Over the mountains we go – eating our way through the High Atlas in Morocco

Ha, I bet you thought I forgot about these posts. Never fear, I’m not stopping. I’m just slow!

We left Marrakech for a long trip through Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. After several hours driving on narrow, windy roads we stopped at a little town that I think was called Toufrine (I could be mistaken) for lunch.

Leaving Marrakech, Mark piled us into a car and we headed into the High Atlas Mountains. After windy roads and a long morning drive, we reached the small mountain town of Toufrine where we met our local guide, Mohamed.

Our gracious host and local guide was Mohamed, who started us off with a refreshing (and super sweet) cup of mint tea.

Mohamed pours mint tea

Mohamed pours mint tea

These almonds and pecans were from nearby trees. Don’t you wish we had this kind of local food in our backyards?

tea and snacks

tea and snacks

The main meal was a lamb tagine, with tender olives, tomatoes and potatoes piled high.

lamb tagine

lamb tagine

my plate

my plate

loaves of fresh khobz (bread)

loaves of fresh khobz (bread)

After stuffing ourselves, Mohamed took us to a nearby mountain town for some sightseeing. We were supposed to go to a town renowned for their waterfall, but the abnormal amount of rain in the area washed out the road and so instead we went to a totally different town called Tighfiste.

On our way there, after talking to someone on an old cell phone, he suddenly asked Mark, our regular guide, to stop the car and he climbed out. And then up. Straight up, in the pouring rain. Wearing only sandals. Trying to find him in the photo is like playing Where’s Waldo. Mohamed is the striped blur somewhere in the middle of the photo. I took this picture while sitting in the car and looking straight up.

Part mountain goat?

Part mountain goat?

He came back with reused water bottles and giant jugs of honey from someone who lives at the top of this cliff. And yes, he carried all of it down that same cliff.
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Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

This is an easy and tasty recipe for entertaining and potlucks. The sweetness of the dish makes it a great finger food dessert, or a sweet appetizer. Key to this recipe is the use of Medjool dates, which are plump and meaty. I experimented with mixing the cinnamon into the mascarpone, but the cinnamon flavour wouldn’t come through unless I placed it on top of each date.

Mascarpone stuffed dates

Mascarpone stuffed dates

Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

Ingredients
Medjool dates
mascarpone cheese
pecans or walnuts
cinnamon

Directions
With a sharp knife, make a small slit lengthwise across the top of each Medjool date. Do not cut all the way through the date! Carefully pull out the seed.

Take a small spoon (or use a filled piping bag) and place a small dollop of mascarpone inside the opening of each date.

Push a nut into the mascarpone. I used pecans but you can easily use walnuts. Dust a sprinkle of cinnamon over each filled date.

Cranberry-Apricot Chocolate Chews

This is the very last cookie in my never-ending Christmas cookie adventure. Hooray!

I’ve saved the best one for last. After few successes and a whole bunch of failures, I decided to make this recipe. And oh boy do they taste fantastic! Designed to use whole wheat flour and chock full of dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate, this cookie disappeared quickly. I only managed to grab a small handful of them for one of the cookie tins. If I wasn’t on this strict diet I would make these ones again in a heartbeat.

Cranberry-Apricot Chocolate Chews

Cranberry-Apricot Chocolate Chews

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