Moroccan cuisine Recipes from Zayane Restaurant London

Zayane Gives Back Through the Magic of Fresh and Healthy Food

When we first opened Zayane 3 years ago, we did so with the expressed desire of
wanting to be a contributing member of the local Notting Hill community. Of
course, the foodies among us might suggest that we did that the moment in
which we began cooking gourmet, authentic Moroccan food with a modern twist.
While I certainly like that thought, the truth is that if we were to lean merely on
that significant aspect of Zayane, we’d be prioritising exclusivity over inclusivity.

Zayane Gives Back

For instance, not everyone can afford to go out for a meal at a restaurant like
Zayane, high value for money though our prices certainly are. Beyond that, not
everyone likes Moroccan food (no matter how delicious it may be!) and some
people don’t even enjoy going out for a meal.

At Zayane we wanted to cast our net as far and wide as possible to get to know as many people in the community
as possible – not just our happy, well-fed customers.

The way we began doing
this came from an idea that sprouted from my son and co-Executive Head Chef
Joe’s beautiful mind: Zayane’s Junior Chefs School.

When Joe was seven years old I had the idea of one day teaching children how to
cook, but crucially the importance of enjoying fruit and vegetables for one’s
health. The idea was inspired by Joe’s favourite childhood activity – a Saturday
junior chef course he took at the University of West London. He loved it so much
that he decided to go back when he was 18 to follow his dream of becoming a
chef. Upon opening Zayane, Joe told me he wanted to share a similar experience
with the children of Notting Hill.

The Zayane Junior Chefs School not only teaches
children how to cook, but as we work with kids who suffer from a range of
eating-related mental health issues who are patients at Chelsea Hospital, it is
also part of their treatment to help acquire a healthy and positive relationship
with food.

For the past 3 years our children have come to Zayane each week for
an hour-long cooking class where we prepare and eat a healthy dish. We make it
as fun as possible and they absolutely love it. The children come with their
therapists and Joe, who is a real sensitive soul, is absolutely brilliant with the
young ones. The dishes the children most enjoy cooking are popcorn chicken and
pancakes!

We tend not to cook Moroccan food with the young ones as children tend to be
fussy eaters – so we teach them how to make dishes like homemade fish fingers,
pasta, risotto and biscuits.

Truth be told, while our children love Zayane’s Junior
Chef’s School, overcoming an eating disorder is a tall order. But we are proud,
happy and grateful to have the opportunity to provide a small aspect of these
beautiful children’s treatment through the magic of fresh and healthy food. The
vast majority enjoy eating the dishes they cook at Zayane, some even bring their
newly-found skills home to cook for their families!
An idea we are toying with is doing a charity fundraiser with our Junior Chefs
preparing a delicious meal Watch this space!

Landing This Autumn – Zayane’s New and Delicious Moroccan Bruschetta

My family is the result of a nuclear fusion of sorts. It goes a bit like this: one part Moroccan + one part Italian = myself, my husband, son and co-Executive Head Chef Joe and my daughter. We as a unit personify Italo-Moroccan fusion, and as a bunch of food lovers and chefs is it really a surprise to learn that we tend to mix and match with our two celebrated gastronomies? We love it and have experimented with all sorts of tasty treats including dishes like ‘lamb tagine ragù’, but when I first met my husband I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Italian approach to food is actually very similar to the Moroccan. For instance, our casseroles, breads and biscuits are all very similar and we both cherish fresh ingredients with a passion and equally make great use of extra virgin olive oil and fragrant olives in our recipes.

Zayane’s New and Delicious Moroccan Bruschetta

The most successful culinary by-product of our family’s Italian-Moroccan fusion has long been our bruschetta. I first enjoyed the classic Italian tomato, olive oil, garlic and basil bruschetta through my lovely mother-in-law and I’ve always thought it had an intense and delighting flavour that belied its simplicity.

My children loved bruschetta (as did my husband, of course) as much as I did, so it became a family prerogative to invent our own that drew on both the Moroccan and the Italian elements. We’ve come up with countless permutations over the years, but the ones that have stuck with us the most are merguez sausages with melted brie, sautéed calf’s liver and ox kidney with cumin and herbs, Moroccan meatball with shakshouka sauce and melted cheddar and sautéed spinach and mushroom with poached eggs. Our range of bruschetta represents our ‘go-to’ starters or gourmet snack whenever we have company or just fancy a tasty treat. My favourite is the amazing flavour of the calf’s liver and ox kidney bruschetta while Joe is a sucker for the ingredient combination of the spinach, mushroom and poached egg.

