Marrakech souk

While we were in Marrakech, we went to a local souk. Souks are markets – sometimes permanent and sometimes weekly, depending on the souk. This souk wasn’t a tourist one where you could buy souvenir trinkets, but a souk that locals went to for various needs. Part of the souk is permanent and sells things like furniture. The other part of the souk was transient and reminded me of a flea market. You could buy anything including shoes, carpets, clothing… I even saw an old VCR player for sale!

Some of these photos are a little crooked because I was taking them with my camera hidden partially under a jacket draped over my arm. Taking photos in Morocco isn’t always easy as people tend to prefer not to have their photo taken, so unless we had specific permission from someone to take their photo I tended to take unobtrusive pictures instead. I could have straightened the photos on my computer, but I feel like the angles are part of my Moroccan experience and decided to leave them all in instead!

outside of the souk, by the medina walls

outside of the souk, by the medina walls

I cannot stop marvelling at the oranges in Morocco. I still dream of their sweet goodness.

orange seller

orange seller

Moroccans love sweets and pastries.

pastry seller

pastry seller

radishes and other unidentifyable vegetables

radishes and other unidentifyable vegetables

cookware shining in the sun

cookware shining in the sun

I think these were chestnuts but I can’t remember for sure.

nut seller

nut seller

permanent part of the souk

permanent part of the souk

I saw so many tagines during the trip and I dearly wanted to buy one but there was no way I would be able to haul one around for the rest of our trip and I was afraid that it wouldn’t survive a trip through the post office. They were so cheap, and they were all so very tempting.

tagines and doors

tagines and doors

The locals must have thought I was nuts for taking some of these photos. These are parts of an olive oil press. Some of the spiral posts were taller than I am!

olive oil press

olive oil press

How did people got all this stuff home? By cart or truck, if necessary.

delivery truck

delivery truck

 

Hampton Court Palace and the Tudor kitchens, London

Warning, this post has many photos of the Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace — some of which are blurry due to lack of time, lack of light, and the need for more (and better) lenses for my SLR camera.

Hampton Court Palace, located on the outskirts of London, was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey. It first became famous for being a favourite palace of King Henry VIII, and later on was the subject of King William III and Queen Mary’s massive rebuilding and expansion project.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Visits to Hampton Court Palace are set up in a way that you can “experience” a special day in the life of Henry VIII’s life; throughout my visit, actors in full costume played out parts in Henry’s court and got everyone involved in the wedding day of Henry and Catherine Parr.

Hail Britannia!

Hail Britannia!

The palace’s Tudor-era kitchens are extensive, which was needed in order to feed the approximately 1000 people of Henry’s court. Many of the rooms have fake food in them to illustrate how the kitchens worked. This is the pie room. The pastry was used as a preservation and cooking tool, and the pastry itself was not eaten. (The soundtrack from Sweeny Todd kept running through my head as I stood in this room. 😉 )

Pie room

Pie room

On the other side of the room was a Tudor stove top/slow cooker/fireplace.

Fireplace/stove top/slow cooker

Fireplace/stove top/slow cooker

When you climbed the short staircase, you found a giant built-in pot filled with something that looked brown and goopy. Gruel? Porridge? Pie filling? Use your own imagination.

gruel

gruel

This walkway in the kitchens served as a natural refrigerator; the walls and placement blocked out the sun, but allows the cooling rain to filter into the hallway. It was quite cool all along this passage, which had doors lined all along the way that led to larders.

natural refrigerator

natural refrigerator

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Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton

Yesterday afternoon, when I saw this post on Chowhound and saw Crazy White Girl With a Kitchen’s post and photos, I knew I HAD to stop by the Duchess Bake Shop after work. It is a stylish little place and makes a welcome addition to the shops and restaurants on 124th Street. (For those who are address-challenged and need visual landmarks to find their way around, the bakery is across the street from Koutouki Taverna.)

Look at these pretties! Can you guess what I picked up?

Duchess Bake Shop goodies

Duchess Bake Shop goodies

Oh yeah baby. Macarons and madeleines! Say goodbye to the diet (at least for the day). Hellooooo yummy sugar.

Duchess Bake Shop - macarons and madeleines

Duchess Bake Shop - macarons and madeleines

The madeleines I chose were lavender flavoured. I quite liked the floral flavour of the little sponge cake. I think I would have preferred them to be a tiny bit less dense, but I gave the other one to someone else to try and that person commented that the madeleine was very light tasting. At the bakery they told me the lavender came from Salt Spring Island.

They had three flavours of macarons available so I had to try them all. A lemon (which was fabulously lemony), a pistachio (excellent but maybe a touch too sweet for my preference), and a lavender (just a very faint floral taste, mostly tasted of vanilla). I ate one each, and gave the remainder to the aforementioned other person, who promptly scarfed one like a glutton instead of slowly enjoying it. Yeah, that person got a dirty look from me. Humph.

I was so excited about seeing the macarons that I forgot to ask them what kinds of cakes were in the case. Covered in egg whites with toasty peaks, they looked like stylized cake-shaped baked Alaskas. If anyone knows what they are, please let me know.

They’ve been open for less than a week, so I was told that their hours weren’t absolutely set yet. However on their front door it says that they’re open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I am so fucking ecstatic that I can buy macarons in Edmonton now! Pardon my français. I’m so happy that I had to write this up right away instead of working on other delayed blog posts. I was starting to wonder if I would have to figure out how to make these things myself… or book another trip to Vegas so that I could raid the Bouchon Bakery. Too bad this means I have to do more exercise to work off all the calories… but I think they’re worth the pain for the yummy pleasure. And honestly, as long as you only eat one or two the calories aren’t too bad.

And while I was writing this I noticed that Only Here for the Food posted about the bakery as well. Looks like word is getting around fast.

Duchess Bake Shop
10720-124 Street, Edmonton
www.duchessbakeshop.com

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Jean-Philippe Patisserie, Las Vegas

I was wrong; I have one more Vegas post. I forgot about these photos that I took inside the Bellagio, over at the Jean-Philippe Patisserie. This is the place with the fancy chocolate fountain. I was not able to taste any of the food (due to fullness from other meals), but they all looked fabulous. They even had a few sugar-free selections available!

Bellagio at night

Bellagio at night

Jean-Philippe Patisserie - entrance

Jean-Philippe Patisserie - entrance

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