Rabat …
The Imam’s call brings me out of sleep.
Still wearing my djellebas
I walk through the gently billowing white curtains,
my feet falling softly on the already-warm mosaic floor.
A Berber woman sits in the courtyard, grinding nuts for Argan oil,
she smiles and bids me sit down and take her offering of bissara,
scooped from the bubbling pot into a pottery bowl that fits in my palms as if I’d molded it.
I smell the incense on her skin, the smell of the spices in the market behind me intoxicates me.
Sensory overload, I am in heaven …

©Cindy Taylor 2009

Djellebas = loose fitting robe

Argan oil = from kernels of the Argan tree, endemic to Morocco

Bissara = Moroccan split pea soup

I have this dream so often, the images in it are so clear to me that I sometimes wake stunned, expecting there to be sand on my feet.   I know on days like these that Morocco will not leave my mind and that there is nothing for it but to take a tagine off my shelf and cook.

My lamb tagine recipe is made off by heart, a dead favourite in my home, I go into autopilot mode. It’s a slow, slow process of preparation. First the day-long marinade in yoghurt, then browning the meat in the spices and letting it soak in the juices. Finally into the tagine with the vegetables and herbs for another hour. The end result is so worthwhile, so close to the real thing that, again, I almost feel the sand beneath my feet …

A more accurate recipe (if you’ve never made this dish) can be found here:


53 Comments Add yours

  1. talismaniac says:

    good morning cindy!
    OMG what a way to wake -up… i mean really, thats not fair… i’m dehydrating as i’m sitting here whilst running through the images in my mind of a lamb tagine!!!! yummie!!! so mrs T… when are u cookin’ for me??? and apart from that… i would really like to meet you cindy…. so why dont we do lunch in the very near future? as in before xmas!!! i have quite a few things that i’d like to discuss with you…. have a super sunday my dear! x

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh Darlin’ that will be wonderful, schools break up on Friday and after that I’m free as a bird 😀

  2. MissChris says:

    Can smell it – think you really need to visit this place of your dreams!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Maybe next year …

  3. souldipper says:

    I adore those vivid dreams. When I experience them, I take them as a gift of a past life experience.

    And I seem to recall you do hear the Imam’s call today. Lovely.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Very lovely, hope you have sweet dreams and sleep tight 🙂

    2. nrhatch says:

      I thought the same as Amy . . . so real that you’ve been there and the memories are merely resurfacing during sleep.

      I’d love to taste some bissara while wearing a djellebas and wandering barefoot on warm mosaic tiles. 🙂

      1. theonlycin says:

        I’ve been re-reading Annie Hawes ‘A handful of honey; Away to the palm groves of Morocco and Algeria’. A great book, gives one a real sense of the local colour. Can recommend it highly.

      2. nrhatch says:

        The closest I’ve come to experiencing Morocco and its environs is listening to Al Stewart’s The Year of the Cat:.

        On a morning from a Bogart movie, in a country where they’ve turned back time, you go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime.

        She comes out of the sun in a silk dress, running like a watercolor in the rain . . . in the Year of the Cat.

      3. theonlycin says:

        lovelovelove that song 😀

  4. gospelwriter says:

    Awesome dream, realer than real, wow! And not to mention that lamb tagine dish you’ve set out there so temptingly…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Going to make a Moroccan soup later today 😀

  5. nrhatch says:

    We had some lovely soup for dinner ~ minestrone with cannellini beans and spinach . . . with some parmeson rind melted into the mix.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sounds delish Nancy 🙂

  6. Tammy McLeod says:

    You know Cin that this means something. The other night I asked for a dream and I got one and it was so powerful. Please ask for help with discernment. And the soup sounds lovely too.

  7. A book will sell really well, then off with you

    But then……….
    What happens to the dream?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh there will always be another, I’ve just read a blog that mentions Piedmont …

  8. Sounds wonderful, will definitely try it out. Beautiful dream.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, enjoy your Sunday.

  9. Supa says:

    I rarely remember my dreams, the tagine looks moreish 🙂

  10. Tandy says:

    this is one country I have on my bucket list!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m bewitched by it 😀

  11. Madmom says:

    You have much better dreams that I do! Hmph!

    1. theonlycin says:

      LOL, not always 😉

  12. Yvette says:

    What wonderful dreamy images…I love those rich Moroccan coloured spices, colours and flavours! A dreamy dish! x

    1. theonlycin says:

      I also love the colours 🙂

  13. Two types of poetry today, Cindy…
    Beautiful 🙂

  14. granny1947 says:

    Oh dear…you make me feel so stoopid…have never heard of a tagine!!!
    Why must we avoid Boyes Drive??????

    1. theonlycin says:

      I heard on the radio that there was a massive back-up, both on the Lakeside and Kalk Bay sides.

  15. Naomi says:

    Totally gorgeous! The imagery and the food! Didn’t realize how hungry I am…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wish there was some left for my breakfast …

  16. halfp1nt says:

    Aah Cindy, I found myself there whilst reading this!

  17. Hi Cindy, I bought a book called “Cinammon City” – it is about Morocco. It is next on my reading list. That tagine looks divine.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ll have to find that book 🙂

      1. When I’m finished it (can’t promise it will be within the next month or so), you are welcome to it 🙂

  18. Cindy, you absolutely have to visit the place of your dreams!
    Can’t wait to see a post from you saying your ticket is booked!
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      I also want to go to Russia, and Turkey and and and …

      1. Wouldn’t it be brilliant to take a year off (like a gap year for adults) and jet off on an adventure…

      2. theonlycin says:

        Indeed, even better if the adventure was sponsored *big grin*

  19. Off to get a napkin to wipe away the drool.

  20. bluebee says:

    Going to try those lamb shanks, thanks – love Moroccan food

  21. Kavita says:

    If that’s a dream you really get, it’s so darned vivid!! And you have written it down so beautifully, that I can almost smell the spices in the air.. it’s an olfactory delight…mmmm

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