When you possess something so tasty in your culinary repertoire you can only keep it hidden for so long… So to begin autumn with a bang, Zayane will be unveiling our exquisite Italo-Moroccan fusion bruschetta to our restaurant guests. Our customers who have sampled them absolutely adored them and we know you will, too! They are very generously-sized (so bring your appetites with you) and we can make them with gluten free bread if required.

In addition to our bruschetta this autumn, we will have a few Zayane classics returning to the menu: our famous lamb shank and our harira and bissara soup.

 Moroccan Bruschetta

Myself, Joe and the rest of our fusion family wish you a brilliant end of summer and can’t wait to see you at Zayane this autumn and beyond.

Zayane’s Harissa – Heavenly Joys and Ecstatic Flavours

As a Moroccan in London I am often asked ‘what is harissa?’. As is frequently the case when dealing with and discussing items sent from the heavens, words fail. Generally speaking harissa is an aromatic paste made from spicy chillies, garlic, cumin and coriander seed and herbs like mint or coriander with maybe some preserved lemon and/or tomatoes thrown in.

Sure, the foodies among us will find this laundry list of ingredients appealing enough, but without trying the right, authentic harissa made with love and care, one will have little idea of the ecstatic reality of what harissa does to taste buds.

 

Sometimes when I’m alone, I will put a dollop of spicy harissa on a plate. I will then pour over it a pool of extra-virgin Moroccan olive oil. I will gaze the rustic simplicity filled with so much promise in front of me and will dip a piece of focaccia into it and gently place it into my mouth. In these moments my soul is caught firmly within grasp of rapturous flavour and I am opened to a world of infinite beauty flowing over and through me. The chilli’s heat makes my tongue jump in pain and yet it yearns for more and I am rewarded with a flavour sensation like none other – spiciness, richness, freshness, sourness and saltiness all combine and permeate across my palate in waves and flows.

Zayane’s Harissa

Unfortunately not all harissa is created equal. As alluded to before, one should avoid the harissa one finds in the supermarket at all costs; instead opt for the really good stuff, like what my family and I enjoy regularly and which we serve and sell at Zayane.

Our harissa is based on an old family recipe… Like a really old one. As far as I have been told by my 110 year-old Grandmother, who still lives in Morocco and whose superlative cooking skills haven’t diminished in the slightest, her mother (my Great Grandmother) invented our family recipe.

 

In Morocco we indulge in the delights of harissa in the most simple of fashions – as a marinade, with our barbecues or as a condiment for couscous (even with bread and olive oil as described above). My personal favourite is lamb couscous with root vegetables enlivened and invigorated by a side of harissa (incidentally, this dish is available on Zayane’s menu). Another highlight is our roast cauliflower starter that is pepped up with harissa yogurt. One time a customer came in for brunch and she asked if I’d make her a bloody marry with Zayane’s own spicy harissa. I obliged and the customer said it was by far the best she’d ever had. If I recall accurately, she ordered a couple more. My son and co-Executive Head Chef Joe and I also discovered by pure accident that harissa and chocolate are a marriage made in heaven… Who knows – there might be a harissa chocolate cake on our dessert menu one day soon!

 

Zayane’s Harissa spices

Aside from our flagship harissa, we make a mild, medium lemony and smoked version. Indeed, when I’m not indulging in the super spicy stuff, I am revelling in the smoked harissa which turns meat, fish and vegetables into just about the tastiest edibles ever.

If you’d like to try Zayane’s harissa – and you’d be crazy not to – all you have to do is come and join us for a meal and ask me personally to try any and all of our range.

If you want to take something home with you – as our customers frequently do – we sell all of our harissa in jars so you can enjoy at home.

 

Join us at Zayane, dive into the heavenly delights and ecstatic flavours of harissa and take your palate on a trip of a lifetime!

 

 

 

A Taste of Moroccan Summer in London – Zayane’s Recipe for Grilled Sea Bream

In July, the average temperature in Morocco is 29 degrees Celsius. Pretty hot, right? Very! And yet this lofty figure depicts reality rather misleadingly. Indeed, if we were able to feel the relative chill of 29 degrees, the Moroccan summer would be a lot more bearable, but – alas – this number is only lowered by the still excruciatingly hot night-time heat of 21 degrees Celsius! As we go about our business on an average day in July in Morocco we wouldn’t even be slightly surprised to see the thermometer hit as high as 37 degrees or beyond.

