or fresh juice.

 

Zayane’s iftar menu will be £25 per person and will be served every evening during Ramadan. Right now this is scheduled to be from Tuesday, 15 May to Thursday, 14 June – but of course the days may vary depending on the Moon.

We invite you if you are a religious Muslim, if you are a secular Muslim or even if you aren’t a Muslim at all! If you do plan on joining us for iftar, it is recommended that you make an advanced reservation as we were fully booked each night last year.

 

From my family to yours – Ramadan Mubarak!

 

To view our iftar menu, click here.

 

To make a booking ring us 020 8960 1137 or book online.

 

 

 

Your Perfect Private Party

The answer to the questions ‘what is the perfect private party?’ is a bit like the one elicited by asking ‘what is the best dish in Moroccan cuisine?’ – a highly subjective and personal one.

This doesn’t necessarily make life easier for the professional party planner! But easy is boring and lets one’s imagination and creativity stagnate, which would be unacceptable for Joe and me. The lack of clear-cut rules and regulations in delivering the perfect private party time and time again gives scope to making each one completely and totally unique. When we have a new private party client, we ask for their vision for their dream event. We embrace this little ‘seed’ the client gives us and we then wrap it in Zayane’s party planning expertise to let it flourish into the spectacular and memorable event that is desired.

 

If you are reading this blog you are probably interested in having a private party of some sort. You likely have an idea in your head of what it is you’re looking for – as such,

I’d like to personally walk you through what a Zayane event might look like.

 

When your guests arrive they will enter a spacious room with dimmed lights and candles that will subtlety illuminate our Moroccan décor that flows into our modern-designed bar, tables and smartly adorned servers passing out elegant flutes of Champagne and mouthwatering canapés. As you and your party chit-chat and sip and savour the delightful drink and nibbles, chilled-out vibes courtesy of the traditional Moroccan music will emanate from the rabab(fiddle),oud (lute)and qanun (zither) through our sound system. Then – out of no where – our beautiful and highly skilled belly dancer will emerge for a taste scintillating Moroccan entertainment, a feature that comes complimentary for Zayane private parties.

Zayane Moroccan Food Catering and Events

After the excitement of the belly dancing, it is time to take our seats for the sumptuous Moroccan feast.

Just after your glass is filled with the tipple of your choice, we will put in front of you and your guests a delicious spread of Moroccan starters, including merguez saucissons, pan-seared squid, blow-torched Cornish Mackerel as well as vegetarian options like our deep-fried aubergines and spicy truffle cauliflower croquettes.

To kick the party up a notch we will follow this with a selection of our famous briwats (include link to briwat blog).

 

It is now time for the main course. Guest can choose from our set menu, a la carte or a bespoke menu that we design with the client. Options might include our chicken tagine (include link to relevant blog), pan-seared halibut or for vegans and vegetarians our chickpea fritters or artichoke tagine with preserved lemons. After a satisfying dessert – maybe our rosewater cheesecake or trio of sweet briwats – and another glass of wine or some Moroccan mint tea, let the evening devolve into conversation and a spot of dancing!

 

This is a snapshot of a recent private party we hosted and catered at Zayane.

It was a most special event filled with good food, wine and fun. If you are at all interested in having your own private party, please speak to me – Meryem – directly and I can turn your idea into the stunning party of a lifetime!

 

For Private Party inquiries please ring Meryem at 020 8960 1137 or email her at enquiries@ZayaneRestaurant.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Zayane’s Harira – I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!

‘You went vegan, why would you do that to yourself?’ I heard a robust, bearded man say at a social event I recently attended. The context was clear – a friend of mine confessed to the crowd that she had recently decided to go from vegetarian to full vegan, and this rather abrasive gentleman couldn’t help but view her lifestyle choice as some for of punishment or self-flagellation. In hearing the exchange it reminded me that the more dogmatic carnivores out there tend to view vegan and even vegetarian food as insipid, bland or even downright disgusting.

I should come out and be honest – I, Meryem Mortell – founder and Head Chef at Zayane, am neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. However, what I find bizarre is the brazen ignorance when it comes to the utter deliciousness of vegan cuisine.

Moroccan food has plenty of examples of dishes that have been vegan and vegetarian way before it was ‘trendy’ – in fact they are traditionally made as 100% plant-based dishes simple because that is how they are often most delicious.

In my humble view, the most stunning example of Moroccan cuisine’s potential for vegan goodness is Morocco’s most famous soup – Harira.

 

Harira is made – and savoured – throughout Morocco.

It can be made vegan or vegetarian – in some cases it is made with pieces of meat in it. At Zayane we make it 100% vegan both because that is how I personally think it taste best and most authentic, but also to include all dietary requirements in it’s utter deliciousness. Our version is essentially a spiced tomato soup rich with herbs and pulses – it isn’t gluten free as it contains both flour and vermicelli (however, we are able to make it gluten free – please just let us know 24 hours before you dine with Zayane!). I personally make every fragrant and warming batch of harira at Zayane. I once entrusted this important task to my son and co-Head Chef Joe, and suffice it to say that despite him being an amazing Moroccan chef, it didn’t turn out quite the way I like it… I suppose one has to literally be from Morocco to make it taste perfectly authentic (sorry Joe!). Whether or not my version taste as authentic and delicious as I think it does, all I can say is that most of our Moroccan customers have confessed that it reminds them of their mum’s harira back home, which is rather flattering!

 

Like most of my Moroccan culinary repertoire, my ability to cook amazing harira came through my mother’s tutelage.

Her version – which included egg and small tender chunks of lamb – was (and remains) exquisite and the talk of the town throughout the year, but in particular during Ramadan. During this holy period in Morocco, harira soup is enjoyed daily as it is packed full of vitamins and minerals and helps revive and re-energise us after the day of fasting. During Ramadan the tempting fragrance of harira playfully wafts through the air as you pass by each house where it is being prepared for iftar, or when we break our fast after sundown. At Zayane we are proud to announce that Sky TV recently filmed a special about how I make my harira soup – it will be showing next month just before the start of Ramadan.

 

So after all this talk of harira, you probably want to enjoy a piping hot bowl, yourself.

The easy solution is to find your way to Zayane in Notting Hill where I can personally serve you some. Or… you can make it yourself at home with Zayane’s own recipe! To be perfectly honest, as Joe experienced, making harira isn’t the easiest dish to make for a novice as the quantity of concasse tomatoes, herbs, spices and flour have to be right for it to come out perfect.  But don’t worry – I’ve made the following recipe with these difficulties in mind to make your cooking efforts a bit easier!

 

Enjoy and please don’t forget to tell us what you think of our recipe on social media!

Zayane's Harira Recipe

Recipe for Zayane’s Harira

 

  • 1 celery chopped finely
  • 1 bowl of chopped parsley
  • 1 bowl of chopped coriander
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 kg of tomatoes skinned, de-seeded and chopped or 1 bottle of passata.
  • 2tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 vegetarian stock cubes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp aged butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vermicelli
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Method:

  1. Put celery, herbs, lentils, onion, tomato purée and spices in a large heavy pan and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Cover with water to 3/4 of the pan. Cook until lentils are cooked about 40 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock cubes. Cook for 15 minutes. Add vermicelli and chickpeas. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Prepare flour mix. Put flour in a large bowl add 2 cups of cold water, mix into a paste with no lumps. Add water if too thick. It has to be the consistency of French pancakes.
  4. Add to the soup while stirring constantly. Cook for another 20 min. Add the aged butter if desired. Enjoy!