How do we survive? Well, with grace, panache, defiance… and whole lot of amazing food and drink!

Yes, as the way in which we respond to most things in Morocco, the adversity with which the summer heat presents us is wrestled into submission through some of our cuisine’s best dishes As such, Joe and I wanted to give London a whiff and a taste of the amazing summer food we enjoy in Morocco on our new dinner menu that is filled to the brim with a range of deeply satisfying warm weather dishes. Chief among which is no doubt our grilled sea bream that will take your palate on a Moroccan beach holiday – though you may have to use your imagination with the heat!

Grilled Sea Bream

Our new scrumptious grilled sea bream dish evokes the Moroccan summer for me like none other as my family and I commonly enjoyed it on the hottest days whilst I was a youngster. Fresh off the barbecue its tempting seawater, charcoal and Moroccan-spiced fragrance would hit our noses. After much anticipation when the sea bream was finally served, the delicate, soft and crispy fish would melt in our mouths as the appetising flavour of the subtlety spiced Sharmoula marinade and ginger would permeate our palates. Like all Moroccan meals, my family and I would feast on sea bream in the most convivial style with a range of refreshing side dishes and salads spread across the table to enjoy it with, including sliced tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt, red onions, braised lentils, Moroccan potato salad, julienned roasted peppers and couscous.

To cool us off we’d wash down the deliciousness with our famous fruit juices and mocktails.

 

At Zayane we have put this slice of Moroccan sunshine on a plate for you to enjoy in London.

We will barbecue a freshly caught sea bream to perfection and serve it to you with the same tasty side salads with which my family and I enjoyed it in my youth to give you an absolutely stunning plate of Moroccan summer food.  You can savour it with on of our delicious mocktailsif you want to dine in exquisite Moroccan style – or you can throw caution to the wind and pair it with a glass of our crisp French Sauvignon Blanc!

So, join us at Zayane to try our yummy sea bream…

But wouldn’t it be unfair to serve this amazing Moroccan summer food at Zayane and leave you stuck with bland and banal burgers and sausages for your own Summer BBQs?

Courtesy of my recipe for our grilled sea bream dish you can now wow your taste buds and impress your friends by barbecuing it yourself at home. And yet, truth be told, this dish is so amazing you’ll want to cook it even in the dead of winter. The good news is that you can prepare this delectable recipe in a tagine or even a standard oven no matter the weather or season!

Enjoy and please don’t forget to share with me your pics of your cookery attempts on Instagramand Twitter!

 

Zayane’s Recipe for Grilled Sea Bream

 

Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

  • For the Fish
    • 1 sea bream deboned and cleaned, head on
    • A few slices of fresh ginger
    • 2 lemon slices
    • 1 tbsp Sharmoula

 

 

  1. Mix all the Sharmoula ingredients together in a bowl until an herb/spice paste forms. Can be kept in the fridge up to one week.
  2. Take 1 tablespoon of Sharmoula and cover the sea bream at least 1 hour before cooking.
  3. Place the ginger and the slices of lemon inside the fish and cook on the BBQ for 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

 

Recipe Tip: Sharmoula can be used enliven your previously boring BBQ food, including chicken, steak, burgers and even tofu and vegetables!

 

 

Bastilla is the Dish to Try in Morocco (and at Zayane)

In last week’s blog  we discussed how Moroccan cuisine – despite being widely considered a leading international gastronomy – remains esoteric and exotic to the average Briton. And yet, one prominent aspect of our cooking has penetrated the British imagination – the tagine. Britons now cook delicious tagines at home thanks to a wealth of both authentic and Europeanised recipes that are widespread on the internet and in cookery books. Beyond that, the actual terracotta ‘tagine’ cooking apparatus is the kind of ‘middle class’ accessory that comfortably sits alongside a Nespresso machine and NutriBullet on both wedding registries and fancy kitchen counters to signal ‘health conscious, open-minded foodie’.

As tireless advocates of Moroccan cuisine in London, both Joe and I think the seamless incorporation of Morocco into British culture is brilliant, but we still want to make sure that our unique and deeply pleasing flavours and aromas remain at the fore when people think about our food.

 

To achieve this, one dish comes to mind – bastilla, the dish to try in Morocco and at my restaurant, Zayane.

 

In my humble view, bastilla (or as it is also spelled, pastilla) is the epitome of Moroccan cuisine’s virtues and is the gateway to experiencing the wonder of our food. Despite being among Morocco’s more prominent national dishes, not that many people in Britain have ever heard of it. In plain and simple language,

I’d define bastilla as a ‘chicken pie’ – but anyone even vaguely familiar with the dish will quickly realise how inadequate such a description is.

Bastilla begins with a chicken that is slow cooked with love and then shredded and combined with a delicious Moroccan-spiced sauce. This is layered into ultra-thin brick or warqa pastry, covered with roasted almonds, sealed and baked. Once golden brown, it is topped with icing sugar and cinnamon, et voila, it is ready to be savoured!

Bastilla Zayane Restaurant

Bastilla is uniquely sweet and savoury and is extremely satisfying. Its aroma is seductive and its delicate flavours melt in your mouth. It may just be the most delicious thing… ever (but I’m biased!). And yet we don’t eat it everyday – it is a serious dish in Morocco, which means it is only reserved for the most special occasions like weddings, big celebrations or very important guests. My mother’s version of bastilla is particularly exquisite – thankfully for Zayane’s guests her recipe is the inspiration for my own!

 

At this point, your mouth is watering and you’re desperate to taste and cherish the Moroccan delicacy bastilla. But where can you enjoy it?

Well, at Zayane, of course! Bastilla is currently on our a la carte menu, and it will remain so for the foreseeable eternity. But what if you’re not in London? What if trekking down to Notting Hill is neither possible nor convenient in the moment in which you are reading this blog? Don’t worry – we have you covered with the recipe so you can make your own tempting, yummy bastilla at home! Don’t forget to watch the video made by our friends at the BBC so you can see me make it first!

 

Bon appétit!

 

Zayane’s Recipe for Bastilla

 

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
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 preserved lemons (use skin only)
  • olives red or green as desired
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 pack of brick pastry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of roughly ground roast almonds
  • 1 tsp or 2 of icing sugar plus 1 tsp cinnamon to mix with the almonds

 

  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. Remove chicken from tagine and its sauce. Reserve the sauce.
  5. Shed the chicken.
  6. Reduce the sauce then crack the eggs into it and stir. Cook until the sauce reduces even further.
  7. Combine the sauce with the shredded chicken.
  8. In an ovenproof dish, add a layer of brick pastry. Brush with egg white.
  9. Add the chicken mixture and make sure it is spread evenly.
  10. Add the roast almonds on top and make sure it is spread evenly.
  11. Seal by tucking in another layer of brick pastry to cover the top and brush with egg white.
  12. Put into a pre-heated 180-degree oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Spring with icing sugar and cinnamon.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

A refreshing fruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

There’s a rhythm and a melody to a fantastic meal – and like any great piece of music it must begin and end in the correct fashion to unveil its lyricism fully and properly.

A refreshing fruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

With this in mind – not to mention the brilliant weather we’ve been having – Joe and I have decided to concentrate on an important, if more esoteric, part of our Zayane dining experience: the drinks menu. Too often cocktails at fine dining restaurants play second fiddle to the food, which shows in the insipid potables that result. At Zayane we want to offer our guests a genuinely exquisite cocktail and/or mocktail that exudes as much flair and creativity as our food. Beyond this, we want our seasonal drinks menu to evoke Morocco, which we are doing by paying homage to the utterly fabulous fresh fruit of my homeland by adding a fruity twist to some classic and cherished cocktails.

 

If you drink alcohol, the absolute best way to fully appreciate th
e Zayane experience is with one of our signature aperitif cocktails (if you don’t drink, we’ll get to our refreshing and delightful mocktails in a moment!).

 

ruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

Let’s start with the Zayane Signature G&T, based on the cool and crisp cocktail that defines the British summer for many of us. Our rendition is lifted to a more Moroccan dimension through pear and crushed ginger, and tastes amazing alongside our trio of smoked aubergine, olive tapenade and humus dips. For those who’d like to taste the most of Moroccan fruit, I’d recommend Summer Berries – an ultra sophisticated vodka tonic enhanced with muddled fresh mixed berries. Lastly, any conversation about Moroccan fruit must include watermelon, which is one of our favourite national ingredients when it’s in season. We’ve used this delectable fruit to spice up a traditional margarita for a gorgeous and lush cocktail that will delight your palate and get you in the mood for the delicious Moroccan feast that is to come.

If our cocktails are ‘Moroccan-inspired’, the truth is our mocktails are simply ‘Moroccan’. Blended, non-alcoholic fruit and veg beverages are almost as much a part of the Moroccan summer as couscous. As we have an abundance of beautiful fruit in Morocco, not only do we excel at fruit juices and mocktails, we drink a lot of them to cool off when it’s particularly hot. Something we Moroccans absolutely adore is milk infused with almonds and rose water – this isn’t on the menu, but if you ask nicely I might make you some! My favourite mocktail on Zayane’s new drink list is our Virgin Watermelon Margarita – it is so fresh and beautiful and I am grateful that that it is alcohol-free as I am prone to drinking several in one sitting during a hot summer Moroccan meal! This mocktail – as with all of them – can be enjoyed as an aperitif but is also delightful with food. Our other refreshing and yummy mocktails include Green (celery, cucumber, apple and spinach), Red (red mixed berries) and Yellow (pineapple and lime). They are all freshly blended to order.

 

Next time you’re at Zayane, ask me about our new cocktails and mocktails, and it will be my pleasure to walk you through our selection to help you begin – and sustain – your exquisite feast with the ‘music’ that will make your taste buds sing and your palate dance.

 

See you soon!

 

Meryem and Joe

 

 

Moroccan Cuisine – Quietly the Best Food in the World

Moroccan cuisine presents us with a paradox. There are people who know our food and recognise it as among the finest gastronomies in the world; yet, unfortunately outside of Morocco people’s intimate knowledge of it is relatively slight. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Moroccan food doesn’t have a presence in London and beyond – what I am saying is that

relative to its status as a top five cuisine it is generally viewed as esoteric, exotic and decidedly un-mainstream. I wouldn’t say that this necessarily offends Joe and me as much as it surprises us.

 

Moroccan Cuisine

Moroccan cuisine offers the diner an unusual combination of flavours that hit the palate in subtle and layered waves of deliciousness. Our food is satisfying yet amazingly light. It is also extremely healthy and vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

Not least of all, Moroccan cuisine’s traditions and sophistication match and even exceed that of French cuisine – a view that is not just my own but widely considered a fact by chefs and food writers across the globe.

Of course, our customers know this very well and it is always interesting to hear from the non-Moroccan among them that they first sought out Zayane to recreate their initial heavenly foodie moment from their Moroccan holiday back here in London. I often think how bizarre it is that Londoners are first introduced to Moroccan food nearly 2,000 miles away in Morocco when Zayane is serving it a mere walk or underground ride away year-round!

 

Those who have been to Morocco know that my country is a thriving hotbed of some of the most exquisite food in the world. Moroccan cuisine is completely original, the likes of which there is no compare… anywhere. It has stayed the same for centuries not because we Moroccans are stagnant or lack creativity but because our cuisine was perfected long ago and each generation has fastidiously passed on its secrets to the next to make sure this rich cultural tradition is preserved forever. This has begotten our famously fragrant and pleasing dishes like couscous with root vegetables and lamb, pastilla, our world-famous tagines and even our unique biscuits! Our food is amazing because we Moroccans love eating and are famous for our joie de vivre (though maybe we don’t get as much credit for it as much as our French and Mediterranean counterparts!). In Morocco food is a celebration and our meals last for hours. As one of the founding members of the so-called Mediterranean diet, our cuisine is light, fragrant and healthy and makes great use of olive oil, fresh meat, nuts, legumes and vegetables.

Many people ‘eat Moroccan’ without even realising it. When is the last time you saw preserved lemons being used in a recipe book or by a Masterchef contestant?

When did you last see harissa served on a burger, sandwich or wrap? All the time, right? How about ras el hanout? You see, many of London’s favourite dishes have some element of a Moroccan accent, which often goes completely unnoticed. So I suppose what we are trying to say is that if you haven’t tried Moroccan food you might want to give it a go as it is an internationally celebrated cuisine and much of the food you might already know and love might implicitly incorporate an element of Moroccan cuisine.

 

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Morocco is quiet about having what is arguably the best cuisine in the world and remember that you don’t have to fly to Morocco to experience its wonders.

We at Zayane serve delicious authentic Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist just a hop, skip and a jump over in Notting Hill!

 

We’d love to welcome you one day soon and if you’d like to get a taste of Moroccan food before you join us at Zayane, check out our blog’s many recipes!

 

 

 

 

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!